When you think of Finnish video games, there’s a good chance that Angry Birds is the first game that comes to mind. But Finland has a long history of producing unique video games that stand on their own merits despite being overshadowed by the flashier world of console gaming.
In this list we’ll be taking a look at some of the unique video games that Finland has produced, from its most well-known to those which are far off the beaten path. This list is by no means meant to be exhaustive, as Finnish game development has produced many games worthy of inclusion. Instead, this list aims to provide a glimpse into the variety and breadth of Finnish game design. Most of these games can be found in both the old and new Finnish casinos.
Chesmac is a Finnish variant of the classic game Chess, and it differs from the traditional rules in only a few ways. The Chesmac board is 12×12 instead of 8×8, and none of the pieces are able to move onto files (rows) occupied by an enemy piece. This variant was invented by Peter Heinonen, a Finnish computer scientist who has gone on to become one of Finland’s most established and respected video game developers.
Snake is a simple game that is played by millions of people worldwide. Its popularity has led to it becoming one of the most well-known video games in history, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a person with a smartphone who hasn’t at least tried playing it. Snake has been around for years, and there are hundreds upon hundreds of different versions out there that offer unique twists on the classic gameplay.
Clash of Clans, 2012
How can you write a list of Finnish unique video games without mentioning the smash hit Clash of Clans? With a combined user base of over 100 million, this platform-based strategy game has solidified Supercell as one of the most successful mobile game developers in the world. Even today, Clash of Clans is a popular choice for people who want to do some light gaming on the move, and it’s certainly been an important part of Finland’s cultural landscape.
Max Payne, 2001
Max Payne is a third-person shooter that is considered to be one of the best games of all time. It’s a gritty neo-noir crime thriller which has been widely praised for its deep and emotional story, as well as its innovative video game mechanics such as bullet-time. Max Payne was one of the first video games to be sold in movie-like DVD cases, and it helped pave the way for Hollywood blockbusters like The Matrix to have their own video game tie-in.
Angry Birds, 2009
It’s impossible for us to talk about Finland’s game industry without taking a look at the most high-profile Finnish game in existence. Angry Birds is the iconic Finnish video game, with a user base of well over three billion. It is one of the most profitable mobile games in existence, and has been used in many marketing campaigns worldwide. The sequel was equally successful, and Angry Birds remains as one of the best-known Finnish exports to date.
Trine series (2009-2018)
Trine games are platform-based games which take place in a fairy tale setting. The Trine trilogy features three different games, each based on one of the Three Heroes, and there are several other entries with different gameplay mechanics that differ from the original games. The first Trine game was released in 2009 and it followed three heroes to their individual adventures throughout the magic world of Trine. Since then, several sequels have been released, each adding a new hero’s story to the world and furthering the plotline.
Finland’s unique game design is one that has helped it stand out in an increasingly crowded market, and we’ve been able to draw on games like Angry Birds, Max Payne and Trine to give a better understanding of Finland’s rich gaming history.