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N-Gage
The original design of the N-Gage.

The N-Gage is a handheld device created by Nokia and released in October 2003, based off their Series 60 mobile phone platform. As gamers owned both handheld games and cell phones in the late 1990s, Nokia saw an opportunity to combine the two and hopefully lure people away from Nintendo's competing Game Boy Advance.

The N-Gage made use of Bluetooth technology and the Internet for multiplayer gaming, as opposed to the GBA requiring linking cables. MP3 audio/video playback and PDA functionality were also included, features that are common nowadays in modern handhelds and smartphones. It even had a built-in FM radio.

Despite its superior graphics capabilities at the time (equivalent to the Sony PlayStation in terms of power), there were several drawbacks. Firstly, the face buttons were the 5 and 7 keys on the keypad, making it really easy to press the wrong ones during crucial moments. Another was that the game slot was located inside the battery compartment, requiring the user to remove the batteries just to switch games. And most infamously, the speaker and microphone were placed on the bottom, you had to hold the edge of the phone to your ear as you made calls, making it look like you had a taco stuck to the side of your head.

In April 2004, Nokia released the N-Gage QD, which fixed some of the previous system's flaws. Not only was it smaller and rounder than before, but it also had the cartridge slot conveniently placed on the bottom. The speaker and mic were also moved to the front of the system, making phone calls more convenient and less ridiculous. However, features like MP3 playback and USB connectivity were removed to cut costs.

Because of these many physical drawbacks and lack of quality games, the N-Gage sold poorly, and was ridiculed by gamers. Not even the QD was able to boost sales since so few were aware of the redesign. Nokia quietly discontinued the system in 2007.

In 2008, the N-Gage name was recycled for a mobile gaming service compatible with many Nokia phones, but not the N-Gage or QD. Some of the original platform's exclusives received remakes or sequels. "N-Gage 2.0" proved even shorter-lived than its namesake, shutting down after less than two years.


Specifications:

Processors
  • ARM Integrated (ARMI) compatible chip (ARM4T architecture) running at 104 MHz, the same as Nokia's 7650 and 3650 phones.

Memory
  • 3.4 MB internal memory (1st gen only).

Display
  • Can display 4,096 colors.
  • Its screen is unusually taller than it is wider, at a resolution of 176 x 208. Not very good for side-scrolling games like SonicN.

Batteries
  • It made use of a special battery similar to that of cell phones as opposed to standard dry cell batteries common in handhelds.
  • Maximum life of 4 hours when playing games or talking on the phone, but can last up to 200 hours on standby mode.


Games for the N-Gage console:

Original Titles

Ported, Reformulated, or Concurrently Developed


Games for the N-Gage 2.0 download platform:

Original Titles

Ported, Reformulated, or Concurrently Developed


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