The relaunch of Nokia 3310 has opened the nostalgia trap for the classic game Snake – the one game which infuriated and entertained all generations. But this is a good time to remember that the Finnish company, now owned by Microsoft, which revolutionised mobile phones didn’t invent the game.
In fact, no one owns the game – the design has been reintroduced in different styles and under various monikers. The video above traces the first Snake game on arcade machines in the 1970s, and goes on to the age of computers – before amateur game-playing shifted to the mobile.
If you’re curious to know who pre-installed Snake on the majority of Nokia’s phones, it was design engineer Taneli Armanto in the year 1997 – because a Danish phone had done the same thing a few years earlier.
“Nokia were developing a new operating software for their phones and there was a space in the OS that they thought they could fill with something interesting. So the Nokia Development Division started thinking up ideas and got their hands on a Hagenuk MT 2000 [a Danish phone released in 1994] which had a simple Tetris variant on it,” Finnish gaming historian Juho Kuorikoski is quoted as saying here.
“So Nokia decided they should copy it on their product with their own game. Taneli tried a number of different ideas before he saw this snake game that his cousin made for PC. And he realised that it was perfect for mobile.”