Retro Arcade Watch

Retro Arcade Watch

Forget about wearable tech wristwatches like Sony’s Smartwatch or Samsung’s Galaxy Gear. If you want a cool retro timepiece on your wrist, then look no further than ThinkGeek’s Retro Arcade Watch.

Retro Arcade Watch

Once we received the Retro Arcade Watch, we knew a review was in order to let you know what we thought of the watch and most importantly, if it is worth shelling out your hard earned cash. Read on.

Design & Function

The Retro Arcade wristwatch is chunky. Don’t let the chunkiness dissuade you though – it sits comfortably on the wrist with no nagging bits poking and prodding your arm or hand. This is no flimsy timepiece. Made from stainless steel, the case is made to withstand normal day to day punishment. The case (arcade cabinet) is adorned with Galactic Defense decals and also has a joystick and fire-button to add to the arcade machine realism. For pure awesomeness, when the fire-button is pressed, it lights up the hour indicators and marquee in red and also makes pew pew firing sound effects. To power all this awesomeness, the watch requires a CR2032 and SR626 button cell batteries, which are included.

Retro Arcade Watch

ThinkGeek didn’t skimp on the band either, they partnered the cool case with a black leather band with white contrast stitching. The end result being a unique timepiece that is a throwback to the golden age of arcade gaming.  

 

Display

In keeping with the arcade theme, the analog-style time is displayed with a combination of dials – space rocks for the hours and minutes, and a spaceship for the seconds hand. Did I hear you say Asteroids? Well, you said that, we didn’t. As mentioned previously, when the fire-button is pressed, the hour indicator dots are lit up in red, so if you find yourself in a dark alley and you need to know what time it is, just press the fire-button.

 

Coolness

It’s an arcade machine on your wrist that can tell the time and has awesome lighting and pew pew sound effects.

Retro Arcade Watch

How much cooler can it get? Well, if you could play Asteroids or Galaga on it, then I guess it would have been on the super side of cool. However, for under 50 smackers ($49.95USD) you get a watch that can tell the time and provide a coolness factor for free.

Verdict

If you are an Omega or Tag Heuer kind of watch wearer, then the Retro Arcade Wristwatch may not be for you. If you like to show-off your inner geekiness, then you cannot go wrong with this watch on your wrist. At the least, you will send tongues wagging!

Would you buy: N64 USB Controller

[youtube id=”fdMzOCd_W8k” width=”633″ height=”356″]

I remember purchasing SNES-like controllers for my PC to play games like NBA Live 95 and while there were never quite right, they were good enough. This controller states it’s an exact replica of the original and has a six foot cable. ~J.A. Laraque

N64 USB Controller

Personally, I did not love the N64 controller, I know a bunch of people that did but the original SNES controller felt so perfect to me that the button placement, the size and analog stick just felt, well it felt wrong. Now obviously this was just my personal opinion and later controllers, especially the Xbox control looks like took a page from the N64 and PSOne controller, but in the end, it looks as if this design along with the SNES was like a gold standard for controllers since the original Atari joystick.

N64 USB Controller

Here is part of the description from Think Geek:

It’s been almost 20 years since the release of Nintendo’s revolutionary console, the N64. With 64-Bit 3D mapping and games, it’s miraculous just how influential and relevant this magnificent console is today. But, as technology changes exponentially and old hardware gets thrown in the back of the closet or, even worse, in the trash, it gets progressively harder to go back and relive good times.

Now this is a USB controller made by Retrolink, so you can connect it to any computer with a USB port. I remember purchasing SNES-like controllers for my PC to play games like NBA Live 95 and while there were never quite right, they were good enough. This controller states it’s an exact replica of the original and has a six foot cable.

Now would you buy this? At $24.99 it is a little pricey and with the ability to connect your wireless Xbox controller to your PC I assume you would need to really be a fan of this specific controller or a collector in general to purchase it, but I like the idea that you can if you wish.

N64 USB Controller

So, would you buy it?

If you are interested check out the N64 USB Controller at Think Geek.

Product Specifications

  • A replica of the wonky and fun N64 controller for use with emulators
  • USB enabled: Use on any PC/Mac with USB port
  • 10 function buttons
  • Precise 3D – Analog Stick
  • Approximately 6 feet of cable

Thanks to Ketorulz for the video review, check out his YouTube Chanel here.

Retro Duo Portable V2.0 Review

Retro Duo Portable

The Retro Duo Portable V2.0: another clone system to satisfy your nostalgic hunger. These so-called ‘clones’ are fast growing in popularity. Companies like Hyperkin and Retro-Bit have capitalised on the popularity of retro gaming by producing systems that can play your old console cartridges.

Retro Duo Portable

Retro-Bit is having a second crack at this caper by creating the Retro Duo Portable (RDP) V2.0 – a portable (to an extent) unit that plays SNES carts from any region without hacking or modifications. The RDP V2.0 is also capable of playing NES carts using the bundled RetroPort adapter, which sticks out like a sore thumb. The RDP V2.0 can also play Sega Mega Drive / Genesis cartridges using the RetroGEN adapter, which is sold separately.

Retro Duo Portable

Retro-Bit’s first attempt at hardware console creation was modest. The screen wasn’t too flash, the unit felt cheap and games compatibility was limited. They have learned from the experience and introduced a number of improvements for V2.0. These include: upgraded LCD screen, crisper sound, improved D-pad and button layout, better battery life (Lithium-ion) with LED indicator and most importantly, enhanced game cartridge compatibility.

Retro Duo Portable

The RDP V2.0 comes in a slick looking package. Inside you will find a vast amount of gear – the console itself, a plastic stand, TV/AV connection cable, power supply unit, RetroPort adapter, a controller hub and two SuperRetro controllers (which can also be used on your SNES!).

Retro Duo Portable

After playing with the unit for a number of hours (on one battery charge!), here are our thoughts:

Retro Duo Portable

The unit feels sturdy in hand and has a nice soft coating. It doesn’t suffer from that cheap feel you get from other ‘clones’.

Retro Duo Portable

The D-pad and button layout is identical to a SNES pad, so you should feel right at home. However, the shoulder buttons do let the controls down as they are too close to the cartridge slot, but this is only a minor niggle. The external control pads are great to use if you intend on hooking the RDP V2.0 up to a TV, or if you use them natively on your SNES.

Retro Duo Portable

We did have a few compatibility issues with the Super FX SNES games, but overall we were pleased with Retro-Bit’s claim of improved compatibility.

Retro Duo Portable

Using the RetroPort adapter to play your NES carts basically renders the unit ‘un-portable’. The adapter sticks out above the unit which looks damn ugly. But hey, if you want to play your native old NES carts, you will put up with this unsightliness. Playing the RDP V2.0 with the RetroPort adapter definitely got attention on public transport.

Retro Duo Portable

The improved LCD screen is better than the original RDP (it has an increased pixel count), but it has a long way to go. You still have to ‘angle’ or ‘tilt’ the unit to get the best visibility, which gets annoying after a while. There is a contrast reset button which has three preset contrast settings for brightness. The clarity is average when compared to modern handhelds; but considering the price of the unit, it is understandable.

Retro Duo Portable

The beefing up of the sound is great in theory, however we did find the sound became distorted at maximum volume with a distinct ‘crackling’ on certain games (Super Smash TV). The sound was fine when playing with headphones, however the placement of the headphone jack should have been placed on the side of the unit, not on top (it gets in the way!).

Retro Duo Portable

Should you rush out and buy the Retro Duo Portable V2.0? It depends, if you are happy emulating (legally) your 8-bit and 16-bit Sega or Nintendo games, then the answer is no. However, if you want a system that you can plug in your library of SNES, NES and Mega Drive carts, then the RDP V2.0 is perfect. The other plus to owning the RDP V2.0 is that you will safeguard your Sega and Nintendo hardware from further abuse, and let’s face it, these old consoles won’t last forever!

Verdict: If you like the sound of a console that can play your SNES and NES cartridges out of the box, then check this unit out.

The Retro Duo Portable NES/SNES Game System retails for $99.99USD at ThinkGeek.

iCade 8-Bitty Retro Wireless Game Controller Review

iCade-8-Bitty

I always felt that smart phones and tablets were a perfect platform for retro gaming and though you do not need a gamepad to enjoy those classic games, it vastly improves the overall gameplay giving you that old school feeling of playing on your NES.

The first thing I noticed when I received my 8-bitty is the NES inspired design. The pad feels a lot like the old NES control complete with the button layout except the 8-bitty also features two top buttons. The fake wood paneling on the side is a nice touch and the buttons on the 8-bitty feel sturdy so don’t worry about going button mashing crazy.

The back of the controller has a panel which you can remove with a small screwdriver in order to access the two AAA batteries inside. It also features an on/off switch which is great to save battery life. When you turn the pad on and it is paired with your device you will see the blue indicator light on the top left.

Let’s talk games. The 8-bitty works with classic gaming applications like Midway Arcade and Atari Greatest Hits. You can also see a list of compatible games the 8-bitty works with. Now I use it mostly for emulators on my Android phone including the MAME4droid which works perfectly with the 8-bitty. Nothing beats loading up some Final Fight and being able to use a real controller that is durable and comfortable to use.

Now one might wonder why you would want to carry around a controller almost as big as your phone. Also, there may be some conflicts with some games, mainly iOS games where you may need to play around with the button configuration or you may have to use strange button combinations in order to play. However, as more games accept external controllers this will become less of an issue. The truth is, as great as smart phones have become some of the classic games like Megaman and Castlevania still play best with a good controller and at $29.99 the 8-bitty fits the bill.

Weird Games: Super Pii Pii Brothers

super_piipii_brothers

When I pitched this series I had this game in mind. I thought the spanking game was weird, but this one takes the cake. Seriously, this was the kind of game that if it was released anytime near April you would think it was an April Fool’s joke, but no, it is a real game for a real (kind of) gaming system.

Super Pii Pii brothers was a $35 import for the Nintendo Wii (fitting name) and the gameplay was simple. Your mission was to put on a harness and “strap” the Wii remote to your crotch area and then pee into and onto a series of places and animals. I mean just look at the picture, if you saw your girlfriend walk in wearing that would you run or be happy? (Seriously, I’m asking here.)

super_piipii_brothers-main

In the game you start off with a series of toilets and as they open you need to aim yourself and tilt up to pee into the toilet. Also, you seem to have some serious bladder problems because the stream of pee is endless. So the key is to get most of the pee in the toilet and as little as possible on the floor. (This sounds like a game at any bar in America.)

Now when the toilets open sometimes a stray cat or other toilet critter may pop up and you actually get bonus points for peeing on them. (P.I.T.A. be damned). The game is said to have over 100 different bathrooms from all around the world. Check out what the Japanese had in mind for the main reason for playing this game from the translation on the box.

super_piipii_brothers-control

“Super Pii Pii Brothers promotes good bathroom skills and allows women to experience for the first time the pleasure of urinating while standing.”

So I guess this game is just for women who want to strap on a… you know what, let’s just end the article here on a high note.

Check out the game on Think Geek.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQNKRDFanQE[/youtube]

Ok, ok, the game isn’t real, but hey it still counts as a weird game.

CES Report 2011: Classic Gaming Lives

iCADE by ION
The iCADE by ION

We know most gamers have a classic past and with retro gaming becoming bigger on console systems and mobile devices I knew if I looked hard enough I would find someone showcasing a product for the classic gamer in all of us.

What I discovered is a company called ION that makes a number of cool devices, but what caught my eye was the iCADE. The iCADE is a miniature arcade cabinet that allows you to connect your iPAD to it using Bluetooth. How the iCADE works is you place your iPAD on the screen holder and you can display it normal and landscape. From there you just connect to the iCADE via Bluetooth and launch an app and you can play classic games using a real arcade control panel.

The iCADE came from an April Fool’s joke done on Think Geek, they created a small arcade cabinet out of cardboard. The iCADE became popular and you knew it would only be a matter of time before a real one was created and that was what I found at the ION booth.

The arcade cabinet felt very sturdy, just like the old arcade machines I use to play on. I was impressed craftsmanship with the buttons and the joystick. If you are a serious arcader you know how it can suck to have cheap buttons or a cheap joystick because it not only feels like crap, but it messes up your game. The buttons on the iCADE felt right, they were easy to press, but could take a beating on any game you want to load up and the joystick is perfect for both overhand and underhand users.

Currently the iCADE is partnered with Atari so the game I played was Asteroids and it played just like the original. The iCADE will feature many more Atari games and they are looking to add classic more games from other companies so I hope you classic gaming companies out there will connect with these people because the iCADE was pretty cool.

Even the salesman who showed me the iCADE was a classic gamer himself so I have faith that the iCADE will do well. I don’t have a final price yet, but I will get more information on this product and update you.

Click to listen to my interview: ION ICADE Interview – CES 2011