The latest trend among NES pirates have been VCD players with built-in NES emulators. The first I saw, a little over a
year ago, was shaped as a PSone and came with a 300 game disc, atleast that's what it said in the brochure, magazine or
whatever it was.
I never really paid attention to these "game players" and ever bothered getting one, well maybe because I never actually
saw them on sale anywhere, though they were advertised in places such as asiansources.
A few weeks ago a good friend of mine showed me a link to one of these players on ebay, unfortunately the auction had ended
but I decided to contact the sell to ask if he had more than the one he sold, to my luck he did and we set up a deal, US$105
for the VCD player, brand new, shipped form Singapore. It may seem like a bit much, but I was crazy enough to go for it.
As usual when I'm waiting for something to arrive in the mail i'm pretty impatient, this was no exception and customs deciding
to keep the package an extra week sure didn't help. They had lost my fax with my claim for the package, or atleast they
claimed they never got it.
Anyway it got here a few days ago and first impression from looking at the packeage was that the guy had shipped me something
different than I ordered, the VCD player couldn't be in a small package that small, but it was (hah) even packed with 10
pirate NES carts, but that's another story.
In the box was the VCD player itself, obviously, called something as odd as Asahi Game 301, remote control, cables and powersupply for 220V
(good thing since we use 220V in Denmark). Included was also 2 CD's, one with 172 (no less) MP3 files, most of them in quite
bad quality, sounds like someone had a lot of fun with a karaoke unit. The other was a game CD, with... yes NES games. While
it says 300 games on the cover there isn't more than 20 different games on the CD. But it's made it the good old multicart
style with different names for each game though the 300 titles listing, how stupid is that?
The joypad ports are placed on the back of the unit, pretty stupid as the cables are in the way when you need to change
disc, but then again how often do you have to do that? I mean there's only 1 game disc in existance as far as I know.
When pressing power and being presented with the "title screen" the first thing that caught my eye was the "SONY TECHNOLOGY"
written in big letters at the bottom of the screen. I'm not sure but I don't think Sony would wan't to be affiliated with
this kind of product, not that it's illegal in any way, except from the two discs included.
The CD lid opens PSX style and a few seconds after having closed the lid you're presented with a very odd, but cool (atleast
the first time you see it) menu. To select a game you have to use the remote control, which doesn't come with batteries
I might add. The emulator built-in is very slow which makes pretty much any game unplayable, but it's not totally useless.
The one thing that impressed me a bit was the VCD playback, yeah not NES related I know, the unit provides a better picture
for VCDs than my DVD player, though I couldn't get it to load a SVCD unfortunately, but I don't think the player was to blame
for that, still it doesn't say SVCD support anywhere. The MP3 playback is alright, but not a feature I would use that often.
Besides a pretty crappy emulator built-in, it would be cool if you could make your own game CDs for the system. It seems
like a bit (lot) of extra code is added to every game rom, could be the meulator itself, meaning a new and improved version
"easily" could be made and would require no hardware upgrade, pretty clever if that's the case.
Why they would go though the trouble of relisting the 20 games over and over is beyond me, though it does sound a bit
better when you say 300 games included instead of just 20.
All in all a pretty cool gadget, I just wonder when it breaks and starts a fire in my house :-/