携帯電話かつゲーム機!? オーパーツ的電子機器 ノキア 「N-Gage」

当時は特にノキア 「N-Gage」みたいなハイテクな携帯電話に憧れたもんです。

FOMA WIN など、インターネット定額制が出てから携帯電話は飛躍的に進化を遂げた。

それまではただの電話とメールができる携帯端末だったが、定額制のおかげで動画、FLASH、画像、サイト、いろいろなインターネットが爆発的に発展した。

今では誰しもがスマートフォンを当たり前のように所持しているが、昔は折り畳み携帯電話が主流で、小さい画面に映し出されたモバイル専用サイトを、ポチポチ方向キーを押しながら見ていたものである。

魔法のiランドや前略プロフィールなど、この記事を見ている人の中にも利用した方もいるだろう。

そんな携帯電話黎明期に突飛なハイスペックマシンを出している「ノキア」という会社があった。

今回はその「ノキア」が出した携帯ゲーム機兼携帯電話、今でいうスマホの様な「N-Gage」を紹介したいと思う。

ノキア 「N-Gage」 要約

〇このノキア 「N-Gage」は、2003年10月7日に発売された携帯電話兼用ゲーム端末である。

高額な本体価格、ゲームタイトル不足、特異すぎて使いにくいインターフェースなどが原因で、発売開始から1週間での販売台数は米国で5000台未満、イギリスで500台未満という惨憺たる結果となってしまった。

ちなみに、GSM携帯電話であるため、GSMに対応しない日本と韓国では発売されていない。

ノキア 「N-Gage」 機能

携帯電話としての機能

Javaアプリケーションをサポートし、電子メール、音楽ファイルの作成、XHTMLの閲覧、個人情報管理用アプリケーションといった機能が搭載されていた。

PCとカレンダーを同期させたり、PCからUSB経由で音楽ファイルやアプリケーションをダウンロードすることもできるといった今でいうスマートフォンのようなことが当時で出来た。

ゲームとしての機能

ゲームソフトはメモリーカード形式になっており、ゲームカートリッジをは、背面カバーとバッテリーを取り外すことによって装着できる。

セガ、タイトー、などが対応タイトルを開発していたが、深刻なレベルでゲームタイトルが不足していたらしい。

当時は本当にこういったハイテク機械に憧れていたが、結局普通のガラケーが使いやすいってことに気づく。

でも今になってみると、こういう突飛なガジェットはコレクター魂が疼くんだよねぇ。

以下、Nostalgia BCN6BK Bacon Express Crispy Bacon Grill Amazonカスタマーレビューまとめ ※英語なので記事最上部にある翻訳機能を使ってみてください。

|☆☆☆☆☆|

The Nokia N-Gage is a fantastic games console sure to wipe nintendo off the market (with a little help from Sony [PS2, PSP] and Microsoft [XBox]). With It’s incredible 4096-colour screen it is as visually powerful as the PSOne.And it’s got top names backing it up too. With Tthe likes of Tomb Raider, Tony Hawk’s , Sonic The Hedgehog and many more this is surely a must for all games fans.
However, as a phone it is a little on the large side. And the microphone and speaker are on the spine, so you look a right fool when you’re calling someone. But the menu is fantastically easy to use, even if you’ve never used a Nokia before. It is in a grid form (you can change it toclassic Nokia view if you want) and you can change the order of applications and create new folders with incredible ease, just like you would on a PC desktop. and with new MIDI technology, you can have ACTUAL SONGS as your ringtone.
The menu shortcut keys are helpful too.instead of going through all the menus, there is a music player button, a radio button and two more selection keys which can be modified to link to any application, and the location will appear on-screen, just like other Nokias.
The music player is CD quality and if you bu a memory card (which fits in to the game slot) you can store hours of music on your phone, and even download tracks off your favourite CD’s to use as ringtones! There is also an FM radio which you can listen to, even whilst playing games!
There is also Bluetooth technology built in to the phone so you can play wireless multi-player games against your mates. None of your friends have an N-Gage? Don’t worry, you can play anyone in the world over GPRS. And with the N-Gage arena, you can see how well your high scores count up with the rest of the world. There is also a loudspeaker, so you don’t need headphones to listen to music.
All in all, a great phone with huge potential in the video-gaming and communications industries. A bit pricy though, at over 200 pounds.

|☆☆☆☆|

Ok, I admit it I fell for Nokias advertsing and bought this as the Ultimate Gamers phone (being an Ultimate Gamer and all). The phone basically has the same graphical capacity as the original PS or the Sega Saturn, something the Gameboy Advance promised but has yet to deliver (compare Tony Hawks on the N-Gage to the GBA version – Ngage wins hands down).
The phone also includes a built in FM radio, MP3 player (a seperate memory card is needed to hold the tunes, it slots inside the phone near the battery), built in bluetooth (to connect to some devices wirelessly), XHTML (for web surfing) compatability and all the other phone stuff you get with a fun.
The downsides, you look weird and can barley hear people when using it as a phone (although via the included hands free kit it works a dream).
Size wise its smaller than the original GBA but bigger than the GBA SP, IMO its lighter than both Gameboys. Although it has a couple of kinks in its launch line up games these will proberly be dealt with with the next wave of games.
The phone also doubles as an organiser. So if you’re looking to pickup a phone, MP3 player, GBA SP and an electronic oraniser the N-gage makes a great all rounder.
Battery life is also pretty good. 150hrs on standby, 8hrs if the radio, MP3 player or games are player.
If you’re looking just for a phone, dont buy. If you’re looking for a new gaming platform, pick it up – you might just be surprised.

|☆☆☆|

The N-gage is a reasonable phone, with reasonable MP3 player and a reasonable games consol at a cheap price. Why the low score? It is not perfect. Games like Tomb raider are buggy, and the screen size makes 3D gaming difficult. The other disadvantage is that the speaker and microphone are in the spine, so you end up looking like you have half a frisby suck in your head. Plus the fact that the price does not include extra memory for the MP3s, the price ends up 50-100 pounds greater.

|☆☆|

After playing on a few of these in stores and then weighing it all up, I have to say this is pretty shoddy. Apart from the large marketing blurb surrounding this device, many reviews on the internet agree with me. Eg. small screen, jerky graphics on old ps one games, runs out of memory easily etc. My advice is get a phone for phone things and get a games player for playing games. If you are looking for an alternative to GBA, then get the GP32 – you won’t regret it.

||

The N-Gage fails to work on so many levels. As an MP3 player and radio, it is adequate, but as a mobile phone it is large and unwieldy. You have to hold it on it’s side to talk into it, and the menu system is clunky and unintuitive.
As a games device, it is stupidly designed. Firstly, the “fire” buttons are not responsive, and in awkward positions. The D-pad is flimsy. The screen, although clear and sharp, is the wrong orientation – 95% of games need a TV-shaped screen to work well, and (as Sonic N proves) the narrow N-Gage screen hinders gameplay.
Battery life is a joke – just a few hours. Most mobile phones can last much longer, as can the Gameboy Advance.
The worst design flaw of all is the slot for inserting games is located under the battery – which means you have to remove the battery and phone back cover when changing games.
Buy a decent phone, a GBA SP, and an MP3 radio separately and get decent quality products for much less money.

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一風変わった家電やガジェット、面白グッズが大好きおじさん。
浅はかな知識ながら最近はものづくりにチャレンジしている。
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