The Kalevala in Games

The Kalevala in Games exhibition showcases intersections between the world of games and the cultural heritage of Kalevala across more than one hundred years.
13.12.2019 — 29.3.2020

The Kalevala is living culture that belongs to everyone. Games mix together the source material from Kalevala, mainstream popular culture from their time of publication and different forms of art. Each of the nine games on display has an individual relationship with Kalevala. The exhibition also invites you to consider the relationship of their publication time and target audience with our national epic.

Finnish game designers have been inspired by the Kalevala since 1904. However, no games about the Kalevala were released for 58 years following Kalevala — peli Suomen lapsille, until ANKH, Adventurers of the North — Kalevala Heroes (1988) brought the Kalevala back into the world of games with an entirely new look. In the 1990s and 2000s, role-playing and LARPs became the form of gaming that extensively utilised our national epic. In digital games, Kalevala has only become a hot commodity during the past ten years. You could say that we are now living in the golden age of games about Kalevala, and the entire potential of our national epic has surely not been fully exploited yet.

Kalevala is more than simply source material for games. Finnish game designers have enriched its cultural heritage in refreshing ways, even mixing in surprising elements. In addition to entertaining players, games have used Kalevala as a learning tool, and even to critically examine Kalevala’s contents and thoughts.

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