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Issue No.03 - July-Sept. (2009 vol.31)
pp: 20-33
Petri Saarikoski , University of Turku, Finland
Jaakko Suominen , University of Turku, Finland
<p>Since the 1950s, digital games in Finland have bridged gaps between professional users and the public as well as institutional and domestic environments. The early significance of Finland's 1970s and 1980s computer games hobbyist and hacker cultures is still evident: clear connections exist between the country's rich history of such subcultures and its modern international success in multimedia and mobile entertainment.</p>
History of computing, digital games, game journalism, game industry, Finland, hobbyist subculture
Petri Saarikoski, Jaakko Suominen, "Computer Hobbyists and the Gaming Industry in Finland", IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol.31, no. 3, pp. 20-33, July-Sept. 2009, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2009.39
1. F. Mäyrä, An Introduction to Game Studies: Games in Culture, SAGE Publications, 2008, p. 55. For a history of digital games, see also J.C. Hertz, Joystick Nation: How Videogames Gobbled Our Money, Won Our Hearts, and Rewired Our Minds, Abacus, 1997, and S.L. Kent, The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokémon and Beyond, Three Rivers Press, 2001.
2. Classic can refer to games that are authentic or "typically representative of a period or development" (Mäyrä, p. 55). Therefore, the opposite of classic could be clone, a term used by game journalists to describe games that are more or less copies of earlier hit games or recognized innovations.
3. P. Saarikoski, Koneen lumo: Mikrotietokoneharrastus Suomessa 1970-luvulta 1990-luvun puoliväliin [The Lure of the Machine: The Personal Computer Interest in Finland from the 1970s to the mid-1990s], Nykykulttuurin tutkimuskeskuksen julkaisuja 83, Jyväskylän yliopisto, 2004.
4. J. Suominen, "Good Reviewers Know All Games? Referring Practices in Finnish Game Reviews, 1984–2008," to be published.
5. J. Parikka and J. Suominen, "Victorian Snakes? Towards A Cultural History of Mobile Games and the Experience of Movement," Game Studies, vol. 6, no. 1, 2006; .
6. T.P. Hughes, "The Evolution of Large Technological Systems," The Social Construction of Technological Systems. New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology, W.E. Bijker, T.P. Hughes, and T. Pinch eds., MIT Press, 1989, pp. 68–70.
7. M. Hård, and A. Jamison eds., "Conceptual Framework: Technology Debates as Appropriation Processes," The Intellectual Appropriation of Technology, MIT Press, 1998, p. 11.
8. M. Campbell-Kelly, From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog. A History of the Software Industry, MIT Press, 2004, pp. 269–301.
9. Helsingin Sanomat,2 Nov. 1946.
10. J. Suominen, Koneen kokemus: Tietoteknistyväkulttuuri modernisoituvassa Suomessa 1920-luvulta 1970-luvulle [Experiences with Machines: Computerised Culture in the Process of Finnish Modernisation from the 1920s to the 1970s], Vastapaino, 2003; J. Suominen, and J. Parikka, "Sublimated Attractions: The Introduction of Early Computers in Finland in the late 1950s as a Mediated Experience," to be published in Media History, vol. 16, no. 4, Dec. 2010.
11. Nya Pressen,28 Apr. 1953.
12. Aapeli is the Finnish form of the male name Abel, and peli means game in Finnish.
13. P. Paju, "Huvia hyödyn avuksi jo 1950-luvulla. Nim-pelin rakentaminen ja käyttöSuomessa" [Business and Pleasure: Construction and Usage of Nim-Game in Finland during 1950s], Wider Screen, nos. 2–3, 2003, vuoksi_jo_1950-luvulla.htm ; and P. Paju, "Ilmarisen Suomi" ja sen tekijät. Matematiikkakonekomitea ja tietokoneen rakentaminen kansallisena kysymyksenä1950-luvulla. C269. Turun yliopisto [Building 'Ilmarinen's Finland:' The Committee for Mathematical Machines and computer construction as a national project in the 1950], 2008, pp. 242–243. On Nim machines in other countries, see A.H. J⊘rgensen: "An Early Danish Computer Game: The case of NIM, Piet Hein, and Regnecentralen," Proc. History of Nordic Computing 2 Conf., 2007; A. Haraldsen, Den forunderlige reisen gjennom datahistorien [The Amazing Journey through Data History], Tano Aschehoug, 1999, pp. 74–75; and A. Jones, "Pioneers on the Air: BBC Radio Broadcasts on Computers and A.I., 1945–55," Actes du 6e colloque sur l'Histoire de l'nformatique et des Réseaux, M. Battista ed., ACONIT, 2002, p. 25.
14. H. Andersin, "NIM-peliäpelaava kone" [A Machine Playing the NIM-Game], Abacus, no. 4, 1967, pp. 4–7.
15. R. Pukonen interview by J. Suominen, June 1999; Oma Markka, no. 3, 1960, p. 21.
16. K. Dickman (interviewed by P. Jotuni ), "Uudet tuotteet—tuttu ympäristö" [New Products: Familiar Environment], Tietotekniikan alkuvuodet Suomessa, [Early Years of Information Technology in Finland], M. Tienari ed., Suomen Atk-kustannus, 1993, pp. 335–336.
17. E. Koski interview by J. Suominen, Sept. 1999.
18. "IBM 1401: Liiketaloudellinen päätöksentekopeli—Ohjeita pelin johtajalle" [IBM 1401: Management Game—Instructions for the Game Leader], H. Lehikoinen Finnish IBM, 1968. See also J. Suominen, "Elektronisen pelaamisen historiaa lajityyppien kautta tarkasteltuna" [A History of Electronic Gaming on a Game Genre Perspective], Pelit, tietokone ja ihminen. Toim. Timo Honkela, [Games, Computer and People], 1999, pp. 70–86.
19. E. Vettenranta and H. Kahrama, "Tietokonesotapeli koeajettu" [A Computer War Game Tested], Sotilasaikakauslehti, nos. 6–7, 1973, pp. 277–286.
20. L. Bäckström interview by P. Saarikoski, Mar. 2008.
21. T. Johnson, Tietokoneiden aika [The Computers in Our Lives], P. Jotuni trans., WSOY, 1972, p. 116.
22. R. Linturi interview by P. Saarikoski, July 2002; K. Tiihonen interview by P. Saarikoski, Sept. 2001.
23. P. Saarikoski, "Keskiajan fantasia: J.R.R. Tolkienin Keskimaa digitaalisessa pelikulttuurissa," Proc. Symp. Virtually Medieval, MIRATOR [a multilingual electronic journal devoted to medieval studies], 2005, pp. 8–9.
24. K. Krogerus, "Nyt etupäässä. Pikkukeksintöjä" [Now in the Front. Small Inventions], Tekniikan Maailma, no. 10, 1971, pp. 112–113. (Citation translated by J. Suominen.)
25. K. Krogerus, "Kuvaruutu kisakenttänä. Osallistuva uutuus kaikille televisioperheille" [Screen as a Sportsfield: Participatory Novelty for all Television Families], Tekniikan Maailma, 18, 1973, p. 66; K. Krogerus, "PIP-peli-osallistuva televisiopeli" [PIIP-Game: Participatory Television Game], Tekniikan Maailma, no. 4, 1975, pp. 86–87; E. Fallström, "Tele-peli" [Tele-Game], Tekniikan Maailma, no. 20, 1976, p. 97.
26. L. Kotilainen interview by P. Saarikoski, June 2001.
27. H. Helminen, "Mikrolla hirteen" [Hangman Game for Microcomputers], Prosessori, no. 3, 1980, p. 52.
28. H. Salmela, "Vilkas toimintavuosi 1800 Users' Clubilla" [Activities of 1800 Users' Club during 1980], Prosessori, no. 3, 1980, p. 34–35; P. Åhman, "M6800 syyskilpailu:suunnittele ajanvietepeli" [Game programming contest for M6800: Microprocessor], Prosessori, no. 11, 1980, pp. 36, 58.
29. , Most of the home computers used in Finland were manufactured in Britain or West Germany. B. Bragnall, On the Edge: Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore, Variant Press, 2005.
30. L. Haddon, "The Roots and Early History of The British Home Computer Market: Origins of the Masculine Micro," doctoral thesis, Management School, Imperial College, 1988, pp. 178–210.
31. J. Tolonen, "Pelien invaasio käynnistyi" [Invasion of Computer Games has Started], Prosessori, no. 10, 1983, pp. 62–63; A. Määttänen, "Videohimo valtaa" [Lust for Videogames], Tekniikan Maailma, no. 20, 1983, pp. 4–5.
32. P. Lehmuskoski interview by P. Saarikoski, June 1999.
33. J. Hägström, "Kotimikroilijoita sitoo tekijänoikeuslaki" [Microcomputer Users Must Follow Copyright Laws], MikroBitti, no. 4, 1984, p. 23; K. Stachon, "Ohjelmien rajoitettu kopiointi on luvallista" [Limited Copying of Games is not Illegal], MikroBitti, no. 2, 1985, p. 20; E. Pipatti, "Avainsanana luovuus" [The Importance of Creativity], MikroBitti, no. 6–7, 1985; H. Hursti et al., "Rötöstely rehottaa Atk-maailmassa", [Computer World is Plagued by Pirates and Other Criminals], Printti, no. 1, 1985, pp. 6–7.
34. J. Tolonen and J. Muhonen, "Tuhopelejäja nopanpyöritystä" [Action Games and Rolling of Dice], Prosessori, no. 4, 1983, pp. 78–79; J. Tolonen, "Pelien invaasio käynnistyi" [Invasion of Computer Games has Started], Prosessori, no. 10, 1983, pp. 62–63; A. Määttänen, "Videohimo valtaa" [Lust for Videogames], Tekniikan Maailma, no. 20, 1983, pp. 4–5.
35. R. Hieta, "Peliluola" [Gaming Den], MikroBitti, no. 3, 1985, p. 55; E. Pipatti interview by P. Saarikoski, June 1998.
36. A. Korhonen interview by P.Saarikoski, Oct. 2001.
37. N. Nirvi, "Zoids, The Battle Begins," MikroBitti, no. 6–7, 1986, p. 89.
38. N. Nirvi, "Games Greater than Life," MikroBitti, no. 12, 1986, pp. 15–17.
39. , The title of the article was in fact a playful reference to Finnish cinema expert Peter von Bagh and his famous radio program series called "Movies Greater than Life."
40. T. Linden, "Pelejäilman reunaehtoja" [At Last Games Without Limitations], Pelit, no. 1, 1992, p. 5.
41. This low media coverage of computer games and game cultures can partly be explained by public opinion. In those days, games were usually classified as low culture. Computer gaming was also often seen as a childish hobby and an activity of the younger generation. (See Saarikoski's Koneen lumo, pp. 176–177.)
42. P. Saarikoski, "Valtavirtaa vastaan: demoscene suomalaisen kotimikroilun historiassa" [Against the Main Stream: demoscene and the History of Finnish Home Computing], Lähikuva, no. 3, 2001, pp. 54–65; M. Faler, "Johdatus demosceneen" [Introduction to demoscene], Sähköä, Säpinää, Wapinaa: Risteilyjäteknologian kulttuurihistoriassa, Historian laitos, Turun yliopisto, 2001, pp. 7–23; J. Huuskonen, "The Art of Defining Software Culture: The Benevolent Dictators of the Read_me Festival," FRAME [Finnish Fund for Art Exchange], Framework, no. 2, 2004; T. Polgár, "Freax: The Brief History of the Computer Demoscene," CSW Verlag, vol. 1, 2005, pp. 1–32.
43. M.-P. Heikkinen, "Suomen pelipajat pyrkivät pinnalle" [The Rising of Finnish Game Industry], Helsingin Sanomat,14 Nov. 1997.
44. J. Virtanen, "Max Payne," MikroBitti, no. 9, 2001, p. 114; Pelit, no. 8, 2001, pp. 4, 26–29.
45. "Suomalainen tietokonepeli Max Payne ilmestynyt" [Finnish Max Payne Computer Game has been Published], Helsingin Sanomat,26 July 2001; A. Vilkaman, "Suomalaisesta tietokonepelistätuli huima myyntihitti" [Finnish Computer Game is a Smash Hit in Game Sales], Ilta-Sanomat,3 Aug. 2001.
46. M. Räsänen, "Nelly Furtado Suomi-elokuvaan" [Nelly Furtado has Engaged in Max Payne Movie], Ilta-Sanomat,19 Aug. 2008; V. Aro, "Iso HALOo!" [Big HALOo], Taloussanomat,27 Sept. 2007.
47. "Report of Finnish Gaming Industry," 2007; 1220256701/ application/pdf/46839Finnish%20gaming%20industry%202007.pdf .
48. A. Miettinen, "Yksinkertaisuus on taas pelivaltti. Veteraanikoodareita tarvitaan taas kännykkäviihteen tekemisessä" [Simplicity Is the Trump in Game Once Again. Veterans Are Needed Again in the Making of Mobile Entertainment], Helsingin Sanomat,14 Apr. 2001.
49. "Hän on matopelin isä" [He is the Father of the Snake], Ilta-Sanomat,13 Aug. 1999.
50. J. Suominen, "The Past as the Future. Nostalgia and Retrogaming in Digital Culture," Fibreculture, no. 11, 2008, ; M. Johnson, "Uses of History in the Design of Habbo Hotel," Proc. Innovation Pressure Conf., Springer, 2006. There is still a gap between those people who are not interested in digital games (about half of the population) and those who play games at least occasionally. K.P. Kallio, K. Kaipainen, and F. Mäyrä, "Gaming Nation? Piloting the International Study of Games Cultures in Finland," Univ. of Tampere, Hypermedialab, 2008; .
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