Gaming: the activity that many people use to entertain themselves by being part of an experience and directly influence the outcome. Gaming is pretty big these days, computer games are all the rage these days and many people have been made billionaires due to this industry. Gaming consoles, machines made mainly for gaming are also selling like hotcakes with the Wii turning in a large profit and the Xbox brand gaining ubiquity not just among the tech savvy.
Portable gaming consoles are also carving out a place for themselves in this fierce market with Sony’s PSP and Nintendo DS also being very popular. A problem exists though; no matter how pocket-able and entertaining the systems may be, they are still pretty much useless when it comes to anything other than playing games. Regular users may suffer from the ‘bat belt syndrome’ which means having to clip on so many accessories to their belts that it looks like some twisted version of the famous super-hero’s super storage medium!
To take care of these problems games are being developed to be played on the very mobile phones which have now become as much a part of a person as her wristwatch. Many companies have made games for many mobile phones in the past and some have also achieved success. But the mobile phone as a platform was never focused on mainly as a medium for satisfaction through high calibre games.
Nokia tried to change all that with the original N-Gage, a phone designed for gaming with special attention to making it easy to game. Although it was a great device and gathered some momentum, ultimately some of its shortcomings broke the deal for many would-be customers.
1) Side talking while being semi-comfortable was ridiculed as the speaker and microphone of the device were along the top edge. This made talking on the device embarrassing and a bit uncomfortable
2) The game cards or the game decks as Nokia referred to them could only be changed after turning the device off, popping off the cover, removing the battery and then fiddling with an MMC slot. Needless to say it was frowned upon by everyone
3) There were people who liked the games but not the hardware and a few who liked the phone but not the special gaming features it had. These people turned away from this device.
And so Nokia is back this time with a vengeance. If you own any N-series phone, chances are that IT is the next N-Gage! What do I mean? Well this time the N-Gage platform is a software platform requiring only a few basic prerequisites. The phones that are supported RIGHT NOW are:
N81 8 GB
N95 (Classic and 8GB)
N93 and N93i support coming soon (some people thinking that it’ll come along with a firmware upgrade)
The curious thing is that the N81 turns the other way around for landscape mode so that it feels like a THE true gaming device with the d-pad in your left hand.
The games that have already been announced are:
• Asphalt 3: Street Rules
• Block Breaker Deluxe
• Bounce Boing Voyage
• Brain Challenge
• Brothers in Arms
• FIFA 08
• Hooked On: Creatures of the Deep
• Midnight Pool 3D
• Mile High Pinball
• Pro Series Golf
• Snakes Subsonic
• Space Impact Kappa Base
• System Rush: Evolution
• The Sims 2 Pets
• World Series of Poker: Pro Challenge
Games that are semi-confirmed to be in active development and are expected to be announced soon are:
• Crash Bandicoot
• The Dark Knight
• DChoc Cafe™ Hold’ Em Poker
• DChoc Cafe™ Solitaire 12-Pack
• DChoc Cafe™ Sudoku
• Dirk Dagger and the Fallen Idol
• Midnight Poker
• Project White Rock
• SPEED RACER (based on the film of the same name)
• Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
• Super Mah Jong
• Super Slam Ping Pong!
• Tiger Woods PGA Tour
• World Rally Championship (FIA WRC official licence)
• Worms World Party
(Information taken from the informative page ‘N-Gage 2.0’ over at Wikipedia
Hooked On: Creatures of the Deep
System Rush: Evolution
Space Impact Kappa Base
Block Breaker Deluxe
World Series of Poker: Pro Challenge
Fun fact: 2 of the 3 games nominated for the International Mobile Gaming Awards received an award
Best 3D award: ONE
Best Game-play Award: Dirk Dagger and the Fallen Idol
“Hooked On: Creatures of the Deep” was nominated for the best game-play award but was beat by the previously mentioned game. The important point to note here is that two of the nominees in the best game-play category were based on the N-Gage 2.0 platform. We can see that this platform is quite promising.
AAS has a great FAQ page up if you need more information.
I have downloaded the N-Gage application and am playing around with no games as I’ll have access to a high speed internet connection tomorrow and shall keep you well informed in the coming days. For now you can make do with this article from IGN.
Next up in the forthcoming days you can expect my feelings of the client which will help seal in the deal of getting ‘N-Gaged’! To become a part don’t hesitate to go on over to allaboutngage.com and keep rechecking often as it’s updated quite frequently.
Also please remember to buy any game you think you’d like and help sustain development on this platform which is already stirring up quite a buzz!