*RetroDuo Portable 2.0* (Guest Article By KewlioMZX)

With his “Let’s Play The World” series on YouTube he entertains his subscribers with some very niche and obscure retro games.

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Hey, everyone! It’s Kewlio, if you don’t know, and today, I’m doing something a little different. About two weeks ago, now, I decided to trade off several dusty old consoles I had, hidden in various boxes for ages, to my local video game store, and got myself an item that caught my eye previously. A nifty little thing called the RetroDuo Portable; a handheld device which boasts its ability to play any SNES and even NES games on the go.

And so, Kewlio gets to know this nifty find…

The first thing to figure out; does it at least do what it says? Well, sadly, I don’t have the biggest selection of SNES games sitting around, but it plays most of the games I’ve got (every Kirby game, Tetris Attack, and a few other early SNES titles), and it claims to have 99.9% compatibility with the SA-1 chip, meaning it could potentially play some of the more advanced titles such as Super Mario RPG (though I’ve had trouble getting it to run Kirby’s Dream Land 3 without it crashing profusely).

The buttons on it are pretty solid. I’ve experienced a few slip-ups with the control pad, especially when dealing with high-precision puzzling such as with Tetris Attack, but nothing I wouldn’t expect from using a SNES controller (which, by the way, it supports through the use of a peripheral included with the device). It’s kind of cumbersome to hold in your hands for an extended period of time, at about two and a half times the thickness of a SNES pad, attributed to the fact that it does need to be able to fit both a SNES game and the hardware to make it play. It’s a little hard to get to the L and R buttons, since your index fingers might need to dodge around the cartridge in the device’s slot. And just as with the SNES itself; if something happens to trip over the cartridge just slightly, there goes your game. Rats; I was so close to maxing out my score, too…

RetroDuo PortableBut wait, there’s more! It plays NES games, too. The RetroDuo Portable comes with an adapter cartridge which allows you to load your old 8-bit classics for you to play…which, honestly, once loaded into the machine, looks about as ridiculous as stacking several copies of Sonic & Knuckles on top of each other (Genesis adapter sold separately. XD). I wouldn’t be caught dead walking around playing NES games on the street, but it’s still a good way to use the same device for all of your classic Nintendo moments. That I’ve found, though, there’s no way to use your old black and white slabs of plastic with red buttons on to make your experience more authentic.

Video output on the device is pretty excellent. It looks more or less like the real thing, at least among the games I’ve played. Sound output…leaves something to be desired, however. SNES games aren’t terrible for this, though you will probably notice the difference if you’re playing your old favourites. NES, on the other hand… The sound is very muffled and somewhat grating. Relatively a small price to pay to be able to play through your old collection…but I wouldn’t use headphones for these games, that’s for sure.

Now, you might be wondering… Does it have TV Out? Well, that was my first question when I bought it, and the answer is yes. It does so quite well, too, with a gameplay experience very comparable to playing on the S/NES machines of old, especially if you’re using the SNES controller adapter. One thing I’ve found odd, however, is that the RDP will continue outputting video to its own screen despite being plugged in, which can’t be great for battery life.

Speaking of which, how long can you expect to be playing games on this thing before you need to plug it in? Well, they certainly didn’t cheap out in this department. Its Lithium-Ion battery is reported to last about eight hours between charges, which I’ve found to be just about true. Definitely a step above most of the handheld systems on the market now, with all of Nintendo’s DS family ranging from four to six hours, and Sony’s PSP not even reaching four. [1]

All in all, it’s a pretty fantastic little find, and I don’t regret for a second procuring it for myself. Of course, there’s always the subject of price. So, how much did I pay for it? Well…technically nothing, since I was able to buy it entirely on trade-in value, but the number on the sticker was $150. So yeah, not cheap, but if you have the money (and the games) for it, it’s definitely a worthwhile purchase. I’ll never have to touch an RF switch again!

I’m Kewlio, if you don’t know, and I’ll see you guys later. :3

Sources
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[1] – Based on the (Nearly) Definitive Nintendo Battery Test (http://wired.com/geekdad/2012/09/battery-test/)

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