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April 1, 2015

A Gamer on the Go

An early Nokia smartphone made me a better gamer.

For some people, the stereotype of a “gamer” is of an unwashed, unemployed, lonely man-child who lives in his parents’ basement.

That stereotype never fit me. First of all, my parents’ house didn’t have a basement. Second, my hygiene was (and is) impeccable. Third, I had plenty of friends … oh, never mind.

But it is true that I played a lot of games, starting on a PC and working my way through various console systems. In fact, I played so many games that I defied the gamer stereotype in another way: I got a job writing about them.

As an editor for PC Gamer, the world’s best-selling PC gaming magazine, I thought I had it all: a career stemming from my passion, a steady paycheck, and all the games I could play. What more could a man-child need?

But part of the equation was missing. What would I play when not at my PC or console? For example, my daily 45-minute commute was totally devoid of gaming.

What was I supposed to do, read? Or, worse, subject myself to human interaction? Quelle tragédie! Handheld gaming platforms existed, but they were cumbersome and just more stuff to lug around.

My First Nokia Phone

I was also a bit of a gaming snob. As a hardcore gamer, my dismissive attitude towards mobile games was that they were too simplistic to be considered “real” games.


That all changed with the Nokia N-Gage QD, a mobile phone created especially for gamers. It was designed to operate just like a handheld gaming system, with a directional control pad on the left, a screen in the middle, and number keys on the right that doubled as button inputs.

Best of all, the N-Gage boasted many big-name titles such as “The Sims 3,” “Civilization,” “Prince of Persia,” and “Age of Empires III.” The N-Gage QD was also a Series 60 smartphone, so it was equipped with the latest features and calling functions for the time.

As a longtime pinball fan, my favorite game turned out to be “Mile High Pinball.” This isn’t just a good game for mobile phones. It’s a great game, period.

The objective is to keep your ball bouncing upwards into a successive number of pinball tables. Instead of losing a ball, it just falls down a level. I was addicted to this game for months.

Pocket Gamer

From that point on, my interest grew in mobile phones as a gaming platform. I even eventually became the editor-in-chief for a publication devoted to mobile gaming.

It was at that magazine that I began to appreciate smartphones for what they are: very powerful computers small enough to fit in your pocket. The experiences these devices offer can be just as complex and enriching as those found on their larger, less portable brethren.

With the cross-platform development opportunities coming in Windows 10, I’m more excited than ever for what the future holds for Lumia.

Soon, developers can create apps that work on any Windows 10-powered device, from phone to tablet to PC to Xbox. Just imagine buying one app and having it work across every device you own.

That’s a revolution not just in games but also in app development–one I’ve been waiting a long time for.

My name is Chuck, and I’m the new deputy editor for Conversations. Armed with my Lumia 1520, there’s a lot more than games for me to talk about these days. For instance, the 20-megapixel camera on my new phone is ah-MAZE-ing!

This is shaping up to be a fantastic year for Microsoft and Lumia, and I’m eager to share every bit of it with you.