It wasn’t so long ago that the mobile gaming space was dominated by Nintendo and Sony. While both companies continue to stake a claim for the mobile gaming pie with the release of their latest handhelds – the 3DS and PlayStation Vita – dedicated mobile gaming consoles have been under serious fire from smartphones in recent years. But that hasn’t stopped a UK-based company entering the arena with the GameGadget – an open source console designed to let fans get their hands on classic games titles.
Looking a lot like a Nintendo DS that has had the top screen snapped off, the GameGadget is a Linux-based device designed specifically for “retro” games. Powered by a 433 MHz dual core CPU and 64 MB of RAM, the company says the unit is capable of playing over 100,000 classic games titles from multiple platforms. It can also serve as a multimedia playback device with the ability to play back audio and video files, and display eBooks and photos. The unit’s 2 GB of onboard storage can be boosted via SD/SDHC card.
The GameGadget’s 16 bit color 320 x 240 pixel LCD screen measures 3.5-inches and is surrounded either side by a D-pad, four face buttons, and start, select and reset buttons, with two shoulder buttons on the top side of the device. In keeping with the retro vibe, there's no touchscreen, however, it does pack stereo speakers and a 3.5 mm headphone/TV out jack, alongside a Micro USB port for charging of the rechargeable battery and connecting to a PC for the transferring of games.
But it is the environment for supplying the games that the GameGadget is pinning its success on. Looking to emulate the success of Apple’s App Store, the GameGadget has been specifically designed alongside a GameGadgetGames software service that will allow users to purchase and download games through an iTunes-style application. It is also designed to make it easy for developers and game publishers to create and distribute their games.
An SDK has been released to allow developers to create new games and import existing titles. Although the device will support games up to 32-bit, the GameGadget is optimized for 16-bit titles. So expect plenty of side-scrolling action.
The video below doesn’t show any games running on the device, but provides a look at the unit itself and its user interface.
The GameGadget is available for pre-order now, with a release set for March 30.