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Nostalgia – Top Gaming Phones Before Smartphones Existed

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As we have been in the phone era for a while, we have some pretty decent feature phones when it came to gaming back then. There were people who wanted a Gameboy Color or Nintendo through which they can also take calls. In such time, many phone makers worked things around and came up with gaming-dedicated phones. However, only a few of them got to live up to the hype while others went down. If such phones ever came into existence today, a lot of people would burn their money just to get a feel of it once.

- Updated: 1st Apr 2022, 03:58 IST
  • 1
    Nokia N-Gage
  • 2
    Samsung SPH-B5200
  • 3
    Nokia 1100
  • 4
    Nokia 6600
  • 5
    Motorola Razr
  • 6
    Sony Ericsson Xperia Play
  • 7
    BlackBerry Curve 9300

Gaming, whenever we hear this word, the mind of an interested person goes like, what, where, which one? And ever since smartphones came into the picture, gaming has got better and we can see real money is smartphone eSports these days. Back then, it wasn’t the same picture as neither the games nor phones were this good. However, a couple of phone makers did their homework and tried by launching gaming-dedicated phones with some innovative designs. As we move forward to a better tech generation, we ought to once have a look at what we came through. Here, we are going to discuss the top gaming phones that bring us nostalgia which was launched way before smartphones came into the party. 

Also read: Top 5 gaming smartphones of 2019

Nokia N-Gage

Nokia N-Gage
Source: engadget

Nokia launched the N-Gage in late 2003 when a few people or kids wanted to have a single device in their pocket instead of a Game Boy Advance and phone. Although the design of the N-Gage looked more like the Nokia 3300, it had a bigger display and more buttons to have a better gaming experience. Moreover, it supported wireless multiplayer gaming over Bluetooth, so good it was like your friends also had to get the phone to play.

Also Read: Top 5 Educational games for your kid

And unlike how things are now, the games for N-Gage are in MMC Memory card cartridges which you get only insert after removing the battery. It was one of the most sold gaming phones back and then it had the tag of taco phone because you have to hold the phone sideways in order to make a call too. To fix the MMC Memory card issue, later came the Nokia N-Gage QD which had a larger display as well.

Samsung SPH-B5200

Samsung SPH B5200

In 2006, Samsung tried its part in the gaming section of phones and launched the SPH-B5200 which had bi-directional gamepads, which meant you could game in either portrait or landscape and still have access to the gamepad. To add to that, it came with an accelerometer for motion control and a 3-inch QVGA display. It also had the DMB digital TV receiver but as it was priced at the high-end, it soon saw its way out of the market.

Also Read: Top 5 games for kids on Android

Nokia 1100

Gaming Phones before Smartphones Nokia 1100
Source: hum3d

Who remembers this snake game beast phone when it came to battery life? The Nokia 1100 came with a backlit monochrome graphic display and an 850 mAh battery. With that battery, it could possibly run for a week back then with minimal usage. And known for its rigid body, the Nokia 1100 had the most widely played game, the Snake game where you had to collect apples and get going while the snake grew bigger. It was the game of the ages back then where everyone had their heads down to get that high score to beat others.

Nokia 6600

Gaming Phones before Smartphones Nokia 6600
Source: pakrevolution

The Nokia 6600 was one of the most popular Nokia phones ever made. You can probably remember watching it at least once in someone’s hand. With a 2.4-inch display, it came with a bulk boy that gripped in hands perfectly. It was one of the first to have support for Java-based applications and games. It came with pre-installed games like Backgammon II, Snake III, Golf Tour, and Rally 3D which were really fun playing. With realistic animations, better graphics, and a 2-megapixel digital camera, the Nokia 6600 was one of the best phones you could play basic games on.

Also read: Top 10 mobile phones in India

Motorola Razr

Motorola Razr
Source: Parade

Not to forget the most nostalgic experience phone by Motorola back then, the Motorola Razr, Lenovo after acquiring Moto launched the Moto Razr foldable smartphone. But the older Motorola was what gave the best experience in terms of handling and build quality. The launch of the first version was way back in 2003 and Motorola revised the device with various generations, but nothing clicked as much as the Motorola Razr V3. It too supported Java-based games so you could easily sideload or install games like Splinter Cell, Bubble Soccer, Tomb Raider 2, Golf Club V and more. 

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play

Gaming Phones before Smartphones Sony Ericsson Xperia Play

Sony launched the Sony Play Station 2 out in the market in 2011 along with PSP. But they wanted to try it out in the phone field. Hence launched the Ericsson Xperia Play which is the Play Station phone by many. In fact, it had the Play Station gaming keys, along with shoulder triggers and virtual thumbsticks. Also, Sony launched some Play Station One games in a special store to try them out on this device. Although it seemed to gain traction, it lost its way and that was the end of the Xperia Play lineup. 

Also read: Things to do before handing out your smartphone for repair

BlackBerry Curve 9300

Gaming Phones before Smartphones BlackBerry Curve 9300
Source: Phonesdata

After many revisions, BlackBerry came up with the Curve 9300 in 2010 which sported a 2MP camera along with the optical trackpad that was introduced in the Torch. Although other competitors came up, the Curve lineup wasn’t affected because it had its own way of perks which were easy to message. And with BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), they had a significant advantage over other phone makers. And coming to the games, the BlackBerrys had various Java-based games with excellent gameplay such as Cricket, Subway Surfers, Soccer, Naruto, GTA, and more.

Also read: Best smartphones for a student



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Highlights of the Story

  • Gaming has evolved a long way, especially after the introduction of smartphones.
  • There are many gaming dedicated smartphones these days when compared to the older gaming dedicated feature phones.
  • While we had them around, only a few people showed keen interest in buying which ultimately resulted in gaming phones going down.

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