|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
Save for perhaps Stavros Fasoulas, Tapanimäki was probably the most famous Finnish game programmer in the late 1980s. Tapanimäki wrote his games for the Commodore 64, but they have also been ported to other computers. Many people remember Tapanimäki as a reviewer in the MikroBitti and C computer magazines and a writer of advanced-level computer programming articles. He also published a book called C-64 Pelintekijän Opas ("C-64 Game Maker's Guide") in 1990.
Tapanimäki was originally interested in a career as a graphic designer for advertisements, but after failing the entrance exams to the University of Art and Design Helsinki twice he started studying literature. After his first year, in summer 1985, he bought himself a Commodore 64, and although he had no previous experience about computers, he decided to become a game programmer only after a few months. He quit his studies and went on welfare to be able to concentrate on programming.
Tapanimäki spent the year 1986 experimenting. One of his works was Aikaetsivä, a Finnish language text adventure in the style of Infocom, which the Tamperean retailer Triosoft bought publishing rights to. The game was briefly mentioned in a column called Commodore sisäpiiri ("Commodore insider") in MikroBITTI, at that time regularly edited by Risto Siilasmaa, but despite all the praise it got, the game Aikaetsivä was never published.
The first game by Tapanimäki to be published was Monolith, published in the June-July 1986 issue of MikroBITTI, which was then followed by Minidium, a Uridium-style shoot 'em up published in the January 1987 issue of C. The development of Minidium was extensively covered in the magazine. Many computer enthusiasts followed the development of Tapanimäki's career through his magazine articles.
Tapanimäki's first commercial game was Octapolis (1987, published by English Software). Octapolis is a mix of the platform and shoot 'em up genres. At that time, even commercial games were so small-scale that a single person could produce an entire game. Tapanimäki had made Octapolis completely by himself except for the music.
In the next year (1988) Tapanimäki had his next game Netherworld (working title Abyss Zone) published. It was an original-style game, where the player had to pilot a spaceship in a series of caves and collect diamonds. The game was published by Hewson, which used Tapanimäki's face as the cover art (without asking for his permission first). This time even the game's music was done by a Finn, Jori Olkkonen.
In the same year Hewson published Zamzara, which was a very ordinary action game, in which the player guided a soldier armed with various weapons in a futuristic environment. Many action game fans found Zamzara to be excellent, particularly because of its various graphics styles. Some complained about the excessive difficulty. The music by Charles Deenen was also praised.
In 1991, another game, Moonfall, inspired by Elite and Mercenary, using wireframe 3D graphics, was published. In the game the player steered a spaceship from the pilot's viewpoint. Because of agreements made with Hewson, the game could only be published two years after its completion, and was a commercial failure. The publisher was 21st Century Entertainment (Hewson's new name).
Jukka Tapanimäki died in the spring of 2000.