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Portables (Games) Entertainment Games

In Defense Of The N-Gage 65

Posted by simoniker
from the fight-for-your-right-to-smthng dept.
Thanks to IGN Wireless, who, not content with vehemently defending cellphone gaming in general, have decided to step up and tell us why Nokia's N-Gage is worth a second look. As they eruditely put it, "E3 was not exactly kind to Nokia and it's [sic] new N-Gage mobile gaming platform," and they go on to compare Nokia's phone and 'mobile game deck' to another neglected system: "A lot of it depends on whether or not gamers are willing to take chance on an unproven system, or whether they'll let hype from Sony's PSP or an improved GBA prevent them from taking the plunge. Which would be a shame, because that's what happened to the Dreamcast in the face of the PS2, and now everybody sits around and talks about what a great system it really was."
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In Defense Of The N-Gage

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  • Quite frankly, the market is totally saturated. Yes, people will buy two or even three game consoles, but that's not so with handhelds, I don't think. With everyone and their dog owning a GBA, and everyone else much more excited about the PSP than this, no amount of good reviews are going to matter, even if it is a good system.
  • Bad analogy (Score:5, Funny)

    by ArmorFiend (151674) on Monday July 21, 2003 @10:33PM (#6496105) Homepage Journal
    The analogy seems totally hollow.

    Sega Dreamcast: The first of the next-generation 3D consoles to come to market. For the year or so it was the most powerful mainstream system on the market.

    N-Gage: Underpowered. Underengineered. Lame.

    Saying "go buy an N-gage because Dreamcast was cool" is putting the lid on the fishbowl after the horses have escaped.
    • Re:Bad analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cicatrix1 (123440) <{cicatrix1} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday July 21, 2003 @10:36PM (#6496126) Homepage
      Is it just me or does this article reek of "we got paid to say something nice about N-Gage"? Really, this thing has almost NO redeeming qualities, and comparing it to the dreamcast is unfathomable.

      What's wrong with it?
      A) It costs 3x more than a GBA.
      B) Can't use on planes.
      C) You must remove the battery to change games.
      • Re:Bad analogy (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Trystero (48956)
        Make that "A) It costs *over* 3x more than a GBA."

        As I understand it, this N-Gage runs $300. A GBA still runs, what, $70? The GBA-SP, of course, runs $100. I'm not being critical of the posting, just emphasizing how staggeringly overpriced the N-Gage is compared to what people can already buy. Three-hundred dollars for a hand-held video game player seems outrageous. Yes, I know it does more than an GBA, but if all you primarily want it for is to play games, then just get a GBA. If Nokia expects the s
        • The GBA-SP really is the only GBA worth speaking of, though, unless you want to use the e-Reader (which as far as I've been able to tell, only works with the older GBA and the GB Player). That being said, I picked up the older GBA with a game (Super Mario World) and a case for the GBA for $70.
          • The e-Reader works with the GBASP as well. It just looks wierd comming out of the bottom of the unit instread of sitting on the top.

            Thursdæ

            • The e-Reader works with the GBASP as well. It just looks wierd comming out of the bottom of the unit instread of sitting on the top.

              How does this work when the e-Reader has a connector on it that lines up on the GBA but is located opposite the game port on the SP? (ie there's a second connector on the e-Reader that connects right above the game port on the GBA, but the mating connector is on the top of the SP, while it's game port is on the bottom)
              • That extra connection goes into the link port, but was not actually used. It was just a pass through. The e-reader works perfectly on the SP.
                • You're right, I just tried mine again and found that the connector barely clears the front of the SP. I guess I was either just concerned about forcing it, or not pushing at the right angle.
      • It is true you must remove the battery, but some information came across my ear (this happens to me with lots of game related information) that the single cart will hold MANY games. The number was >20, but that is not final. Do you have 20 GBA games? In case you didn't see my other post, a game for this thing is going to be full fledged PS1 games. Like THPS1. The real thing, not the scaled back, isometric version on GBA. Music, 3D, and all.
        • A single cart will hold many games, eh? Is the N-GAGE supposed to be treated seriously as a platform or not? Proper gaming platforms don't expect their users to just sit there and accept someone else's idea of 20 gaming classics. What happens when you get bored of these 20 games (assuming they actually max out the storage capacity of the cartridge) - you'll inevitably get to the point where your favourite 2-3 games are split across multiple cartridges - you're not going to tell me there won't be any filler
    • Re:Bad analogy (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Agreed. IGN basically says "well, we should support the N-Gage because what if it turns out to be an unappreciated-but-wonderful system such as the Dreamcast?" It's a very, very poor argument. The Virtual Boy did not sell well when it was first released. Should we have supported it anyway? No. It was a crap system that gave people headaches and cramped necks.

      Anyhow, IGN tends to be pretty biased in its articles. It's the Fox News of the video game media. Craig of Pocket.IGN.com has repeatedly slammed the G [google.com]
    • Why is it the most ignorant posts get modded funny?

      Having GONE to E3 I saw Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 running on the N-gage. Not some watered down thing. THE ORIGINAL in its 3D glory. This device is not underpowered for the market. Thats like saying the PlayStation was underpowered to compete with the SNES, because that is what we are comparing here for handhelds.

      Your note about the Dreamcast does win the obvious award, but its irrelevent to the situation.

      I'm not going to buy an N-Gage because I don't
      • > Why is it the most ignorant posts get modded funny?
        I think the key is a witty tagline, ala "putting the lid on the fishbowl after the horses have escaped."

        I tried making well-reasoned, well-researched posts. Nobody ever read them. You have to mix in a good 30% underresearched crap in order to get noticed.
  • Poor Defense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sandalwood (196527) on Monday July 21, 2003 @10:35PM (#6496121)
    "...that's what happened to the Dreamcast in the face of the PS2, and now everybody sits around a talks about what a great system it really was."

    Except the Dreamcast actually was a good system. This article fails to mention some of the fatal design flaws in the N-Gage. Like this one: in order to change games, you have to take the back plate off the N-Gage, remove the battery, take the old game out and put the new one in, put the battery back in, and replace the plate again.
  • Funny... some friends and I were just discussing local, wireless (bluetooth) gaming, and the lack thereof, just this week. I didn't realize the N-gage had bluetooth connectivity.

    But, who wants their gaming platform and their cell phone to be on the same device? The last 2 cell phones I bought had games on them, but that wasn't the reason I bought them, nor was I very impressed when I finally poked around at them. Not that it couldn't be done... but when you combine devices, the interface has to beco
    • Mmm... wireless GBA gaming [tritonlabs.com], from the folks that brought you Afterburner.
      • Well, that's cool. But I really want the entire platform to be capable of wireless connectivity, out of the box. Then the games will (hopefully) be aimed more toward the multiplayer experience.

        I bought a GameCube because multiplayer games for it tend to be more common than those on PS2. (The PS2 doesn't even have 4 controller ports out of the box!?)

        When talking about this with friends, I had board games in mind. Risk, Monopoly, chess, scrabble, battleship, etc.
  • Who wants a cell phone and a handheld gaming device in one?

    Then I'll be locked with that cell phone for as long as I keep playing the damn games or I'll feel stupid for owning two cell phones. Or I'll feel stupid for paying that kind of cash for a device I only use for gaming.

    If nokia had released a game only device that was as small and sexy as some of its phones (with bluetooth) I think this could of been a sucess. But the entire cell phone thing throws off the entire equation.

    Another thing is that som
  • (Oh, and we'll be extremely curious to see if the same crowd that poo-poo'd the $299 price point has anything to say when Sony's PSP portable clocks in at a similar price.... )

    My guess is an assured "Yes". Of course, it all depends on what the market will bear, and I don't feel that most people are ready to pay $300 for a hand-held. It's quite an extreme price. Personally, I'll be surprised if Sony's PSP comes in anywhere near that price point, though. Then again, I could be wrong. Maybe the N-Gage
  • Price tag... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mlk (18543) <`moc.liamg' `ta' ... l.dyoll.leahcim'> on Monday July 21, 2003 @11:19PM (#6496371) Homepage Journal
    One thing many posters have ignored is the price of a GB SP + a good mobile phone, namly which is going to be ~$100-$200.
    • Re:Price tag... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by evilWurst (96042)
      Indeed! Cheaper to buy both new than the nokia combo system, and many of the people who would want the nokia already have one/both GBA and cell. Even if the nokia was pure gaming gold, its adoption would be slow for those reasons.

      Further, if they're targeting the young new cell owners, success could kill them. Schools already have a dim view of cellphones as it is. If cell gaming in the classroom gets notices, they might outright ban the things from schools. Bad business and bad PR.

      They should probably be
      • Further, if they're targeting the young new cell owners, success could kill them. Schools already have a dim view of cellphones as it is. If cell gaming in the classroom gets notices, they might outright ban the things from schools. Bad business and bad PR.

        When I was in school (not counting college, of course, where they just tell you to turn off your phone or put it on silent) they banned basically all electronic devices. We had to hide our walkman and game boy, nevermind cell phones and pagers (which we
    • Quite apart from the fact that you've pointed out how easy it is to get both an SP and a mobile phone for less than the price of this, you're ignoring a couple of rather big points.

      1) Number of people interested in possibly getting an N-Gage that don't already have a mobile phone: Naff all.

      2) Number of people who fancy the idea of trying mobile gaming who won't either already have an SP, or be able to get hold of a non-SP GBA for under £50 now us gadget freaks have all upgraded: Even less.

      3) Price
    • [i]One thing many posters have ignored is the price of a GB SP + a good mobile phone, namly which is going to be ~$100-$200.[/i]

      Not sure if many people know about the Pioneer Laseractive [roarvgm.com], but it was a Laserdisc player that you could buy add-ons for. The three add-ons that were released were a Genesis add-on, a Turbo-Grafx-16 add-on, and a Karaoko add-on. If you had the Genesis add-on, you could play Genesis games, SegaCD games, as well as special MegaLD games that came on laserdisc (guess how many of these
  • by Tom Courtenay (638139) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @12:50AM (#6496733)
    I've been a reader of IGN for years now, and I gladly pay the annual subscription rate. Their writing is generally top notch (compared to the competition), and the reviews impart an honesty I appreciate as a game junkie.

    Upon reading this article however, I was surprised at the tone of it. I'm glad it ended up as a /. article, something about it seemed very contrived. I'm an optimist, and I'd like to think that IGN didn't take a payoff for this. If they had, I'd wager they'd have made a much better case for the platform. A more realistic view (imo) is that they're planning on starting a N-Gage channel. From day one, IGN has been extremely negative toward the system, but it's still gained support from a few well-payed-off developers. It's quite possible that IGN has identified the system as a legitimate contender worthy of daily report.

    Regardless of the reason, the article is poorly written and comes off as a bit of a showcase piece. I certainly hope IGN doesn't continue this trend.
  • by Snowspinner (627098) <philsand@ufl. e d u> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @01:39AM (#6496873) Homepage
    Personally, I cannot take seriously anyone who suggests that one can only be enthused about platformers and remakes of 16-bit games if one looks at the era through "rosy glasses".

    Personally, I think my hobby died with the rise of the PSOne, and I'm left with the Gamecube as the third place console, but the only one that puts out more than a handful of games that are of types I actually enjoy. I could care less about Tony Hawk and Tomb Raider.

    And lest someone mod me flamebait, I'm sure both of those are great games. I know people who enjoy them, at least. But I've just never gotten into them. They don't feel like the games I grew up on. They feel like a different hobby to me. Some people made the transition from that hobby to current video games. Some people started with Tomb Raider, and can't figure out what it is I like so much about Zelda.

    But for me, if that's the future of video games, I'll be over here with my emulator, thank you.
  • by SuperRob (31516) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @01:41AM (#6496886) Homepage
    I've had the unfortunate opporunity to use an N-Gage myself at E3. It's not a good game machine by any means. The Game Boy is a SPEED DEMON compared to this thing.

    It's not a good cell phone either. I don't know what the hell Nokia was thinking, but they threw everything they knew about cell phones out the window when they designed this thing.

    You want an example? OK ... take this. To use the handset (not a HEADSET) to talk on this phone, you hold it to your head like a taco, sideways. The top edge of the phone rests against your face, and you look like a freaking idiot.

    The price will probably be a non-issue with subsidies, but they're expecting to have this thing selling in stores like Electronics Boutique and GameStop. This is going to go one of two ways ... either there are kickbacks for selling these things that go right into the salesperson's pocket (and that's all you're going to be able to get them to talk about), or they simply won't care to deal with the hassle, and will pretend it doesn't exist.

    I'm betting on the latter.

    Regardless, I've already got a Series 60-based cellphone (the Nokia 3650), and rumor has it that it can play the N-Gage games too. Probably not as comfortably, but it'll play.
  • This is an article on IGN. It can't be taken seriously. While I'll probably be trolled for saying this, IGN is the world's biggest fanboy site. They don't give bad reviews because they are so excited to be playing the new game or using the new system they can't help but shout with glee.

    IGN's one redeeming quality, and it's failing, is that it covers everything. There is no other site out there that I'm aware of that covers as many games as IGN. There is a reason nobody else covers so many games, and
    • Re:It's IGN. . . (Score:2, Informative)

      by Tom Courtenay (638139)
      Why is it that since IGN is BIG, people assume it's corrupt and on the take.

      "They don't give bad reviews"

      Their last 3 scores from the major systems

      Gamecube
      Charlie's Angels - 4.0
      NCAA Football 2004 - 9.0
      Shrek Super Party - 3.8
      Sonic Adventure DX Director's Cut - 5.0

      Xbox
      NCAA Football 2004 - 9.0
      Star Wars: KOTOR - 9.5
      Outlaw Volleyball - 8.0
      Tetris Worlds Online - 4.8

      PS2
      K-1 World Grand Prix - 8.3
      NCAA Football 2004 - 9.1
      Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb - 6.6
      Ape Escape 2 9.0
      • Thank you. If I had a mod point I would mod you up.

        Name one completely unbiased review site. And I mean [b]completely[/b] free of [b]any[/b] bias. Otherwise, I'll stick with IGN. I certainly trust them over Gamespot, Gamespy, EB's mag and the official magazines for each respecive consoe. Maybe not as much as smaler review sites, but like the parent of the parent said, they have everything. I dont want to look at 10 different review sites because I want a review of a somewhat obscure game that happen

  • Problem is, the people who can afford the device and the service, are already old enough to feel stupid playing a video game on a tiny screen out in the open somewhere.
  • Of course the first rumors and reviews were all but encouraging, maybe the N-Gage is just slightly better than the GBA possibly even worse...

    finally it doesn't matter because if I'll get a new cell phone in the next 12 onths, as I did yearly during the last three years (my cell phones are quite likeli to have tragic crashes), I will give a very close look to N-Gage.

    Look at the businness model, there's no "give the razor sell the blades" things there, Nokia isn't after the hardcore gamers but the regul
  • by Anonymous Coward
    For the simple reason that it'll be the only open handheld games console. You'll be able to develop games and software for it... for free! In Java and C++, no dodgy assembly language required!

    When you couple this with Bluetooth connectivity and access to GPRS, dialling voice calls, sending SMS, I fail to see why people aren't excited. The platform is a bedroom developer's dream, and hence there should be a large number of innovative games developed for it - and its potential successors.

    Not forgetting that
    • "For the simple reason that it'll be the only open handheld games console."

      Who cares about the design philosophy if the game still suck?
    • You'll be able to develop games and software for it... for free! In Java and C++, no dodgy assembly language required!

      When you couple this with Bluetooth connectivity and access to GPRS, dialling voice calls, sending SMS, I fail to see why people aren't excited. The platform is a bedroom developer's dream, and hence there should be a large number of innovative games developed for it - and its potential successors.


      Anyone else thinking what I'm thinking here?

      I see a new platform for the next generation of
    • Buy a GP32. Much cheaper even imported and it already has a strong development community. So far people have ported emulators and even programmed good video players for it. If you knew anything about the theme of hacking game consoles you would be talking about that.
    • Oh man. Have you ever tried to program one of these things? I can tell you, it ain't pretty. Give me a GBA and one of those flash carts any day.

      Although, I think that Nintendo are sueing the makers of flash carts, so maybe that won't be an option soon :(

      Also, it's still worth spending time on the asm for the N-Gage even though it's got a much faster chip than the GBA, as you've got to do all your blitting etc. yourself (the Symbian API's for such things are slloooww). If you want to start now, pick yourse
  • It's also worth mentioning that supporting this not-so-great game platform/phone is some of the worst, bordering on insulting, advertising [nokia.com] ever.
  • The writer makes a good point regarding price -buying a cellphone on retail (without carrier rebates/subsidy)- Depending on the carrier adoption, that could really help sales.
    Also the possibilities with Bluetooth, I can see some innovative multiplayer games, maybe add a feature that while you're playing solo, the N-Gage broadcasts and seeks new players within a PAN?? Imagine yourself playing Tetris against someone unknown in an airport sitting a few rows away....
    IMO, the N-Gage is simply trying do to
  • Ugh, this entire thing makes me sick, this article in particular. How anyone could defend this thing is beyond me.

    First of all, the price. Yes, it's a phone, it plays games, it's an audio player but...it doesn't do anything of these things exceptionally well. In fact, it does all of these things pretty half assed. At $300, no thanks. I find it also pretty insane that the author of that piece even dares to speculate that the PSP will be launched at that price tag. In fact, Sony reps have publicly said it wo
  • Anyone remember Turbo Grafx 16's portable little sister, the $300 Turbo Express? That was a WONDERFUL piece of engineering, especially for 1989 or whenever it came out. TG16 (console) used creditcard-sized cartridges and the same ones were used in the handheld. The Turbo Express had decent battery life (not Gameboy level, but much better than Game Gear/Nomad) but the $300 was simply more than anyone would want.
  • No one wants 2 handhelds. I can understand having an PS2 and a Gamecube, because they each offer so much (plus both can be bought used for little over $200 total on ebay or something), but for me, I only use handhelds in those rare instances when I need portable gaming (airplanes, sometimes on subways, etc), so since I use it only once in a while, why would I need TWO systems? A $100 GBA-SP plus two $30 games easily tides me over for those 5-hour sessions every few weeks/months. And if I'm majorly bored
    • The big things that sold me on the GBA, besides the SP finally having a light built into it, was the GB Player and the games. When I'm at home I don't have to play on the tiny screen just because I'm hopelessly addicted to Wario Ware or I want to play the great Castlevania and Metroid games available for the GBA, but at the same time if someone else wants to use that TV or I am going on a trip, I can still play the same games.

      Of course, that doesn't mean I haven't bought a boatload of GC games that I play
  • Another reason the ngage is going to fail is you aren't going to be able to play this thing on a plane without causing a problem. Everyone will see you playing a game on a cell phone. Having the cell phone on is a (currently) major no-no. Even if its not transmitting they aren't going to take your word for it and will have you turn it off. The main reason I've got a GBA is to play it while I'm travelling.
  • Now that all of the obvious reasons for the N-Gage to fail have been covered in great depth (price, crap games, crap screen, poor phone talking design, crap media, need to take out the battery to change game etc.). I'd like to add another, slightly less obvious one, that I think might be far harder to fix when (if) Nokia ever get their act together: Nokia treat developers badly.

    The N-Gage, as a games programming platform is a nightmare when compared to almost every similar platform. The operating system (S

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