Nokia N82 Trial, Day 3: The Games

Snakes 3D on Flickr

Pretty much everyone who’s ever had a Nokia is familiar with the classic Snake game; Here’s a screen grab of Snakes 3D, the beefed-up version for Nseries multimedia devices.

It looks great but is almost entirely unplayable — I’m stuck somewhere around the fifth level and I’ve no idea why my snake keeps arbitrarily blowing up!

I had a similar experience with Nokia’s (lack of) game design when I covered E3 back in 2004. I was demoing some WWII sim on the original N-Gage handset at Nokia’s booth, and couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do. It didn’t help that some Finnish dude was hovering behind me barking curt and very complicated instructions..

Fortunately N-Gage is no longer the subject of ridicule, but instead a built-in application on Nseries phones. The idea shows a lot of promise, but definitely requires a WiFi connection or unlimited data plan on your handset.

N-Gage Interface on Flickr

(The N-Gage user interface…)

Like anything else these days N-Gage has a social networking layer to it. Meh. What’s far more interesting to me is that every single game in their catalogue has a free trial that ranges in scope from extremely generous (anything by Nokia) to ridiculously short (cough cough — Gameloft — cough).

I played the Mile High Pinball demo (no relation to the mile-high club — sorry) for a good ten minutes with no signs of being locked out. And with a good pedigree of game developers aboard, N-Gage could be a big hit for casual gamers everywhere.

The only problem is the actual games themselves. Have a look at the grab below, from Nokia’s own title Space Impact Kappa Base. Do you have any idea what’s going on here? Because I sure as hell don’t!

Space Impact Kappa Base on Flickr

And here’s where I put on my old codger’s hat… I maintain that my stuffy E61i is every bit as suitable for gaming as the N82, for two big reasons:

First, any decent emulator will open your handset up to virtually the entire history of console video gaming. Second, console games were programmed for landscape 4×3 ratio TV sets, and fit perfectly on the E61i’s landscape 4×3 screen.

These console classics may not have 3D rendering or surround sound, but if that’s so important for you then you’re probably hauling around a DS or PSP in your Gundam-branded backpack anyway — i.e., you’re not a casual gamer, so STFU!

This all may change with the release of Reset Generation, which some are touting as the killer game for Nokia’s nascent N-Gage platform. Too bad it isn’t out now for me to play…


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9 responses to “Nokia N82 Trial, Day 3: The Games”

  1. Loving the updates.

    And loving the fact that (a) you’re up on the twitter updates, and (b) I have a mobile that can access your blog.

  2. Thanks, Rick!

    Two sites you may be interested in:

    1. enables you to multicast to Twitter and other microblogs like Jaiku and Pownce.

    2. My report on Opera Mini, which hopefully won’t violate the ToS of your unlimited web browsing on Rogers…

  3. “Do you have any idea what’s going on here? Because I sure as hell don’t!”

    Yes, you just shoot everything in sight!

    If you want something more relaxed and clear, try the absolutely sublime Creatures Of The Deep. It’s a very nicely-paced fishing simulator with an astoundingly huge game world, something suitable for casual gamers and more involved players alike. And it does a very good job showing off the graphics of the new platform too.

  4. There’s only one good reason, as far as I can see, for installing the full NGage app on my N82, and that is to remove the silly NGage icon from the main menu. With the full app installed the icon moves to the applications menu, which means I can hide it in the junk folder with other useless icons such as that for contacts, calendar, notes, about and help! Once I’ve managed to move the icon from the main menu I can uninstall the app.

  5. I can hide it in the junk folder with other useless icons such as that for contacts, calendar, notes…

    So Jay3GSM, I guess you don’t use your Nokia for phone calls then…?

  6. Krisse, I have in fact already downloaded that very game onto my N82. I’ve managed to drop anchor and cast my reel… But nothing happens!

    My favourite N-Gage game so far is Mile-High Pinball, but even that can’t hold a candle to the NES version of Dr. Mario that I run on my E61i, or even Frozen Bubble.

    I realize that all of this is highly subjective, of course — if you have any Creatures of the Deep hints feel free to send ’em my way…

  7. @ AC – I do use the phone for calls 🙂 As contacts is always a main shortcut on the screen, either one of the soft option keys or normally I leave it in its default position as first option on Active Standby, the actual contacts icon in the menu becomes surplus to requirements.

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