As I’ve been considering grabbing a PS Vita to play the random JRPG for 20 minutes (I’m looking at you, Persona IV Golden), I began to wonder what kind of alternative handhelds are available, you know, beyond the 3DS and the PSV. As a once proud owner of an Atari Lynx, I’m not above looking outside the box for my on-the-go entertainment options. So, after a quick google search, I learned a few things, namely:
- nVidia Shield – I think we’re all familiar with this guy. nVidia is trying to cash in on the ease of creating an Android console. The not-so-svelte unit is priced at a not-quite-cheap-enough 200 dollars. It’s a sandboxed system (allowing nVidia to cash in on the store). This is an analogous offering to, say, the Ouya; or Amazon’s FireTV (on sale today for $79); or, hell, even Google’s own Nexus Player offering. Color me skeptical–that said, it’s got a ton of good reviews on Amazon. Then again, so does this steering wheel desk attachment.
- eROMP KickStarter – Looks like this new Android-based handheld is taking the ROM route to stardom. I could see it gaining some traction, but the key to a device like this is to nail the ROM loading/unloading UX scenarios. Also, the device is, uh, big. Like, if you had Bill Cosby as a beta tester he’d probably try to drug it and screw it. That said, I’m now more than a little confused, because it appears a first version of this campaign was canceled. Bah. I smell shenanigans.
- GCW-Zero Kickstarter – Now this is what I’m talking about. No lazy Android porting, this sucker runs a homebrew of Linux. It’s small and stylish. But let’s not get too excited, while the project was Funded in January of 2013, and is purchasable, I’m not seeing much in the way of games. On top of that, the specs don’t look so hot (320×240, small CPU/GPU). Still, for $150, I’m not not tempted.
- Overseas Knock Offs – Hoo-boy-howdy! Just search Amazon for handheld gaming and look at all of those cheap knockoffs. Like this e-MOD RS-1 NEW! system that comes with Pac-man and Super Mario Bros and Angry Bird (SIC, I would think calming one frustrated bird would be much easier than appeasing an entire flock). Did I mention it’s only 18 dollar? Or check out the My Arcade Portable Gaming System (comes in white or black!). Checking in at only five bucks more than the RS-1 NEW!, this stylish system will give you HOURS of entertainment–well, or no hours, if it is DOA as several reviewers have noted. But, Amazon reviewer Dave B noted (emphasis his): “Give one to your grandchildren an let them have FUN.” I do like to have FUN, Dave. Hell, I had FUN tonight as I wrote this review of your crappy gaming system. Tomorrow I hope to have FUN playing my PS4. Maybe later tonight I’ll have FUN reading a book!! Having FUN is so much FUN!!!
Anyhow, these seem to be my choices. Too bad the $170 PS Vita deal is kaput. Speaking of that deal, Amazon has a new $170 PS Vita SKU on backorder, and the old Borderlands package seems to be running out of stock (and is back to being a pricey $225-ish). This makes me wonder if there’s a new bundle or deal coming out. I’ve checked all the inter-tubes but to no avail. Anyone out there have any inside info? Anyone? Bueller? J?