15 years later: Finally got a Nokia N-Gage
Several weeks ago I took the kids to a local used game shop to see if they had any second-hand copies of Skyrim for the Switch. The boys lost my copy earlier this year and after having switched from PC to Mac I haven’t been able to play it. (Wine isn’t cooperating with Steam, I’ve tried.) The shop didn’t have any so I took a look in the glass cases at the Gameboy games. All I can say is that Nintendo licensed way too many kids movies with bad universal port versions back in the day. Anyway, at the end of the counter was a used N-Gage, something I hadn’t seen since college.
Back in 2003 or 2004, not sure which, I worked a seasonal spot at the game store in the mall. At that point in
But on a pillar in the center of the shop was a small shelf which held the N-Gage phone/consoles and games. I couldn’t afford my own phone service at the time much less a high-end gaming model. We had a display with a demo of some adventure style game in it which we were too busy to play on. It was Christmas time and most of my job was to replace the empty game boxes back on the shelves after someone bought a copy. Yet the entire two months I worked there not once did I see anyone buy a game for the Ngage or ask me about the console. The guys in the store made jokes about it, how they never really sold any either.
Cut back to the other day when I’m holding a $60 gift card for this particular shop and already own copies of the other stuff in the store, I settled on a copy of Paperboy for the Gameboy and took the kids out for lunch. A week later I went back by myself one afternoon, which was probably an interesting interaction with the staff. How many people wander into a game shop riddled with Xbox 360 cases and dusty NES cartridges and go “Do yall still have that N-Gage?” An empty gift card and two games later I was heading home with the magic game phone I had basically forgotten about for all these years.
Now the thing about a phone that’s a decade old is that the battery (even if new) will not be good. This one didn’t come with one at all so I couldn’t test it until the typical 2
The phone has no
A quick look into the specs of the phone and it runs off the 2G GSM bands, which is fine for
Ninja phone aside, I really got the thing to play games on. It had been so long since I last played on one I didn’t remember what the graphics even looked like. Considering these are all old java games I expected some terrible janky raspberry pi level graphics. I was surprised when I put Tony Hawk in the system that it played just like the N64/PS1 version. Even with better graphics, it’s easy to see how this didn’t catch on as well as the Gameboy Advance. Even with a lack of light up screen the Advance has a bigger wide format screen and doesn’t require disassembly to swap games.
But hey, the Advance can’t make calls or store a dozen text messages from your ex-girlfriends from 2005 that you left on the device before selling it. (Don’t worry dude, I deleted them all for ya.) One downside to the system currently is that some of the games are insanely overpriced. Like $200 for copies of games with the box. Loose cartridges range in the $30 area, I paid $7 for mine at the shop. What I didn’t know is that there is an Elder Scrolls game for this system called Shadowkey which I’ll have to hunt down one day as well. For now, I’ll be trying to get my hands on the Colin McRae Rally and Sonic N.
This poor phone never stood a chance since the iPhone and Android systems came out not long after the second gen model. Buying physical games is silly when you can just download them to the device. Back when I had flip phones I couldn’t afford the texting services (remember when that was separate?) so I never learned to do the whole