Video Game Handheld Review (Posted on 07-01-2015)
Video game clones. While economical, and perfect for the casual gamer, it doesn't usually impress the picky/hardcore retro gamer. I know the feeling. This portable thing, however, isn't as bad as I thought.
Back in October 24, 2009, I released a video of a brief overview featuring the Retro Mini X
handheld system. Very decent but the build was cheap and the cartridge flap lasted less than 10 minutes (yes, I'm serious). Also, having to refill the unit with fresh AA batteries constantly was too "nineties" for me and couldn't bare it much longer. The sound was so-so and the video screen aged very quickly, compared to sharp screens of, say, cell phones developing in those days.
I picked this up and was impressed at the sturdy, matte body of the handheld. The screen is very clear (kept the plastic on it ever since), the buttons and directional pad are very responsive, and the volume is very loud. If you're on campus, it has a headphone jack for you to strictly focus on your game without being distracted by the outside ruckus. In between the SELECT and START buttons is a "Contrast/Reset" button. Press that button lightly and it will adjust your contrast—four settings featuring that. Press and hold that button and it resets your game. Why adjust your contrast makes sense: go for the best setting to conserve the most battery. Speaking of battery, it is rechargeable! We've gone a long way and it's about time. For battery life, the box says it'll last, give or take, 8 hours, but I never sat to test the entire actual duration. Depending on your contrast settings, I'm going to throw a dart in the dark and guess the actual battery life lasts at least 5-6 hours. For the accessories, you get an AC adapter, AV cables to connect to your TV, a controller adapter, a plastic stand and a RetroPort adapter to play NES games.
As for compatibility, you guessed it: being that it's a clone system, it will work with at least
90% of the entire NES and SNES library. This little issue is something many gamers don't care to read and/or research—the ones who simply purchase the unit, connect, play, then go online to ask everyone and complain about why certain games don't work. Again, it's a "clone system," which is an informal term used by the gaming community to define a system made with "imitation" parts to operate close to a real console. I'm sure these companies know which parts enable to play all
of the NES and SNES games but couldn't cross that territory without serious copyright issues and/or the purchasing of a special chip that Nintendo® would squint in suspicion. If companies like these are still striving to circumvent these issues, and are able to release THE
system that promises to play everything, plus unlicensed games, Japanese games and European (PAL) games of the NES and SNES library, contact me
, and I love to see and review it.
As for the RetroPort adapter, this was the most disappointing. The adapter acts like a "hot pocket" to your NES game and sticks out of the unit so much it causes a little imbalance between the weight of the handheld and the NES cartridge with the adapter. Worse, the adapter wobbles back and forth which can cause your game to shut off especially during the intensity of the game. Since the adapter 'eats' your NES cartridge like a 'hot pocket,' it is too deep to even try a Famicom cartridge without physically modifying the adapter. Doing so will void your warranty, so proceed to do so if you like. As for the Genesis games, it requires an adapter that's sold separately, and since I don't own one, I can't provide any remarks on it. As for SNES games, it fits nicely and doesn't wobble so playing your SNES games will be fine. Super Game Boy? Excellent. Super Famicom games? You bet; It is compatible with Japanese games. I personally don't own a PAL game, but according to reactions and reviews, I have not seen a complaint, so PAL games should work just fine.
As for the controller adapter, it is compatible with the official SNES controllers. This means that NES and Genesis controllers are of no use. With the adapter, it makes the handheld allow two folks to play without handing over the unit back and forth. Better yet, the unit can act like a home console enabling you to play on your TV using the provided AV cables.
If games like Dragon Warrior
isn't something you look to play with again, nor if you had fond memories playing such games, then I must say: you're looking at a gold mine. I say Dragon Warrior
since this is one of the games that DOES NOT
work with this unit. Trust me, I've cleaned the cartridge pins and made sure it was all secure. The result: no cigar.
If you're one of those casual gamers looking for a blast to the past, this is excellent. If you're a picky/strict retro gamer who wants it all, I strongly recommend a working "toaster-style" or top-loading NES (AV top loader, if you're lucky). Just remember: you'll be paying at least $90+ depending on condition and games packaged with the top-loading NES, so bid smart and best of luck.
I also don't think you should pass up getting $5 off orders over $50 at the Warner Bros Online Shop
© 2008-2019 written and reviewed personally by Kris Caballero.
Video Game Handheld Ratings