That is untill now (well... sometime later "this year", as far as we're aware), as Nokia - just like both Microsoft and SONY have done - make their way into the gaming world with a big name and reputation, with the Nokia "N-Gage" that many believe could finally be "the one" to put a dent in Nintendo's hopes and inevitable dreams...
But should Nintendo really be worried about this new competitor, and concerned with what it may have the potential to do within the not-too-distant future?
We all know Nokia as the Scandinavian manufacturers of those little annoying phones that everyone seems to have these days; with their bleeping and their blaring, they just won't shut-up! And they're new to the gaming world, with no experience of how games consoles sell, or even games. But from the millions of 33', 32', 52', 83'..., and so-many other '10's they have sold during the last-few-years alone, they know a good thing-or-two about marketing products and how to attract and give the consumers what they want - which is actually an area that Nintendo doesn't seem to have been doing too-well in with the GameCube alone...
Just like both SONY and Microsoft were before them, Nokia step into the gaming universe with a name that everyone instantly recognises - no matter how old, or how young, they are; everybody knows `Nokia` (despite how some may say it).
With Nokia's experience and success at attracting a large target market zone, and giving it just what it needs, you can easily see that this may be an area the N-Gage could succeed by beating the GameBoy Advance in an area Nintendo don't concentrate on too-well, unlike its more successful opposition.
The GBA may have been out for nearly 2-years now, but just look at the world-wide sales figures for SONY's PlayStation2 - a console that's been around for not a great-deal longer than the GBA. It's only really a matter of months that seprates the 2 leading consoles' ages.
Who's to say that *NOKIA's* hand-held phone/console-hybrid couldn't achieve similarly impressive figures, in the same sort of time period, just because of who they are??
If there's one thing that's kept the GameBoy Advance a success for so-long, then it's got to be the games available really.
Not only have Nintendo been supplying its fans with all-they-could-want (and more) during the last 18-months-or-so, but this machine is also backwards-compatible with all other existing GameBoy games you may've played on your GameBoy Colour, Pocket, or even on one of those bulky, original models. And that just speaks for itself really, giving the GameBoy Advance a back-catalogue of games spanning through hundreds of different titles, closing-in on the 1,000 mark. And with games like the Super Nintendo-classic `The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past` on the way soon, along with more Super Mario, and Kirby; it doesn't look like the real Nintendo fans will want to turn to anything else any-time-soon!
How could Nokia's N-Gage have anything anywhere near as impressive to offer??!
When you put the words "Nokia" and "Game" together in one sentence, you instantly think of "Snake"; that addictive little 2-D game available on every-single Nokia phone (and PC's of some 10-years-ago). But with a little help from the likes of SEGA, THQ, Eidos, Activision, and Taito; the N-Gage could soon have impressive line-up for its initial launch with the likes of Sonic, Tomb Raider, Moto GP, Super Monkey Ball, (plus more!) that could really start to put the likes of Mario Kart: Super Circuit and Golden Sun to bed (....Well, maybe not straight-away, anyway...).
But while that may be an impressive list for a good-start from launch, it's not like Nintendo's proven-winner won't be getting its fair-share either.
Aswell as sequel to Golden Sun in `The Lost Age`, more Pokémon, and all those games I mentioned earlier; Lara Croft, Sonic the Hedgehog, and several monkeys-in-balls will all be appearing on the GameBoy Advance in several all-new addittions that could really show those "Vikings" that gaming may not be the place for them, afterall!
It seems fair to say that Nintendo have the edge here when it comes to the games, and with a quick glimpse into the future, it looks like things could stay that way for a very-long time, at least. Then again, with the N-Gage's launch still several-months-away yet, Nokia may still have a few more tricks hidden up their sleeves...
After all, this "N-Gage" won't be just about playing games. Unlike the GameBoy Advance, you'll also be able to talk to other people like any-other Nokia system, with some extra added features that may eventually allow you to communicate with others via. the internet, while also using the device as an MP3 player, with a built-in FM Radio too. All that, PLUS the something-else that GBA hasn't got (without an Afterburner); a properly back-lit colour screen. Sounds impressive, no?
Can the GameBoy Advance do any of that? Not without the assitance of some kind of add-on or something that'll get you paying extra.
It may not be entirely focused on gaming, as a games console, like the GameBoy Advance, the Nokia N-Gage still has the potential to be a huge-hit with everyone - just like the PS2 and X-Box have been (compared with the GameCube) partly because of the extra un-neccesary featurs of a games console; like DVD play-back.
So I think it's likely that this could one-day be "the PS2 of the hand-held market", with Nintendo taking its "familliar" position in last-place.
But while it may seem like it could all sway in the direction of Nokia's favour, this time, there is one key-factor I have failed to mention so-far....
And that is the release of Nintendo's GameBoy Advanced in the `GameBoy Advance SP` - a superior hand-held games console like no-other that could really give gamers something else to think about by the time Nokia's N-Gage finally comes around.
The 2 GBA's may be identical in terms of graphics and the like, but it's the design that has changed more than anything; making this "enhancement" one-step-better than the console that simply cannot be beaten, right now.
Most importantly, the GBA SP now has a front-lit screen (something that we all wanted initially with the original 'Advance). So now Nintendo gamers will finally be able to play in all conditions - light or dark - without having to fiddle around with this-and-that to get the lighting perfect, or to have to spend around £15-extra on a set of lights that still only does the job half-as-well.
People who thought the original was compact, or that the GameBoy Pocket was actually pocket-sized will now be pleased to see how incredibley compact this product really is, as it folds-up into something you can discreetly slip in and out of your pocket, unlike that bulky Nokia design.
It's also been noted (from initial screen-shots of both consoles) that the GBA SP fits most comfortabley into your hands, with good button-placement also playing a big part in making this a hand-held your hands will feel happy to hold. Where as the N-Gage does look rather SEGA GameGear-ish. And it surely can't be that easy to master using all those buttons, at once?
Overall, at this stage it looks clear to me that Nintendo have done the gamers justice once-again in providing us with a product that fails to dissapoint, and should also over-come its opposition with little - or no - interference what-so-ever.
The GameBoy Advance is by-far the better-choice of the 2, with its impressive line-up of games that could make even the biggest of anti-Ninty's turn their heads.
But as we've seen in the "main" console war already, having the likes of Super Mario, Samus Aran, and Link on you side still isn't enough to shake-off the "cool" and "popular" PS2 with its Grand Theft Auto series - even if there is better stuff on-offer elsewhere.
I think Nintendo should still be concerned with the Nokia N-Gage, when it does come out. So what if they broke the 1-million mark several months ago? SONY have already shown us that you can achieve a lot more when given that same amount of time. All you have to do is get your name around, and to give your audience somethign they'll want. But Nintendo aren't too-good at doing this; and that is why I am beginning to fear (slightly...) for the future of the GameBoy Advance, and even the 'SP.
The GC to GBA link up would be great if newer games were out on the GBA. Why? Because all these new games will have things to link up to the GC for. At the moment that link up looks useless because all I've read you can use it on is Metroid Prime to get a new costume or the whole SNES game itself.
Thats all good but why not make a few more new, orignal games which have this kinda stuff link-up wise. Or even better, better stuff then that.
Forget it, just give me a new handheld altogether and start a new. Grrrrrr
But yes, as said this is pretty good news for us. I've been waiting some time now to actually play my GBA, it just lays around my room screaming "PUT A DECENT GAME IN ME" but that never happens. It also screams "I'M FED UP WITH SNES PORTS AND THE SUCH" and so do I.
Why are Nintendo concentrating on the Cube? Because theres competition there. With the GBA I don't see any and so it is left up to crappy devlopers to shift the console and its games.
Hey, Its actually good news for Nintendo to get some competition.
Why do I have my doubts? They already have phones priced over £100 on the market.
I don't think that's too-bad. But it doesn't kinda open the door for EVERYONE to buy one, just because it's from Nokia, and that makes it "cool" (like the PS2).