Normally we’d be deeply sceptical of a new handheld, whatever niche it’s targeting. And it’s always ambitious – shall we say – of companies to invoke comparisons to Apple. But we like a bit of retro round these parts, so the idea of a retro handheld with an “iTunes style” download service is certainly intriguing. That’s the GameGadget.
Crucially, it’s not come from nowhere: the company behind it, Blaze, have been producing officially licensed retro games machines for some time. This is, to an extent, the logical extension of that.
The idea is that the emulators built in to the GameGadget do all the work, so there’s no effort required for publishers and developers to make their games available for the service. Blaze have signed up the likes of Sega and Atari for previous products, so again there is a track record.
Retro might be the headline, but it’s also being touting it as an accessible open source development platform in the vein of Net Yaroze.
Touch screen technology has been very intentionally shunned, opting for a more retro-friendly set of inputs: d-pad, four face buttons, two shoulder buttons. Some more specs: 3.5″ 320 x 240 pixel screen (that’s the same resolution as the lower 3DS screen), 433 MHz dual core processor, 64MB RAM, 2GB of flash memory, SD/SDHC card slot. I’m no tech head, but that sounds respectable.
Oh, and it’s British. The first piece of gaming hardware to come out of the UK for 20 years, apparently.
It’s hard to imagine Blaze particularly bothering the likes of Nintendo and Sony – or iOS, Android or Windows Phone 7, for that matter – but if they can sign up enough publishers, and make it easier than the less legal options, then the GameGadget might just carve a nice retro-sized niche in the market.
It’ll be available directly from gamegadget.net from 30th March for £99.99.