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Portables (Games) Entertainment Games

Give The NGage And Phantom A Chance? 71

Thanks to GameSpy for their 'Sole Food editorial urging gamers to take another look at the NGage and Phantom games hardware. Regarding Nokia's NGage game/phone hybrid, the piece suggests: "Gamers should be excited by what Nokia is bringing to the table. Mobile multiplayer gaming via Bluetooth and GSM/GPRS is a wonderful idea and definitely the future of portable gaming." As for Infinium Labs' Phantom console, the author is cautious but optimistic: "I'm not advocating the Phantom, but I'm very much fascinated by what Infinium purports it will introduce to console gaming: digital distribution. This is definitely the way gamers will buy games in the future." Reason enough to think again?
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Give The NGage And Phantom A Chance?

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  • by Snowspinner ( 627098 ) <philsand@u[ ]edu ['fl.' in gap]> on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @02:18PM (#6852005) Homepage
    The N-Gage has justifiably gotten shitty reviews for its crappy controls, crappy looking screen, the worst system for loading games ever, is overpriced, and is just generally lousy. So, no, I don't plan on giving it a second look. While bluetooth multiplayer and a few of its features are nice, I intend to wait for them to be implemented on a device that doesn't suck.

    As for the Phantom... ummm... it's best feature is the fact that DNF is going to be a launch game.
    • Precisely. We've already heard that the PSP will support wireless networking, the former Afterburner dopes are working on wireless for GBA, and you just know Nintendo itself will include it stock with the next GBA iteration.

      Sorry N-Gage. I'll remain looking "uncool" with my GBA SP until then.

    • As for the Phantom... ummm... it's best feature is the fact that DNF is going to be a launch game.

      Wow, I had no idea. Are they really saying that?
      So, in other words they are publicly stating that the Phantom will never be available - so you'd better get one quick?
    • Re:In a word, no. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Alkaiser ( 114022 )
      Let's see...the N-Gage and Phantom want to advertise on our let's write an article telling gamers to possibly endorse the WORST 2 ideas ever.

      On one hand, the N-Gage, a system I wanted to like because it would be an international phone, AND a gaming console, so I could keep in touch while I was in Japan.

      Guess what? Phone coverage doesn't include Japan. Also, the screen is way too freaking small, and the controls are phone controls. So...I can't use it for the reasons I wanted to use the phone
      • Re:In a word, no. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Babbster ( 107076 )
        Then we have the Phantom...which "unveiled"itself to show...nothing. No actual console, no nothing. What should we be giving a shot, exactly? The wholesale shunning of product in exchange for an all-hype, no-substance world? Gimme a break GameSpy. You guys are right up there with InsertCredit now.

        Good point. I would only add that the main drawback to my mind is the fact that it's just supposed to be a mildly inexpensive PC which will apparently play PC games, which also requires a monthly subscription fe

  • Shure (Score:4, Insightful)

    by August_zero ( 654282 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @02:20PM (#6852024)
    Gather round children, and let me tell you a little story about the Phillips CD-I, or the 3D0, or the Sega 32-X. You see, all of these were systems that consumers cried "foul" on long before they even hit the store shelves. Some unfortunate souls bought these, and for their dilligence they were rewarded with very expensive door stops.

    New does not mean better, and when someone is trying to tell you their product can do everything from play every game ever made, all the way to cure cancer you are completely right in smelling a rat.

    Innovation makes the world go round, but clearly these two products, the phantom and the N-Gage are not the light at the end of the tunnel. They are merely C.H.U.D.s with a flashlight trying to eat your wallet.
    • You forgot to mention Jaguar and Virtual Boy ; )
      As a wise man said:

      "ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" (Johnny Rotten)

      Being N-Gage a phone you will still able use it for its main purpose when the gaming thing will vanish like soap bubble... phantom... mmmh phantom... who honestly believe that phantom will hit the shelves for real?
  • These guys may have very innovative systems available, they may have the right idea about the future, but NOBODY is going to buy into that.

    Content people, killer apps, sorry, games in this case, or no go...end of story.

    Yes, there are games available for these systems, along the lines of the multiplayer games available on my cell phone. All crap. This level of content can't even sell phones, it's just extra 'fluff'.

    Now, show me a phantom system that can play halflife loaded off of the install on my pc or
  • I think the greatest advantage of the N-Gage is that it allows the games to be downloaded as well as to be distributed on a MMC. Other mobile gaming initiatives were download only - and the device could store only one game. And when you switched games, you had to pay the entire fee again.

    I'm no developer, so another benefit could be that games for the N-Gage are basically J2ME games for a Series 60 device (I hope I understood that correctly on the developer site). It could run on other devices as well, a
    • ngage spesific games are not 'basically j2me games for a series60 phones', rather spesifically made for it(in symbian, afaik has some 3d api the other s60 phones lack, i haven't held one in my hand or looked for any sdk's though). but ngage can run those(j2me games for s60) and symbian series60 apps which makes it intresting, because that allows wide range of programs for other s60 phones to be run, including web browsers, irc clients(and other im, which over gprs is _way_ much cheaper and handy than sms so
  • Sure they present decent ideas that will inevitably be accepted (see Dreamcast's failure, except for the introduction of new online gaming on the console), but they are a bit early on the draw, and they are presenting them in a problematic format.

    Ngage for example: Sure wireless portable gaming is a great idea, and I would not be too surprised if it made it into the next-generation GBA (or the generation after next), but there are too many design flaws with the Ngage for it to actually succeed. See it's

  • by jvmatthe ( 116058 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @02:31PM (#6852143) Homepage
    Let me give my wallet another look...nope, I don't see $300 there for a handheld system that has received lukewarm previews.

    Let me give my sense of convenience another look...nope, I don't see me taking off a battery every time I want to change games.

    Let me give my GBA another look...decent price, convenient...yep, everything I currently need in a handheld. With the light, looks good.

    I think I'll go look at all the cheap used games in my local store while I'm looking.
    • But, but ... Only little kids use GBAs! To play Pokemon! For everything else the GBA doesn't work! Pokemon = Little kids! Duh! What if you want to play a game while at a busy club- you'll look like a little kid! HAHAHA, what a dork! Solution? Buy an N-Gage- the girls will LICK you at the lame ass club when you pull it out to play some Sonic.

      Yeah, right. Fuck Nokia's silly marketing and name-calling.
  • by AltaMannen ( 568693 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @02:32PM (#6852152)
    1) Original Games
    2) Quality of games (estimated of course)
    3) Will have games that you like when you buy the hardware
    4) Load Times (digital distribution seems the slowest, possibly apart from c-64 casette w/o turbo).

    Never ever buy game hardware for playing games for any of the following reasons (especially if they are the ONLY reason)
    1) Monthly plans
    2) Method of selling you games
    3) Also cleans your underpants
  • by JFMulder ( 59706 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @02:39PM (#6852232)
    Let's see what are their launch titles... hum...
    Bikini Karate Babes.

    Okay, that does it. You lost your one chance at credibility. :)
  • It's such a terrible system. I can't beleive anyone, especaily someone from GameSpy would have anything nice to say about it.

    I don't care who makes the system or the games, if it's good, it's good.

    But this thing is just terrible. From what I saw the graphics/sound were terrible. This thing was so slow. It looked like it's wasn't pushing more than 10 frames a seconds. It looked like a high tech flip book.

    The game play on anysystem that slow has got to be terrible. It reminded me of playing Doom on a
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Why would it surprise you that GameSpy would have something nice to say about it?

      GameSpy Editor: "Nokia just paid us money to write about how cool their system is. Who wants to write about it?"

      GameSpy Writers: (all put heads down and look at floor).

      GameSpy Editor: "OK... well, Raymond Padilla; since you're playing Britney's Dance Beat [] you clearly have the lowest standards... write something nice."
    • I managed to get my hands on one at the n-gage stall in ETCS, when I stepped up to have a go on tomb raider the N-gage bloke's actually words were

      "It has a lot of controls and its a bit difficult"

      Nuff Said Really
  • by suss ( 158993 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @02:42PM (#6852258)
    Penny Arcade had something to say about people who Astroturf the ngage []...

    As for the Phantom []...
  • To the phantom I say yes, though it's not a second chance because I never said or heard anything bad about it. Only comments being that phantom, as it's name suggests, will never be seen...ghost-ware?

    To N-Gage I say fook oof. You taco shaped, overpriced (even for a cellphone, honestly where are you people buying your phones), battery removal requiring craptastic POS.

  • Maybe... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcgroarty ( 633843 ) <brian,mcgroarty&gmail,com> on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @02:49PM (#6852336) Homepage
    Maybe I'd give the NGage a chance if you didn't have to pop the battery and break out a screwdriver to change game carts.

    "But it's supposed to be for online game play!"

    Then why are the few polished titles (Sonic, etc) still carts for it?

  • I'd be willing to give the Phantom a chance, regardless of what Gabe and Tycho of PA fame have to say. But I'm still operating under the assumption that it's vaporware. If it's ever actually released, I'll try it out. Still, it's a great idea. A pre-configured, upgradable, HDTV-compatable game console? Great idea. Add in a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive, or better yet, a DVD-RW/CD-RW, the ability to save TV shows to the hard drive (And make that drive big, fast, and upgradable) ala Tivo, or record live or already rec
    • by Danse ( 1026 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @03:32PM (#6852714)

      Still, it's a great idea. A pre-configured, upgradable, HDTV-compatable game console? Great idea. Add in a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive, or better yet, a DVD-RW/CD-RW, the ability to save TV shows to the hard drive (And make that drive big, fast, and upgradable) ala Tivo, or record live or already recorded video to DVD or (S)VCD (Hey, I watch a lot of anime fansubs, and burning them to an SVCD is cheaper than burning to DVD), the ability to network with PCs, and the best of the PC games out there, and you've got my money.

      Wow, that would be awesome!! Ya know, I think we should call it a personal computer! Everyone will want one!

      • Hrm. The differences between what I said, and any given personal computer, are as follows: 1) Acts more like a hybrid of a Tivo, an XBox, and a DVD Recorder. 2) No "PC" Applications, like office suites, web browsers, etc. 3) No desk needed. 4) It's part of your living-room setup (IE, you hook it up to your TV and stereo, etc). By definition, *all* game consoles are personal computers. The difference is that game consoles are targeted at gaming. But hey, maybe you're right. I've been known to have a fe
        • 1) Acts more like a hybrid of a Tivo, an XBox, and a DVD Recorder.

          Aside from playing X-Box games, a PC can do those things.

          2) No "PC" Applications, like office suites, web browsers, etc.

          Don't have to install those apps on your PC if you don't want to (well, except for IE, but you can consider that part of the OS and just delete the shortcuts to it, or you can consider internet access as a cool new feature of your "PC Console").

          3) No desk needed. 4) It's part of your living-room setup (IE, you hook

          • You just proved your word has no bearing. Listen, when you think of a consumer market you have to think of an actual consumer, not yourself. Most people don't even know that you can buy a mini-PC and use it as you would a game console. Furthermore there is a definited distinction in a consumers mind between "PC" and "Console". The Phantom is being marketed as a "Console", which right there puts it into a different class of equipment in 50% of the minds that will buy one.
            • Right. And being a complex piece of equipment, it will end up much like any other complex piece of equipment they own... hardly used. The people that don't know or understand what the thing is capable of, yet buy one anyway, are the same people that can't even figure out how to use a browser or email app on their computer. The same people who can't set the clock on their VCR. Unless you make the thing do practically everything on its own, nobody will be able to take advantage of the vast majority of it

      • Actually, about the Phantom, I read somewhere that the guy wants to sell the Phantom like a computer. You can get extra RAM or a bigger HDD. Unfortunately, it will NOT be available with a CD/DVD drive. That would make it sell too many units. The guy was even quoted as saying that he might try to sell them through E-Bay! If the Phantom had DVR, a DVD player, a nice HDD, and came first to market, it would have a very good chance of success. Even more so if it let you run XP-compatible programs and games
  • Why nokia didn't at least try to licence the current gba technology? (maybe they did) But it all makes perfect sense when you stop and think about it. You have an established chipset that already had about 250 (am i right) games available. The quality of the graphics and sound are already accepted by the general public. Now they would have had to probably make their own interface, as in the shape of the shell, buttons, as well as adding the wireless support (easy) and there you go, a good phone (love nokias
  • It's almost as if Nokia tossed Gamespot a little treat and their salivating editors all leapt for it at the same time. I've read way too many reviews from people who aren't on anyone's payroll that said this thing is a total piece of crap. Maybe if Nokia had purchased some better reviews earlier it could have saved them. I'm sorry, but Cool Tech + Shitty Implementation will never equal a sale for me. I'll wait until someone puts together a less hamfisted prototype. It's really funny how much EB/Gamestop i
  • Lets face it, the GP32 hasn't been a juggernaut in the handheld scene. hell, most of you haven't even heard of it. There's a difference between a good underrated system and one that's going to flop. gp32 (which probably has the same fate as the dreamcast) is a great system and is much better than the gba in most departments. But here in north america most people need a cheaper way to satisfy their handheld needs.

    But since it is a much smaller sized company than Nokia it has the option of keeping it's syste
    • The GP32 isn't anything special, which explains why most people haven't heard of it or bought into it.

      For commercial games, I have a GBA. For running emulators and the like, I use my Dreamcast and PDA. I considered buying a GP32 when I was in the market for a GBA. Most people seem to use it for playing emulated games from NES and other systems, but my PDA already does that very well, better than the GP32.

      For about the same price as a GP32, someone could buy a PocketPC PDA with the same screen resolution
  • Credibility (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wynterwynd ( 265580 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @03:21PM (#6852608)
    You know, I should be surprised by the tone this article takes, but somehow I'm not. More and more major game review sites are taking the corporate marketing juice and injecting it into articles. GameSpy's been teetering on the brink of corporate lapdog status for a while, looks like they're taking the final plunge.

    As far as the article's content goes:

    Don't be hatin'???

    What is there to love here, exactly?

    The article goes on to talk about the new concepts that these 2 systems are introducing, and I agree that these concepts are the up-and-coming as far as gaming goes (wide-area wireless, downloaded content). But they're not there yet. All too often gaming systems that are on the cutting edge of technology rely solely on new technology to sell the system, forgetting the minor details of good games and playability. Turbografx, 3DO, Jaguar, all with the latest technology when they came out, all now a brief burp in gaming history.

    Also, just because these consoles have good innovations is NO REASON to buy the system. It IS a good reason to use this technology to make an system that's actually good. I believe the best thing to come out of this will be to break some ground for the next-gen systems to build on. But the systems themselves are likely to fall and fall hard.

    On a side note, I'll believe the Phantom exists when I see a picture that's not CG.

  • by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @03:30PM (#6852697) Homepage
    Were it not a cellphone first and a gaming platform second. I've read the Nokia propoganda they send to the local video game chains. They expect people to come in, spend 450$ CDN on it, and then go home and play games that look marginally better than GBA games (note: GBA SP -- 150$ CDN) on a crappier button layout, while also required battery swapping to swap carts.

    They expect that the bluetooth multiplayer and fact that you can upload your times in games via GPRS to their Nokia wireless service will be worth the 3x upfront cost. This is despite the obvious caveat that most cell plans with data transfer are stupidly expensive. The pamhplet says in bold, "User must have data transfer features on their cellular plan." I'm not paying an extra 10$ a month of cell fees for what I can spend half on (Xbox Live! centralized scoring and multiplayer) -- especially since an Xbox is only 250$ CDN. The extra 200$ I save not going with an N-Gage buys me Live! and a couple of games.

    This mobile wireless niche Nokia wants to dominate doesn't exist. It won't exist for a few years yet, since GPRS and CPDP are still prohibitively expensive and unused by the general populace.

    As for the Phantom -- only 1 company can be succesful on a the platform which is based around XP Embedded; Microsoft.
    • It occurs to me that they're simply not willing to take the gamble that all other console makers do. They're trying to sell the hardware at a profit instead of a loss. Then when it fails and they discontinue it in six months or a year, they'll whine that "the market wasn't ready" - a thinly veiled attempt at blaming the public for their failure, when in reality it's their unwillingness to conform to the stardard console sales practice. If this thing was selling for $150 or $175 USD, it'd sell like hotcak
    • play games that look marginally better than GBA games

      Alright, I've had just about enough of the untruths flying around here. Pre-hate if you must, but please be accurate.
      Here is the GBA version of THPS:GBA []

      And here is the N-Gage version:N-Gage []

      C'mon folks, you don't have to like it, but at least be honest. The GBA version is barely the same game while the N-Gage version is exactly the same as the original.

      Someone keeps modding me down for not towing the party line here, but its clear this device is n
  • Back in the 90s, Sega had a game download service with a special cartridge modem. It failed.
  • Sony just announced that the PSP will have peripherals to add phone and camera functionality. []

    And on top of that we already know the PSP will have wireless capability. []

    Now what exactly does the N-Gage offer that the PSP won't have at a lower price and, with the possible exception of the cell phone part, better quality?

  • "Blah blah blah give the hardware a chance."

    No, I'll give games a chance. I don't give a crap what hardware it's running, or how cool it's wireless networking is supposed to be. Unless it's running games I want to play, I'll pass.

    Of course, the fact that the Phantom is probably an elaborate hoax has nothing to do with it- at least I've seen (crappy) games on the Ngage.

  • As much as I'd like the NGage to succeed (I develop mobile titles for a living) it simply won't. It's not a gaming platform, it's a funny looking, expensive phone that plays games. It has a lot of the right ingredients but the awkward, albeit high quality, screen coupled with a proprietary (read expensive) game cart tucked under the battery are just a few of the many annoyances. But, I hear you ask, what about low-cost Java gaming?! Well, J2ME on Nokia's Series 60, for most parts, is inferior to their low c
  • Two Way Street (Score:3, Insightful)

    by superultra ( 670002 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2003 @07:04PM (#6854524) Homepage
    Gamers are enthusiasts. Sure, there are the fanboys that are predisposed to criticizing anything except for [insert random console or - gasp - operating system - here], but by and large gamers are interested in, well, games.

    There are several products that fall right in the vein of the N-Gage and the Phantom that gamers never vehomently criticized. The late Indreama was received fairly well by both press and public. The Wonderswan remains a cult hit.
    Gamers are generally excited about anything new.

    But here's the thing. In regards to the N-gage, from the get-go Nokia has shown obliviously but inadvertantly flanted their ignorance of games, ranging from a website ripped straight from A&F, to outright insulting Nintendo. Moreover, the basic fundamental design of the portable reveals that it was not designed by anyone who had ever really played games, just looked at people playing games. The appearance of a Sony handheld on the horizon doesn't help either.

    With the Phantom, what do you expect? It's called the *Phantom*. What's more, only one journalist claims to have actually seen it. It's pricey - $300 for the bottom of the line - and will be launching (snicker) at a time when the consoles will be no more than $100 a piece. Also, having an actual physical address and not swearing at story investigators over the phone might help.

    Before we can take these newcomers seriously, they have to take us seriously. I think gamers are generally inclined to accept new things merely for the sake of novelty. Hell, look at how many gamers buy games on the first day before reviews even hit the web.

    What does the N-gage have to do? Get more than rehash games. And dear god, fix that battery/cartridge issue. Stop advertising like you're mountain dew (for a good example, see Sony's ad campaigns)

    The Phantom? Make a console and show it to more than one person.
  • How ironic that Gamespy just put up a dedicated NGage page a few weeks ago. Advertising dollars are whats important, not credibility as seen by this gamespy article. A few months before articles like these, the editors where probably making credible observations, not just an attempt to appease advertisers. I'm just bitter I guess, plus the N Gage adverts border on insulting.
  • Is defeinetely UNSCREWING the back of my multi-everything handheld device just so I can stop playing some lousy port of Gex 3d (TM) long enough to 'blootooth' my college exam dealie to the nearest smartprinter that knows my credit card based on my RFID BACKPACK TOOTHPICK DISPENSER!!!

    Yes, I said BACKPACK!.

  • by burns210 ( 572621 ) <> on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @02:11AM (#6856759) Homepage Journal
    Ok, i think the open source/Linux community has an interest in gaming, but lack the funds for hardware production which keeps console systems out of our reach... So my idea? create a framework, of APIs, opengl, etc. with a nice gracphical development enviroment to program a full blown game. These games wouldn't run on a console, necesarily, almost a virtual machine(similar to a java program). This console software could be put onto a linux desktop box and run as a program, or even have an option as a bootable drive, that makes the desktop act as a client(restart your computer, if you have a linux-console-cd inserted, it will boot to your linux console).

    That way, in the future, some company can take this console software and build a custom console box that is tailored to run the games/virtual machine really well.

    Note: this would turn into almost a very custom distro, with the goal of playing linux-console games very well, and developing the tools to make coding new games very easy...

    Just a thought
  • They doomed items of crap that you will find as rare and very expensive collectors items on eBay in about 20 years time.

    The Nokia abomination will only be bought by fuckwits, and those with exceptionally rose tinted glasses.

    The current range of Palm and PocketPC based devices, including hybrid 'smart phones', are already better than this device - they can clock up twice the frame rates at a higher resolution.

    Nokia slagged of Gameboy Advance players as part of their marketing hype - who in the name of swe
  • ...a great idea gone horribly wrong.

    The major flaws that I see with it are:

    1. Removing the battery to change games? WTF? Who was the idiot who thought of this? Maybe if the phone design doesn't allow otherwise, then they should spend a month on redesigning it because this alone is a major turnoff.

    2. Small vertical screen. This screen layout works well for a cell phone but not for games. Hell, they're selling a Sonic game. That's the one where you run around with the blue hedgehog at wicked fast spe
  • but the Phantom is vaporware of the first degree and anyone who doesn't realize that believes what they read way too often.

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham