GameShell: hackable portable game console for indie devs and retrogame fans

The ClockworkPi Gameshell is a portable game console you make yourself, coming as a modular kit and assembling to form a GameBoy-like gadget with a quad-core CPU, 2.7-inch color display, WiFi and Bluetooth, 1GB of RAM, HDMI output and a 16GB MicroSD card holding its Linux-based OS: "a powerful computing platform that lets you begin creating immediately." Read the rest

Polymega, a retro game console for the CD-ROM generation

Unusually for retro game consoles, Polymega includes an optical drive and they offer five custom controllers to make it more fun to play games from all the old systems.

Polymega™ is a modular multi-system game console that lets you enjoy original game cartridges and CD’s for classic game consoles on your HDTV.

Polymega™ was created by a team of passionate game developers who formerly worked for Insomniac Games, Bluepoint Games, and others. The team has a diverse background and has shipped products such as AAA video games like Ratchet & Clank and Titanfall. We’ve also shipped digital storefronts like the Google Chrome Store, consumer electronics like the Vizio M-Series TVs, and TV boxes like the Roku 2, 3, and 4k. In addition to our internal team, we also have many external development partners who are listed in the About page on Polymega.com.

If you’re a person who remembers playing classic games from the 80’s and 90’s and would like to re-experience those games in a modern way on your HDTV, then Polymega™ is for you! If you’re someone who doesn’t want to spend days or weeks building and tuning an emulation PC, and wants a solution that “just works” with your original game cartridges and CD’s — this system is for you. If you have children and want to share with them the joy of playing classic games without needing them to handle cartridges or navigate clunky, unfamiliar interfaces — this is for you.

At $500 (at least for the deluxe multi-controller set) it's pretty fancy. Read the rest

Intellivision Amico, another retro console

With Nintendo and now Sega offering popular retro consoles and Atari soon to join them, here comes the Intellivision Amico.

All of its games are downloadable and will run between $3 - $8 US, with no high-priced DLC or in-game purchases. It will launch with some pre-installed Invellivision classics and over 20 games (both reimagined classics and brand new titles) through the Intellivision Online Store. There will also be similar Atari and Imagic classic titles.

The games coming to the Amico feature updated graphics, modernized audio, additional levels, multi-player modes (local and online), tournament modes and more. This includes games like Astrosmash, Shark! Shark!, Baseball, Night Stalker, Skiing, Math Fun, Pong, Asteroids, Centipede, Tempest, Adventure, Missile Command, Swords & Serpents, Miner 2049er, Super Burgertime, ToeJam & Earl and more.

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Atari "VCS" delayed to 2019

Atari's retro game console, annoyingly given the same name as the 1977 original, won't be showing up until 2019, reports Andrew Tarantola. But you'll be able to pre-order it soon anyway.

We're also finally getting a hint at the system's capabilities. Atari announced on Monday that it has partnered with AMD for the console's processor. The VCS will support 4K resolutions, HDR and 60fps gameplay. It will offer both internal and external storage, built-in WiFi, USB 3 and Bluetooth 5 capabilities.

The company is still tight-lipped as to what you'll actually be able to do with the VCS, however.

Charming as it is, the high price demands 21st century performance. Another benefit of a good video chip will be mining Ataricoin. Read the rest

Play free emulators of all those handheld video games of yesteryear

The Internet Archive has an incredible free collection of 1980s handheld game console emulators. In 1978, my brother and I played the hell out of Coleco Electronic Quarterback. It's amazing how compelling and addictive a flashing array of LED dashes was back then, and still is. From the Internet Archive:

This collection of emulated handheld games, tabletop machines, and even board games stretch from the 1970s well into the 1990s. They are attempts to make portable, digital versions of the LCD, VFD and LED-based machines that sold, often cheaply, at toy stores and booths over the decades.

We have done our best to add instructions and in some cases link to scanned versions of the original manuals for these games. They range from notably simplistic efforts to truly complicated, many-buttoned affairs that are truly difficult to learn, much less master.

They are, of course, entertaining in themselves – these are attempts to put together inexpensive versions of video games of the time, or bringing new properties wholecloth into existence. Often sold cheaply enough that they were sealed in plastic and sold in the same stores as a screwdriver set or flashlight, these little systems tried to pack the most amount of “game” into a small, custom plastic case, running on batteries.

They also represent the difficulty ahead for many aspects of digital entertainment, and as such are worth experiencing and understanding for that reason alone.

(via Waxy)

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Forthcoming Ataribox renamed "Atari VCS"

The Ataribox, announced after Nintendo scored surprise hits with its popular NES and SNES classic consoles, is going to be called "Atari VCS" instead -- the same name as Atari's original, way back in 1977.

The company is showing off the Atari VCS, Classic Joystick, and Modern Controller prototypes to the press this week at GDC. And it is working with game developers, content creators, and other partners to finalize details. In April, Atari will announce a preorder date for the Atari VCS. Earlier, Atari canceled a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo because its development hit a snag.

If you suspected this was an empty nostalgia-marketing ploy, this might not allay your fears: someone's already made it so the Wikipedia page for "Atari VCS" is an ad for the new machine. But the concept is essentially Pi-like hackable hardware in a pretty box with well-made controllers, so what could go wrong?

Update: as noted by nungesser, the potential wrong is the price: $300. Better be a great GPU in there for all that cabbage. Read the rest

Super Retro-Boy plays real carts

Super Retro-Boy is a compact, minimal reimplementation of Nintendo's classic Game Boy with the look as well as the tech. It plays real cartidges, including those from the full-color Game Boy Advance—presumably this is why there are four buttons. It gets 10 hours on a charge, and will come with a 10-in-1 game from Retro-Bit this summer. Read the rest

Nintendo announces new hybrid portable game console

Nintendo's Switch is a touchscreen tablet with removable physical controls that turn it into a traditional handheld game console. It comes with a chunky dock to hook it up to a TV set for high-definition couch action; also announced is a traditional wireless gamepad to match the squared-off dark gray design: it's what disassembles to become the tablet's own controls.

Introducing Nintendo Switch! In addition to providing single and multiplayer thrills at home, the Nintendo Switch system also enables gamers to play the same title wherever, whenever and with whomever they choose. The mobility of a handheld is now added to the power of a home gaming system to enable unprecedented new video game play styles.

Switches use cartridges instead of discs: suggestively retro, especially in the promise of instant-on gaming, but also reflective of the general decline of optical media in favor of flash and high-bandwidth internet connections.

The promo video depicts intriguing social game cultures that don't yet exist—think kids toting their no-nonsense, easy-to-use Switches around to the pub and competitive event alike. For me it lit up dormant arcade-era neurons that Sony and Microsoft (and Apple, for that matter) never get close to.

It's out in March. Read the rest

Crowdfunded retro game console prototype was nothing but cardboard

The makers of the Coleco Chameleon retro console wanted $2m to manufacture it—and raised more than $80,000 in an Indiegogo campaign. Read the rest

ZX Spectrum-based handheld retroconsole is pretty good

The design perfectly transmutes the cheap minimalist beauty of the classic ZX Spectrum home computer into a unique handheld game console. But does the ZX Vega capture the experience of the early 80's machine?

Indie Retro News reviews it and finds it well-worth your £99, so long as you know what you're getting: a weird British contraption from the early 80s, and only the game-related features of it at that.

Hardcore Speccy fans may have been shouting to have room for expansion but, it's plain to see that this is not what it's about. If you look at this at what it's meant to be, a handheld Speccy to play games on, you can't got far wrong. I agree that you can't beat the original Speccy, the same goes for any original computer but as a pick-up-and-play, it fits perfectly.

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The book of Genesis

If you grew up in the comfortable eighties, you might still have memories of the 16-bit console war, the perverse thrill of wishing for a Super Nintendo or a Sega Genesis, and then arguing with other children on the playground about which was better.

These days being a Sega Genesis fan is a little bit weirder -- you chose the camp that would be basically out of the hardware market by the new millennium. A new book, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works brings that beauty and weirdness to full-color life in a celebration of the Genesis by Guardian games editor Keith Stuart (disclosure: he commissions, edits and pays me when I write about games at the Guardian, which is sometimes).

The Verge's Chris Plante loves the book:

A 30-page history of a 1990s video game console serves a certain niche audience, but the 28 interviews with the people responsible for Sega’s hardware and most cherished games are more digestible and should pique the interest of anyone who owned the system. And there are dozens of glossy pages containing design documentary, hand sketches, key art, title screens, and photography. It's easy to zone out, turning between one drawing and the next.

Sega Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works is available for £35.00, while an extra £15 gets it to you by Christmas. Read the rest

Nvidia Shield, portable game console, reviewed

Nvidia's Shield is the chipmaker's big push into an already well-stocked portable gaming field. Sony and Nintendo sell millions of handsets, yet their lunch's been conspicuously eaten by Apple's iPhone, and other touchscreen smartphones and tablets, in the last few years.

Resembling a large game controller with a flip-out screen, the $299 monster will win no awards for pocketability, prettiness or pricing. With beefy specs, traditional controls and a versatile, open cut of Android, though, it has a strong appeal to serious gamers—it can even control games streamed live from your PC. What did reviewers make of it? Read the rest