After getting a note from a friend in the industry about a project related to the N-Gage by the Finnish Museum of Games and at the same time seeing people in droves arriving to Helsinki for Pocket Gamer Connects I remembered this post I did in 2011 about the legacy of N-Gage, Nokias ill-fated but pioneering gaming phone.
The post obviously misses to point a lot of the other later formed developers set up by N-Gage alumni – like Next Games – but nevertheless it is still a good reminder of the role that Nokia played in boosting the global mobile game revolution.
It’s been nice to follow the recent success and hype around Finnish game developers.
Rovio is rockin’ the globe with Angry Birds and RedLynx is making some serious waves as well. Supercell scored 12M$ in funding from Accel Partners to develop their ground-braking browser-based MMORPG Gunshine.net. Not to mention Remedy and Housemarque. Finnish gaming is booming and I for one am loving it. Well done guys & gals!
This got me thinking. Why is this happening now? How come there is so much game development talent in Finland especially in mobile gaming?
Could it be that we owe a big thank you to the most ridiculed gaming venture that’s ever come out of Finland: The Nokia N-Gage? The ill-fated platform whose life-support Nokia quietly unplugged a few months back.
It is an undeniable fact that Nokias’ trip to gaming was a huge psychedelic failure from the start. Anyone and your neighbors kid could have told the Nokia management (if they would have listened) that the sidetalkin’ take the battery out to switch games joke of a gaming phone would never fly. And I should know. I worked as the guy with the world’s most daunting task – run digital marketing for N-Gage globally. It was like climbing Everest naked. Well maybe not quite but tricky still.
That said I do think that while failing to get us gaming on those weird phones Nokia did an enormous favor to the Finnish and global mobile gaming industry. During the N-Gage years Nokia published some amazing ground-braking mobile games that paved way for a lot of the innovation and gameplay we now see on iOS, Android and other mobile platforms: Pathway to Glory (first ever mobile multiplayer over GPRS-networks – by Red Lynx – still one of my all-time favorite turn-based strategy titles), High Seize (by RedLynx), Bounce (the grandfather of Angry Birds by Rovio), Asphalt (born on the N-Gage – still racing on iOS and Android by Gameloft), ONE (by Digital Legends) and Pocket Kingdom (One of the first Online MMORPG games on a mobile phone – by Nokia) just to name a few.
Have it not been for N-Gage (and essentially Nokias’ big bucks) these amazing games would not have seen the light of day and as a result Finnish game developers would not be where they are today.
So raise a glass and give thanks to where thanks are due. Rest in peace N-Gage and thanks for all the good times. I for one am a much better climber though nowadays I do tend to equip myself with the proper gear and choose my quests a bit more carefully.