GCW Zero handheld plays all your favorite classic games
January 11, 2013
There's an avalanche of new gaming devices coming our way, from tablets with controller attachments to Android-based consoles that can fit in the palm of your hand. On top of that, there's a growing class of devices best described as portable emulators, built to capitalize on older gamers' nostalgia, with the latest called the Game Consoles Worldwide (GCW) Zero.
The GCW Zero's creator, Justin Barwick, worked as a retailer for a similar device called the Dingoo and he has been listening to the community's feedback. Purists have noted that the Dingoo's Android-based emulation is marred by sound synchronization issues, causing music and sound effects to sometimes lag behind the action. Another problem is that you won't find true analog control on most Android devices. That simply won't do, so the GCW Zero has opted for Linux as its base operating system – capable of running huge libraries of emulated software without any hitches.
Control options seem pretty good, with a standard D-pad and analog nub and four face buttons, as well as two shoulder buttons (an accelerometer and vibration motors provide tilt sensing and feedback). The device sports a 3.5-inch LCD screen (320 x 240 pixels), contains a 1 GHz CPU and a GPU capable of OpenGL ES 2.0, with 256 MB DDR2 RAM. It comes with 8 GB internal storage, and can take 32 GB and 64 GB micro SD cards for external storage. WiFi, Mini USB 2.0, HDMI 1.3, and A/V outs allow you to connect the device to your PC and television.
The company has already moved beyond the prototyping phase and is selling units in white and black, but is hoping its Kickstarter campaign will allow it to produce a much larger batch. Legality aside, you'll be able to play thousands of games from all the classic consoles on the GCW Zero for US$135, making it a pretty attractive option if you're in the market for such a device. To put things into perspective, the NEO GEO X is around the same price (without the optional arcade joystick), but it's locked down to play just a handful of NEO GEO games.
You can see the GCW Zero playing some old freeware games in the following video.