Between the Raspberry Pi and your favorite names in video game mini-consoles, it’s safe to say that retro gaming is in a period of rebirth. But what if you want to take your nostalgic gaming experience on the go? Fortunately, there is no shortage of portable handhelds to give you your retro gaming solution. Unfortunately, not all are great devices. A quick search will tell you that a ton of less than stellar devices have flooded the market. But fear not. We take a look in this article at some of the best retro gaming handhelds on the market today.
1. Bittboy V3.5
the Bittboy V3.5 is bound to bring back memories with its Gameboy-inspired design. On closer inspection, you’ll notice that the Bittboy is actually considerably smaller than Nintendo’s OG handheld, measuring around 7 x 10 x 1.5cm. Despite its small size, the Bittboy is able to emulate a number of classic consoles. These include portable systems like the Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and Gameboy Advance.
Additionally, the Bittboy can play most consoles of the 16-bit era including the Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, and TurboGrafx 16. The Bittboy is also capable of playing a number of more obscure consoles and can even handle some Playstation 1 games. Finally, there are preloaded games like Cavestory and the shareware version of Doom.
As we mentioned earlier, the Bittboy is tiny, making it easy to slip into a pocket or bag. The IPS screen measures 2.4 inches; however, reviews say the display is crisp and the colors vibrant. One downside of the Bittboy is that the user interface is a bit clunky. Additionally, the Bittboy lacks a dedicated volume and brightness slider, forcing you to use impractical button combinations to adjust these settings. Despite a few minor drawbacks, the Bittboy is a great choice, especially since at the time of writing you can pick one up for $ 35.
There are a number of handheld computers in Anbernic’s RG350 line; However, the RG350P maybe their best yet. The handheld has a gorgeous 3.5-inch IPS display, a long-lasting 2500mAh battery, and microSD card support up to 256GB. However, what really sets it apart the RG350P is the fact that it has two analog sticks.
The RG350P supports a ton of retro consoles. This includes virtually all major video game systems from the 8- and 16-bit eras. In addition, the RG350P also supports Capcom 1 and 2 playback systems. You can relive your days spent in an arcade without burning the neighborhoods. The RG350P also supports Playstation 1 games; however, emulation performance is uneven. Some PS1 games will work great right out of the box, but a number of games will require fiddling with the frame jump settings to function properly.
As we mentioned earlier, there are a number of handheld consoles under the RG350 banner. All consoles have slight variations, but the hardware inside is the same. This means that you will get exactly the same emulation performance for each version. Which one you choose is a personal preference, but our opinion is that the RG350P’s button placement and top screen clearly make it the winner.
the Evercade is yet another system in a long line of portable emulation consoles, but with a fairly unique twist. While the Evercade emulates classic games, it doesn’t require you to get game ROMs from the darkest corners of the internet. Instead, Evercade uses cartridges that contain a number of sets. Each cartridge can be purchased separately.
Evercade has partnered with the publishers of these old games. Companies like Data East, Namco and Interplay license their games to Evercade, which then groups them together in collections on cartridges for the Evercade handheld. Plus, Evercade has even teamed up with some independent publishers like Mega Cat to bring new, retro-inspired games to the handheld. Each cartridge contains six to 20 sets and costs an average of around $ 20 each.
Besides avoiding the legal gray area of obtaining ROMs, cartridges are a collector’s dream. Each cartridge comes in a hard case reminiscent of old Sega Genesis games. Each case features unique artwork and a full color instruction manual. The Evercade also has an HDMI output, allowing you to play your games on your HDTV.
4. Analog pocket
the Analog pocket is like the Rolls Royce of handheld game consoles. Like other high-end retro consoles from Analogue, the Pocket does not read ROM files. Instead, it plays original video game cartridges. The Analogue Pocket is compatible with nearly 3,000 Nintendo Gameboy, Gameboy Color and Gameboy Advance games. Additionally, there are cartridge adapters available that allow users to play games originally developed for Sega Game Gear, Neo Geo Pocket, Atari Lynx and more.
Analogue has built a reputation for designing beautiful, high-end retro consoles, and Analogue Pocket is no exception. The handheld has a 3.5 inch LCD display with a resolution of 1600 x1440. In addition, the Pocket has a Gorilla Glass screen, protecting it from scratches. Additionally, the analog docking station can be used to play your games on your HDTV. It is an interesting solution to display your Pocket and bring your games to the big screen.
Finally, if you ever get bored of playing your old retro games, you can experiment with the built-in digital audio workstation, Nanoloop. This DAW features a synthesizer and sequencer, allowing you to create music on the go.
If you’d rather scratch your retro gaming itch on your Raspberry Pi, check out our guide on setting up RetroPie. If you own a Chromebook, check out these awesome games you can play on Chromebook.
Is this article useful?