Retrochat (www.retrochat.com)

Harvey

Still Fresh
Joined
Apr 5, 2003
Messages
8
Well I knew running a set of forums would come in handy and this was how I discovered the GP32, at www.retrochat.com.

After reading a review by one of my members, I eventually went out and ordered one and it arrived today. To be honest, it is such a fine bit of kit I wish I'd had it earlier. It also has ultimately lead me to this site which will be visited daily to find out what is happening in the GP32 world.

As I've mentioned Retrochat, I'll give it a brief introduction. Basically, it is a set of forums dedicated to retro gaming.

Retrochat was established at the end January and was setup to talk primarily about retro style gaming across multiple platforms with sections dedicated to each area.

As a brief snapshot, it covers:

8 bit computers from Amstrad's to Vic 20's as well as later machines such as the Atari ST and the Amiga. Handheld consoles are also covered
as well as consoles and coin-up machines.

There are a few other areas as well. This is a large remit for a single board, but currently it is working very well and dedicated to anybody
that has any interest in retro gaming or emulation.

At present, the site runs on vBulletin and has a portal front end as well as an email system and an arcade. The arcade runs some classic
games and saves your high scores for inter-board competition.

If you have visited Retrochat a long time ago, then a re-visit will show that the board has had a new coat of paint in respect to presentation and add-ons for the forums.

The membership is very helpful and friendly and since this was established, a lot of my emulation collections have been completed as
well as helpful advice been given from the membership to overcome certain issues.

A visit to www.retrochat.com maybe worth your time if you are into emulation in any shape or form.
 

Harvey

Still Fresh
Joined
Apr 5, 2003
Messages
8
Nah, not really Spam. Besides this is an off-topic area as it suggested...

Anyhow I'd written this for new users as I had now found a complete guide for the new starter...

Today my GP32 arrived. With it I ordered a Slim CardReader made by Blaze and a 128mb card made by Samsung Electronics.

I initially unpacked the GP32 and popped some batteries into it. Looking at the pictures it is deceptive how big the actual screen is. If feels more like you are holding a screen with a few buttons scattered around the edge. The console has very plastic feel on the buttons, yet the back, sides and rest of the case are made of a different plastic that feels almost like solid rubber and is a pleasure to grip.

The screen powered up and I was presented with the same kind of screen that I was expecting from Pete’s review. However what I was not expecting was the quality of the screen. This is 320x240 and quite frankly, outstanding quality. The screen is very crisp, very clear and as sharp as hell.

When powered up, you have a simple, yet pretty menu. Pressing “Select” cycles you from Game, MP3 and SmartCard options. Hitting “Start” takes you into that option.

So now I had to get on the road to using the Game Park. The first port of call was to http://english.gamepark.com/.

Here I had to:

• Sign Up
• Download GP32 Authentication Wizard (291 kb) and Manual (573 kb)
• Download the Windows XP drivers (7 kb), Windows 2000, 95 and 98 are also on the site.

The unit came with a USB cable. This was unwrapped and plugged into the GP32 along and powered on. Windows XP asked for drivers that had previously just been downloaded and could now be installed.

I fired up “gpreg.exe” which is the authentication wizard that had also just been downloaded. Here it asked me to enter my login details that I had just created at http://english.gamepark.com/ once I had connected the GP32 to the PC and gone into the “SmartCard” option on the screen. It then told me that I had “Succeeded in Registering” and the GP32 dumped me back to the main menu.

Finally, back at http://english.gamepark.com/ I could download the PC Link 1.2 software and the associated manual and the GP32 Game Launcher.

With the software installed and running, I then put the SmartCard into the Game Park and formatted it.

The SmartCard is formatted with the following directory structure:

- root
-> game
-> getpc
-> gpmm
-> gpsys
-> mp3

Once formatted, I then used the PC Link 1.2 software to install the .ZPK file that is the game launcher.

The first action needed was to transfer something to my SmartCard. I got the Slim CardReader for ease of use when I ordered this. It is basically an adapter that plugs onto a USB cable. It is made of plastic but has a lovely silver finish and looks very much like something from Star Trek. The device itself plugged straight into my USB hub and auto configured on Windows XP and installed itself as a removable drive.

Initial software was not a problem either. Craig, the person who I ordered this from in Pete’s original review supplies a disk of software. I don’t remember reading that this would be included, but was a welcome additional to start you off.

Initially I dumped a MP3 into the MP3 directory and was surprised by how clear the sound.

The next stage was to try one of the “free” games. These are not put into the “game” folder put actually put into the “gpmm” folder. This is because they are non-commercial.

I tried two, Rick Dangerous and Pinball Dreams (Demo). Both of these are absolutely superb, especially the Pinball Dreams demo. The graphics are extremely clear and crisp and a joy to watch.

The final test for this was an emulator. For this I used Manic Miner. Again, I was not disappointed.

Overall, the Game Park 32 is an excellent piece of kit from what I have seen so far. A little long winded in getting setup initially, but once done, well worth it.

I’d fully recommended this to anyone that enjoys consoles and I am looking forward to see what the future holds for this. I would also recommend getting the Slim CardReader as well. Once you have things setup and running, it makes transferring of apps and games far quicker then the USB to console with the SmartCard already plugged in.

In conclusion, if you are considering the new Gameboy Advance and already have the older model, scrap that idea. Spend or save a little bit more and get this piece of kit.

This is everything that the Gameboy Advance should have been.
 

Harvey

Still Fresh
Joined
Apr 5, 2003
Messages
8
Just talking in general about it for anyone that is reading.

I had read what a great console it is, but what I was not aware of and is not immediately obvious to people that do not have one is it certinally is not pick up and go which is what I expected.

The manual was in Koren I guess and there was really nowhere to start on getting up and running with it so it was a kind of bitter / sweet experience. I had not (and still have not) found a complete beginners guide to this.

For example, on thing that I am curious about...

You have to register your GP32, but why are you doing this? Why do they want to know about it?

I can understand with regards to the Movie Pack software that I have got (well worth the money), but not with the specific console itself.
 
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