An Oral History of ‘Snake’ on Nokia

Taneli Armanto doesn’t like to tell people he changed the world. In fact, unless you’re a family friend, I’d bet you haven’t heard of the guy. He never usually mentions his greatest achievement, but of course his kids will take any opportunity to brag about it.

After all, their dad created Snake.

Back in 1995, Armanto, a software engineer in Finland, applied to a fast-growing company called Nokia. He had a bit of a gaming background, and so he was tasked with developing “some cool little games” on the upcoming Nokia 6110 mobile phone. He saw his little diversions as just another utility on the device, nothing more glamorous than the calculator and calendar his teammates were building.

Nearly 25 years later, his creation Snake — a game where a slowly lengthening creature tries to gobble up treats without running into itself — is viewed as a turning point in tech and entertainment history. Snake is considered the first major mobile game, the title that launched an industry now worth a potential $100 billion.

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