Hi everyone I'm Jack Red, mostly console wars gets very heated. Usually this includes their portable competition as well. But as it turns out most of Game Boy Advance's competitors didn't even make an million dollars. Only Nokia's N-Gage got a few million dollars in it's short run. I officially haven't owned any of it's competition. I did own two different models of Game Boy Advance that I put several hours in.
Before I go on I'm not an Nintendo fanboy but I did like some of their consoles. You know me I would rather be talking about Sega consoles. I did look a lot into N-Gage to see why it stands as GBA's biggest competition. I actually got a lot to cover in this & I'm not related to Video Game Historian. Without further delays let's get on with it.
Nokia is widely known for making cell phones. They decided out of the clear blue to make their then new cell phone N-Gage. Which also lets you to play video games on small cartridges. However there exist two different models of N-Gage with one major difference. Originally you had to remove the back of it to put in your cartridges. This affects battery life as well as pissing people off that wanted to play it. An major issue fixed in N-Gage QD model.
Another major issue not fixed at all is the controls. Back then the idea of playing games on your cell phones was new. Thus they didn't try to fix what they could simply by waiting a bit longer. Now most newer cell phones & tablets can easily play games. Plus having the pause button in the direct path of your fingers doesn't help much.
Also keep in mind this is an cell phone first, an handheld console second. To play it, you must get your service up on it before anything else. Otherwise you won't be doing much with it. Like many cell phones N-Gage did have a lot of features even Game Boy Advance didn't have. Now PS Vita & 3DS are using those features & more. N-Gage was the original handheld console that started it all folks.
What people really didn't like is how to hold it while making calls. Often stated by many to look stupid as you're holding an taco shaped cell phone to your left or right side of your face. Unfortunately you can't talk directly looking at it during your calls. Another issue not fixed that cost them big in this console wars.
Of course I got to talk about the games with a few surprising facts. Usually successful handheld game consoles has hundreds of games. There is no average for failed handheld game consoles. N-Gage got close to sixty games with only two released outside the United States. Which is rare among most consoles in general.
N-Gage had some impressive graphics for it's time. Before Sony PSP, Nokia N-Gage had the best graphics. Although as I stated in an recent blog, having more power doesn't usually mean is better. In fact N-Gage requires of power to run the games that cut it's battery life down a lot. What's sadder is not only GBA has an much better battery life in all models. This includes with or without using light that was originally an accessories for original GBA models. Which does reduce your battery life by roughly half but that's still more than playing N-Gage two times on full charge.
GBA also has two additional game libraries at it's disposal requiring nothing to work. Game Boy & Game Boy Color games added support alone guarantees GBA to win. All three of them easily won all their handheld console wars. Hell there's really impressive games on GBA that's worth noting. N-Gage got more support from it's company than most of it's other competitors.
Regardless N-Gage is now an interesting piece of history. Most gamers either ignored or simply doesn't know of it. It's difficult to believe an cell phone was GBA's biggest competition. But Nokia really did try to compete against Nintendo getting an interesting library of games. Surprisingly it wasn't crushed as bad as those competing Game Boy & Game Boy Color. A lot of it's features later got reused by Sony & Nintendo over the years.
To sum all up N-Gage was an flawed handheld game console. However it did inspired several companies to go into an similar direction. One of the few sections among all video game console wars to be this one sided. No body is debating this ever since support stopped on both GBA & N-Gage. Barely anything major happened between the two companies making it just boring altogether to talk about it.