XU4Q Retro Gaming System Runs ODROID GameStation Turbo, Sells for $150 and Up

One of the use case for little Arm Linux boards is retro gaming thanks to open source projects like RetroPie, RetrOrangePi, Lakka, and others. To get a complete & usable system, it’s possible to purchase console kits, enclosures, or even complete game consoles running one of such emulators. This morning I’ve come accross another option, as Ameridroid is now taking pre-order for XU4Q Retro Gaming System for $149.95 and up. As it name implies, the console is based on ODROID-XU4Q, the fanless version of ODROID-XU4 board, which with its Exynos 5422 octa-core processor and 2GB RAM will be much more powerful than Raspberry Pi 3 boards, and most other boards on the market. The kit also includes OGST Gaming Console, GameSir G3w analog joystick controller, a power supply, and a 16GB microSD boot media flashed with ODROID Game Station Turbo based on Debian. If you already own an ODROID-XU4(Q) board, power supply, and one or more game controllers, you could …

Android based Station OS Firmware Focuses on Multimedia and Retro Gaming for ROC-RK3328-CC and Firefly-RK3399 Boards

If you’re interesting in gaming and multimedia, one choice is to run Linux based RetrOrangePi or RetroPie on your favorite development board/SBC, and soon, with the upcoming release of Kodi 18, multimedia and retro gaming will just be an app installation away in Android, and other supported operating systems, since RetroPlayer retro-gaming emulator is part of the latest – and yet-to-be-released – version of Kodi. In the meantime, if you own a ROC-RK3328-CC and/or Firefly-RK3399 board(s), you may want to try Station OS, a firmware based on Android with a focus on 4K video playback and retro gaming. The description claims that Stations OS includes “more than 20 kinds of optimization for video and games, achieve multimedia center, Kodi 4K hardware decoding, game simulator hardware acceleration, real-time cast screen display, network acceleration, perfect Root.” The firmware does not use Kodi directly, but RKMC fork instead with some improvements, and they call the game emulator “Game Station”. The company has release …

Kodi 18 Features and Improvements (FOSDEM 2018 Video)

Most Kodi users are now running Kodi 17.x Krypton that was initially released in February 2017, with the latest point version being Kodi 17.6. At the time of Krypton release, the developers had also started working on Kodi 18 “Leia” which should now be in “alpha”, and the stable release may only be a few months away although Kodi developers do not provide an ETA. What they did provide however – via Martijn Kaijser at FOSDEM 2018 – is a progress report for Kodi 18 “Leia”, as well as some insights into Kodi 19 whose development has just started. Kodi 18 has gone through a lot of cleanup with the code upgraded to C++11 standard, duplicate code and obsolete libraries removed, dropped unmaintained feature, and so on. They also moved non-core features such as audio encoders and decoders, PVR, picture decoding, etc…  to external plugins. This work resulted into 299,476 deleted lines of codes, and 387,205 added lines of codes …

Pandora’s Box 5S Arcade Game Console – Teardown and Mini Review

Last year – and even in 2016 – , there was a fair amount of new retro gaming news, with products such a Nintendo SNES Classic Edition or GameShell Portable Retro console, as well as community supported firmware such as RetrOrangePi 4.0. GearBest asked me if I wanted to review something a little different: Pandora’s Box 5S (aka Pandora’s Key 5S) arcade game console with 999 games most (all?) designed for two players. This looked fun, and I was particularly interesting in checking out the hardware design, and hacking potential, e.g. if there could be a way to replace the board or firmware with your own. So in the review, I’ll focus mostly on the teardown, before shortly testing out the system and a few games. Pandora’s Box 5S Unboxing The device comes ins a large package (~70 x 24 x 16cm), so I’m surprised customs did not ask any questions, and it just went through without any issues. Once …

Popcorn Hour Transformer Media Computer / NAS Launched for $95.90 and Up

Last month, we wrote about Cloud Media’s Popcorn Hour Transformer, a platform based on Rockchip RK3328 processor that could be used a 2.5″ drive NAS, and/or a 4K HDR TV box, and looked like an interested alternative  to ODROID HC1 NAS system. The company has now officially launch the device, and is taking orders for $95.90 or $115.90 for respectively the 2GB RAM/16GB flash, or 4GB/32GB versions. Popcorn Hour Transformer specifications: SoC – Rockchip RK3328 quad core Cortex A53 processor with Mali-450MP GPU System Memory – 2GB or 4GB LPDDR3 Storage micro SD slot 16 or 32GB eMMC flash (removable and upgradeable) 128 Mbit SPI NOR flash SATA interface via USB 3.0 to SATA bridge chipset for 2.5″ HDD/SSD Network Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet Video Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K 60Hz with HDR (HDR10/HLG) support Audio Output – Via HDMI, and 3.5mm audio jack (analog stereo or optical S/PDIF) USB – 2x USB 2.0 type A ports including …

Sega Genesis Flashback Retro Game Console is Powered by “Monkey King 3.6” Processor, Runs Android

Retro gaming is cool again with products like Nintendo NES Classic / SNES Classic, DIY solutions based on firmware like RetrOrangePi, and the upcoming Atari console  among others. Another model is AtGames Sega Genesis Flashback, a smaller replica of Sega Model 1 Genesis with 85 pre-loaded games including the Sonic series, Mortal Kombat series, Phantasy Star series, and Shining Force series games.   The console ships with two wireless controllers, connect to your TV via HDMI with 720p resolution, and includes a cartridge slot that works with Sega Genesis and Mega Drive cartridges. The console has been out for several months, and it would be an understatement to say reviews are not very positive with titles / bylines such as “do not buy” (partially because the console requires a power adapter….), This Genesis does not do what Nintendoes, or “More like Trashback“. But what caught my eyes is ETA Prime’s Sega Genesis Flashback HD Teardown And Review (embedded below), which reveals the board is …

Gameshell Portable Retro Gaming Console Features Clockwork Pi Allwinner R16 Board (Crowdfunding)

Allwinner R16 with its lowly four Cortex A7 cores and Mali-400MP2 GPU would not normally come to mind when designing a gaming console. But Nintendo used the R16 processor twice in their retro gaming consoles: NES Classic and SNES Classic Edition. Clockwork, a startup based in Hangzhou, China, decided they could also do gaming console with the processor: Gameshell. But their product is quite different, as it’s both a portable console with 2.7″ display, and a development platform with the console based on Clockwork Pi development board, and an Atmel AVR (Arduino) based keypad board. Gameshell specifications: Clockwork Pi development board SoC – Alwinner R16-J quad core Cortex A7 processor @ 1.2 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU System Memory – 512MB or 1GB (in future revision of the board) Storage – 1x micro SDHC slot Video Output / Display I/F – 18-bit RGB display interface, micro HDMI (planned in revision of the board), Audio Output – Via HDMI, 3.5 mm stereo …

RetrOrangePi 4.0 Released

RetrOrangePi is a retro gaming & media center firmware based on Armbian Debian image and working on Allwinner H3/H2+ based Orange Pi boards, Banana Pi M2+, and NanoPi M1, as well as Beelink X2 TV Box. Right at the end of last year, I reviewed RetrOrangePi 3.0 on Orange Pi One board to which I connected Mars G01 gamepad, and I could play some games like Wolfenstein 3D and Quake, and watch videos on OpenELEC/Kodi 16. The firmware also comes with various emulators, but you’d have to load the ROMs yourself due to intellectual property / license issues. The developers have now released RetrOrangePi 4.0. RetrOrangePi 4.0 changelog: Latest Armbian v5.32 (Debian Jessie kernel 3.4.113) RetroPie-Setup v4.3.3 (unofficial fork, upgradeable) New RetrOrangePi repository for easy updates and fixes EmulationStation v2.6.5 with video and game collection support, Desktop/OpenELEC shorcuts from main menu New ROPi “Attract-Mode”-like theme (based on Cosmos theme) Retroarch 1.6.7 – Retroachievements tested Kodi Krypton 17.4 (hardware acceleration provided …