User-generated content is one of those buzzwords currently in vogue amongst media companies. It's all part of a 'strategy enabled by a technology platform that's easily adapted to the demands of consumer-direct fulfillment'. Or something.
With N-Gage, Nokia's getting in on the lowest level of such a Do It Yourself philosophy in the shape of game-cum-entertainment application, Yamake.
Fundamentally explained it's a way of taking the photos, videos and audio clips that are on your phone and including them within simple puzzles such as jigsaws and the like, as well as enabling you to create your own word searches, crosswords, top trump-style card games and text-based quizzes.
Yamake is very easy to use. When it comes to the puzzle options, there are jigsaws (which range from nine to 25 pieces), sliding puzzles (from 3x3 to 5x5 grids) or totums, which are 3D sliding puzzles. These range in complexity from a three element-high triangular-based shape (i.e. a 3x3 totum) to a three element-high square-based shape (i.e. a 3x4 totum) and, finally, a three element-high pentagonal-based shape (i.e. a 3x5 totum).
All you do is select the type of puzzle you want to make and then choose the image or movie you want to overlay.
What makes Yamake much more interesting, however, are the distribution options. Once created, you can either send (or receive) a puzzle via Bluetooth or upload to the N-Gage Arena, where – once the application is live – we assume there will be the sort of community-rating features that will allow the most interesting puzzles to be highlighted and shared amongst the N-Gage community. Of course, you can also download puzzles from the Arena for your own playing enjoyment.
We're less sure about the creation process for the other games that were included on our demo phone, as we didn't get the option to make those sorts of games. But it shouldn't be too difficult to set up game-making wizards for word searches, top trumps and so on, although they would be easier to make via a web interface.
But whichever way, someone clearly had been busy and imaginative as examples of such games listed on our demo phone included the American government quiz, Super Cars top trumps, Star Wars top trumps, I Spy test, Stan 'The Man' Lee quiz, the Capital Cities crossword, the Which Sport Car Are You? quiz and the World's Worst Jobs quiz.
Still, we assume Nokia has planned some strong moderation muscle overseeing Yamake because we're sure the initial temptation for users will be to generate some less-than-kid-friendly content will be considerable. Yes, even jigsaws can get mucky, and violent – a happy slapping sliding puzzle anyone?