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In Defense Of The N-Gage

simoniker posted more than 11 years ago | from the fight-for-your-right-to-smthng dept.

Portables (Games) 65

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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Way to go (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6496039)

"E3 was not exactly kind to Nokia and it's [sic] new N-Gage mobile gaming platform

Slashdot editors could sure tell IGN a thing or two about how to write high-quality, error free write-ups

The N-Gage Has No Chance (1)

Hedonist123 (681091) | more than 11 years ago | (#6496053)

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.

Re:The N-Gage Has No Chance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6497525)

All gamers diss n-cage but I believe it can be seller because it's firstly a cellphone, and only secondly a games machine. It will be sold in cellphoneshops, not gameshops, the buyers are not gamers but "average joes".

Cellphonebusiness is a massive market, and I believe very different from game business. i mean the ps2 has sold what 70 million(?) units worldwide, that's a lot, but nokia can sell the same amount of ONE MODEL. The best selling model has sold about 110 million units worldwide if I recall correctly.

SO gamers, when n-cage is finally released, u might be surprised to see how that piece of junk games machine beats gba's sales. It's got nothing to do with quality, because most people who buy cellphones don't even know what a game boy is.

sorry for bad english
Henri

Re:The N-Gage Has No Chance (2, Insightful)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 11 years ago | (#6497832)

All gamers diss n-cage but I believe it can be seller because it's firstly a cellphone, and only secondly a games machine.

Which would be the main reason that 'all gamers diss n-cage[sic]'.

It will be sold in cellphoneshops, not gameshops, the buyers are not gamers but "average joes".

I don't know where you live, but around here it's just now becoming common for 'average joes' to buy cell phones at all, and the vast majority of them buy a plan, and get the phone for free (they don't buy phones). The phones that are given away for free are nowhere near the n-gage in terms of market price.

Cellphonebusiness is a massive market, and I believe very different from game business. i mean the ps2 has sold what 70 million(?) units worldwide, that's a lot, but nokia can sell the same amount of ONE MODEL. The best selling model has sold about 110 million units worldwide if I recall correctly.

Nokia (and most cell phone makers, really) keeps predicting that this or that new technology will sell more phones for them, but the simple fact is that their best sales figures come from phones that cost very little, if anything, to the end user. Nokia can sell 110 million units at $0-100, but can they do 70 million at $200-300?

SO gamers, when n-cage is finally released, u might be surprised to see how that piece of junk games machine beats gba's sales. It's got nothing to do with quality, because most people who buy cellphones don't even know what a game boy is.


I know one person that buys cell phones that are even close to the price range the N-Gage is looking at. He hasn't even heard of the N-Gage. On the other hand, a GBA SP costs $100, and I'm planning on picking up a second one when the black ones are released here in the US. As for 'most people who buy cellphones dont even know what a game boy is', I don't think you understand the high end cell phone market very well. Game Boys have been around for close to 15 years now, and most people in the N-Gage's target market either had one or knew someone that had one within 5 years of the original Game Boy's release.

Re:The N-Gage Has No Chance (1)

patrick_jones (95543) | more than 11 years ago | (#6497874)

I don't know where you live, but around here it's just now becoming common for 'average joes' to buy cell phones at all, and the vast majority of them buy a plan, and get the phone for free (they don't buy phones). The phones that are given away for free are nowhere near the n-gage in terms of market price.

Well, in Europe, where I live, people have had phones for years, and they do buy the fancy-dan ones with colour screens and cameras and what not. It's how companies like Nokia make their money. If you just look at the phones most Europeans have, you'll realise that they like spending quite a bit of cash on them.
The N-Gage seems to be fundamentally a mobile phone. It doesn't need 100s of games, just a few good ones. In a sense, to compare it to the PSP or GBA is false, because those are only gaming machines. I think it will just be an advance on the simple games that phones have now, but with better graphics, gameplay and recognisable characters.

Re:The N-Gage Has No Chance (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 11 years ago | (#6498172)

Well, in Europe, where I live, people have had phones for years, and they do buy the fancy-dan ones with colour screens and cameras and what not.

The cameras are running into a few problems in the US, with a couple of companies banning them from their buildings, and if you do any work in government facilities, the government has made it known that they will not be returning your phone if they confiscate it and find that it has a camera built into it. It does appear that most of the cell phone companies are brining their bottom line phones further up the scale as far as the extra features go, but the polyphonic ring tones are about the only things I see getting around to more and more people (with colour screens behind that).

It's how companies like Nokia make their money. If you just look at the phones most Europeans have, you'll realise that they like spending quite a bit of cash on them.

It's how Nokia would like to make their money, but the reality is that most of their worldwide sales are on the lower model phones. They certainly would make more money if more people would buy the more expensive phones.

The N-Gage seems to be fundamentally a mobile phone. It doesn't need 100s of games, just a few good ones.

Well, it can be looked at either way: it's a big cell phone that plays games roughly equivalent to PSOne games (in a smaller format, of course, the limitations of which I do not know); or it's a small game system that also makes phone calls (and therefore has far more buttons than a game system needs, and has an odd method for changing games).

In a sense, to compare it to the PSP or GBA is false, because those are only gaming machines. I think it will just be an advance on the simple games that phones have now, but with better graphics, gameplay and recognisable characters.

http://www.ebgames.com/ebx/groups/n-gage/cab.asp
(thanks to another poster for the link)

The games look like they're mostly ports of other handheld systems' games or ports of home console system games (ie PSOne and N64 games, one or two PS2 titles in there as well). It seems to me that it's more like they can't figure out what exactly they want it to be, but I can't say there's anything there that leads me to want to buy the thing. At least they hit the same price point for the games as the GBA.

Re:The N-Gage Has No Chance (2, Insightful)

Trystero (48956) | more than 11 years ago | (#6501601)

most people who buy cellphones don't even know what a game boy is.

OK, even we take your line of reasoning at face value here (and I don't. Personally, I think people who buy cel phones are more likely to know what a Gameboy is, as opposed to someone less interested in technology) what makes you think they would suddenly be interested in playing games on their cel phone? If they don't know what a Gameboy is, then they are not exposed to, and/or don't care about, hand-held video games to begin with. Sure, there will be the curious who might think it's novel to play games on their cel, but their numbers won't be significant enough to make the system profitable in the long term for Nokia. Nokia is in a lose-lose situation. This N-Gage will be a little footnote in hand-held retrospective articles on gaming sites a few years from now. Maybe with some "What was Nokia thinking?!" commentary thrown in. :)

Bad analogy (4, Funny)

ArmorFiend (151674) | more than 11 years ago | (#6496105)

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 (5, Insightful)

cicatrix1 (123440) | more than 11 years ago | (#6496126)

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 (3, Interesting)

Trystero (48956) | more than 11 years ago | (#6496194)

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 system to survive only on the interest of geeks who love gadgets, then they are in for a rude awakening. Kids will want it for the games, and Mom & Dad won't pop for a $300 item when they can get an already popular hand-held for less than a third that price. The N-Gage is going to go down in flames.

I hadn't thought of your point B. Another nail in its coffin.

Re:Bad analogy (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 11 years ago | (#6497860)

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.

Re:Bad analogy (1)

unclethursday (664807) | more than 11 years ago | (#6497991)

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

Re:Bad analogy (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 11 years ago | (#6498186)

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)

Re:Bad analogy (1)

xaqar (112761) | more than 11 years ago | (#6498303)

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.

Re:Bad analogy (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 11 years ago | (#6517566)

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.

Re:Bad analogy (1)

Mike Hawk (687615) | more than 11 years ago | (#6537969)

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.

Re:Bad analogy (1)

Tozt (693018) | more than 11 years ago | (#6565673)

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 in that lot, either. I just KNOW Nokia's going to squeeze in a "memory" game somewhere... Oh, and with the design of the device itself, congrats to Nokia on managing to authentically recreate the look of fluorescent vomit. tozt

Re:Bad analogy (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6496345)

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 GP32 [google.com] , a (IMO) wonderful handheld from Korea that has been the darling of many Slashdot readers and editors [slashdot.org] .

But I digress. If we see advertising for the N-Gage pop up on IGN soon, then we'll all know the real reason that that article was written.

Re:Bad analogy - Bad post (2, Interesting)

Mike Hawk (687615) | more than 11 years ago | (#6497213)

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 play handheld games, but your post is just not factually correct.

Re:Bad analogy - Bad post (1)

ArmorFiend (151674) | more than 11 years ago | (#6497964)

> 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 (4, Insightful)

sandalwood (196527) | more than 11 years ago | (#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.

Bluetooth gaming (1)

InfiniteVoid (156157) | more than 11 years ago | (#6496246)

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 become the lowest common denominator.

I think I'll pass on the n-gage, and wait 'til Nintendo or Sony implements bluetooth gaming.

Re:Bluetooth gaming (1)

nekura (600099) | more than 11 years ago | (#6498524)

Mmm... wireless GBA gaming [tritonlabs.com] , from the folks that brought you Afterburner.

Re:Bluetooth gaming (1)

InfiniteVoid (156157) | more than 11 years ago | (#6500867)

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.

Stupid idea from the beginning. (1)

Morgahastu (522162) | more than 11 years ago | (#6496247)

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 some places (canada) Wireless Telcos have exclusive rights to phones in the country, so this phone/console will most likely only be available through one company and it will fail miserably. People who already have cell phones will NOT buy this.

Re:Stupid idea from the beginning. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6498552)

"People who already have cell phones will NOT buy this"

This is important to remember since most of the tech heads already bought camera fones and other combo fones (most of which are much cheaper too). Why buy another phone?

And with the announcement of the PSP, if I'm even considering another portable system (I'm not, nothing in the near future will be as portable as the GBASP I'm convinced at this point), why would I want to even bother with a system that isn't specifically designed for gaming (which means they crammed useless parts into it).

My suggestion for Nokia, make 2 models. 1 that is the cell phone combo and another that is strictly for gaming. If it's built correctly (with many of the faults people are finding in the system) and small enough, and the price caved down to around $150, it might make it to survive the PSP (I wouldn't count on anything pushing the GBA out of a market position for many years). And I'm sure with both models offered, people considering a new cell phone might be inclined to buy the combo model if they don't already have the other.

Price Tag (1)

Trystero (48956) | more than 11 years ago | (#6496271)

(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 will be the hottest Holiday gift since Tickle-Me-Elmo. But, I rather doubt it.

Re:Price Tag (0)

Erick the Red (684990) | more than 11 years ago | (#6496379)

$300 is an absurd price for the N-Gage, since most cellphones are free, and the GBA (a way better gaming device) is much cheaper. A gaming device needs to be ranked by the games it plays anyways, and I still haven't heard what will be available if I buy the damn thing.

Re:Price Tag (1)

Trystero (48956) | more than 11 years ago | (#6496417)

...I still haven't heard what will be available if I buy the damn thing.

EBGames.com now has a section devoted to the N-Gage. To see the available games, go here:

http://www.ebgames.com/ebx/groups/n-gage/cab.asp

None of them impress me much. "A chance to play the old Tomb Raider on a $300 cel phone's teeny screen!? Pinch me, I'm dreaming!!"

Re:Price Tag (1)

CineK (55517) | more than 11 years ago | (#6497351)

no screenshots though :( how do i tell if i like this console, if there is no screenshots ? and 300$ is way too much, too.

Re:Price Tag (1)

Trystero (48956) | more than 11 years ago | (#6501218)

no screenshots though :( how do i tell if i like this console, if there is no screenshots ?

There are screenshots for some of the games. Not all, but some (eg: Tomb Raider, Virtua Tennis, Super Monkey Ball, etc). Just select a game to get more details on it and you should see the screenshots.

Re:Price Tag (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 11 years ago | (#6497896)

Looking at that page I realized one other thing I don't like about cell phone manufacturers:
they rape you on the accessories. $70 for a memory card? Well, at least it's a 64MB memory card, but that only begs the question: who needs a 64MB memory card?

Price tag... (3, Insightful)

mlk (18543) | more than 11 years ago | (#6496371)

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... (3, Interesting)

evilWurst (96042) | more than 11 years ago | (#6496789)

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 targeting adult casual-gamers with this, not young "real" gamers. The older types are already willing to dump $300 on a phone with all the extras. And they'll do that for their own personal phone whereas for the kid's phone parents want something cheap and durable.

Re:Price tag... (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 11 years ago | (#6497914)

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 were the things being hidden in high school). I don't know if that's common throughout the country, but I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes more common.

Re:Price tag... (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 11 years ago | (#6497843)

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 of a perfectly good Nokia 3510i (which plays a not-bad Prince Of Persia in full colour itself) under a contract £0 (got one a couple of months back).

The analogy with the Dreamcast is fundamentally flawed. The DC tragically died, despite being able to hand all then-available competition its arse (and, in the end, compared pretty well with the first 18 months of PS2 output), because people were looking forward to the PS2.

While the N-Gage is going to be killed by people doing the same with the PSP, its also noticeably inferior to the GBA, so its still-birth won't be mourned at all.

Reminds me of the Laseractive... (1)

Man In Black (11263) | more than 11 years ago | (#6500622)

[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 actually came out). Similarly, the TG16 add-on played carts, TurboCD's and TurboLD's (Which were apperently completely different from the MegaLD games, and NOT compatible). This actually sounds like a good idea, since you'd be able to combine all your entertainment stuff into one unit.

However, the add-ons cost around $700 each. Naturally, everyone realized that buying an actual Genesis + SegaCD was about half that price, and the thing sold very poorly. It would make a nice collectors item these days though.

reality check... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6496502)

Folks, the word 'dreamcast' doesn't appear anywhere in the ign article. Read for yourself!

Re:reality check... (1)

Trystero (48956) | more than 11 years ago | (#6496770)

Folks, the word 'dreamcast' doesn't appear anywhere in the ign article. Read for yourself!

Er.. umm.. yes, it does. Or, more accurately, "Dreamcast" does. Look in the final paragraph.

Concerned about IGN (3, Insightful)

Tom Courtenay (638139) | more than 11 years ago | (#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.

Re:Concerned about IGN (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6496793)

"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." ...Did you mean to say: "...hope IGN doesn't continue this trend *that they've had since their inception*"?

Wow. The clueless finally getting a clue. IGN is trash, why is that so hard to see?

Re:Concerned about IGN (1)

Quinn (4474) | more than 11 years ago | (#6499988)

Flamebait, maybe, but also TRUTH. IGN has always had the sheen of an oily teenager's sputtering acne-pocked face. I suppose one could regard that as being "real" with regards to the primary gamer demographic, but reality isn't always /good/.

Decidedly rosy glasses? (3, Interesting)

Snowspinner (627098) | more than 11 years ago | (#6496873)

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.

I've used it. Not good. (2, Informative)

SuperRob (31516) | more than 11 years ago | (#6496886)

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.

It's IGN. . . (1)

Fritzed (634646) | more than 11 years ago | (#6497048)

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 that's because you cannot give quality coverage of that much material.

-> Fritz

Re:It's IGN. . . (2, Informative)

Tom Courtenay (638139) | more than 11 years ago | (#6498823)

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

I think this speaks for itself. Sure, there are some highly rated games there (NCAA Football is a 9 on each system) but as you can plainly see they have NO FEAR of giving a low review score.

Re:It's IGN. . . (1)

AlexMax2742 (602517) | more than 11 years ago | (#6499279)

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 happened to slip under the radar of most independant review sites.

It sucks that they have so much content via IGNsider. But then again, the internet is not free, and with as much content as IGN has, they have to pay for it somehow...

Demographic Mismatch (1)

Anonymous Cowdog (154277) | more than 11 years ago | (#6497335)

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.

Really no chances? (1)

imperator_mundi (527413) | more than 11 years ago | (#6497564)

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 regular cell phone users who don't dislike to "insert a coin" once in a while.

if this [nokia.com] can sell even N-Gage stand a chance.

People on Slashdot should support this (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6497746)

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 there are thousands of J2ME games it can play out there already...

Re:People on Slashdot should support this (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 11 years ago | (#6497857)

"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?

Re:People on Slashdot should support this (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 11 years ago | (#6497957)

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 virus, cell phones around the world will be getting text messages and data calls that make absolutely no sense, but if they're lucky enough to have an N-Gage or compatible phone they pick up the virus and continue to spread it.

Re:People on Slashdot should support this (1)

Joehonkie (665142) | more than 11 years ago | (#6498706)

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.

Re:People on Slashdot should support this (1)

idries (174087) | more than 11 years ago | (#6504732)

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 yourself up a 7650, which is binary compatible and has most of the features of the N-Gage (and a camera - woo!)

Insult to injury (1)

TenaciousPimple (614571) | more than 11 years ago | (#6497930)

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.

Re:Insult to injury (1)

silentbobdp (157345) | more than 11 years ago | (#6527073)

Maybe if we hope, he'll hit the car.

N-Gage's Challenges (1)

Metroid72 (654017) | more than 11 years ago | (#6498647)

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 too many things, and at the end, it might not do any of them really well Phone/Portable Console/PDA??? What's Nokia's plan to respond to changes? Will they be playing by ear?. Even the GBA has undergone changes (and it still needs two more face buttons and better sound), we also saw the same issue with M$ and the GIANT Xbox controller.
Another issue is credibility, Nokia is great at making cellphones, but in this industry, unless you are Nintendo (greatest 1st party developer), or Sony (greatest installed base - 3rd party developers) or Microsoft (stubborn marketing powerhouse with a lot of dough).
At the end, I think it's great, having the N-Gage, PSP & GBA head to head will only mean that I can pick up my GBA games for a cheaper price or force Nintendo/Sony to innovate.
Long live competition!!!

N-Gage, pricing, games (1)

nicksthings (678040) | more than 11 years ago | (#6498773)

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 would be competively priced to the current GBA SP. One even hinted to me PERSONALLY that she wouldn't be surprised if they matched the price of Nintendo's system.

Lastly, the games...having read the press release and the FAQ packet that Nokia sent out...are they trying to generate excitement about this product or what? They're more effectively turning me off. A whopping 30 games will be out by the end of this year for the N-Gage. Another whopping 40 are planned for 2004. OH YAY. And at $30-40 a piece, per game...how about...NO.

Until I actually get my hands on one, I'd like to try to refrain from judging, but based on the facts I've been given, I don't see how I could possibly be interested in this thing. And unless Nokia flat out hands me an N-Gage, I doubt I know anyone stupid enough to shell out $300 for one.

One reason I haven't seen yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6499427)

..and I may have missed it, so don't shoot me if it has been said.

The price is always high on cell phones. What makes it cheaper and worthwhile to buy are the rates that carriers put on them if you sign up for a plan. You don't go to a Gamestop or EB to buy a cell phone plan. You go to a Cingular, a Verizon, a T-Mobile, AT&T booth, etc. These are companies that have allied themselves to the phone.

On top of that Gamestop and EB employees are not retail salespeople, they're register jockeys (I am one in my part time, don't feel insulted, admit it) who happen to have a hobby they really like and like to share with other people. We're not going to get commission from cell phone plans, so there's no incentive for us to push this over a GBA SP. If we like a system we do push it because we like it because it's good. It's a great system actually because it means we get to be honest with the customer. Now what's worse, I cannot in good conscience push a system that costs more than all the other consoles, let alone portables, and has games that cost nearly as much. We don't want to learn how to sell cell phone plans either, we want to sell games.

On the flip side, if nokia took these phones to typical places to sell cell phones, no one would buy them because they cost more than the trendy camera phones that already play mobile games. And none of these places really wants to sell the games.

Nokia would have been better to develop a system, comparable in size to a cell phone that was purely a game system. Distribute it in Games stores, then at the same time, sell the cell phone combined with the gamesystem in the cell phone stores. Game purists would be able to buy a cheaper system without feeling they lost the quality, while still being able to hit the cell phone combo market they're aiming for.

One thing has been said, no one that has recently bought a $200-300 cell phone (bought into the camera craze) is going to abandon that phone for another high priced craze item.

Remember TurboExpress? ($300) (1)

BTWR (540147) | more than 11 years ago | (#6499458)

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.

Re:Remember TurboExpress? ($300) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6506949)

Let me guess, you've never played with one.

It was state of the industry for its time, but it had very many problems. The thing was huge (even compared to an original GameBoy), the screen washed out, was very unreliable and could burn in very easily, and it was (!!!!) a battery hog. It came too early to take advantage of low-cost, low-power LCD technology and (of course) modern advances in miniaturization.

It would have been a killer if it had been released around the GameBoy Color era. Compared to the B&W WonderSwan and NeoGeo Pocket of the time, it would have taken second place easily, even at the $150-$175 that it might have cost at this more recent point in time. Too bad this was already far beyond NEC's viable days.

Who would want this? (1)

BTWR (540147) | more than 11 years ago | (#6499506)

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 in line or something, just play snake or blackjack or one of the crappy-but-fun games on every phone.

Re:Who would want this? (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 11 years ago | (#6500247)

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 quite a bit, either.

On the other hand, if I wanted to play Tony Hawk, Tomb Raider, or Red Faction, I would have already bought those games for my PS1/2 (and could probably pick them up for $5-20 a piece).

Airplanes (1)

Zed2K (313037) | more than 11 years ago | (#6500023)

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.

Be good to developers (1)

idries (174087) | more than 11 years ago | (#6505565)

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 (Symbian 6.1) has all of the (over-)protective security features that you would find in a 'fully-blown' operating system (memory protection, HAL etc.) but none of the API's that are normally found in such environments to allow low-level access to the hardware that games need (such as DirectX).

While there are lots of work-arounds and blatant hacks for doing all these kinds of things, most of the API's involved are poorly documented (if they are documented at all) and coders spend alot of their time trying to fool the OS, when they should be making games. In addition to this Symbian is an OS with a fairly ridgid coding style and alot of it's own unique methodologies and conventions. These are often incompatible with existing codebases (in a standard Symbian application, which is in effect a dll, you cannot create global variables!) and developers existing work practices.

When compared to PalmOS, WindowsCE and the GBA the 'learning curve' that's required to put a game out on the N-Gage is pretty steep. Although it may be more geared towards gaming than any existing Palm or CE device, remember that the helix [tapwave.com] is on it's way (eventually) and there is already a large homebrew game development community associated with the PalmOS platform.

In addition to this Nokia provide no real technical support on any of these issues, there are no example workarounds or anything. And the existing homebrew Symbian developers are unfriendly, insular and unhelpful when compared to their PalmOS or GBA counterparts. The symbian documentation itself doesn't cover anything that is N-Gage specific. In fact, the first on-device debugger for the platform was only released recently, and by metrowerks. The SDK's available from Nokia have no on-platform debugger.

In short, even if the N-Gage was a really well put together platform, which people really wanted to buy and then pay more money for games on it, I still think that it would be a long time before a decent set of quality titles made an appearance.

Nokia can keep getting publishers to port existing titles to the platform (and I'd like to know exactly which way the money changes hands on a deal like that), but they'll never get any decent original IP on the platform until they start treating developers better. Of course, none of it really matters, as it's not going to sell, but when the N-Gage 2 or 3 or 9909 or whatever get's it right, then I'm sure that this will become an issue.
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