Before I got my first smartphone, the Nokia N-gage was my go-to device. Despite its flaws, I fell in love with the combination of phone and gaming device. I used it as my everyday phone for quite some time, and I also installed a variety of games and emulators on it. In this post I will write a few tips and tricks about the N-gage, including a guide on how to install games and apps on it.
I recently aquired a Nokia N-gage from Swedish eBay, but it had one problem: it was stuck in a bootloop (also known as white screen of death) due to memory being full. Luckily, this guy, has come up with a solution to wipe the memory, so I sent my phone to him and he fixed it for me (many thanks!)
The N-gage was released in 2003 and it runs the Series 60 platform on Symbian OS v.6.1. The N-gage was Nokia’s attempt to compete with Nintendo’s Gameboy Advance, but failed. One cause of failure was some serious design flaws: the telephone buttons were not suitable for gaming, and to swap cartridges the user had to open the unit, and remove(!) the battery. Some of the flaws were fixed in the QD version of N-gage, but it was considered a market failure. In total, 3 million N-gage units were sold.
Since I own the original N-gage I focus on that unit in this post, and not the follow up Nokia N-gage QD. The original N-gage has the following specifications:
- ARM920T cpu running at 104 MHz.
- 3.4 mb of internal storage, which can be expanded to 1 gb with a MultiMediaCard.
- 2.1 TFT screen with a 176 x 208 pixels resolution, capable of showing 4096 colors.
- Symbian OS 6.1 (Series 60).
- Bluetooth / Radio / USB / WAP / MP3
- 850 mAh Li-Ion battery (standby up to 200h, talk time up to 4h).
Install games and apps on Nokia N-gage
To get started with installing games and apps on the N-gage, make sure to have an MMC-card inserted into the device, and a proper USB-cable to access the unit via your computer. You need to format the memory card on the N-gage under Tools -> Memory -> Options -> Format. When you connect the phone with the formated card to your PC, you see four folders: Images, Others, Sounds, Videos.
File and folder explorer for Symbian devices (FExplorer) is a great little program that allows you to access and manipulate files on your N-gage. It is essential as it gives you control over the content of your unit. Download link:
FExplorer is in .sis-format. To install sis-files, you need to first put it on the root folder of your MMC-card. Then, navigate to tools -> manager, and install the FExplorer.
Congratulations! You have installed your first .sis-file. Now, you can use FExplorer from the main menu to navigate your filesystem, and you can also use it to “click” files, for example other .sis-files and java files (.jad) and install them. When you download software from the internet, you will notice that compatibility is pretty much hit and miss. Software tailored for the Nokia N-gage will of course work, while some games and apps for the S60 work and others don’t. One example of a game that works is the port of “Another World” (or, Out of this world) for the S60. Get it here: https://www.mobiles24.co/downloads/s/197921-307-another_world
Here is the game running on my N-gage:
Now, let’s go through the variety of file types you will encounter in more detail:
- SIS-files. These files are installed via the manager application in the main menu of the N-gage. When you have the FExplorer installed you can also click these files from this program, which will take you to the manager to install them. The installed apps/games will appear in the main menu of the N-gage, just like FExplorer did.
- JAD and JAR-files. These are Java-files. N-gage can only install JAD-files and you need a converter (JADmaker) to convert JAR to JAD if you only have a JAR file. Click them in FExplorer to start app manager, which will install them. The installed apps will appear in the Extras>Apps menu.
- BLZ-files. These files require a special program to install, namely Blizzard installer (https://www.mobiles24.co/downloads/s/138576-m15-n-gage_installer_blz_file_extractor). Put the BLZ file in the root of the MMC card, run Blizzard installer to detect them, and install them from there. They will appear in the main menu.
- ZIP / RAR-files. Some games and apps come in standard compressed packages. Often, they follow the file structure of the N-gage, e.g., SYSTEM->APPS. When you extract them you want to keep this structure. You can start them by navigating to the correct .app in FEXplorer, or from the main menu.
I have always had an interest in emulators, and below I write a few notes on getting emulators for various system to work with the N-gage. I experience some of the N-gage software is getting more difficult to get a hold of, so if someone sitting on a collection of different emulators etc for the unit, please contact me so I can contribute to preserving them.
Frodo C64 emulator
Frodo is a C64 emulator that has been ported to various devices, including Nokia phones.
Get version E32 0.4 here:
To use the emulator, create the folders \documents\e32frodo on your MMC card, and place .D64 and .T64 files there. Image appears to be a bit dragged out vertically.
SMSPlus SEGA Game Gear and Master System emulator
Get it here: http://apple.dcemu.co.uk/smspluss60.shtml
Yewnes shareware version without sound:
Place roms in a yewsoft/nesroms folder on your MMC.
GoBoy (shareware version without sound):
To show the IMEI of your device, press *#06# on the keypad.