[maemo-developers] [maemo-developers] to Nokia: simple method to gain a gaming audience on 770/800

From: Antonio Orlando ant.o at libero.it
Date: Mon Jan 22 19:22:13 EET 2007
I'd like to advance a proposal, mainly to Nokia's Tableteer site  

There's no need to explain why a better gaming experience on the internet  
tablets could boost user-base: of course, for a "high-level" portable  
gaming experience we'll buy a GBA/DS/PSP/GP2X etc.; I know 770/800 is not  
a gaming platform, but if we have a 770/800 in our pocket, and we're in  
gaming mood, and we have no money for a new good game for our GBA these  
times, why not benefit of our ITB's (Internet Tablet) nice display and  
touch screen?

Let me soon underline that I'm not going to ask for a better hardware for  
games, or a better button pad, etc.: nothing needs to be changed, but  
gaming experience on ITB can be *extremely* boosted with a relatively  
simple initiative, better if supported by Nokia itself for its success -  
let me explain it, I hope I succeed in making you see its potential how I  
do, and take action.

You all know how the Nintendo Wii has gained poularity, and sells. With  
this nice console in their living room, plenty of users have access to the  
Internet in a very straightforward way, just like the ITB does on the go  
(incidentally, this reminds me the main current trends of Microsoft and  
Apple: Microsoft at home, Apple on the go).

The Nintendo Wii can be considered, imho, a great alley for Nokia Internet  
Tablets sells and popularity: can you see why?
I own a Nokia 770: let me say that gaming experience, out of the box, is  
very poor. Tak has done a very good job with emulators porting, but this  
cannot be considered a solution: first, most users don't own so much  
arcade boards and nes cartridges in order to legally play their favourite  
games through emulators; second, the hardware keys simply cannot be used  
for a smooth gameplay; third, the average user will not easily find and  
follow the route to emugaming on its tablet.

So, why the Wii can be an alley? Because you can see that lots of Flash  
developers are creating plenty of very nice and enjoyable games... with  
Wii in mind. As the Opera browser can display Flash content, they adapt  
their old games or create new ones scaling down needed resources, fitting  
a TV display, and - above all - making them playable *with just the  
mouse*. This is the real point: just-mouse games!

Wait: this means not that I'm going to propose we should use those games  
on the ITB (even if some of those work almost perfectly on my 770, if I  
set "quality: low" for Flash content display). My suggestion really is:

--->>> steal the "wiicade.com" idea! [1] <<<---

It is a site collecting Flash games adapted to be used on the Nintendo Wii  
console; there's also a voting system, top-rated list, newest ones list,  
search by name field, etc.; developers can submit games (to promote their  
sites, or whatever) and the games are free to use, and easy to find. No  
installation required, no repository in the Application catalogue needed,  
no dependencies, nothing: want to play? click and enjoy! Are you bored?  
Close your browser, or browse back and try another one ;)

I hate Flash sites. But when it comes to games, a Flash plugin can really  
turn a web browser in a simple yet powerful  
sandbox-embedded-gaming-platform. So, we already have built-in in our  
tablets this nice web browser and this popular "embedded-game-platform"  
plugin: and they're the same choice made by Nintendo, one of the best  
gaming companies of the world, for their newest console; they're some  
versions older on ITBs, though, but they are not that bad (and sometimes  
"old" means "faster" too).

As many "mouse-only concept" free Flash games are popping out following  
the Wii trend, Nokia should take advantage of that and gain some  
popularity from those users who could enjoy a portable device capable of  
providing access to plenty of *free* nice games (have I underlined the  
word "free" enough? ;)
Not only free, but easy to "install" (well, no installation is required at  
all), easy to "uninstall" (well, no uninstallation is required at all),  
easy to store and load when offline (they are just swf files, the built-in  
file manager can access them from a memory card just like a mame frontend  
does on zipped roms archives), easy to adapt for developers (it's Flash  
after all).

So, if still you have no idea of what is my proposal, here it is finally:

The default main page in the browser on ITB is the Tableteer: we already  
have a big link to the "Fun for Kids" section, where some games are linked  
to be downloaded and installed. Good, let's share the "Fun for Kids"  
label, even if we all know those "kids" can eventually be more than 30  
years old sometimes ;)
There, I can see fitting the link for a service similar to wiicade.com,  
where developers can submit their games, specifically adapted for use on  
the Internet Tablets. Of course, there will be a clear separation between  
"Nokia 770" games and "Nokia N800" games, where 770 ones will be Flash 6  
compatible, scaled down with simple gfx and optimizations for better  
performance on the slow 770 CPU, loaded with Flash in low-quality mode (no  
antialias) by default, adjusted for absolute mouse positions (as the  
touchscreen requires), and eventually better fitting the display size. I  
suspect these are not so difficult tasks for good Flash developers, but I  
could be wrong: by the way, even if difficult, it could be worth (increase  

Besides, Wii and ITB owners could play the very same games in their  
living-room, and on the go: so the ITB could be a must for Wii owners and  
extreme gamers who love to play some free games when they can't access  
their Wii :)  I'm thinking here to games where a code makes the player  
jump to some level of the game, or games where training is never enough.

So that's all folks: I hope this long message can convey my idea to the  
right readers. Here are some notes and the links following.

Note: wiicade.com is not the only site offering Wii-wise games, e.g.: [2].

Note 2: as an example of a Wii-wise game working nice on the 770 you can  
browse to [3] (put Flash in low-quality mode for best performance).

[1] http://wiicade.com
[2] http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/games/wii/
[3] http://www.wiicade.com/playGame.aspx?gameID=68


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