The Nokia N-Gage, nicknamed the "taco phone" for its shape, was a "handheld console" made in 2003 by Nokia and attempted to beat Nintendo's Game Boy Advance as being both a video game console and a mobile phone. It also had an MP3, Real Audio/Video playback and PDA features. It could play standard Series 60 software and Java MIDP applications.
Why It Flopped
- Actually, it isn't a handheld console. It's just a mobile phone with handheld console design slapped on it, since it needs a SIM card to work.
- The buttons for the phone were not well suited for gaming, and gamers were uncomfortable using the phone feature. It wouldn't be until one year later, 2004, when the N-Gage QD would fix this problem, but by then, the brand had gained a poor reputation.
- In order to insert a game in the original model, gamers had to remove the cover and the battery to get to the slot. Fortunately, they fixed this in the N-Gage QD by adding a hot-swappable memory card slot on the bottom of the device.
- By the time the N-Gage was discontinued, it had a library of 58 titles, with 56 of them released to North America. By then though, Nokia had started working on smartphones and started the N-Gage service, putting the N-Gage into smartphones. This lasted until 2010, when the service was discontinued.
- The N-Gage was mostly infamous for its appearance, which resembled a taco and was "remembered as a mildly humorous internet joke" according to GameTrailers.
- According to an engineer who worked in Nokia, the inspiration for the N-Gage system’s design was actually goatse.
- The screen was tall but not very wide, it has a size of 2.1' and a resolution of 176 X 208, which is the common size and resolution for Symbian S60 phones at the time until early 2006.
- Unlike Nokia 3300 (which is based on this phone's design), the speaker and the microphone were located at the side of the phone. This resulted in many calling it a "Talking Taco" or a "Sidetalking N-Gage".
- To be fair it did have some good games from good franchises like Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc but it is actually a 2D game unlike its console versions and Sonic N, which is actually a port of Sonic Advance for the Nokia N-Gage.
- The concept of the gaming phone was creative but sadly, it's poorly executed.
- The phone has 3D capabilities, which is pretty impressive for a phone from 2003.
- The QD model fixed most of the issues that the original model had, like it has a hot-swappable memory card slot, better button layout and a new theme that replaced the generic S60 theme.
- It uses normal MMC memory card slot rather than proprietary cartridge slot, meaning you can install N-Gage games if you want on a memory card.
- The N-Gage sponsored a monster truck in 2004 that ran in Antwerp, Belgium for one show.