Stop faking those retro video games for smartphones and tablets — you know the real deal from the arcades and home consoles live in 8 and 16-bit graphics, right? Think you can take on those thousands of games like it’s no big deal? Then prepare to get your butt whipped by spending a few bucks and pulling out one of these portables from your pocket.
ATGames Gopher Handheld/$49
The only thing better than a Sega Genesis game is having 20 of them, all built-in so Sonic and the others are a button press away. Recharge the battery after 8 hours, and keep the 2.8-inch color screen clear so those 16-bit graphics can jump off the screen. It attaches to the TV if you want, but stick it in a pocket instead. And yeah the SD card slot means you can add more games later.
Hyperkin SUPABOY Portable Pocket SNES Console/$79
If it looks like a SNES game controller and plays like a SNES game controller — it must be a portable SuperNintendo console that you can pop in a cartridge and attach earbuds to for the stereo. Use the TV if you get tired of the 3.5-inch LCD, but where’s the portability in that?
Innex. Inc. Retro Duo Portable/$89
Grab some US or Japanese carts at a yard sale and relive the best 16-bit SNES games for pennies. The 8-hour battery life of the portable keeps the 3.5-inch color LCD screen lit, even as the curved shape makes hitting those buttons easy. Or use the built-in stand to prop it up. And the slot on top can adapt to take Sega Genesis and NES carts too.
Yobo FC-16 Go Portable SNES System/$69
This ain’t no Nintendo DS, so swing up the screen on the lid, pop in a SNES cart and revel in 16-bit graphics for hours. Use the wireless controller if you’d rather keep your fingers from smudging the 3.5-inch screen. There’s a second controller too, if you’re in the mood to play Street Fighter with one of your friends.
JXD5000 5.0″ LCD Portable Game Console/$109
Glom this 5-inch screen and shape like a PSP. Then cheer that it’s cheaper and able to play PlayStation, Game Boy and Japanese SNES games. Sounds good to me, so who cares that it has a camera and video player and other junk like that? Download the game files and start building up those thumb calluses already.
Hyperkin FC Mobile II Black Version/$59
Prove that NES games are no match for your skills by playing the carts on the 2.5-inch screen while using one of the two wireless game controllers. Or, better yet, pull out the wireless gun, hit auto-fire and go all postal on 8-bit characters. Plug it into a TV if small graphics aren’t your style.
GP2X Wiz MAME/Amiga/Console Emulator/$149
This little bad boy is the emulator of choice if Gameboy, Atari ST, Amiga, NeoGeo, and other retro games get you drooling. The card slot holds the game’s ROM file you’ve gotten elsewhere, and the touch-screen works in conjunction with the D-pads, shoulder and front mounted firing buttons. The 10GB of storage also does duty as an e-reader, voice recorder and video player, if you’re into that kind of thing. Yeah, the 3-inch screen handles thousands of colors too.
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture