My daughter received a Retro Mini Controller as a gift. It’s quite a cool looking little device with a tiny joystick, a couple of buttons, and a battery compartment. In fact, it’s mostly a battery compartment – the entire thing runs on 3 AAAs.

IMG_8814.JPG

The box advertises that it has 200 built in games and ‘connects straight to your TV’.

retro mini controller box.JPG

Sadly this means ‘connects straight to your analogue TV via a composite cable‘. As I no longer possess an analogue capable TV I had to resort to using the same HDMI convertor I bought for my C64.

The device boots into a fuzzy menu display:

retro mini controller menu.JPG

The quality may have suffered a lot due to the convertor, and shows similar banding issues to those I saw when using the C64. It also doesn’t help I’m using my phone to capture the screen.

Saying that, I don’t think the image quality is great to start with. In fact, nothing about this device is great. The build quality is terrible. The joystick is soft and mushy and often doesn’t register a movement. The games are… well. They are games, and there are 200 of them.

Here’s Magic Jony:

magic jony.JPG

I only played a handful and they all seemed to be replicas of more well known games. It’s like a really low quality budget deja vu experience.

They don’t appear to be emulated either, and all the games have a similar title screen, player selection, and scoring. I’m actually amazed that someone went to the trouble of creating 200 of these games rather than just emulating a bunch of ROM files.

It’s hard to find out anything about this device, other than it’s sold under many different names. The graphics are NES style, and the games seem like NES games, but that’s about all I can tell.

Looking inside theres a single chip:

retro mini controller.JPG

Looking this up reveals that it’s a Cypress 64Mbit chip. Some kind of system on a chip.

Overall it’s a fun gift, and I’m glad there’s not a princess in sight. It would be nice if it had HDMI output, and nicer still if the controls worked. Sadly I think even with those things the games aren’t worth playing. Still, my daughter enjoyed it, and that’s a good thing for a gift.

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