Quick Review: Portable Gaming Emulator Part 3

Continued from Quick Review: Portable Gaming Platform Emulator Part 2

Saving your progress


By default, there are 6 slots for saving your progress in games. You can use the 6 slots for any game included in the Internal memory or micro SD card. You can even use it in sports games such as Excitebike, or immensely trivial games such as Tetris or Ms. Pac-Man. By overwriting each slot, you can pretty much go through most lengthy games you have trouble with. Moreover, you can access the save or load game screen by pressing the left trigger button anytime - even while you're tangling with a boss like Mother Brain or King Koopa.

The Save Game option can be accessed by pressing the left trigger button anytime during the game - even during animation or cut sequences. It's especially useful for extremely lengthy games such as Ninja Gaiden II.


Battery


At roughly USD$30.00, the generic gaming emulator has a pretty small battery. At full charge, you can probably play for slightly more than two hours before the system automatically opens to the save screen to ensure you back up your progress before it powers down. The battery indicator on the device is also largely inaccurate. Even after hours of charging, it may only display two bars of battery. You occasionally get away with an extra hour of playtime even if the indicator was dwindling to a single bar. Moreover, you can always connect a power bank if you're moving around.

Note: The product actually charges faster with a smartphone charger. The poor battery life can arguably be attributed to its Linux firmware. If the developers had built it with a more power-efficient Android code and added a larger battery, the portable emulator would probably last significantly longer.


On the plus side, you can play games while it's charging and the product doesn't use a proprietary charger. You can use a USB charger with a longer cable if you want to recline on a sofa as you go climb walls and fall of cliffs as Ryu in Ninja Gaiden. The small battery and inefficient software means it takes quite awhile before you charge the battery pack to full, so you'll be tethered for awhile if you go this route.

Note: As noted, I'm not much of a gamer so an hour is plenty for me. The short battery life of the product is embarrassing if you compare it with the longevity of today's near-immortal smartphones. However, as I completed and tried out dozens of arcade, NES, and GameBoy Advance games, I quickly realized how short games back in the old days were, so I suppose the limited battery life isn't an issue for the typical serious gamer with lightning-quick fingers.


Additional notes and usage


If you end up purchasing this type of portable gaming emulator, the included instructions are in Chinese so the following usage notes may be useful:

1. I'm aware that the Chinese filenames for .nes files and games may put off users. If you're the type of person who supports file sharing via torrents or Usenet, then I don't need to mention that there are plenty of ROMs available and that copying them to the portable emulator's micro SD card works fine.

2. To power on the device, flick the PSP-style switch on the side and then hold down the Start button. You don't need to fiddle around with the power switch afterwards. Just use the Start button.

3. Take care when inserting and reinserting the micro SD card. If you miss the slot, your micro SD card might end up sliding into the circuit board.

4. To change the language of the user interface, navigate to Setting > Language (4th from the top) > English (third from the top).

5. Although the third button doesn't work for Sega Genesis games, NEO GEO and arcade game mapping assignments are supported and the required third button works.



6. You can connect the product to a PC and manage files on the Internal Memory and micro SD. Fedora 25 and Debian work well for transferring ROMs from other sources and renaming the existing filenames.

7. The software doesn't support Zip compressed ROMs. If you have Zip archives of ROMs, extract them before copying them to the Internal memory. Supported file formats include .nes, .gba, .snd, and some types of .bin.

8. Although the screen dimensions are very different from the original Nintendo Game Boy (1989), the emulator adjusts the resolution of the 8-bit black and white games to fill the screen, so visuals actually looks clearer and better than the original. The quality of the ROM affects the adjustment however.

Ninja Gaiden: Shadow for Game Boy on the Game Player X8.

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