N-Gage review

So Nokia certainly scores on one point - even the most fashion conscious probably won’t mind carrying this device around with them. However, they might object to making phone calls on it - because we quickly discovered that talking into the device involves holding the top end of it to your face (the microphone and speaker are located where the L and R buttons are on a GBA), which quite frankly makes you look utterly ridiculous. We’re not sure which design genius at Nokia decided that people think it’s cool to look like you have a Frisbee embedded in your head - but we were soon to learn that it’s not the only mistake he made with the basic design of the deck.

n order to put a game into the system, you have to turn the phone off, take the back cover off, remove the battery, slide out the existing game, put the new one in, put the battery back in, replace the back cover, hold down the power button for several seconds, wait for the system to boot up, open the main menu, select the game, open it… And then your game starts loading.

Next please.

It seems everyone else knows this thing is gonna be a colossal failure besides Nokia.

The just bumble along saying stupid things like “GBAs are not cool”… sheesh… when will they ever learn.


I think what Nokia is ignoring is that they aren’t really competing with the GBA, they’re competing with all the other cellphones out there that can play games. Phones that are slimmer, lighter, and vastly more functional. They would’ve been much better served to come out with incrementally better gaming phones (following the PC upgrade cycle) rather than trying to make a console you can call people with.

The next logical step in gaming phones is high resolution screens and removable storage. Why not just create a phone with those features, and make game cartridges that fit the storage slot?

If they wanted to compete with the GBA, they should’ve copied the GBA. There are very few things the GBA does wrong. The original needed a light and the SP doesn’t have a headphone jack. Other than that, the GBA is near perfect.

That whole thing about how difficult it is to switch games boggles the mind. How can you screw it up that badly? Nobody has ever screwed it up that badly, not even back in the days of Atari and Colecovision.

PS Either that guy has a huge head or the N-Gage has a tiny screen.


And Nokia thinks this will sell?

That pic fenegi put up is hilarious. It’s even funnier in the context of his update today…


^^^^ Should be daily reading for anyone here.


Nokia’s handheld is so going to be a complete and utter failure. I’m more interested in seeing what Sony has in mind for their handheld, though I suspect even they will have a serious uphill battle to make it even marginally successful. Nobody is going to be knocking Nintendo out of the #1 spot in that market any time soon.

I don’t know about that, the Sony handheld is supposed to be pretty powerful hardware. Better than PSX hardware! I’m pretty sure they want to make most PSX games portable to it. That alone might make it real succesful.


I agree that it’s probably a smart route. They won’t be competing directly with Nintendo–assuming that the thing is going to be as expensive as it sounds, they’ll be targeting more of a high end market.

Then again, it remains to be seen whether there is a high-end market for handheld consoles. I’m not convinced.

At least Sony has a shot. The N-Gage is just so comically badly designed that it’s amazing that it got off the drawing board, much less how big of a marketing push it’s getting. Total leadership failure at Nokia there, at multiple decision points.

It’s scarily badly designed. You have to wonder if anyone there even used the thing at all before they decided to go to mass production?

Edit: I’ll also say that no matter how much we piled on the size of the Xbox and the massive controllers, that was nowhere near the complete and utter blunder that N-Gage is. At least the Xbox is functional and doesn’t require you to take it apart to change games…

Also… http://forums.gaming-age.com/showthread.php?threadid=55840


Who the fuck is that posting there as “Bub”?

We think it’s some sort of plankton or algea that learned how to talk and type. But don’t worry, Andrew, we’ll always have you to give the word Bub a good name! :o

Oh yeah, N-Gage. Are we officially allowed to laugh and ridicule this thing in Japan when it comes out here, especially since our cellphone gaming is worlds better, or will we still be called racist xenophobes for doing so?


I think the thing will be universally reviled. You’re safe to give it hell, Kitsune.


I like the Xbox controllers, though. I mean, I don’t like the enlongated A-B-X-Y button pattern (a simple “X” of round buttons would be better), but I like the size. It’s very comfortable in my hand. I also like the GC controller, though the action of the analog stick feels a bit too flimsy. I hate the PS2 controller, though. Typical form over function design–made to look all cool and symmetrical, but not very ergonomic. My wrists start to ache if I use one for too long.

Finally, a man after my own heart in controller preference! I really don’t know how people can stand to say the Dual Shock is the best controller out of the three. First of all, Sony never corrected those, damn, infernal, blister-inducing triangle-separated d-pads that can actually cut your fingers if you use them too much. Second, their analog sticks are really flimsy and I’ve never played a game yet that really gave me a sense of resistance and true gradiation with them. Third, the prongs continue to make your hands ache after a while of using it.

About the only really positive thing is that sony’s L and R triggers have the best placement, and that pushing down the two analog sticks as an extra button was a great idea. Otherwise, what the hell?

I haven’t played much with the Xbox controller, but it seems like a Sega one, not exceptional, but just fine. The Gamecube controller fits the contours of my hand the most and is the most comfortable (excepting the Wavebird, which is too big for me) but the placement of the Z button is pretty awkward and can often result in me pushing the wrong button as I mistake it for Y or R. Otherwise its pretty cool. I will say the GC controller has the best analog L & R buttons I’ve ever seen.


Bah! I should be able to know where all the buttons are without having to look at my hands. That’s what’s wrong with the old Xbox controller. Half the time I end up mashing the little black or clear buttons instead of ‘B’. In Halo, it’s the difference between smacking someone upside the head and shining a flashlight on them.

As for the games-on-cellphones thing, I’m still surprised that noone has put together a MAME application that will run on them. That’s like the killer app right there. Of course, then there’s the whole ROMs issue…

  • Alan

Cell phones are closed platforms. They don’t want to let people develop for them because the carriers are concerned that people will write l33t ph0n3 phr34k1ng apps.

They don’t even open up the phone APIs much on the Palm and Pocket PC cell phones because of this.

By noone, I meant none of the phone companies. If they were open platforms, the problem (i.e. lack of a MAME port) would have been solved already I’m sure. :)

  • Alan

Since when has keeping the thing a closed platform stopped people from making apps that do all kinds of weird shit to the device? We’ve got people running Linux on Xbox, swapping in new hard drives, playing all sorts of emulated software, etc.

I’m not saying phones should be an open platform, but if they ever want to turn them into real game machines, they’ve got to get some real game companies involved in the design and implementation of the hardware.