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Greatest video-game tragedies of the last decade

 Zeroes from the Aughts
By LASER ORGY  |  January 20, 2010


8. The N-Gage gives us N-Rage (2003)


NO SIDETALKING

By the early part of this decade, gadgets got smaller and faster and more wow-factored. Yet they remained, for the most part, functionally Balkanized: cellphones, MP3 players, PDAs, and portable gaming devices kept to their own separate realms. Seeing a gap in the market, Nokia leapt at the chance to unite mobile phones and handheld game consoles. But something went terribly wrong during their gene-splicing experiment, and what came out of the lab was the N-Gage: a lumpen plastic wedge that made your head look hunchbacked should you dare attempt to speak into its spine -- an affliction that came to be known as sidetalkin'. If the N-Gage was clunky as a phone it was even worse as a handheld; the controls were awkward and you practically had to take the thing apart to put a new game in (not that there were any games worth the trouble). Also, it was prone to having fits of the White Screen of Death variety. In 2004, after months of relentless mockery, Nokia finally smothered the N-Gage with a pillow until the little taco-shaped abomination stopped struggling. The subsequent N-Gage QD and N-Gage Next Gen mobile gaming service didn't exactly light the world on fire, either; and in October 2009, Nokia announced it would be closing up the N-Gage shop completely by September 2010.

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