My Review Of F-200 And It's Emulators


bboyneko

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So I finally got my GP2x-F200 from Korea. Shipped July 8th arrived July 14th in Maryland, USA. I spent all night last night tweaking it and playing with it.



The GP2X-F200: Emulation Heaven!
What the hell is a GP2X F-200? It's a small (sadly, now discontinued as of July 2008) handheld from Korea. It runs on Linux and anyone can write software for it. A very talented and dedicated group of retro-gaming fanatics from all over the world has done just that, creating a fantastic library of emulator software for the little device.

Basically you can run full speed Sega Genesis, Sega CD, TurboGrafx16, Sega Master System, Game Gear, Capcom CPS2 Arcade (street fighter series, aliens vs predator etc.), Nintendo, Gameboy, and close to full speed (most games run great but not all) Gameboy Advance Super NES and MAME arcade. That is by no means a full list of emulated systems its just to give you an idea. It also runs Adventure games from Lucasarts and Sierra, and old FPS games like DOOM, Descent, and Duke Nukem at full speed.

To run the games legally, you must already own a copy of the game before you download a ROM (electronic copy of the game).

- Huge Image of Gp2x-f200.
- Wikipedia Article on GP2x series handhelds.
- Good review video of the F-200 from youtube.

This system has a large, bright LCD touch screen, very loud speakers (for a handheld) and takes SDHC cards as it's memory. I put an 8 gig card on it. To load it, you simply connect a USB cable to your computer and literally drag and drop everything.

It takes AA batteries, but you can't use the kind you buy at the grocery store. (those would only last 10 minutes in the GP2X) You need high-powered 2700mAh NiMH rechargeables. These will last you roughly 3 hours or so. More if you are only watching movies on the thing.

It has nice, responsive controls.

Quick Summary of First Impressions of Hardware

Good Impressions
-Great screen! Bright, large, very responsive to stylus
-Love that it takes AA's instead of some expensive proprietary battery
-SDHC cards are quick and easy way to load software and games
-USB connectivity to PC
-Linux
-Attractive design
-LOUD speakers and loud also in headphones. (I hated how the DS has very low volume settings so the kids dont sue Nintendo)
-Love that you can plug the tv-out cable to your TV and play games on it using the GP2x as the controller.

Bad Impressions
-Feels cheap
-Controls not the best for fighting games that require rolling motions like street fighter
-No place to store the stylus
-Default operating system /user interface sucks.
-Default stylus sucks

Emulator Reviews for GP2X F-200

Now, I was a little intimidated knowing the machine runs Linux, i've never used it before. I wasn't sure how to install Linux software, I was clueless. But I read all the FAQ's and documentation and it was so easy, I prepared a SDHC card before my unit arrive and I was able to plug it in and play right away, showing I had done everything right. I even had the icons I wanted for all my emulators show up just as I wanted!

And since the standard user interface for the system sucks, I placed a new user interface I downloaded called Gmen2x into my card to auto-start. It worked perfectly the first time! I used the Gp2x as a generic USB device in windows vista and formatted the SDHC card through the GP2x, then dragged all my folder sinto the card. Worked like a charm.

Here are my favorite emulators so far:

SCUMM VM (lucasarts and sierra adventure games)


I got it mostly because it can play all the old Lucasarts adventure games like Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, The Dig, Zak Mccracken. It can also play old sierra games like Police Quest, Kings Quest, Space Quest (you type in the sierra games using a virtual keyboard or predictive text like on a cellphone). All run great with the touch screen! I'd say its better than playing with a mouse.

SCUMM VM is a FANTASTIC Emulator and I absolutely love it. Runs every game I want it to run lightning fast and with a friendly menu. Touchscreen works amazing as mentioned before.

PicoDrive (Sega Genesis / SegaCD)


All I can say is holy shit. This is one fantastic emulator. I can play Sonic CD on a handheld! how cool is that. And Out of this World 2, a game that was only released for Sega CD that I never got to play. It runs all my Sega ROMS and has a great menu that lets me save anytime anywhere. The GP2X's best emulator right up there with SCUMMVM.

CP2S (Capcom arcade games)


Here is another fantastic emulator. It runs all the old fighting games like Street Fighter series, Darkstalker series, Aliens Vs Predator, Dungeons and Dragons etx. at full speed with Q-Sound support.


Others
TurboGrafx16 (Temper) - Runs great!
NES (GPFCE) - Runs fantastic
Gameboy (LemonBoy) - Smooth, GREAT Interface
GBA (GBSP)- Runs mostly smooth
Sega Master System - great!
SuperNES (PocketSNES) - Runs mostly smooth
MAME (MAMEGp2x)- ran a bit slow for the more recent arcade games like Simpsons.
PC DOS (DOSBox) - Ran a bit slow, I decided to delete it since i only wanted to use it to run my Sierra Adventure games, SCUMMVM does it better for the few sierra games it supports, it's also difficult to use and configure)

Total Cost
Handheld Unit: $160
TV Out cable: $10
Case: $10
PSP case: $15 (the official case sucks so bad, but I wanted the metal GP2X logo on it so I removed it and stuck it on PSP case, works much better!)
Generic telescopic Stylus pack: $9
One size fits all Screen protector pack: $10
2700mAh NiMH Rechargeable Batteries (12): $60
La Crosse Technology BC-900 AlphaPower Battery Charger: $30
8 gig SDHC card (class 6): $40
SDHC usb adapter: $3
-------------------------------------------
$347 total (really, all you'd need to play is a SDHC card, rechargeable batteries and a charger so minimum cost is more like $210)

Summary
A great little handheld gaming device for the computer savvy. But I'd say wait for the Pandora Handheld, should be far faster and easier to use. (should be out before 2009, maybe even by September 2008)

 
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plopperz

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Good job :)
Could use a bit of editing, at some points you seem to be addressing an audience who has never touched an electronics device, at others you seem to be addressing engadget frequenters.
Some minor errors need to be fixed, but other than that you wrote an excellent review.
I like how you added up the entire cost of everything and illustrated the emulators perfectly, just don't forget about homebrew!
 

bboyneko

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lol yeah I was just so excited I didn't stop to edit. :) I was sort of focusing on the emulators I use and why I bought this. I haven't really tried the homebrew games yet, but i tried the pacman clone that came with it and flubopuyo which I enjoyed.

I noticed my stylus didnt work right but then I installed that f-200 touchscreen hack and it works great now.

also many of my icons dont have a clear background, what do I have to do to the png's so they work right? I have macromedia fireworks and adobe photoshop
 

Orkie

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bboyneko said:
MAME (MAMEGp2x)- runs crappy, hardly any game i put through it ran at full speed.
Were you drunk when you wrote this review?
 
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bboyneko

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no, i couldnt get MAME to run any of my favorite arcade games full speed, like Simpsons ran super slow even when I turned clock speed up, same with money idol exchanger, Punisher ran slow, captain commando ran slow, R-type etc.

Or do you mean my adjective choice? I dunno I guess I should have used the phrase 'not as fast as I would have liked' instead of 'crappy'
 

senquack

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bboyneko said:
no, i couldnt get MAME to run any of my favorite arcade games full speed, like Simpsons ran super slow even when I turned clock speed up, same with money idol exchanger, Punisher ran slow, captain commando ran slow, R-type etc.

Or do you mean my adjective choice? I dunno I guess I should have used the phrase 'not as fast as I would have liked' instead of 'crappy'
Well, the truth is MAME is kinda the crown jewel in the GP2X's crown, it is amazing how far Franxis has taken it and it is the envy of a lot of other handhelds. You can't expect it to run more "recent" games like Punisher and Simpsons very well. It is meant for 80's games primarily. You might get better results using a more specialized emulator like CPS2EMU for CPS1 Capcom games.

You also shouldn't badmouth DOSBOX, because it is by nature much more complicated than a console emulator, and quite versatile.
 
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bboyneko

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oh no, i didn't mean for it to sound like badmouthing dosbox, again I wrote this in a hurry. Pickle helped me answer a ton of questions recently in another thread about it. It definitely ran my DOS games, and I might go back tinker with it more but it's quite difficult to use for me.

Also since I am a total newbie this was just my first impressions, I didn't realize mame was meant for the older games, i consider simpsons pretty old.

And yeah cp2semu ran everything I threw at it perfectly! Love the emulator.
 

Orkie

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I'm not convinced DOSBOX runs poorly anyway. Does it run poorly compared to my current desktop PC, or does it run poorly compared to my 200LX?
 

bboyneko

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well if anyone can give me advice for good dosbox settings for sierra games it would be appreciated. Space Quest 2 ran very slow for me, and mouse/touchscreen wouldn't work. I'll keep trying with it, see if I can get it running better. Also other games wouldn't recognize my sound and so loaded without sound (police quest 1 vga)
 

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Mame is amazing but unfortunately slow in many games. I really, really advice using FBA2x for NeoGeo and CPS2/CPS1. For example, Senor Quack mentions The Punisher: it hardly works on Mame4all, but it is fullspeed in Fba2x. Even Mame2x is faster than Mame4all is some classical games, as Bubble Bobble. But Mame4all is the only way in games such as The Simpson :)

The Last version of Fba2x works great, but Head has just published a new version of Fba2x with some enhacements as system menu: http://www.gp32spain.com/foros/showthread.php?p=745804
 

bboyneko

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thanks for the advice I will try those other emulators! Ill try tinkering with dosbox again tonight and see if I can get some sierra games running faster. The virtual keyboard works great, i just need to see if it can work with touchscreen like in scummvm, then it'd be killer.
 

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bboyneko said:
thanks for the advice I will try those other emulators! Ill try tinkering with dosbox again tonight and see if I can get some sierra games running faster. The virtual keyboard works great, i just need to see if it can work with touchscreen like in scummvm, then it'd be killer.
make sure you mess around with the cycles and use the dynamic core. Increasing frameskip and overclocking also helps.

I think dosbox has the speed that can be achieved with its methods of emulation. Time is just against us at the moment, as better and more powerful handhelds come out like the pandora more and more dos games will be portable. It wasnt that long ago that a modern pc couldnt emulate some of later dos games. Just give it time.

Another thing to consider is before I added the memory change dosbox crashed regularly. You could setup the game properly and dosbox would just crash from being out of memory. At one point I had given up on it and deleted it off my sd card. Then I got motivated to try and find answers to the problems. I guess what im trying to say is that is a lot better now than it was before.
 
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superspudz2000

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your review is flawed. i wouldn't wait for pandora, its not even out yet, it might suck for all you know.

its like saying don't buy a car because they might design a hovercraft in the future.

anyway, i dont know what the price of pandora is, but even $200 is too much money to spend on a handheld.
 

waffles

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superspudz2000 said:
your review is flawed. i wouldn't wait for pandora, its not even out yet, it might suck for all you know.

its like saying don't buy a car because they might design a hovercraft in the future.

anyway, i dont know what the price of pandora is, but even $200 is too much money to spend on a handheld.
your post is flawed.
taking into account his f-200 came without a battery and charger, it was a total cost of 250$, before any accessories, such as an SD card.
considering the gp2x is no longer manufactured, a new unit is likely to be more than that, getting fairly close to the price of the pandora.
Either way, after the pandoras release the price of the gp2x will drop, and there is the possibility of a gp3x being released. There is absolutely no harm that can come to someone from waiting for the pandoras release.
i would say its more akin to telling someone to wait for next years model, as the current one will be cheaper and the new one will be better.
 
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