A Fantastic Failure

The story of the N-Gage, a game console from Tampere, will be on display at Vapriikki’s Gallery from 7 October 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 industry giant Nintendo with its own device that combined a game console and telephone. Nokia’s game console was almost exclusively developed in Tampere, 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 and gamers as well as 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 also get to play on original N-Gage consoles, of course.