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Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
I'm guessing 3DS is probably closer to 3-4 based on that.

Status Update: Played some 3DS on my lunch break. Actually a little better than my original guess. I'm running 2x resolution and still getting 4-5 hours roughly. I'm assuming the general purpose Android OS is taking a bigger chunk of the power vs more gaming centric OSes like Switch'es or Steamdeck's, so the power consumption difference between lower and higher end gaming is less vast.


did i do all of that?
Bought a used Retroduo Portable off eBay (something I'd been eying for a while), and it came today. Look at this chonk when using the NES adapter lol:


Haven't used it a ton yet, but the screen is kinda blurry. I wish there were a way to upgrade it - I can't find anything online about possible upgrades or modifications. It's not a deal breaker, as it's perfectly playable, and I mainly wanted it to be able to play portable NES and SNES games (no need for the Genesis or Gameboy adapters since I have a modded Nomad and several different modded Gameboys), which it seems to do fine. I'm curious how battery life will go with Everdrives though...


did i do all of that?
It does come with a screw you can use to screw the cartridge adapter into the system so there's no wobble, which is actually pretty nice QoL thinking but also super, super dumb that it's necessary lol


Summon for hire
Yeah I totally want one of these now. No chance I’m actually going to put in the money, time, and effort to acquire and build one, but I want it.


hardcore retro gamin'
Looking around, it looks like it also released in PAL regions with the same logo and name as the US version, so I assume just to keep some sort of continuity even if they can't use the Top Gear name?

Ghost from Spelunker

Oh wait, I think I get it. I don't know much about Colecovision, but none of these machines are carrying games that were originally on the portable machines, and only Frenzy officially was on the home console.
Still no idea why they are putting two Gremlin Graphics racers (possibly 3?!) on one of these 1980s Coleco nostalgia machines.


Son of The Answer Man
Anbernic RG35XX: GarlicOS Try #2

The dev updated GarlicOS so I decided to give it another try. I think I’m more comfortable with the hotkeys, especially since this build make it more obvious that holding the menu button brings up the hotkey menu, and you can just keep holding it and press another key. I still think that making single-tapping menu exit the game is dumb; but the screenshot/save state Recents menu is fine when that isn’t what the menu key jumps to. Also, fast forward works for everything even if save states are mildly more confusing/less convenient.

On existing systems I had tested in the stock OS and the previous build of GarlicOS:
  • NES cheats now work in the exposed RetroArch menu.
  • Genesis/Mega Drive cheats also work correctly.
  • SNES cheats still give you the black screen you need to manually reset from. However, unlike the stock OS, SNES saves SRAM properly.
  • GBA cheats seem to freeze the game.
  • PS1 cheats work, but (similar to the other cheats) need to be loaded as cht files from the Libreto database rather than the txt files that ePSX uses. I also realized this time that the PS1 files are only read if they’re in the main folder, rather than in subfolders like the stock OS reads. (And if you have multiple files in the rip, it shows the titles of both.)
And various new system Retroarch cores:
  • Atari 2600 works properly, and with a better menu setup than the emulator on the Q90.
  • Atari Lynx works fine.
  • Atari Jaguar runs badly, with jerky music, imperfect inputs and severe slowdown.
  • Pokemini works fine.
  • PC Engine (aka TurboGrafix-16) works fine.
  • Game Gear runs correctly, but activating a cheat code boots you to the menu.
  • Game & Watch works, though it runs oddly and inputs are weirdly mapped. And you need to hotkey to the Retroarch menu to quit out of it.
  • Virtual Boy works, but runs slowly. (30 FPS, it claims?) Fast Forward almost makes it run properly. Overclocking the RG35XX doesn’t seem to change anything. I don’t think I have access to the settings that can fix this—I think it has to come in an update.
  • MSX won’t load any games; I’m not sure if that’s the emulator or my roms.
  • Pico-8 works, and that’s very exciting to me. (Though it doesn’t run all the games I have—the “picozelda” game won’t boot.)
Overall: Okay, I’ll concede that there are definite advantages here, once I get over the hotkey thing, because it adds (working) cheats to NES, Genesis and PS1; fixes the SNES save issue; and adds a bunch of cores so I can play more systems. I’m going to keep half an eye on the next update because this is getting better.


Son of The Answer Man
Game Console Power Bank DY19
($30 on AliExpress)

I’ve labeled this based on the “Product Name” and “Model Number” in the listing, but I don’t actually know who produced it or if there was an original branded device it was based on. AliExpress called this Ultra Clear 3.2 Inch Color Display 2023 New Handheld Game Console Power Bank Can Be Connected To A Tv Childhood Arcade Games. This cost me $30 on AliExpress, and the emulation is shockingly good for $30, even without the dual function of being an impressive power bank.

Actually, let’s talk about it as a power bank, first: It has a battery percentage display that lights up when it’s charging or when something is plugged into it. It has two built-in cords (USB-C and Lightning) that slot into the sides, and it has ports for USB-A, USB-C and micro-USB (though the latter is only for connecting a second controller). It clearly supports fast charging, as evidenced by its ability to refill my phone at fast-charging speeds. 6000 mAh isn’t massive; in theory it’s 1.5 full charges of my 4000 mAh phone battery, though I’m skeptical after watching the meter drop 25% to fill my phone 10%. (Further testing on a full charge is needed.) The plastic shell feels durable and like something that could bump around in your backpack without serious harm (though I’m considering buying a screen protector), and the power switch is an actual slider switch that isn’t going to turn on accidentally.

As an emulator handheld, it isn’t overall great, but it’s amazing for a dual-function $30 device. It plays NES, SNES, GB, GBA, MD and various arcade systems. It has a d-pad and an analog stick, six play buttons and start/select/reset all on the face. It has a headphone jack (and came with component cables for attaching to a TV), a physical volume wheel, and a removeable SD card full of roms. And I mean full, there probably are 10,000 roms on there…though while they’re all English and Japanese roms, they’re all labeled in Chinese, so there’s a bunch of guesswork in determining what you’re playing. (If you care, you can relabel or replace all the roms on the SD card. I added a few to test and they worked fine. I wasn’t able to figure out how to replace the eight default home screen games, though.)

But then we get to the limitations of the system: This has a 3.2”, 4:3 aspect screen, which works great for most of the systems this supports but stretches everything to fit. There’s no ability to resize the screen, remap keys, use cheats, or fast-forward. This doesn’t support sram saves on any systems, and each game seems limited to a single save state. Reset works as a Menu button in game and, oddly, as the back button in the menus. The buttons themselves are a bit stiff and the layout isn’t ideal; not unplayable, but it fights my muscle memory and means you have to hold the device in a suboptimal way. The metallic charging port section at the bottom isn’t nearly as comfortable to hold as the softer and rounded plastic sides.

And the emulation is decent but not perfect. The arcade games I tried ran well. GB and GBC run fine, though they’re slightly stretched to fullscreen. GBA is a little janky; it felt like the speed games were running at wasn’t perfectly consistent and the music was a little weird. Genesis generally seemed fine, though it didn’t recognize the roms I tried to add. NES music is tinny, though the gameplay seems fine. (For NES specifically, Select maps to L rather than the Select button, which is a little odd. As with most NES emulators, Y and X map to turbo buttons.) SNES has some transparency issues and frameskip, but it’s running at full speed in everything I tested.

And as an amusing side note, Amazon has a crappier version of this (500 built-in Famiclone games, 4 buttons and no analog stick, slightly smaller screen) listed for $120!

Overall: There’s absolutely no reason, in 2023, to buy this specifically as an emulator handheld. You can do much, much better for not much more money. But as both a backup battery and a backup entertainment device? It’s not bad! I can see throwing it in my backpack when traveling rather than a different travel battery.


Son of The Answer Man
Data Frog SF2000
($12 on AliExpress)

This was listed as “VILCORN SNPRO Retro Game Consol 3 Inch IPS Srceen Portable Gaming Players Mini Consoles for Gameboy GBA SEGA SNES Kid Gift”, but it’s the same device as the Data Frog SF2000. I had actually purchased a differently-branded one a few months ago, but it was DOA and despite opening it up with hopes it could be resuscitated, there was nothing to be done. Fortunately, this one works fine.

This has no illusions about being a hardcore device. It's only got a small selection of systems: SNES, SNES, Genesis, Game Boy, GBA, GBA, and MAME. And the emulation in almost all of them is pretty good! SNES is slowed down to the point of being absolutely unplayable, but the other systems (interestingly, including Genesis) work just fine. The screen is a little small, but at the right aspect ratio for nothing to be particularly stretched. Genesis maps one of the buttons to the R trigger, which is odd but dealable (and fixable). There's a colorful, kid-friendly interface with four games in "quick access" for each system (I'm not sure you can swap them, though). There's no menu button, so you have to press Start + Select for the menu, and your only options available are save states (of which there are four slots per game). No cheats, no fast-forward, no resizing, no frills. But it does have key remapping for each system, and a recents, favorites and search function for games. Oh, and it came with a RCA cable for TV output; so though I didn’t test it, you should be able to do big screen play on this.

I've got to say, for $12 (or even for $20, which is what you're more likely to see), this is fantastic. For that price you usually see NES-on-a-chip 500-in-1 handhelds without any save capacity, loaded with bootleg roms you can't change. And make no mistake, this feels like a toy. In my hands, it feels like a knockoff SNES controller made of brightly-colored, toy-grade plastic. (The weird bulge in the back seems like it wouldn’t work, but this thing is actually pretty ergonomic, and decent for large hands.) But it's got an SD card so you can edit the contents, a huge variety of games (that save sram and have usable, if awkward save states). It's a Tier 1 device, but it's a better device than my (2019) 9X-S handheld was on all aspects other than screen size. (And even there, the screen has a better aspect ratio so fewer games are stretched.)

This can't compete with something like the Miyoo Mini+, but then, that's not the competition at this price point. For $10-20, this is direct competition against things like the FC500, GamesPower, My Arcade Go Gamer, or Lexibook Cyber Console. And it blows those out of the water. Heck, the screen is better than a $30 Powkiddy Q90 (though it is less portable).

Overall: I wish I could remove the SNES collection entirely because it’s a trap taking up space, but otherwise we've finally found something really cheap but genuinely worthwhile for the price.


Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
I've been seeing a lot a buzz over the Powkiddy RGB30 lately. Mainly that it is the perfect Pico 8 handheld because of its 1:1 screen ratio.

Octopus Prime

Has anyone had any success playing Turbo CD games on a Retroid?

Because I would like to but the secrets to how to pull it off elude me!


Son of The Answer Man
M17 Retro Handheld
($40 on AliExpress)

The one I got had the BOYHOM brand name on it, but there are bunch of manufactures churning out copies of the M17, a budget gaming handheld that superficially resembles a PSP crossed with a Switch Lite. It’s selling for $40 most of the places I saw it, but I’m not certain it’s really worth it.

It’s got a decent feel to it, a little heft, certainly not high-end but not super-cheap, either. It’s running a locked-down version of EmuElec, which loads and runs slowly; I suspect it’s a little underpowered and unoptimized. It doesn’t give you any options to change controls, set hotkeys, change the display (besides a brightness control) or use cheats. It doesn’t have a dedicated menu button (the + and – at the top are volume controls), so you have to press Start + Select to pull up the menu to use save states or exit a game. (And there’s only one save state per game!) The screen isn’t great, but it’s a respectable 4.3”, clearly designed for widescreen games. It has the common problem that it stretches all the 4:3 and 3:2 systems (that is, pretty much everything that this will play) to 16:9. And, as you might guess, you can’t change that. This came loaded with 20,000 games (sorted by system), and while you can assign favorites, it doesn’t have a “recent” folder or search system. And the A and B and X and Y button positions are swapped on the keypad!

In my review of the RG 351P, I talked about the tiers of emulator handhelds. We’ve entered a period where so-called “budget” handhelds (generally the sub-$100 category, which is amusing to me because the $100 RG350 was top of the line three years ago) are straddling between tier 2 and 3: The RG35XX and Miyoo Mini+, both currently selling for around $60, can play up to PS1 beautifully and there are tricks for getting them to manage some N64 and DS games. They’re also full featured, with all of RetroArch available and multiple custom firmwares you can use to customize them, which means they’re the systems to beat. (And you can still get a PowKiddy Q90 for a measly $30, which remains a low-end Tier 2.)

Anyway, this device has “PSP” all over the branding, but it doesn’t actually run PSP well. It comes loaded with low-end PSP games and when I loaded one it warned me that it was having performance issues and I should try frameskip (which it apparently enables automatically? It’s not clear). Well, I would fiddle with the settings, except that I can’t—that’s also not an available option. It can’t really handle N64 either; some games run okay, but they’re janky and the music is messed up—but besides the various issues this is definitively a “tier 2” system by my old rankings.

And boy, there’s plenty of weirdness as you go digging. I’m guessing it’s related to poorly-implemented software or, in some cases, things like undocumented hotkeys. Some PS1 games are missing background music; though I suspect that’s rom-specific. Atari Lynx games randomly rotate the screen when you enter and leave the game menu. SNES games randomly reset when you try to save states. Sram saves work for some systems but not for others; I have no idea how game-specific that is. The stretched screens makes it feel like you move much faster left and right than up and down in games that aren’t side-scrollers; which throws off gaming reflexes.

Apparently there’s some noise about cracking this and making custom firmware for it; Taki Udon has a big video about the work he needed to do to crack open the system and improve all of the bad settings. He also posted his replacement SD card image for the system. So I gave that a shot; I unpacked it onto a proper Sandisk SD card and copied over the rom lists.

The verdict? It’s definitely better overall. The good: The displays are no long stretched and the buttons are all configured properly, and the save/load screen is replaced with the RetroArch menu. (And that menu includes cheat options; I didn’t test them but adding cheat files should at least be possible.) PSP clearly runs better (Breath of Fire 3 was perfectly playable), though not perfectly and it’s not going to manage heavier-duty games. The bad: Several systems, including SNES and GBA, don’t scale perfectly, so letters come out jagged and hard to read. There are also some SNES emulation issues with weird graphical glitches, though the ones I saw were minor. N64 doesn’t particularly run better, and now half the screen is covered with an overlap of all the run stats so it’s hard to see, too. And though the settings are changed for the better, you can’t adjust them any further yourself. The neutral: The theme is different, and there aren’t pictures for a bunch of the systems. Eh, whatever. Also, I think you should be able to add systems like Pico-8 or Virtual Boy (it looks like the cores are in there), but I couldn’t figure out how to do it.

And as a last note, this burned through its battery fairly quickly, and though I didn’t do thorough testing it’s definitely got less than 4 hours of power.

Overall: I bought this on a whim because it was cheap and I wanted to try it out before giving it away. It’s not terrible (especially with a new $5 SD card and an hour of work), but it’s still not in the same weight class as the $60 handhelds for the lower-end systems, and the larger screen isn’t adding value when it’s either stretching the images or staying blank. I’m thinking of putting it up on eBay to get my money back.


Son of The Answer Man
Heads-up to anyone using an RG35XX: Version 1.0 of Koriki is out, and it's really nice. It's a lightweight version of Batocera that manages to make N64 shockingly playable, plus it's prettier and overall more functional than GarlicOS. (PSP also runs, amazingly, but the screen is really too small for it.) It's currently being debugged (you'll actually see me in the GitHub thread about it) because there are a bunch of smaller systems that don't run properly and other glitches here and there, but I suspect I'm going to switch over to it entirely, especially once v1.1 comes out.


Son of The Answer Man
RG35XX: Koriki OS (v1.01)

I had been keeping an eye on this one for a while: It’s yet another fan-made OS for the Anbernic RG35XX, and it’s better than GarlicOS for most purposes.

So, this is a lightweight Batocera port. It takes ~10-15 seconds to boot up, and it does drain the battery faster than the stock OS or GarlicOS, but not radically so—I think you get closer to 3 hours of playtime than 4. (Some people have complained about it not shutting down properly after charging. This can be addressed by just booting it up after charging and shutting it down properly afterwards.) It’s brighter and prettier than either of the other OSs, and splits the systems into consoles, handhelds, arcade and home computers.

My biggest complaint is that, as you might have noticed, I like having a dedicated Menu button that…brings up the menu. This retains most of the hotkeys from GarlicOS, only now the Menu button by itself does nothing. The important things to remember are that Menu+X brings up the Retroarch menu, and Start + Select exit games.

If you manually copy the Liberto database into Retroarch/cheats, you can access cheat files for nearly everything. For that matter, you can add an Img folder and put in box art if you’re so inclined. (I probably am not, but I think it’s a cool feature.)

  • Game Boy – Runs well. The RetroArch menu is a little grainy but the games look fine. Properly saves sram. Save states work. Cheats work. Fast forward works. Game Boy Color had similar results.
  • Game Boy Advance defaulted to a bad version of the mGBA core in v1.0, which had some slowdown and graphical issues. When I manually switched the core to gpSP it worked fine. (In both cases, cheats worked.) Per a suggestion from the discussion page, turning off vsync in the Video settings seemed to solve the problem. That said, this seems to have been solved by switching the mGBA core version in 1.01. Fast-forward still doesn’t really work, though.
  • Game Gear – Runs well. Cheats work. Fast forward works.
  • Lynx – Runs well. Fast forward and save states work. Cheats seem to work, too.
  • Neo-Geo Pocket – Runs well. Fast forward and save states work.
  • Wonderswan - Runs well. Fast forward and save states work. The select button can be used to rotate the screen.
  • Pokemini – According to the dev, this was left out of v1.0 but added in v1.01; I still couldn’t get it to work.
  • PSP – It registers games and will attempt to run them. The graphical fidelity isn’t great—I tested Breath of Fire 3 and the text wasn’t really legible. It ran mostly at full speed, though, with occasional hiccups in the music. None of the regular menu hotkeys work; I couldn’t actually get to a menu to test any features or leave the game without pressing the reset button. I needed to open PPSSPP from the apps menu and remap “pause” to L2 so I could bring up the menu. (Honestly, this is mostly a curiosity, because a 3.5” 4:3 screen really isn’t big enough to play PSP games on. It’s damn impressive that he got PSP running on this device at all!)
  • DS – This didn’t run in v1.0 (and would lock up the system), but was fixed in v1.01 and from there ran decently. The unused L2/R2 buttons were mapped to swapping the screens, and there’s no touchscreen or even a useful stylus (because there’s no analogue stick to map it to), but I could see playing something like a Dragon Quest game on this. The Drastic menu is accessible, but so small I could barely read it, so I didn’t try mapping in a cheat file.
  • NES – Runs well. Cheats, fast forward and save states work.
  • SNES – Saves sram and manages fast-forward, but activating a cheat crashes the game back to the menu. (A terribly common problem on this device! I wonder if it’s some sort of flaw in the base RetroArch setup.)
  • Virtual Boy – In v1.0, it wa left out and games wouldn’t run. I tried a fix from the dev and successfully got it working; it runs a little slowly and fast-forward doesn’t work, but it’s playable and better than the half-speed in GarlicOS. That fix was added to v1.01; and combined with turning on video threading in the settings, it’s playable if not perfect.
  • Master System - Runs well. Fast forward and save states work. Oddly, my initial notes said cheats worked in v1.0, but they dumped me to the menu when I tried them in v1.01.
  • Genesis – Runs well. Cheats, fast forward and save states work.
  • Atari 2600 – Runs fine and save states work.
  • PC Engine – Runs well. Cheats, fast forward and save states work.
  • Playstation – Runs well. There were some minor graphical glitches, but it wasn’t clear to me if that was the emulation or a result of cheat codes I tried. Cheat codes worked, as did save states and fast-forward.
  • N64 – Games run surprisingly well! It’s not perfect, but Mario Kart 64 was downright playable.
  • SegaCD - Games still won’t run.
  • MAME – Works fine for all the games I tried.
  • NeoGeo – Gives a white error screen.
  • Final Burn Alpha – Games won’t run at all. Then I swapped my FBA folder to FBN, and Final Burn Neo runs for at least some of the roms I have.
Home Computers:
  • Pico-8 – Doesn’t seem to have any buttons mapped, which makes it very hard to play. There’s apparently a manual fix for this, but it’s more technical than I could manage.

Also, I didn’t encounter any systems where the keys weren’t mapped properly or the screen was at a bad aspect. Yes, you could open up the RetroArch menu and fix either of those, but it’s nice when you don’t have to.

And it seems like the dev is still poking at it, so eventually there will be at least a v1.02 that will presumably fix a few more of the bugs.

Overall: This loses a little of the “pick-up-and-play” aspect that the stock OS had and GarlicOS maintained—if you loved the OnionOS/GarlicOS auto-save state and recents menu, you’ll be disappointed here. And GarlicOS has a much better sleep mode. But this gives you working cores for a LOT of systems and runs several that I never thought this device could manage. I like it!