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The Spam Thread!
Hi again.

Apologies for being rather absent from the forums. I've been trying to lead a more structured life which includes doing more regular things. Besides my six-hour day job, I do daily artwork on my Instagram now and also have real life commitments as well. Even so, I'm going to try and find time to post more often here, even though not many people view this forum anymore besides us and perhaps a few lurkers.

Not much in the way of tech news to report, other than I got down to the big city mall not too long ago. The very same kiosk that sold me the "CoolBaby" NES Classic knockoff is still going strong five years later, continuing to hawk consoles stuffed with hundreds of ROMs, and marked up quite high than what the original AliExpress/Wish/Whatever sold them at. Still, if I have the extra money, I will pick up one of their clones every now and then. The most recent being a rip-off SNES Classic... that has 800 NES Roms... running in a rather kludgy emulator. The games I tried appear to run at full speed, but sound is pitched a bit too low and cuts out for a second at odd intervals. It's also running in 16:9 stretched mode with scaling artifacts, and a smoothing filter that can't be turned off. I have no idea what OS this thing is running, but it's definitely not a NOAC. Video output is 720p and the game menus use animated high-resolution icons and anti-aliased fonts. It could be Linux, but there is no way to bring up any kind of advanced configuration menu. All you have is two really cheap SNES-style controllers that use the 9-pin Atari plugs. Oh, and B and A are reversed on the controller, so good luck playing Mario. I want to get direct capture footage of this clone, but it doesn't play nice with one of my HDMI capture devices. I'll have to try my other one and see if that device will work better. I have two, one that looks like a fat USB drive, and another that looks like an HDMI EZ-Cap with a standard USB cord.

I've also started playing around with that Super Console X I purchased from the same kiosk last fall. It's a rather wonderful little emulation box with a lot of potential. There is a limit as to how recent a console you can emulate as some of the MAME ROMs (especially from the later half of the 90s) do have some slowdown. A lot of older gems like TMNT and NeoGeo run great. Ditto for NES, SNES, etc. I do make regular backups of the SD card to an IMG file on my Linux laptop because SD cards can be very finicky things, even brand name ones. Right now, it's still using that Gigastone card I found last fall not long after I acquired the little emulator box. Unlike their flash drives, I've had better luck with their SD cards and figured it would be more reliable than the generic 64GB card it came with. The original card does appear to be genuine 64GB since I've haven't encountered any file system errors, and the SD card was packed to near capacity with ROMs.

If I have time this weekend, I plan on trying out another retro-focused emulation distribution called Batocera. I will use the generic 64GB card as the guinea pig. The OS the Super Console X came with, EmuElec, works well enough but it could be better in terms of UI navigation and perhaps a potential performance boost with a clean setup rather than the factory one. A build for S905M devices exists, and you just have to provide the ROMs after it's all set up.

One more thing, I changed out the Linux distro on my old Gateway laptop. It's now running OpenSUSE Tumbleweed. The Linux laptop will be the one used for managing the ROM files on the Super Console X SD card. Mac like to place hidden files on any external drive for it's "Spotlight" search feature.
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Yeah, I'm afraid this forum's pretty much dead on the water, and yet I can't just shut it down as I also use it as a repository for so many things.

I haven't played around much with the PS3 as it's mostly my folks who hog the telly as of late, though I did load it up with some homebrew along with retail games whenever I get bored. It's the RSOD thing that's plaguing the console most often, which necessitated having the NOR chip being re-initialised at least somewhat.
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Stepping up my emulation game. Just ordered a Powkiddy V90 from eBay. Only $35 from a US Seller.

I've seen video reviews of the V90, and they have been mostly positive in terms of build quality and emulation of common systems. The firmware can even be replaced with CFW for even better emulation quality.

I've never seen that kiosk sell these advanced emulation handhelds. They only sell the cheaper NOAC handhelds like the FC Pocket or BittBoy. ?
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(04-26-2022, 03:10 AM)cpd2009 Wrote: Stepping up my emulation game. Just ordered a Powkiddy V90 from eBay. Only $35 from a US Seller.

I've seen video reviews of the V90, and they have been mostly positive in terms of build quality and emulation of common systems. The firmware can even be replaced with CFW for even better emulation quality.

I've never seen that kiosk sell these advanced emulation handhelds. They only sell the cheaper NOAC handhelds like the FC Pocket or BittBoy. ?

I mulled about buying that or an Ambernic handheld, but given how I already have a 2DS wedge and a cellphone I can emulate games out of, it feels kinda' redundant now.
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This coming Friday is the estimated delivery date for my Powkiddy V90. The listing did advertise "US Stock", but digging around the USPS tracking revealed the package is in fact being shipped out of China, and then transferred to the USPS in LA. Depending on how well the V90 works for me, I may leave a neutral review solely because of the "US Stock" lie.

In a somewhat related video, here is the Familator, a weird attachment for a DS Lite that allows you to play Famicom games on it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJRc7fqogA0

In 2005 when the Famicom patents expired, there was a surge of legit Famiclone systems that were meant to play original American NES games. Among the first of these systems was something similar to the Familator. I forget which specific model it was, but I remember seeing it at a local used game/movie store around that time. They began to sell the Yobo "FC Game Console" to cater to the retro crowd and one of these DS adapters was present inside one of their glass cases. I didn't own a DS, so I ended up buying the FC Game Console instead.
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The Powkiddy V90 has arrived. I'll just do the photo dump in this thread just because. Tongue

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First impressions: For being a sub $40 device, it has decent plastic quality, though I would be concerned about it being able to survive drops to the floor. The face buttons are responsive and the LCD quality is amazing! Stereo speakers are on the front, but the sound quality is very tinny. Earbuds are recommended for better sound quality. The battery is a standard BL-5C, and the pack-in unit is 1050mAH. I have swapped it out with a 1500mAH battery for slightly better battery life. I still need to see how long it will run on one charge, but charging takes around two to three hours with a standard USB-C cable.

The device comes with a 16GB microSD card with a hefty amount of ROMs covering various systems, from standard FC/NES and Sega systems to some more challenging things like PS or MAME. The default firmware is NxHope running the GMenu2X interface. Emulation quality with the stock firmware is hit-and-miss. The consoles with the best emulation with stock firmware are the GB/GBC/GBA, Sega MD/Master System/GG and NeoGeo among the ones I tried before switching to CFW. What I found surprising is the stock NES emulator can suffer from slowdown in intense games such as GunNac. Some of the stock emulators are also very outdated. Snes9x4d is dated from October 2010!

[Image: V90-Nx-Hope-02a.jpg]

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So I went to RetroGameCorps and read up the easy to follow guide for installing CFW. The specific one is called Miyoo, and all you need is a 8GB+ microSD card and access to some tools for formatting the card, flashing the CFW image and for expanding partitions on the card. Once all that is finished, you just insert the microSD into the device and it should boot right into Miyoo. Post continued below...
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Now, on to the CFW and how it compares to NxHope.

First, the emulation quality for NES games has vastly improved. GunNac now runs without any stuttering or slowdown, and SNES emulation is more accurate. With the ancient Snes9x4D, some of the background layers wouldn't appear, hence the black sky in the first picture of Super Mario World. Speed improvement in certain SNES games is also noticeable, such as with TMNT IV Turtles in Time. Stock emulator has horrible slowdown and stuttering, but the CFW It's not entirely perfect emulation as there is visible frame skipping, but the game is still entirely playable. You can even get a faster emulator such as PocketSNES, which wasn't included with NxHope. PocketSNES uses speed hacks to improve performance, and I was able to get a near 60fps framerate on most older SNES titles like TMNT. It still struggles with intense games like Mario RPG and the sound emulation isn't entirely accurate. For a portable device though, PocketSNES does a fine job.

Another issue with NxHope was the button mapping with Picodrive, the MD/Genesis emulator. The buttons weren't mapped correctly at the factory, so in most games you couldn't jump or do a required move since only two buttons worked. I had to go into the Picodrive settings and re-map the A/B/C buttons to Y/B/A respectively. And the settings didn't stick, so when you wanted to play MD/Genesis or switch to another ROM, you had to re-do the button mapping every single time. Quite annoying. The CFW fixes this, so the A/B/C buttons are properly mapped to the Y/B/A buttons. 

So yeah, I will be sticking with the Miyoo CFW, and I have transferred over the game library from the previous microSD card, and I'm also adding my own ROMs copied over from the SuperConsole X. I even threw in some weird bootlegs like Super Donkey Kong 99 and Sonic Jam 6. Tongue In the process, I also upgraded the microSD card to a PNY 32gb. The included card is a weird off-brand "SEAPIY" 16gb card and word is these cards are very unreliable. I have backed up the original firmware to an IMG file for archival purposes and I will use the SEAPIY card for testing firmware  options for the SuperConsole X. That is my next target for CFW experimentation.

Overall, I'm quite happy with the V90 so far.

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(note: the cute Christmas critter wallpaper is my own addition, saved from the Internet years ago.)

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> With the ancient Snes9x4D, some of the background layers wouldn't appear, hence the black sky in the first picture of Super Mario World.

For such a high-profile SNES game, not getting it to function properly is a complete insult.
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A mini Linux rant... GNOME kinda sucks.

It looks pretty, but usability is a nightmare. For one, the taskbar to launch apps is hidden by default. To make it show, I have to mouse over to "Activities" up on the Top left, which shrinks all the windows to fit them on screen, ala Mission Control on Mac. Activities is also the only way to access the apps list which takes a couple clicks and copies the Mac Launchpad.

Secondly, and deal breaker for me... no drag-and-drop between apps, or at least, between the Archive Manager and the file browser. All the SuperConsole X roms are zipped, and the Powkiddy V90 appears to use unzipped ROMs for SNES, MD/Genesis, NES, and various others. (the only emulator that seems to take zipped ROMS are FBA/MAME stuff) So I've been doing the painstaking task of extracting loads of ROMs from their zip files and placing them in a folder for renaming them by numerical order (also to match the V90 format of the pre-loaded ROMs). The easiest way of extracting would be to open the ZIP and drag-and-drop the ROM into the file browser? Nope. It doesn't work under GNOME. The only way it can is if you install another desktop environment such as XFCE which allows drag-and-drop from the Archive Manager.

GNOME used to be good, but their devs are clearly trying to make an open-source MacOS, yet nearly making it unusable to advanced users. Good thing there is MATE and XFCE.
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(05-10-2022, 07:35 AM)cpd2009 Wrote: A mini Linux rant... GNOME kinda sucks.

It looks pretty, but usability is a nightmare. For one, the taskbar to launch apps is hidden by default. To make it show, I have to mouse over to "Activities" up on the Top left, which shrinks all the windows to fit them on screen, ala Mission Control on Mac. Activities is also the only way to access the apps list which takes a couple clicks and copies the Mac Launchpad.

Secondly, and deal breaker for me... no drag-and-drop between apps, or at least, between the Archive Manager and the file browser. All the SuperConsole X roms are zipped, and  the Powkiddy V90 appears to use unzipped ROMs for SNES, MD/Genesis, NES, and various others. (the only emulator that seems to take zipped ROMS are FBA/MAME stuff) So I've been doing the painstaking task of extracting loads of ROMs from their zip files and placing them in a folder for renaming them by numerical order (also to match the V90 format of the pre-loaded ROMs). The easiest way of extracting would be to open the ZIP and drag-and-drop the ROM into the file browser? Nope. It doesn't work under GNOME. The only way it can is if you install another desktop environment such as XFCE which allows drag-and-drop from the Archive Manager.

GNOME used to be good, but their devs are clearly trying to make an open-source MacOS, yet nearly making it unusable to advanced users. Good thing there is MATE and XFCE.
I am glad I used the MATE UI for the VPS I am running for building Android ROMs. Many were understandably divided over the Unity UI Ubuntu used since 2011 iirc.
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