The story of the N-Gage, a mobile game console made in Tampere, Finland, will be on display at the Finnish Museum of Games (Suomen pelimuseo) from October 7th onwards. The exhibition offers a nostalgic but thought-provoking look into a turning point in the history of the Finnish game and technology industry.
Even though Nokia invested hundreds of millions of euros in the N-Gage, it could not conquer the hearts of players; instead, it met with total rejection. The N-Gage became an international object of ridicule and one of Nokia’s largest failures. Its failure planted the seeds of future success, however, as the N-Gage laid the foundation for the later achievements of the Finnish game industry. Nokia’s investment made Finland a hotbed of expertise in mobile gaming. This, in turn, helped to create hit games like Angry Birds by Rovio and Clash of Clans by Supercell, not too long after the N-Gage had been buried.
In 2003, Nokia was the world’s largest manufacturer of telephones. At the height of its strength, the company wanted a cut of the profitable game business and decided to take on the industry giant Nintendo with its own device that combined a game console and a telephone. Nokia’s game console was almost exclusively developed in Tampere, where the Finnish Museum of Games is also located, and it was known as the N-Gage.
The exhibition ‘A Fantastic Failure’ looks at the failures and successes of the N-Gage from the perspective of game developers, gamers, and the engineers who worked on the unit. Rare, never-before-seen material on the development of the game console and its games, marketing, and reception are on display. You can also play on original N-Gage consoles, of course.
The museum was opened in January 2017 in Tampere. It was established as a cooperation between the City of Tampere, the Media Museum Rupriikki, the Arctic Computer and Console Museum enthusiasts Pelikonepeijoonit, gaming journalism veterans, and the University of Tampere. In addition to these, the museum welcomed strong support from gamers and representatives of the gaming industry. Part of the museum’s budget was crowdfunded.
The museum’s main exhibition was created with the aim of providing as many games as possible in a playable form, as well as showing the history of the gaming culture in Finland and where the games and the developers come from. The museum also hosts regular gaming events, lectures, fan gatherings, games industry conferences, and other meetings, both for the public and professionals.
The museum is open every week from Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, at the Vapriikki museum center, Tampere, Finland.