Before Habbo was even an idea, Aapo Kyrölä and Sampo Karjalainen created ‘Mobiles Disco’, in 1999. This was purely a free-time project for the befriended Finnish (rap)band ‘Mobiles’. You could create a character, chat at the bar, act out on the dancefloor. A success, the originally Finnish rooms were swamped with foreigners, so they had to create a seperate international version. Mobiles was online November 1999 - February 2002.
Maybe underrated, the foundations laid to get the Disco going had a big, big influence on how Kultakala/Habbo were defined later on. Even the clip of the Mobiles’ song ‘Disko tänä yönä’ is sorta crucial. The dance moves, the playmobil looks Sampo Karjalainen clearly identifies as being main influence, it inspired what Kultakala expanded.
Habbo user ‘berrie’ (com/co.uk): “The dance that you could do in Mobiles Disco (which eventually went on to inspire how Habbos dance) is inspired by the music video for the song (…) The Mobiles Disco avatars were designed based off of the Playmobil figures in the music video, and Habbos were (in part) also modelled off of the Mobiles Disco avatars. (…) Most people who played Mobiles Disco had absolutely zero clue that it was a promotional piece for a Finnish rap/hip-hop/disco band. Even I didn’t know until someone told me.”
Sampo Karjalainen: “To begin with, we tried to create the first versions of Mobiles Disco and Hotelli Kultakala for users like ourselves, but the teenagers took them over.” (Revelations; The 11 years of Taivas, 2007.)