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N-Gage?!?!?! What the heck.........
#1
In case you haven't heard, Nokia will be introducing it's own handheld console into the gaming market. I recently came across this news over at ign.com, which can be seen here:

http://gear.ign.com/articles/385/385023p1.html

and here regarding support:
http://gear.ign.com/articles/385/385025p1.html

and here for specs:
http://gear.ign.com/articles/385/385029p1.html

and here for media:
http://gear.ign.com/articles/385/385032p1.html

This thing is going to be interesting to say the least. I'm not too sure though about Nokia entering the gaming world. Sure they're known for their great cell phones, but gaming platforms???? We'll have to see how this thing shapes up in the near future. Let me know what you guys think.
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#2
I don't think they can hold a candle to Nintendo, But hey thats my opinion.

Sega has signed to make games.

Ericsson are still developing their 64-bit gaming handheld called Red Jade too.

Mobile phones are now becoming gameboys. Wowser indeed. :p
I\'m so romantic I\'m considering marrying myself.
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#3
Mobile fines aren't really gameboys for games are way too short and cost only like 5 bucks.
Nintendo is the leading handheld of gaming and i doubt anything will ever happen to it. Sega tried to make there handheld, Game Gear and make it color to try and beat Nintendo plus they were are good company at that time but still it wouldn't beat the black and white gameboy and even the GB Pocket. Then there was the NeoGeo and some others and they couldn' tbeat nintendo.
There is one fact that nintendo just had better games coming out for it so people enjoyed there handhelds and i doubt nokia will Survive.
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#4
Heres a huge article for ya. Red Faction. Wowser indeed

Nokia certainly put on a grand show, hiring out a boat, a nightclub and even the giant London Eye ferris wheel to convince journalists from around Europe and the United States that this was a Big Deal. And if they succeed, it may well be. And how will the ambitious Finns do that? By incorporating the wireless functions of a phone into gaming. Nokia envisages N-Gage as sitting in an entirely new sector of the market. If you imagine the market split along two axes -- one for online and offline devices, one for fixed and mobile devices -- N-Gage sits alone by being the only mobile device capable of online gaming (Nintendo's little Japanese Mobile GB experiment notwithstanding). Indeed, Nokia were at pains to avoid mention of competition with Nintendo; the company wouldn't be drawn on comparisons between the systems and instead touted N-Gage as opening up an entirely new market. "We didn't come to fight a bloody war", said Anssi Vanjoki, Executive Vice President of Nokia. "N-Gage will expand the entire game market."

So how does the unit measure up? I've split up my thoughts of the unit into sections below:

GAMES:
N-Gage is nothing without games, and games are nothing without developers and publishers. Nokia paraded Actvision, Eidos, Sega, Taito and THQ at the press conference as their initial bedrock of developer support. Despite reports and speculation of Capcom and Namco support, neither was present. There were, however, quite a few games announced and available to demo, despite most being a month or less into development.

Tomb Raider: The surprise of the night was a solid, 3D version of Tomb Raider. The environments were fairly simple -- just a large archway and a staircase -- but the similarity to the PSone version at this early stage is quite astonishing for a portable. Control was somewhat sluggish still, and using any keys other than the two main buttons is a pain (see Design for more), but it is very promising.

Sonic N: Announced by Yuji Naka via a RealVideo from Tokyo (though curiously via a Sonic Adventure banner -- eh?), this was probably the most complete and yet most disappointing of the games. Although very playable, everything was tiny because Sonic Team chose to letterbox the action. Possibly due to the fact that it was an early build, the scaling used was rather poor, distorting the score table and making it look somewhat sloppy. A pity, because it was fun to play. Strange but true anecdote: According to Yuji Naka, Sonic N marks the first time Sonic will appear at a platform's launch.

Super Monkey Ball: The earliest of all the titles on show, Monkey Ball looked like it was ported in a hurry (it still said "Press Start" -- funny, since N-Gage has no start button). Very slow, with an awful framerate, the environments were more detailed than the GBA version but still nowhere near what Tomb Raider or Pandemonium pushes, so it'd be surprising if this doesn't run perfectly smoothly by launch.

Pandemonium!: Based on an old, fairly so-so PSone game, Pandemonium was quite awful to play... but gosh was it pretty. Smooth and detailed, nice special effects... mmm. Supposedly an exact port of the PSone game, though I can't vouch for that. I can vouch for the fact that the brand of 2D-platforming-in-a-3D-world it provided was really boring, though.

Virtually Board Snowboarding: Only three weeks old, this is shaping up to be quite decent. The environments were awful, but again it was fairly smooth. More importantly, it was actually rather fun to play. One of the titles shown from Nokia, it'll have multiplayer over Bluetooth and possibly over GPRS too.

Kart Racing: The other Nokia title on show, I didn't get my hands on this one. Pretty bare-bones kart racer, with the addition of Bluetooth multiplayer.

Puyo Puyo: It's Puyo Puyo... and er, yeah. It will have multiplayer over Bluetooth as well, though.

Super Puzzle Bobble: ...ditto this puzzler, which will have up to four players simultaneously playing over Bluetooth. It's Puzzle Bobble, what else is there to say?

Taito Memories: Supposedly a compilation of four classic Taito games, the only one shown was Super Space Invaders. A quick play of the demo version showed it to be pretty much Space Invaders with a bit more detail and a colourful backdrop. No word on what the other titles are.

Virtua Tennis: Only shown on video. Sprite-based, it seemed to run fairly quickly. No word on multiplayer features, but it should be a given.

MotoGP: A title I was itching to get my hands on but couldn't find anywhere. Supposedly features four player simultaneous racing over (you guesed it) Bluetooth.
Other titles announced but not shown include Sega Rally, Red Faction, and MLBPA Baseball. Also absent was the bulk of games from Nokia. At the press conference, Nokia VP Ilkka Raiskinen spoke of the need for Nokia to take the lead on this platform and show other developers what it can do with wireless technology, making the meagre lineup of two games (even then, both were hidden away somewhat) disappointing. Word from Nokia sources indicates that the company wanted to keep the spotlight on big-name licensed acquisitions at the event rather than flooding it with their own titles; that may be true, or Nokia's titles are just way too early to show. Either way, the company promises to show its hand in the summer.
N-Gage is also a fairly open system. Aside from Nokia distributing the SDK, related tools, and help files free to developers at its Forum Nokia website, like other phones you can download Java apps free of charge off the web. There's a thriving development community devoted to making games for the Series 60 platform the N-Gage is based on; a port of Doom made its way to the Nokia 7650 as early as last summer!

As for distribution, N-Gage games will come on MultiMedia Cards. Game cards will be copy-protected, according to Nokia, but you can also run ordinary cards on the system to shuttle data across or hold MP3s.

One big problem is battery life. Although talktime and standby figures for N-Gage are industry standard, Nokia quotes a life of between 3-6 hours when playing games. Good for a phone, awful when compared to GBA SP's 10 to 18 hours.

DESIGN:
Let's be frank, it really doesn't look all that great. Combining the stylings of a phone and a console doesn't really lend itself to a clean and striking design. Having said that, when you actually pick one up, it's not all that bad. It's a bit smaller than a GBA, much thinner, and certainly lighter, fitting nicely in my hand with the pad and main buttons easily accessible. One probem that arises here is that there are only two main buttons, the 5 and 7 keys. They're raised over the rest of the keypad for ease of use, but it makes finding other buttons a chore. Tomb Raider utilises more keys for other functions, and it is distracting to have to fiddle around looking for the right button. And although there are quick and convenient buttons littered around to go back to the main menu, or activate the radio and MP3 player, there's no button to quickly launch whatever game is on your card.

Arguably my biggest flaw with the entire unit involves the cards -- more specifically, inserting new game cards. The unit lacks a card slot accessible from the outside. To insert a new game card, you'll have to pop out the back plate, take out the battery, and replace the card. Supposedly this is intentional, but it's still an incredible inconvenience.

Ultimately, the looks are something that will surely deter potential owners. I know I'd be somewhat wary of carrying a phone that looked like that, despite the features.

SCREEN:
I've given this a seperate section entirely because there has been a lot of fuss over the screen. Again, I certainly didn't think a portrait screen would be any good, especially since the GBA moved handheld screens ever wider. But for the most part, it works well. For games with characters moving forwards, like Tomb Raider or Super Monkey Ball, the screen works just fine. But it's awful for platformers, especially speedy ones, and the screen is the root cause of some of Sonic N's woes (more on that further down). So don't dismiss it entirely because of the screen, though it isn't ideal for all games. Incidentally, the GBA's screen res is 240x160, while N-Gage weighs in at 176x208.

PHONE:
Nokia played down the actual phone part of N-Gage. Surprising, because it's a pretty stocked device. Tri-band for global roaming, Bluetooth, MP3 player, radio, sizeable memory for running downloadable Java apps (plus that MultiMedia Card slot for more memory), GPRS for wireless web surfing, SMS and MMS, calendar and contact functions, USB connection to PCs... in terms of modern mobile phone features, it has everything barring a camera, really. And hey, if you dislike the design of the phone, you can always use a wireless Bluetooth headset to keep the unit in your pocket while you talk.

Wanting to, er, "test" the N-Gage's voice capabilities, I grabbed one at the after-party to erm, "phone in a preliminary report" to all-around OPM sexy beast Sam Kennedy in our San Francisco office. Needless to say, it worked well enough in the loud party atmosphere. No comment on rumours that my actions caused Nokia reps to search desperately for a way to turn international calls off, though...

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#5
Article was too long for one post so heres the rest.

PRICE & AVAILABILITY:
The big two questions, and the two that Nokia were vague on. The release date is the more solid of the two, with late Q3/early Q4 given as the launch timeframe, with Nokia insisting that it must be released before the holidays. Price was somewhat less reassuring. All that would be said was that it would be competitive; pushing further for an answer didn't help, as Nokia specified that it would be "under 500 euros" ($540) -- somewhat obvious, you'd think. There's also no word whatsoever on whether the phone will be subsidised (ie, you get a discount if you sign up to a contract with a phone company), or whether it'd be available as a stand-alone. The only confirmed detail was that T-Mobile is the first company to jump on the N-Gage bandwagon. Although the phone is expected to be available on all networks, T-Mobile will also have additional services for N-Gage owners, like tournaments and downloadable goodies.

The games, however, will be available everywhere. Again Nokia were evasive on a price, but stated that they would be sold at both game retailers and mobile phone shops, as well as major retail chains like Virgin Megastore. Again, no word on whether you'll be able to pick up the N-Gage itself at an EB, but that likely depends on whether it'll be subsidised.

WIRELESS FUNCTIONS:
The most exciting part of N-Gage by far, but still mostly theoretical right now. Bluetooth multiplayer is up and running, but Bluetooth's range is 10 metres. The promise of N-Gage lies in long-distance multiplayer action. Nokia promises that even Massive Multiplayer Online games (think EverQuest) are possible with the phone. Tournaments are also possible, as are high-score rankings. And the communication aspect is naturally well-done -- this is a phone, after all. Challenges can be sent to friends, as can screengrabs to prove your high score, and you can always call after games to gloat about victories. Still, we've yet to see anything other than Bluetooth multiplayer, and none of the big titles will support it... as Eidos' representative amusingly put it, it doesn't work in Tomb Raider. "You can't have two Laras, and nobody wants to be the dog that gets shot." However, games like Tomb Raider will have downloadable extras like new stages.

One exciting new function Nokia talked about -- but again, didn't show -- was your location affecting your game. One example cited was a version of Crazy Taxi that changes depending on what city (or part of the city) you're in. And certainly Nokia -- who pioneered a mobile game that blurs the lines between playing on the phone and in real life with their annual Nokia Game -- can come up with more imaginative uses for it.

There is, naturally, a dark side to all this... which is that it'll cost you. Though no price has been set for online gaming (multiplayer over Bluetooth will be free), don't expect downloadable extras to be free. In fact, that's one of the main motivations behind the N-Gage project -- another way for mobile operators and game publishers to have a continuing revenue stream. Nokia even mentioned having cheats downloadable for 2 euros ($2.15), which seems a bit excessive...

OUTLOOK:
It's hard to say just how N-Gage will do. The unit definitely looks promising and it should gain a lot of buzz, but ultimately, it's a phone. It's not a GBA competitor. It'll be pricey, and in all likelyhood you'll need a contract to buy it. Will people be willing to use this as their main phone? Although N-Gage is a good phone -- look at the feature list! -- I've had trouble finding people who'd replace their current phones with N-Gage. And you know what? Despite being impressed by the games, and the feature set, at this point I'd probably agree.

There's also the question of just how long N-Gage will be around for. A normal console lifespan is under 5 years, but a mobile phone goes stale after one year. Nokia were mum on the details, though they did say that the hardware platform would remain stable over N-Gage's lifespan, again they never specified how long that'll be. And despite other current and many future Nokia phones being based on the same hardware and software platform as N-Gage and some even sporting MMC card slots... they won't be compatible with N-Gage games. Surely getting more compatible models will grow Nokia's mobile gaming market share faster?

But it is heartening to see someone taking mobile gaming seriously. If nothing else, Nokia's N-Gage isn't just bringing more advanced gaming to mobile phones -- it should show what is possible when mobility is combined with portable consoles. And it's an exciting prospect, especially when (or rather, if) location-dependent games and MMO titles hit. But until then...
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#6
I actually think this travel system could be pretty cool as long as the price isn't too high. It's getting support from great developers like Sega. I'm not going to judge this system until it's released.
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#7
You guys should see this thing in action! It faithfully reproduces Playstation graphics, and is twice as popular as the PSX itself. They were showing off a demo of the original Tomb Raider, and my oh my...
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#8
Now this is going to be just a hand held, it's not going to have any type of cell phone BS attached to it right?
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#9
I'm not gonna get it. I don't think it'll sell too well. Who knows I've been proven wrong before.
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#10
I'll probably buy it because I have to buy any videogame system that gets released. It may be like the Neo Geo Pocket Color that has really good games but doesn't sell to well.

I've heard that Sony was interested in making a handheld, but they want to concentrate of their Playstation Systems for now.
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