Crowning the Best Portable Retro Game Emulator
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Crowning the Best Portable Retro Game Emulator

August 23, 2019


Bob: With the fate of the virtual console
being more or less up in the air, how do you plan on playing your retro games on the go? I know, it’s the question on everybody’s mind. But wouldn’t it be great to have a machine
right in your back pocket that is loaded up with your favorite bits of gaming nostalgia? You can have your entire NES library in the
palm of your hand. So here’s some of the best ways to make that
a reality with a little help from our friend Izzy, who is somewhat of an aficionado on
the subject, or a psychopath, depending on how you look at it. Izzy: Whatever, Bob. Just ’cause I bought a few emulation devices
doesn’t mean I’m a pyscho. You’re a psycho. Oh, my God, I knew it. (music). Bob: Warning: only download games that you
already own. It’s very not nice of you otherwise. We clear on that? All right. Good. Now, there are a few different ways that you
can do this. There are devices that allow you to just load
a bunch of games onto. There are devices that just straight-up play
old cartridges. And there are devices like the Switch and
the 3DS that allow you to pay to download retro games, but not every game is within
their library. The latter is probably the easiest choices,
but you’re gonna have much smaller library, and it’s no fun to talk about. So we’re just gonna skip right over those. Bob: I’m sure that once Switch Online comes
out, Nintendo’s Netflix-style retro game service, will be the easiest, hassle-free, and most
legal option available. Izzy: Yeah, about the Switch Online, I got
a lot of flak for a video where I was, let’s say, less than optimistic about the Switch
Online. A lot of people took me to task in the comments
of that video saying that I’m probably just misinterpreting what Nintendo said; what they’re
going to actually deliver come September is gonna be better than what they’re announcing
right now. I’m still a little disappointed. We waited another year for this thing to come
out, right? It was supposed to come out Fall last year. They had one more year to work on this, and
this is all they showed us? A couple of Netflix-style NES games? Voice-chat through a phone? Still? The other thing is that a lot [inaudible 00:02:11]. Bob: It literally says right here, Izzy interjects
with something about Switch Online, there may be a back and forth. Izzy: [crosstalk 00:02:10] an amazing job
now all of a sudden. That’s the best I can expect. Bob: One device that I used to rock as my
daily driver so to speak was a DS Lite with an R4 cart. The R4 cartridge is an aftermarket, sort of
black market device that allows you to run downloaded software. This device allows you to play downloaded
games, including DS games. Again, I don’t condone or even recommend playing
games that you don’t own, especially if it’s for a console they still produce games for. They do make an R4 equivalent for the 3DS. It’s harder to come by, it’s more expensive,
and the games are a lot bigger. So overall, it’s more of a pain in the ass
than the regular R4 for the DS. Bob: So if you just want a device solely dedicated
towards retro gaming, a DS Lite with an R4 isn’t a bad option. You could still get one for pretty cheap. Plus, I love the form factor. It’s the sleekest, most compact DS in the
entire DS family. Setup is very easy. You just drop all the files onto your micro
SD card, you drop the necessary emulators, and you drop in all of the games that you
want, and you’re good to go. Just make sure you’re getting good emulator
files, because some of them will have weird glitches like this. (music) If this happens to you, just delete
it and drop in another emulator. There are plenty of them out there on the
internet. Bob: I think the reason it feels so great
is because you’re playing your retro library on an official piece of Nintendo hardware,
so it physically feels right at home. Just ignore the fact that you’re running it
through a super not-official game cartridge. Izzy: Like Bob, I love the form factor of
the DS Lite. I still think to this day it’s one of the
mos beautiful devices Nintendo has ever put out. And like Bob, I had a flash card, though not
the R4. I have [inaudible 00:04:18] the M3 simply,
which from what I can tell from remembering, half-remembering what I read online at the
time, it’s kind of a hardware clone of the R4. It works basically the same for all intents
and purposes. Download a bunch of ROMs, load them on an
SD card, put it in and play away. Words cannot describe how much I loved this
thing back in the day. Hell, I still love it. And maybe the reason I’m so attached to the
3DS still in 2018 is because I don’t want the DS line as a whole to die. Bob: Maybe you weren’t a DS boy. Maybe you were a PSP bro. That does say a lot about you. Lucky for you, there is a way to hack the
PSP, and it’s pretty easy too. Izzy has a lot more to say on that. Izzy: Now, the PSP boy, I am a massive fan
of it. It’s no surprise, I have three of them. This one, the white PSP Go is a little bit
harder to find; I paid a little bit more than I paid on the other two, but I love this thing
to death. Up until my hacked PSP, emulators were this
thing that I only get to play when I’m at home in front of a computer. Being able to carry my Super Nintendo games
wherever I went, right there in my pocket, all the games I used to love back in the day,
and the ones I couldn’t experience because I failed to convince my parents to buy them
for me for Christmas. Izzy: The PSP, though lately climbing in value,
is still at a very affordable price if portable emulation is your thing. Now, granted, it’s not gonna be the best portable
emulation device because it lacks some buttons for input, say, a second analog stick or L2
and R2 shoulder buttons, so playing PS1 games, it’s doable, but, you know, you need to work
around some issues. And you’re only really gonna be emulating
right up to the PS1. It does a really good job at emulating the
PS1, not so much for anything after that like, say, the N64. So if that’s your jam, the PSP won’t be the
best option. Bob: Hyperkin makes really great retro game
consoles. They make the Retron 5, which allows you to
play Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advanced, Super Nintendo, NES, Famicom, Super Famicom,
Genesis, Megadrive, and Master System games. But that’s a home console, this video is on
portable stuff. So I wanted to focus on the SupaBoy S by Hyperkin. This device allows you to play actual full-size
SNES cartridges on the go. The S version allows for Super Famicom games
too. You can even plug in extra controllers and
plug this into a TV if you wanted to. So yes, this is a home/portable console hybrid. It’s pretty damn cool. The only downside is that you need the cartridges
with you. That has its ups and downs. On one hand, you’re getting a legal, authentic
experience with the actual hardware. And on the other hand, you have to carry all
these game cartridges with you. Realistically, you’d probably only have one
of these game cartridges with you at a time. There’s no way you’re carrying around too
many of these. Bob: Other potential downsides are that the
cartridges on mine have to be tilted back or else it feels like you’re gonna break the
contacts. And the screen, while beautiful, is widescreen. That was a weird choice for a console that
just plays SNES games, which are traditionally 4:3, not 16:9. So yeah, this might not be for everybody,
but I thought it was at least worth mentioning. And if it is interesting to you, we can’t
talk about the SupaBoy without talking about the original SupaBoy, the Sega Nomad. Bob: All the way back in 1995, Sega made a
portable version of the Sega Genesis, called the Nomad. This even had an S video port and a port for
a second player. So yes, another portable/home console hybrid. They were way ahead of their time, maybe a
bit too ahead of their time. Between the horrid screen with terrible viewing
angles and this weird motion blur, the battery life, the ridiculous form factor, it was really
something jaw-dropping at the time, but now, I’m afraid it’s just nothing more than a novelty. Bob: You know what? I’m good. Thank you. Speaker 3: Are you sure? Bob: Eh, I’m good. Speaker 3: But … Bob: The most convenient option for you is
probably to have all of your games downloaded onto one device so you can always have your
game library with you. Of course, these are games that you already
own. There are a slew of devices out there right
now, but be careful, most of them come with game preloaded on them and don’t allow you
to upload your own games. Will: And this is pretty much an emulation machine. I forgot the game systems it’s supposed to
be able to play. Bob: I don’t think it says. Will: No. 900 thou … 900,000-in-one
random special. Bob: Oh, I like that (laughs). I’ll take the random special please. Will: Hell yeah. Izzy: Now, if you wanna get serious about
portable emulation, the GPD XD is the absolute best way to go. In case you’re not familiar with this device,
I’ve done a couple of videos on it. It’s essentially an Android tablet shaped
like a Nintendo 3DS XL. So you have all the benefits of this form
factor, and the benefits of a very flexible OS like Android. Android emulates basically everything, and
it has enough power under the hood to emulate those things really well, right up to the
Dreamcast. Now, the Dreamcast wasn’t my cup of tea, so
I don’t play it as much. But the ones I tried run really, really well. One cool thing about the GPD XD is that it
has a mini HDMI out, so you can plug this into a television set. Television set? Who the *mario sfx* says that? The only problem I have with the GPD XD, well
it’s two problems actually, the D pad is kind of mushy. So to me, I play mostly PS1 games on this
thing, so it doesn’t affect me, but if you’re into say 16-bit fighting games, this is gonna
be a source of frustration. Izzy: The other thing, and this is like a
weird quirk of the motherboard they use on this thing, you cannot charge it, uh, using
a charger that outputs more than 5 volts. So say if you have a Samsung phone, and they
have, I think it’s, uh, the feature’s called super charger, quick charge … I’m not a
Samsung guy, so I don’t know. But basically, if your charger outputs more
than 5 volts, like usually nine for these phones that charge super fast, it’s gonna
fry this thing. So the safest way to charge the GPD XD is
either with the charger that it comes bundled with or one that you know only outputs 5 volts. Or if you like me, super paranoid, on your
computer. That’s the safest way to charge it, though
it’s gonna take forever to fully top this thing up. Bob: The GPD XD is surprisingly easy to set
up, especially considering I’ve had emulators run on Android phones before, and they’re
typically a huge pain in the ass. Some games work, some don’t. The controllers only work with some emulators. All I did to set up the GPD XD is toss my
game library on there using Android file transfer, download Matsu, configure the controllers
for each game system, and you’re good to go, no hassle whatsoever. If you wanna take the extra time and make
things nice and pretty, look into Izzy’s setup. Bob: This has by far the best emulation out
of any of the devices shown. The GPD XD is way powerful enough to play
any game you throw at it, even N64 games, with no noticeable bugs. My only gripe with it is that it’s a tad expensive. $279 on Amazon makes sense for what it is,
but for that price, you can almost buy a Switch, and you can play newer games and Nintendo’s
classic library when that comes out in September. So, the GPD XD is no doubt a specialty item
for specialty people. I think the absolute best way to emulate retro
games is just a laptop. Bob: OpenEmu on Mac is the absolute best all-in-one
emulator I have ever used. RetroArch on Windows can go *mario sfx*. It compiles your library for you, downloads
the cover art as best it can. The whole UI is really pretty. The way you configure controllers is super
easy. Once you start getting into the nuances like
downloading different emulator cores, that’s where things start to fall apart for OpenEmu. But for unmatched ease of use, OpenEmu comes
out on top. Also, my *mario sfx* little MacBook runs the Dolphin emulator surprisingly well. Nothing like a quick game of Sonic Avenger
2 battle while you’re on the train. Bob: If you already have a DS Lite or a PSP
and you don’t really care about playing N64 games or PlayStation games, then you should
look into the R4 or the PSP hack. They’re so cheap and easy, and the hardware’s
already so good that I wouldn’t say that it’s worth it to spend all that extra money on
a GPD XD. However, if you don’t already have a DS Lite
or a PSP, and you want a device specifically for playing retro games, definitely check
out the GPD XD. Not only is it a great piece of hardware whose
sole purpose is playing retro games, it also supports N64 and PlayStation games. And it runs on Android, so when the SteamLink
app comes out, you’ll be able to stream your PC games right to your GPD XD. Bob: Of course, if you’re a narc, and you
wanna stay 100% legit, check out the SupaBoy. We made this video assuming that you at the
very least know how to transfer files from your computer. These things don’t come with instructions
on how to get your pirated games onto them, so you’re gonna have to look that stuff up. And me and Izzy are not gonna help you. So don’t DM me, don’t email me, leave me the *mario sfx* alone. All right? All right. Bob: So what do you guys think about all of
these retro game console options? How do you play your old games? I find it way easier to emulate than it is
to plug in my old consoles and boot those things up. Anyway, leave it in the comments below, @ me
on Twitter, all this other social media garbage. Izzy’s got a whole bunch of videos on portable
consoles. He’s the whole reason why Nintendo won’t stop
making games for the 3DS. So check out his channel, and don’t forget
to check out his video or videos on the GPD XD also. Izzy: As you can tell, I spend a lot of my
time and energy and money in portable retro gaming. So if you dig that kind of content, check
me out. I talk about this a lot, maybe too much. Bob: Anyway, we’ve got new videos and livestreams
all the time. Here’s our schedule right here. We’ve got Wolfden Live every single Wednesday,
which is our live podcast where we talk to you. And of course, the most important things that
you could do is subscribe and share this video with a friend, a friend who loves their retro
games but maybe doesn’t have a way to play their retro game library this easily. Bob: Thank you guys very much. You have yourselves a very good week, yeah? (music)

Only registered users can comment.

  1. why are americans so brainwashed into disapproving any kind of "piracy"?
    Who gives a shit if you're playing an illegal copy of a game from 94?
    no one

  2. Let’s say if in a completely fictional scenario I wanted to download a couple games were would I do that.

  3. Let’s say if in a completely fictional scenario I wanted to download a couple games were would I do that

  4. Technically bob, downloading any Roms is illegal and with most consoles after the GameCube it’s easy to extract your own roms, and with n64-nes you can get a single device (with adapters) to extract all of them from the cartridges. Then it’s 100% legal…

  5. I have so many old memories from my old r4 card on the 3ds. Just seeing it in this video made me super happy!!

  6. damn must be on the dark side of the web? dude made me throw up everywhere his face ! he hit every ugly branch on the tree..mother should swallowed his ass face ass!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. I DON"T LIKE IT!!! THE BEST EMULATOR IS A ANDROID PHONE WITH AN UNLCOKED BOOT LOADER LIKE A NOTE 2!!! YOU CAN USE THOSE COOL ADD ON CONTROLLERS!!!! DO YOU SCREAM AT THE CAMERA IN EVERY VIDEO YOU DO? YOU SHOULD!! IT"S COOL!!

  8. Get an iPhone SE 64 gb
    Download pandahelper
    Get GBA4IOS
    Stop pretending you’re downloading illegal roms when even after buying a game, you’re entitled only to the license to play the game and not own it.

    Additional: support GOG
    Say fuck Nintendo

  9. Yaa but this GPD is just too expensive for emulation if you want cheep emulation device and its a console made by Nintendo get a 2DS XL small portable and when hacked its the Perfect emulation device from Nintendo consoles

  10. Btw R4 cards are obsolete you dont need them anymore you can hack DS and 3DS and 2DS for FREE with CFW that is NOT affected by Firmware Upgrades

  11. I just wanna play up to game cube system games on a device probably gonna get a good controller for portable phones that's on bluetooth so it also works on computer

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