Despite my best hopes, the N-Gage found a fairy fountain and has been revived. However, it's not what you think.
Currently, there are lots of rumors floating around the web, all pointing to a Nokia blog entry, which basically says that at this year's GDC in March, Nokia will show off it's new N-Gage and by this fall, it'll be available. (Note the author's name Ikona is an anagram of Nokia...they're so cute *pukes*.)
The bulk of the writing that I've seen on this so far has suggested, or assumed, that Nokia is going to debut a new hardware unit. Jokes of the taco shape and side talking are suddenly en vogue again (hey people, I was making fun of this thing before you were out of high school!).
I surmise that N-Gage is simply the name for the new gaming software package that Nokia will have on all of its phones (or most of them). For example, they can say, "buy these Nokia phones with N-Gage built in!", and so on.
I don't know why this was so hard to figure out. The blog says:
As we have not yet announced the full range of N-Gage compatible devices, we cannot specifically address the question of a dedicated gaming device. However all of our N-Gage ready mobiles will be capable of playing next generation N-Gage games.
The N-Gage as we know it is dead. It's ghostly apparition is that of a feature rich software package which has already proven to be successful.
Successful and N-Gage? Have you lost your mind? No, dear reader, you see, the problem with the N-Gage was not the games, it was the hardware. If Nokia can take what it learned from the software side of things and give publishers a robust platform on which to make games, much less entice them with the knowledge that the N-Gage software will be built in on almost every Nokia phone, well, I think we have a recipe for success.
So there you have it. The N-Gage is not back, but the name is sticking around as the name of the gaming platform on Nokia phones. I can safely return my silver bullets, garlic, crucifix, et al, knowing that the evil taco has finally been put to rest.