The Hyperkin RetroN SQ

This is not how you launch a product. I mean right out of the box the GBA emulation is broken. If you don’t know, this is a new console that is designed to play Original Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and Gameboy Advance game carts. Hyperkin has already proven that they can do GBA emulation on the RetroN 5. The RetroN SQ is built around the same concept technology using RetroArch for the firmware. And RetroArch has proven that it is more than capable in producing excellent GBA emulation. Right out of the box, available only because of bad reviews and complaints, I had to flash the firmware fix from the Hyperkin site. Then I had to go to youtube for RoXolid’s fix for the frame skip issue. After those flashes, perfect GBA emulation. The firmware is located on a micro SD card that is in a slot on the back of the console.

The console only plays game carts, so you would need to have a collection of the game carts to even have an interest? Obviously this is not built for the casual gamer. I mean how many people would actually seek this out unless they were into retro gaming. And then it would be questionable if anyone had a desire to play games designed to run on 2 to 3 inch screens to finally be able to play them on their 32″ plus flatscreens? Blockiness of the situation would be normal due to the nature of the beast.

Hammerin’ Harry- Gameboy

I have a nice big collection of the old original gray carts, a smattering of the color, and a small bunch of GBA. There was a blurriness, a smoothing effect, to the games until the firmware updates. Now everything is sharp which emphasizes the blockiness of the gaming graphics. The update also reduced the game load times, 2 to 3 minutes now, depends on the game, it could take longer, because it does download your games into the console for play. Some gamers have an issue with that. If you can get over the blocky pixelated graphics, it is not a bad console. But it does lose something when you go from the GBA screen to the HDMI screen. They were never meant to be played on the big screen. For example, I’d rather play Street Fighter alpha 3 on my GBSP. Sakura’s image is so much more appealing, and likable. Apparently the GBSP screen does the same thing as if you had scan lines? The pixels from the small screen just do not translate well to the large screen, but that does not make them unplayable. Just takes some getting used to. Some RPGs look better than others on the big screen. And the console does have an aspect ratio switch in the back. There are no menu screens to change anything. The color pallet that they give you for the original gameboy games, you’re stuck with it. Just a simple insert cart and push the “on button.” And the insertion of the cart feels like the original slot. Just a simple insert, the pins do not grab, no force either way, in or out. And for some reason there is a reset Button, something that none of the Gameboy line of consoles had.


My only dislike is the powercord change. All of their consoles, till now, used the same thing, something like a micro usb. Why the change. The connection on the console is the same as the Switch lite, type-C.

On the back is the Micro Memory card slot, aspect ratio switch, HDMI, and the Type-C ports.

The controller is good and responsive, no issues. I can play R-Type with no problem. Has a ten foot long cord, no complaints there. It seems to be a standard simple SNES controller. It is like they just used something that was available. It is a USB connection. I do not know if there is any other controller that will work other than the one that came with it. There is only one slot, so no multiplayer gaming.

It will not play multi carts, but it will load repro carts. It will play the carts that have two games on it, like Castlevania double pack, but took forever to load, just be aware that it might be 6 minutes, or more, of wait time.
What do I think about this? It is a niche market item. This is not for everyone. I like it for the novelty. Good to have in my collection of clone consoles. How much time will I spend playing games on this? Will it be often? Only time will tell as I sit down and gain some type of affection for the platform. I think that I will enjoy playing a lot of the RPGs. Will you like it? Not sure, depends on who you are and what your taste is in gaming.


Nintendo Switch Lite: First Impressions

Yeah I know the Switch Lite has been out more than a year. But still……

Where we have been, and now a short eulogy? I remember the original Pea green screen Gameboy. That technology was the first portable that grabbed my attention and solidified me as an “on the go” gamer. Sure you had to have a certain amount of light to negotiate those blocky graphics. But it was portable gaming on the go, even though it was a hand full. It culminated in the Gameboy Advance and the crowning achievement of the line was the Gameboy SP bright screen.

The DS shook all of that up with its concept in gaming, using two screens. As it evolved into the 3DS there was a lot to enjoy, games, camera, clamshell design. Somehow the GB to DS line of gaming was related, family. But that age is over, gone. Nintendo ended its portable line of gaming. With the Switch Lite we have something totally different. A horse of another color, or if you are across the pond, colour.

The Lite seems like an afterthought for those who where not attracted, or sold, to the Switch console concept. The Switch seems too big and clunky, just my thoughts, to consider it a portable. I don’t own one. Never thought of owning one. The joy cons, to me, seemed too problematic, or a possibility, something I did not want to deal with as a gamer. It seemed that I was a target that Nintendo was aiming for with the Lite, as I am mainly a portable gamer. I do not like being tied down to a TV, per say. As I do enjoy my retro gaming and have spent my time in front of the TV enjoying those old games. My first love in gaming, are the portables.

The Switch Lite is an oddball. Not really a Switch even though it does play most of the library of games. You can’t use the cardboard thingys or any game that requires swinging the joy con around while a bunch of you, group play, eyeing that tiny screen. It will not stand up, no kickstand, so, no dancing or exercise games. (No vibration feature.) But it is a dedicated portable that does play the same games as the Switch, yeah. This is a first for Nintendo and a new direction in their perspective for portable gaming. I don’t know why, but my mind drifts toward the thought, where will they go from here? What does the next generation hold for Nintendo? Backward compatibility? The Switch has been out now for three years and consoles do have a short lifespan, usually. Portable gaming has been the field where Nintendo has dominated, king of the handheld. I do find it interesting how they have handled, maneuvered around, the competition of tablets and smart phones. Not sure they are a threat now as they were in the beginning.

My first impressions?

No camera! But, I liked the camera feature in the DS line of portables. Yes I know it was low quality, but it was still a good handy little camera for catching that moment. Crazy photo distortions, loved it. And I liked the old crummy Gameboy camera too. Fun to play with. Just a personal preference I guess.
Wifi issues, seems weak in picking it up, unlike my DS and 3DS consoles. I can be all over the house with those, but not the Switch Lite. It drops out while looking at any video from the eshop. The little loading wheel churns and we are back up. That is not good. Sometimes it drops out while downloading a game, it can be irritating.

No charge light! What? I need to have the console on in order to know when it is fully charged. A charge light should have been a no brainer. Why? Is it that expensive?

No instruction manual to help in set-up. Had to go online to get through it. Just a few little simple stuff that I had not thought of and I was over the hic up. Found I couldn’t transfer my 3DS account.

My fingers seem to be fat apparently. Found it very clumsy to tap in the letters. A stylus would have been nice, but they don’t work. I am thinking that it is a different type of touch screen from the DS line.

And why does the original Gameboy Advance continue to come to mind as I hold this in my hands? It does seem to be a descendant of that line of portables with the same cosmetic traits? Same aesthetic design, a familiarity? Flat, open, gamecard slot at the top, with the screen vulnerable to scratches and nicks, looks like a deformed mutant GBA to me. I cannot get that out of my mind. This is so gameboyish to me, sorry. Have we come full circle?

The games are the true test of any game console. That is why gamers purchase them. Nintendo has “their own” mood, style, feel, and flavor when it comes to gaming and their consoles. Granted there are 3rd parties that create cross platform games, but people usually purchase a Nintendo system because they like Nintendo. They have Mario games and cater to the Nintendo brand franchises. And, by now, this system has a ton of games in every genre. You have the choice of independent, which are mostly digital, and physical copies, which also include third parties, both offer digital copies of their games. I like physical copies, personal preference.

It has a beautiful sharp screen that is a bit smaller than the “daddy” Switch. It cannot, and will never, hook up to your flatscreen TV. That is the whole point of the Switch Lite. That is why it exists. That is something you need to consider, if the thought strikes you to want it.

The gold nugget about this Lite is the cross, or directional, button. It makes me feel right at home. That, in, and of itself, is enough for me, not to want, the Basic Original Switch. And that is a retro gamer personal preference. I understand why the Original Switch does not have the cross button. It is the matter of having two controllers for two player gameplay. And I like the “screen shot” button at the bottom left of the screen. Good little feature. It has a rocker arm volume control, a place for a micro sd card, and plenty of buttons. 

Menu screen is simple, not as busy as the DS. I am totally disappointed in the lack of themes. As long as this console has been out there on the market and you are very limited on the personalization of your home screen, black or white. Huh? Unless there is something that I have not found yet, something I don’t know. From that perspective I find it watered down in comparison with the DS line. Come on, three years and no update to fix this? It is such a small thing and yet it speaks volumes to our “it’s mine” feeling. At least give me the option of using a screen shot.

Don’t get me wrong. I do like what I am holding in my hands. I just feel like we have lost something. This does not have the same impact on me, being a gamer, as the DS line wowed me. Not the same magic. Have I become spoiled? Did I have high expectations? Or am I just mourning the loss of the old Nintendo line of portables? There is that reorientation of perspective to adjust to the difference, the oddball portable of a hybrid portable console. Let’s see, The Switch is a hybrid that embodies a home console that is also portable. That is why it is called a Switch. And the Switch Lite is technically not a Switch but a portable of the Switch, which is why it is called a Lite. Okay my brain, umm, someone help me with this mental paradox.

I find myself recommending the Lite only to those who are ready to experience the next generation Nintendo gaming, but are still hanging on to their love of portable gaming, only. I still have my DS, and 3DS, and I am adding this console. It will not replace anything. Anyone wanting this console, just understand, what you are getting. It has its limitations.

One last thing: It is easy for me to look back and see that Nintendo had something like the Switch in their long-term plans. The Wii U was just a stopgap weaning gamers away from traditional consoles. That controller for the Wii U, it looks so much like my Switch Lite that it is beyond coincidence. Maybe it is just me and my imagination running away. 

SNK Neo Geo Mini- Review

At the time I was disappointed that my Turbo Grafx mini had been delayed until December 31st. (But that did not happen.) So I spotted an SNK Neo Geo mini, International Edition, for $59. And that is pretty much in the ballpark that I would value this thing. Had it now for several months. Been spending some gaming time with the “console.” I have difficulty calling it a console, but that is, what it is.
My personal first impression? This is a “we are celebrating forty years” type of trophy thingy. Come “celebrate with us” sort-of memory, nostalgic piece. I understand, I get it, and you have to grasp that in your head, not an easy task. Not exactly a serious gaming console. And that is the only way you can look at this at face value. I think that is the reason for some of the negativity and disappointing reviews I have seen. It is almost a desk ornament. They give me a since of personalization, in that, they give me two stickers. I must decide which one I want to use in decorating the console. I made my choice and put it in place over the screen. Now I feel this is mine. Ummm…yeah.


Neo Geo CD controller at bottom.

You can play it “as is” out of the box, but it is an awkward struggle and difficult. Honestly, a stick is meant to be played with the ball in the palm of your hand, not between two fingers. My first desire after playing was to order a game pad controller. It causes the gaming to be more “user friendly” and accessible. But the controller, itself, has a small learning curve, no clicky switches for the directional button. Nothing to indicate up down left right, so desperately needed for Neo Geo fighters. Once your thumb finds the directions, (eye to hand coordination I guess) only then, can you begin to settle in and start enjoying the fighting games. I just could not play any of the fighting games on the console itself. The directional button is, or can be, to me, the achilles heel. I don’t fully understand why but the micro switches on the original NGCD pad gave you a sense of direction. The NGCD directional button has a tighter feel, where as the mini pad is so very loose and floaty. Button configuration on the game pad is also something to get used to if you are use to the NGCD pad. But if you are familiar with having SNK collections on various consoles over the years, it shouldn’t be a problem.


The games seem to be AES console roms, not the arcade counterpart. The reason I come to that conclusion is that you can go into a menu to choose different configurations like easy, normal, hard, MVS, etc. At this point I am thinking, being a “fanboy” is the real reason anyone would desire to own this SNK mini, as is. The casual gamer would probably pitch it after the initial intro and playing frustrations. The game pad is a must purchase part of this gaming experience.


The speakers are “tiny” when it comes to audio quality. But what can you expect? This is not meant to be an actual arcade cabinet, only a small representation of the “Neo Geo influence” in the Arcade, a look back. I understand, no other mini has built in speakers. I will let this go. You must also keep in mind that this is emulating 90’s generation gaming tech, so the audio is effected by the time period, no CD quality. A good set of over the ear headphones does wonders, and helps.


I had to order an HDMI cable, so as, to hook this up to my TV. I get it, that the concept, in design, has emphasis toward the fact “this is Neo Geo at the arcade.” But it would have been nice if they had included, in the box, a simple HDMI cable, especially since it needs the HDMI mini cable end. What’s with that? If I was rating this, that would have been a big mark against it. It is not that the built in screen is not adequate. I have no problem, love portable gaming. But this really isn’t portable. That is where there is a clash in the design concept. Or maybe it is my mindset. Maybe it is what I am wanting when I look at this thing. This is such an unusual piece. I guess it is my association of “screen means portable” rolling around in my brain. Portable gaming has brainwashed me? There are no batteries to install or charge. It MUST have the provided USB cable inserted into the unit and it plugged into a power block, which is not included. Or plug it into your TV USB? Hmmmm……… now that is awkward no HDMI included!


This is my small screen Nintendo DSI next to the Neo Geo mini to give you screen size comparison.

There are a good mix of games in this collection of 40. There are some missing that I wished that they had included, like Pulstar. And there are a few here that I could have did without, I don’t care for sports games. The one thing that I wanted out of this is, certain Neo Geo games, specifically, Blazing Star. Finally obtaining something from NEO GEO that was “affordable” and it be from them. I guess I was thinking a “Neo Geo console!” Yea, I got one! (Hallelujah chorus in the background) But if you want it as a gaming console, you can make it work. That is what I have done, made it work for me. And that is sad in a way. If they wanted to “me too” jump on the bandwagon, it would have made more sense if this had been an AES mini. That would have been reasonable and user friendly for the casual gamers. It would also have been less disappointing, is that the word I am looking for? It is not that I AM disappointed, maybe, not what I was expecting? Confused? Confused, or frustrated, in my expectations of the desire to play this collection of games and finding the mini’s design being somewhat of a hindrance. In the hands of a child maybe the controls would be fine. Don’t know. But would a child be able to appreciate the collection of games and understand their place in video gaming history? And maybe that is where I am missing it in the design and understanding why.


This should have been an SNK Neo Geo AES Mini that included a controller and HDMI cable in the original packaging. It is just common sense to me. The minis are a niche market, especially for those who grew up in that era, or generation, of video games. That is the only place they have in the video gaming market. Once the interest, or wave, is gone, it sets on the shelf of a local store to be discounted. And some collector will purchase and stash it away. Or it quickly gets tossed by that casual gamer. As a manufacturer, you have only one shot at it, and you don’t want to miss the target. That would cost you in the long run, the investment and time.


This is all you get in the box.

I don’t mean for this to be negative at all. I love the Neo Geo mini and I am glad to have it in my game library. Some games I have never found in a collection for any console. Seeing the potential and accepting the inevitable. I guess that is what I am saying here in this slightly unofficial ragged review.


Now for the final word: HDMI hook-up? You must have two things that will make this totally the mini that you expected and wanted it to be. To me, this is a must. One is the HDMI mini to HDMI convertor, or the cord. And second, you need the game pads. This makes all the difference in the world. This looks absolutely amazingly gorgeous on my HDTV. There are two options for the screen, one is “Image Quality Optimization,” this is a smoothing effect. And two, the aspect ratio option, full screen, or original. It seems to be set auto full screen, stretch. I like the smoothing effect because it seems to make the jaggies tolerable for the most part. Now I feel like I have an AES, mmmmm, sort-of, no scan lines.  After spending less than $25USD, one controller and an HDMI connection, I can give this a thumbs up. Now I can call it a console.

pic6 2

The Retro Console to HDMI Problem

The real dilemma is that the composite input of HDTVs is slowly disappearing from newer models. The composite analogue tech is archaic in the modern electronic age. Only if you have an old VCR, or DVD recorder, or an old retro gaming system do you find yourself in the dilemma. (Did I leave anything out?) Really it is when you find yourself with something like the PS2 and backward, those are the gaming generations that are totally effected. And I feel that we are approaching a point when there will not be any composite type inputs to accommodate. The niche market may not be big enough for some company to invest in the tech needed to do it right and with quality. And do it at a modest price point that makes it affordable for the budget gamer. What we see is cheap China adapters.


We all must grasp the truth that the old consoles are in analogue 480 aspect ratio with a need for scan lines to hide the ugliness. No matter what you do, it does not change that inconvenient reality. Pixels and jaggies are the nature of the beast. And when you take that and try to convert it to digital 720p or 1080p HDMI, somebody help me 4K, it does not go well when it comes to expectations. One has to change their perspective and game on. Let’s face it, the old CRTs are gone. It has been years in my own area since I have seen them in my local Goodwill, and then they were $2 and $3. They have become museum artifacts.

Alternatives is the quest of every retro gamer, finding that one unique golden ticket. For the budget gamer, I have found three main routes, the console specific adapter, the very cheap universal adapter, and the clone console with HDMI. Presently, limited on the quality, on shaky ground, the clone console route is marketed mainly toward the Genesis, SNES, and NES. If you are looking for answers concerning your Turbo GrafX 16, N64, Sega Saturn, Dreamcast, Xbox, GameCube, or PS2, things get a little scary. There are some console specific adapters out there floating around, except for the TG16, but for how long is the question. And for the Neo Geo AES and CD consoles, I see nothing but the small cheap universal adapter as any kind of alternative and that is sad. Thankfully the PS1 has the PS3 for that HDMI experience.

For me, the cheap universal adapters get the job done but they are marred by the attempt to reduce the jaggies with some sort-of, anti-aliasing blurring fuzzy effect. (You feel as if your vision is impaired.) The clone consoles are hindered by their inability to perfectly replicate the hardware that they are trying to represent. So, you have sound and colors along with compatibility issues to complicate matters as that analogue signal is converted to a digital HDMI 720p or 1080p. There are various associated outcomes connected to a clone’s respective manufacturer. The console specific adapters, in converting the analogue signal to digital, can have an effect on the tint of the colors, brightness, darkness, bleeding reds, even a muting of colors. And the adapters themselves can be very hard to get. I have waited for an adapter that will work on the N64, GameCube, and SNES, for over a month before finally showing up at my door this week. The advantage of this type of adapter is, you get to use the original hardware.

I have the Hyperkin HDMI adapter for the GameCube, N64, and SNES. It has a seven-foot cable and it includes a USB power cord. You can use a standard power brick or a USB input on your TV. It has a switch on the adapter for 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio. The GameCube comes out on top as the one that gets the most benefit of using this adapter. Looks awesome on screen. The other two, jaggies are very noticeable, but who cares, I have a reasonably priced alternative for my N64 to HDMI hookup. This works for me. And my N64 will probably be the one console that will get the most use out of this adapter. All three consoles played without issue for me. I detected no latency, colors were acceptable, gameplay spot on. I have mainly been looking for a way to play N64 games on my HDTV without using composite connecters, would rather have the choice of HDMI. This serves well and resolves that problem, for me. Without some expensive console mod, I am delighted. Using the original hardware is very satisfying. Hyperkin is getting ready to launch an N64 clone in the near future. I had concerns especially since it had compatibility issues that were displeasing to me. Now? If I do pick up the N64 clone, it will be to review and test its worth and not for serious gaming. If this thing holds up it will deserve a good thumbs up with a $30 USD well spent.

GameCube: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles


N64: Beetle Adventure Racing






Hyperkin SNES HD: First Impressions

The best way to play a SNES game is on the original hardware using a CRT. If you still have this setup, feel fortunate.


The SupaRETRON HD has a smaller footprint and will fit snug anywhere.

I suppose one has to consider the type of technology, that is put into these things, in order to deliver to the market “a cheap clone.” It should be expected that there are going to be flaws and that the tech has its limitations. When you look at “Analogue’s” consoles, it seems obvious, that in order to get something that compares to the original experience, on modern HD flatscreens, you are going to peel off some of that hard-earned jingle you carry around in your pocket. The switch from traditional tube scanlines to HD TV can be a traumatic experience for an old gamer. It is understood why many fall into the purest camp clinging to, and trying to maintain, their old consoles and CRTs. These games were designed for that certain time period, with no thought that many would love these things beyond their intended gaming generation. If you were there, you know that there is just no way to reproduce the magic of that period in gaming. There was no “net” so information was delivered by long waited for gaming magazines with sometimes months old news, and local arcade rumors. TV commercials only fed the fire to the already gaming community hype. The electricity and excitement that filled the air in those days as the trail was pioneered, and cleared, for modern-day gaming will never be repeated. And it is a real need among “those gamers” to preserve that part of gaming history. Retro gamers were born out of that need.


With that being said, I will now move into looking at my first impressions of the Hyperkin HD SNES.


The Micro USB power port, HDMI, and aspect ratio switch is the big winners here.

It depends on which SNES HD clone you purchase in what you are willing to except, or put up with, in your SNES gaming experience, obviously. I choose the Hyperkin mainly for the specific advantage in the way they powered their systems. I have the Hyperkin NES, Sega Genesis, and now the SNES HD. All three are powered by the same small matching USB power brick and connects into a mini USB port on the console. I only have one power cord running to the consoles and one HDMI. And the power cord can be plugged into the TV USB port, how convenient is that? It depends on which system I am playing, at the time, that will be connected. When it comes to cheap HD clones, and I say this with gritted teeth, these may be close to being the cream of the crop, for now. There are those few others that are not bad choices.


On the Ever Drive China Ver. running Gradius 3. The beginning animation, title screen, and options were all normal, until you enter the game. The original SNES cart runs perfect.

There are compatibility problems that I found with the Ever Drive. It might be limited to the China version which is the only one that I own. Don’t know. There were certain games that were unplayable with, for example, the background graphics horribly broken and mangled. Putting in the same game and playing from the original cart there was no problem, for example a game like Gradius 3 was one. Not all games from the “Ever Drive China version” had compatibility issues, but keep in mind that the Ever Drive is designed for the original console. Not a big deal for me. I mainly use the Ever Drive as a game demo cart to see if I want to invest in a certain game. The console is totally compatible with reproduction games, on the other hand. So that is a plus, for me, as I have occasionally purchased a repro, retrobit’s Jaleco Brawler’s Pack. Seems to have good compatibility across the specialty chips. It plays Star Ocean great, water and reflections, sound bites, are there and nothing seems noticeably wrong. Star Fox, Yoshi’s Island, Super Gameboy, Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Kirby Super Star, all play with no issues. That covers the SA1, Super FX GSU-1, S-DD1, Super FX GSU-2, and the Sharp LR35902 core chips. The SA1 chip was used in around 34 games including the Mario RPG. Many games look good in spite of the jaggies, Yoshi’s Island for one. Some are not that bad when the jaggies are not as pronounced while others look eye bleedingly shocking, gasp. The console can play both SNES and Super Famicom games.


Visually, some games fair better than others, backgrounds usually look great. Jaggies are embedded into the main character sprites, or any low-rez sprites in general, so get over it if this is the route anyone wants to take. It is just a part of cheap clone gaming life. No one has placed a scanline feature on a cheap console, yet. I am sure if they find a cheap and easy way of doing it without sacrificing cost, using system-on-a-chip technology, it will happen. Just not there yet. Colors are rich and graphics are sharp with smooth animation for nonintentional playing on a large HD screen. At least as good as they can be under the circumstances without the scanlines. Audio, so far, is, normal, for a SNES. At least I haven’t ran across anything that raises my eyebrows or causes me to cry.


They basically got the configuration right with something ergonomically going on with the backside. I have no issues with it.

The controllers, that are supplied with the console, two, are good and feel close to the originals. Of course, if you are not satisfied you can use original controllers. Most respectable clone consoles come equipped with this feature. You get a generous 7ft 7inch cord, I measured. And the system comes with all hookups, both HDMI and RCA cords. But why bother with the RCA hookups if the main purpose is the HDMI? Has a NTSC-PAL switch on the bottom and a 16:9-4:3 aspect ratio switch on the backside of the console. It has an eject button that works great just like the original.


Not sure what more I can add at this point. It is really a matter of choice. (Choose your poison wisely, I guess, LOL.) Original hardware is still available for about the same price. You would need to fork out some extra cash for the HDMI connection. There are starting to be a few good options as manufacturers see money to be made. I have tried a few of the universal connection ones, but not the console specific, with unsatisfying results. Clone consoles are far better with their direct HDMI connection. Having been present in the local gaming stores when someone is looking into retro, I know they push clone systems. Even tried to correct one of the workers, nicely, about the NES light gun. They really don’t listen or understand. Game stores push the clones over the used gaming consoles that they carry. I am sure it is due to the easy HDMI connect.


Just think, as 4K becomes the standard in the future market for HD TVs we might be going through something similar as the signals are totally incompatible. At least for the tuners it is, not certain about the HDMI. That might not change hopefully. The headache continues………?


Blade Buster on the NES!!


As a gamer, I love these types of shmups. From what I can understand this is a homebrew game especially designed for the NES and put on a reproduction cart.


It is a vertical scrolling shooter in the style of Super Star Soldier, Blazing Lazors, with that warm fuzzy Hudson Soft sort of feel. It even seems that it has that music of Super Star Soldier in the first stage. Gameplay is so fast with no slow down similar to Summer Carnival. Graphics are standard fair of these arcade shooters of the past. This is true retro arcade shoot’em up love expressed in this wonderful game. You get only the choice of a 2 or 5 minute “high score attack” sessions, but that is okay. It is one of those games that you can sit down to if you only have a moment and addictive enough if you want a long play. High score survival is my thing. I have only been able to make it into the second stage so far. This and Summer Carnival are the closest you are going to get to a bullet hell shooter on the NES. I want so much to have more of these type of homebrew games. To me, they are worth every penny. Been a great and exciting weekend spent with this highly recommended NES game.


Retro-Bit Street Fighter Controller!!

This is the 30th anniversary of Street Fighter 2 Ryu controller from Retro-Bit. This controller feels very solid with clicky buttons, awesome. I have been enjoying playing Street Fighter 2 Championship Edition. Great fan work with the artwork of Ryu across the face.  The size is good. One thing that puzzled me as I actually took out a tape measure to the cord, 5″ 8″? Come on! 5″ 8″? What’s 4 inches? Somebody tell me what is it with four inches? Why couldn’t it have been 6 feet? Or maybe 10 feet. Sorry for the rant. Almost lost my cool.


Mode button on top sort-of in the place you would find a shoulder button.


This is the big plus about this controller, two hookups. Made for the original, or clone, Genesis system, but can also be used on a PC, or the Altgames Genesis mini, or whatever.


This is a great all around general purpose gaming controller. I have medium hands and it feels good and comfortable. I do highly recommend this controller to anyone that needs a Genesis controller. This is the bomb. And a special thank you to Retro-bit for the love. This is the one that I will be using. I might get a second just for keeping due to the artwork on the face.


The last time I got a Sega Genesis clone system it was the Fei Hao version. And I got that one for the specific purpose of being able to have a direct HDMI hook up for my Genesis carts. I started reading, and youtube watching, some of the reviews of this one from Hyperkin and became very interested.
And let me emphasize that you will only get  the best experience with the original hardware. Then there is the Genesis system by Analogue which is a high end hardware clone. $200 is a lot of money for many of us. I am strictly a budget gamer. Low end is where I dwell when it comes to gaming. But at the same time I would like something simple and within my financial boundaries. If I want to hook up my original Genesis to one of my HD flatscreens, it is a pixel jaggie nightmare. But that is my only choice, I have no CRT, it died. The best you can do with the original hardware is get one of those up converters to HDMI.  The best ones are very expensive and it would be best if you just went with the alternative of the Analogue console. As for the cheap “up converters,” well, they are just not as good as the clone consoles with the HDMI output. They produce a blurr in the graphics.I am not really a fan of Hyperkin products. Though I do enjoy the Supaboy portable. I had sort of gotten the impression that seemingly their research and development department was dead. And that they just repackaged their tech occasionally. Never heard or saw any improvements. But this Mega HD console is the first time I feel that my impression has changed.

Build and Design: It has a quality feel to it but I am wondering how much of that is deception. I know from watching youtube videos, of a console tear down, that there are metal weights inside. That is okay with me, it gives it better stability with the rubber feet, no sliding. Plastic thickness is acceptable and I am okay with it. I like the overall design and appeal, to me, it is attractive in its appearance. And I like the big blue “H” on the corner lighting up when the system is turned on. You have the usual “on & off” switch and “reset” button. Up front,two controller ports which are compatible with the original Sega brand controller. Outputs are analog and HDMI. You have a region switch, NTSC, PAL, JP, on the bottom and an aspect ratio switch, 4:3 or 16:9, on the back. One thing I like about inserting a cart is that the connector pins are close to the lid. This is far better than the Fei Hao console where I had difficulty inserting carts due to the depth and reach. Having no guide, like the original hardware, enables the system to accept different region carts, Japan vs NTSC. With the Fei Hao you are dealing with 1.5 inches vs a little under an inch with the Mega HD. Believe me it makes all the difference in the world. One is a straight shot and the other one is a feeling, hunting your way, blindly trying to hit the hole.

Video Out: The games look great, I say that with a bit of hesitation. It depends on the game and the mode of resolution. Low res games has jaggies due to the nature of the beast. I was very happy that my favorite shooter on the Genesis as it is in the high res mode, Bio Hazard Battle. It looks and plays beautiful, love it. With some games, there is something there, like Street Fighter 2 Champion Edition. Playing the game there was something in the background in some stages that I caught out of the corner of my eye, shimmering in the graphics? It could be seen in the vertical lines, just barely noticeable. Enough at the moment that I got a Hy-Yu-Ken against my head. But this only happens when you move in such a way that it causes the background to scale. I saw this in one other game so far. It is only on the games that are low res 256×224, about a little over 100 games. It could bother someone who is picky, but hey, for those that are like that, stick to the original hardware. And it runs Virtua Racing perfectly, totally pleased with it. I did have a bit of trouble at first, freezing during gameplay, red screen. But after cleaning the cart, no problems, runs great. Reproduction carts fit tight, but with the original carts, I didn’t really have any trouble. Colors are rich, some might be a slight bit over saturated, but I think that is limited to how the color pallet is used. Graphics are smooth. I understand that it works with the mega system converter. I do not have that to verify. I can verify that it works with the China Everdrive.

Audio: This has been a killer in the clone market for the Genesis games. This time I am pleasantly pleased at what I am hearing. Really not that bad. There is something in certain games that I can’t really put my finger on that makes me stop and say “huh?” There is some things, sounds, notes, that seem louder, at times. Some games “are” louder than others, don’t understand that. Other games I don’t notice anything that would seem out of place, or doesn’t distract me. Not sure how the audio is different in some games. But this is really the best that I have heard on a Genesis clone console, we are closer than we have ever been. Something that I failed to mention, this is stereo out of the box.

Controller: It comes with all the wiring, hook ups, so you can have it analog or HDMI, whatever. But it only includes one controller. Depends how you look at it, that can be a pro or a con. It is “okay.” I could play shooters with no problem. And I did not have any issues adjusting to it. It is really not that bad. I was able with some difficulty play Street Fighter 2. The only great thing it has going for it is that it has a ten foot cord. Since you will need a second controller, I would suggest getting the original hardware controller or a retro-bit one. The original fits like a glove, and only a retro gamer would understand that statement.

Final Word:
 This is only one of those options for the HDMI problem. I am satisfied. It is, what it is, and it works for me. I purchased this system because it had a price drop, ca-ching $37,  at Walmart online or Amazon. I feel I got my money’s worth. Those who are a bit more picky may contend that you get what you pay for. I feel that it is the best Genesis clone out there, at the moment, that is a budget priced low end solution. Of course it is cart only, no way to attach the Sega CD or 32X. I am a bit surprised that Hyperkin is the one to give us Genesis HDMI gaming that really is a nice experience.

Still trying games, a Sega Genesis revival going on right now “in the house.”

Bodhi Linux 5.0.0 Now Running

Okay I got the itch. I have been wanting to do this for a very long time. I had been using Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa on my Lenovo R60 laptop. It is a very good OS and I have been using it for a very long time,  since its availability. I would still recommend it. It will be supported until 2019. And it is a very good stable OS that will just run, solid. But on this laptop there has always been this slight sluggishness that I have overlooked. So this weekend I did a big backup of everything, wow 32g of stuff. The rest I deleted.

I went for something very minimalistic. Hoping for some speed and power out of this old laptop. Can that happen to something so, retro? Computers get old so quickly. If it is on the shelf for sale, it has already been replaced. Or so it seems.

So after downloading and burning a few Distros I think I have finally settled on “Bodhi Linux.”  I have loaded and installed Bodhi Linux 5.0.0 Legacy, 32 bit. Bodhi Linux is a lightweight Ubuntu-based (18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver) distribution featuring Moksha, an Enlightenment-17-based desktop environment. The download installs a very simple, basic, light linux OS. There is really nothing here in the way of programs, only five pre-installed applications. You get Midori as the browser. I really like the simplicity of nothing but a starting point. The first thing you have to do is download the synaptic package manager. From there you really just build your own Distro. I loaded up Chromium for my browser, I don’t like Midori. Installed LibreOffice and GIMP. I will gradually add more programs as I think of them. The install configured everything but my aspect ratio on the screen. That was easily adjusted. The GUI has a nice clean fresh look. And it runs fast and smooth on this old clunker. I think this would be okay for linux noobes, maybe, if they had a little instruction and some guidance. But I do not believe it is friendly enough for anyone that is a first time user to Linux. And this has just been released, which means up-to-date, and has long term support. Loving this a lot. Already downloaded me some wallpaper. I am ready to go. Going to try this out for about a month. So far I am very satisfied.

The SwanCrystal


In my opinion, Gunpei Yokoi will go down in video game history as the most influential person in portable video gaming. He is responsible for the Nintendo “Game & Watch” series and he is the father of the Nintendo Gameboy. Somehow or another he ended up leaving Nintendo and ended up at Bandi before his tragic death. While there, the result of his work produced the Wonderswan, and Wonderswan color. This little handheld made a surprising small little dent in the Japanese handheld market dominated by Nintendo. I think that this is only because of the exclusive merchandise of the Final Fantasy RPG series that Bandi had at the time on the Wonderswan color. They also had their own Gundam, One Piece, and Digimon series of games that has their fan base. The Swancrystal later came out as an improved Wonderswan color. It had a better LCD screen.


Holding it in your hands you will quickly notice that, next to the “original” GBA, this little portable is smaller, slim, trim, sleek, and light weight. It really fits snug and comfortable in my hands. There is only a bulge at the bottom backside where the battery resides. There is no headphone jack. You have to purchase a separate attachment that plugs into a place right below the speaker on the right side of the system to use headphones. There is only one small speaker of the same quality as a GBA systFinal Thoughts:em. The system is a very nice quality built unit. I have seen it in a lot of colors. This household has three colors consisting of pinkish red, blue clear, and black smoke clear housing. I really like the way the game cart almost seamlessly blends in with the system’s housing. Nothing sticks out. I also like the nice plastic sleeve that comes with each game, that I have gotten, used for storage of the the game cart.


Screen: It has a 2.8 inch diagonal TFT reflective LCD. There is no backlight. This was before backlighting became a standard as it is today. The “original” GBA, which was the dominate competition, did not have backlighting at the time. In a good light or daylight the colors are rich and vibrant. The animation in the games is amazingly good, comparable to the GBA. Most games have very detailed graphics. Even though the system is 16 bit, it could still stand toe to toe, and did, with the GBA which is a 32 bit system. There is an excellent refresh rate with no ghosting or blur. I will also point out that the screen is not recessed. This can be an issue with some gamers.


Controls: Lots and lots of buttons! Instead of the normal directional cross button, we have the four button configuration as a Playstation game pad would have. As a matter of fact, we have two of these! Adding up to eight buttons for your left thumb! Why? Because the system is designed this way to enable it to be turned around long ways for games like Bust-A-Move, Puyo Puyo, etc. You will also find special move buttons in the upper bunch when playing fighting games. On your right you have only an “A” and “B’ button. You have a power, start, and sound button. The sound is controlled by a button, giving you three levels of volume not including silence. The power button is recessed into the casing, I guess that is so you don’t accidentally turn off the system. It works sort-of like one of my laptops, you hold it down until it comes on then you release.


Games: The games are all in Japanese. I have only one that is in English. I have no idea why. It is a double cart containing two Digimon games. It was called Veedraman Verson. And the games on the cart are Anode Tamer and Cathode Tamer. The system and games were never released outside of Japan. Even so, there are a lot of the games that are very playable by someone, like me, who knows only two words in Japanese. All of the fighting games are playable like Guilty Gear Petite 1 & 2, Pocket Fighter, (This has been the only handheld that has had this game until the PS Vita.) and One Piece Swan Colosseum. Puzzle games like Puyo Puyo and Bust-A-Move need no Japanese knowledge. I have some side scrolling action games that can be played like Buffers Evolution, SD Gundam Operation UC, and Gundam Seed. The Gundam Seed game has some story element to it and it feels like you are missing something when you are playing. I feel that this does take away from the gaming experience in this game, which I feel is a great shooter action game. But if you have seen the movie you can guess what is going on. Most of the Digimon games are fighters, some are RPGs. I would rather play the Digimon games on this system than play the ported ones on the GBA. They are that much better, I guess because they were made for this system. I do have Final Fantasy 2, but again this game is not playable by someone like me. Japanese is a must know when playing a game like this. I did download a translated version of the game one time and tried playing it on the computer as I played it on the Swancrystal while simultaneously playing it on the GBA. Yeah, I know what you are thinking, weird. But I did learn something by doing this, the English version is dumb down for our western culture. It is more kid friendly? There seem to be elements of the story that added to the whole story line experience in the original. Now for something really sad that makes one want to cry. This system was loaded down with RPG games. If only they had taken an interest to market it in English speaking countries. I was able to acquire Klonoa: Moonlight Museum, an action platform game. It is very rare and expensive whenever I see it available now. There is a platform game that I have that is a side scroller called Lime Rider Keroikan. It is one of those “press the button to the beat” sort-of games, kind of like Dance Dance Revolution for your finder tips. Only it controls your characters jumps as the game scrolls through the level. Really, purchasing the games is sort-of touch and go. And lately they are starting to become very expensive. With that being said, you really don’t know if you will be able to play them or not until you first turn on the unit. There seems to be no list anywhere that I have found on the net that gives you any knowledge of, “you must know Japanese to play this game.” Some games are in black and white which were made for the first system. Like the GB, the games can be passed down to the newer and better system. On the down side, the English friendly games, that I am familiar with, are getting harder and harder to find.


Power: This thing is powered by only one AA battery. It can get up to 15 hours or more playtime on that one battery. Which is amazing. I have a rechargeable battery designed for the console, but it does me no good because I have never been able to locate a charger. The rechargeable is flat and blends in with the outward housing of the system making it more compact. There is no AC adapter jack. The battery is in a little plastic shell that slides in and out of the unit. As you push it into place it clicks and locks with a little button that you have to lift with your thumb in order to pull it out. There is also a second lock located at the bottom righthand side of the unit adjacent to the battery compartment. It is a slide button when pushed toward the compartment, locks it in place even more. You are not going to lose your battery. No anxiety here.

Special Things: As I have mentioned above, there is a place on the right side of the unit for a separate headphone jack attachment. This input is also made for a host of other things. Over the years I’ve seen a variety of things for this console. I have seen available an attachment that enables access to your email on the Wonderswan, using cell phone technology, with services only available in Japan, of course. There is also an attachment to control this robot bug sort-of thing called “WonderBorg.” There was a Digimon device that plugged into this thing. The input is also used, with a special cable, to hook two systems together for two player gameplay.

Another thing that was released for this system was a flash card with a kit that enabled you to program your own games. There has been times that it has been very rare to ever see this up on ebay for sell. If you do see it, it will be very expensive. It is called “WonderWitch.”


Low battery consumption

Digimon, Gundam, and One Piece games


Must know Japanese to play a lot of the games

Games can be very hard to find, at a reasonable price

No backlight

To use headphones requires purchasing an attachment module.


Final Thoughts: From the first, when I started hearing and reading about this little system, I had to have it. I started with the fighters and moved outward from that. The games are fun and have that Japanese twist in them. My favorite is One Piece Swan Colosseum, a fun and funny fighter. The quality and fun of the games are everything that we have come to expect from a Japanese system, especially when Gunpei has had his hands on it. For Digimon fans this is a must have. The Swancrystal Digimon games have better graphics, animation, and gameplay than the ported GBA games. And, not all of the games have been ported to the GBA. This is a good little system for that collector or gamer who loves 2-D gaming experiences. I had mine in a Gamestop one time looking for a storage case and the workers went crazy over One Piece. A great big thumbs up for this one.

You do not have to know Japanese to play these games!

Digimon Battle Spirit

Digimon: Zero Two

Digimon Battle Spirit 1.5

Battle Spirit: Digimon Tamers

Digimon: Veedraman Verson

Buffers Evolution

Guilty Gear Petite 1

Guilty Gear Petite 2

Puyo Puyo

Puyo Puyo 2


Klonoa: Moonlight Museum

One Piece Swan Colosseum

Lime Rider Keroikan

SD Gundam Operation UC (repetitive shooter action)

Pocket Fighter

Gundam Seed ( is playable, but knowing Japanese would really add to the gaming experience. Just shooting action apart from that. Great graphics in this one!)

Pitiful list I know. This is from the ones that I own. And I do have more than this like the Final Fantasy series. Some of these listed, five, are originally for the B&W WonderSwan console. I feel that there are a lot more games than this that are playable without knowing the native language, like Rockman/Megaman, which is very expensive. I will slowly add to my collection as I see something become available, priced within reason, from that, this list will grow.