8Bitdo Zero Bluetooth Mini-Controller

Introduction

For a long time I have considered purchasing a controller to bring with me on the road when playing emulators on my Android phone, but never ended up pulling the trigger for one reason or another. I was concerned that bringing a Bluetooth controller around with me would be unwieldy and inconvenient, that is until the 8Bitdo Zero caught my eye. At a mere 50 grams, with 73mm x 35mm x 10mm dimensions, this pint-sized controller could easily fit in my pocket, permitting me to game almost anywhere. After trying it out for a couple weeks, I have decided to review the product for the good of my readership, considering hardware is as important as software. Just to be clear, I am NOT receiving any compensation for this review… though I would love to 8Bitdo ;).

Review

The first thing I noticed when holding the 8Bitdo Zero is the quality of the plastic; it feels very smooth and has a nice finish. It is comparable to the Wii’s Pro Controller in that the back side is matte with a fairly glossy front. It is available in two styles, white with red accents and white with blue accents. I purchased the blue, a more basic design, but the red has a few stripes for the snazzier consumer looking for a Famicom vibe.

The controller has 8 buttons in an SNES style layout, with four face buttons, two shoulder buttons, and the obligatory start and select buttons. The face buttons are accurate and deliver a satisfying click with each press, making it mildly noisy, but avoiding the common pitfall of mushy buttons.

The shoulder buttons are also very responsive along their entire length; this is crucial considering the tiny size of the controller may result in differing finger placement according to hand size.

Perhaps the most important aspect to me in any controller is the D-Pad, and the Zero does a pretty damn good job. The Zero’s 8-way D-pad is pretty large, taking up most of the left side of the game pad. The D-pad is responsive even in precision platformers, fighters and shmups, which are always the litmus test for D-pads in my opinion. Though it is not a truly elite D-pad, it is definitely well made… and yes, I could do Shoryuken with it. I will say I only tried out one 8Bitdo Zero controller, and I know from experience retro third party controller companies can sometimes struggle to make a consistent D-pad, so use caution of course. In reading other reviews however, I noticed a generally positive consensus for the D-pad, which is a great sign.

Aside from the overall great build quality, I would be negligent to not address the most important question: Is this thing comfortable? The answer, surprisingly, is yes. Despite its miniscule size, the 8Bitdo Zero feels comfortable and plays well. I have pretty big hands and I was able to play for hour-long stretches without cramping up. The lack of cramping is likely due to the fact that the small size naturally leads to using the fingers, rather than the hands, to hold the Zero. Holding it in this way and its negligible weight makes the task of using the controller incredibly low-effort. The cramping will come however for those with big hands, after a multi-hour session my left wrist did start to tighten up a bit

The size also lends itself to incredible portability. Once in my pocket, I can barely feel the Zero, which is exactly what I was looking for; though this could lead to some unwanted trips to the washer and dryer. It even comes with a handy little wrist strap that can double as a means to attach it to a key chain.

In addition to build quality, portability, and cool wrist strap, the Zero also has pretty solid battery life; one charge will yield around 18-20 hours of gaming. The battery can easily be recharged via MicroUSB cable, be it the tiny one included, or one of the millions in the average persons night stand.

Despite having a MicroUSB cable, the controller is strictly Bluetooth, which is completely fine considering it is clearly intended primarily for use with mobile devices. It is incredibly easy to pair with devices, when following the directions on the back of the packaging, and only disconnected on me one time in the past two weeks.

Overall, I highly recommend the 8Bitdo Zero and consider it a must have for gamers on the go. Due to its size and the availability of larger controllers of similar build quality, I would not recommend this as a primary Bluetooth controller for home use, but it certainly is fully functional and can serve this purpose well if it were the only option. Despite this, 8Bitdo Zero’s compatibility with Android, Windows, iOS, and Mac, as well as its $16.99 price tag make it a no brainer to add to any collection.

Please follow and like us:

Goof Troop (SNES)

Introduction

To the disbelief of many younger gamers, there was a time when licensed games were not synonymous with crappy cash grabs. This is due to the fact that these games were developed by 3rd party powerhouses like Capcom and Konami, and were made with quality gameplay in mind.

A shining example of a stellar licensed game from the 16-bit era was SNES’ Goof Troop, a game based off of the Disney cartoon series of the same name. Growing up, I was not a huge fan of Disney’s television-based animated series, but Goof Troop was one of the major exceptions. I watched the show religiously, which is likely what lead to my parents purchasing the video game adaptation for me. Little did they know, they had purchased one of the greatest multiplayer experiences on the SNES, and a game I still play more than 20 years later.

Continue reading “Goof Troop (SNES)”

Please follow and like us:

Phantasy Star (Sega Master System) Resource

Introduction

Some time around 1999 or 2000, I purchased an Official Dreamcast Magazine and saw a multi-page spread on on a game called Phantasy Star Online. Being exclusively a console gamer, I was absolutely blown away by the next-gen graphics and the ability to play with strangers online. I read and re-read the article innumerable times, until I finally got the game as a gift from my parents. Though they would not agree to the recurring payment for Dreamcast’s online service, I spent 100’s of hours in solo mode and considered the game one of my favorite of all-time.

With the game, I purchased a strategy guide that had a history of the Phantasy Star series in the back, and I was intrigued. This directly lead to my exploration of these games that I had missed in my SEGA Genesis days, due to a lack of perceived interest in RPGs.

By the time I had experienced PSO, I had already been thoroughly indoctrinated in RPGs, my new favorite genre, and was ready to partake in the founding entries of the series. The obvious starting point was the game that laid the foundation for the series, a game that was truly ahead of its time; that game was Phantasy Star for the SEGA Master System, a console I had previously known nothing about.

Continue reading “Phantasy Star (Sega Master System) Resource”

Please follow and like us:

Mutant League Football (SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive) Resource

Introduction

In honor of Super Bowl LII, and my NFC Championship Philadelphia Eagles, I am reviewing a classic 16-bit sports title this week. Instead of picking a conventional football title, such as an entry in the Madden or Super Tecmo Bowl series, I opted for a much more chaotic and deliciously violent title: Mutant League Football for the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive.

Continue reading “Mutant League Football (SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive) Resource”

Please follow and like us:

Top 10 Japan-Only SEGA Genesis Games

Introduction

Though the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive was immensely successful in North America, there are still quite a number of games that remained in Japan for a variety of reasons. This list is meant to elucidate some interesting titles that never left the shores of Japan. This is by no means a definitive list and these are not necessarily the 10 best Japan-only Genesis games, but they are simply games that I personally had a positive experience with.

Continue reading “Top 10 Japan-Only SEGA Genesis Games”

Please follow and like us:

Well Its-a Mario at Least! : Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (GB) Review and Resource

Introduction

As a kid, I was a somewhat late adopter of the Game Boy, despite being an avid gamer from age 2, when my older cousin taught me how to play games on the Sega Genesis and SNES.  My only previous experience with the Game Boy was playing Baseball and Tetris on my uncle’s system during car trips with my cousin.

I even had a Game Gear before Nintendo’s much more affordable and kid-friendly handheld. That all changed one fateful Christmas in 1998, when due to some sort of miscommunication, I recieve BOTH a Game Boy Pocket, from my aunt, and the brand new Game Boy Color, from my parents.

With the systems, I received Pokemon Red, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX, Pocket Bomberman, and Wario Land II. With these games and the battery life of TWO Game Boys, I finally had experienced true, untethered, handheld gaming.

As I slowly, but surely worked my way through the games in my fledgling collection, I noticed there was a glaring hole in my Game Boy library: I did not have a Mario game! To temporarily fill this void, I borrowed a game from my friend, that game was Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins

Continue reading “Well Its-a Mario at Least! : Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (GB) Review and Resource”

Please follow and like us:

The Best Game Gear Platformer? – The G.G. Shinobi II: Silent Fury Resource

Introduction

The Game Gear, SEGA’s answer to the almighty Game Boy; with true 8-bit color graphics, a backlit screen and the innards of a SEGA Master System, it outclassed the Game Boy’s technical specifications by miles. With an adapter, sold separately of course, it even had access to the Master System’s library… What could possibly go wrong? Well, a lack of first party support by SEGA with regards to original games, higher price tag than the Game Boy, and the Game Gear’s unquenchable thirst for its required 6 AA batteries helped expedite its demise; but does it have any great games? The answer is a resounding yes.

THICC

I’ve spent many a year tethered to my electrical outlet via the Game Gear’s short AC adapter playing the likes of Streets of Rage, Sonic Triple Trouble, Sonic Chaos, Ren and Stimpy: Quest for the Shaven Yak, and the shameless, yet incredibly fun Castlevania clone, Master of Darkness. There were however some gems I missed out on; that is, until I revisited the Game Gear as an adult. One of these games is The G.G. Shinobi II: Silent Fury.

Continue reading “The Best Game Gear Platformer? – The G.G. Shinobi II: Silent Fury Resource”

Please follow and like us:

Update: Jan 5th 2018

I just wanted to give an update for what is going on with the site. I am very busy with work during the holidays, but managed to finish 70-80% of two different articles. The review portion of one is 100% complete, and I considered releasing it, but it is not a complete resource.

 This means I will be resuming my regular release schedule of every Friday, starting next week.

I also received a Nintendo Switch with Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as a Christmas present from my wife. With that said here is a list of games I am playing at the moment:

  • Mario Odyssey (Switch)
  • Langrisser II (Genesis, pictured above)
  • Shinobi II: Silent Fury (Game Gear)
  • Snatcher (Sega CD)

All four of these games are legitimately incredible and I would suggest picking up or emulating them as soon as possible. I hope everyone had a great holiday season and made some great game pick ups. I look forward to a busy 2018, with hopes of growing the site exponentially.

Please follow and like us:

Retro News: Retro-Bit Partners with Sega to create Genesis, Saturn, and Dreamcast Hardware

On December 19th Retro-Bit announced a  Partnership with SEGA to produce hardware for the dreamcast SEGA Saturn and SEGA Genesis. This first round of releases will be revealed at CES 2018 and is set to include:

“several accessories that feature the same great quality as their original Sega counterparts like the original console port, but also with modern upgrades such as a USB® port for PC compatibility and Bluetooth®wireless technology.”

The article also states that these 3 consoles are not the only SEGA systems Retro-Bit would be permitted to create hardware for. What could this mean for the future, a Dreamcast and Saturn Classic Editions? Fingers crossed.
Special thanks to the YouTuber RGT 85 for making this well publicized.

Thank him by watching his episode on his channel; I like his speculation.

Please follow and like us:

Japan-Only Release: Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 (SNES) Resource

I will never forget the day I unlocked Roy and Marth in Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo Gamecube. My initial reaction was “who the hell are these dudes,” but this sentiment was quickly replaced by exaltation when I realized how much I enjoyed playing as these characters. Unlocking their trophies revealed tales of medieval battles and saving kingdoms. I had no idea which genre these game’s fell into, I imagined it was some sort of action or role playing game. As I grew more fond of the characters I became increasingly perturbed, knowing I may never get the chance to play their original games. Then came the day Fire Emblem was announced for the Gameboy Advance. To my pleasant surprise it was a turn-based strategy game, similar to the previously released Advance Wars. Being a huge fan of the latter, I pre-ordered Fire Emblem immediately and was treated to one of my favorite games of all time. After playing through eight times and completing all possible routes, I ventured forth to the internet to search for new  route of Fire Emblem delivery to satisfy my new addiction. This was when I was introduced to emulation in all its early, somewhat inaccurate glory. The first game I obtained, or “ripped from my personal copy of a Japanese Super Famicom cartridge” was Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu (translation: Genealogy of the Holy War) along with an early version of its translation patch. I was absolutely blown away by the game, its multi-generational plot, large scale battles, and series staple perma-death mechanics resulted in it being instantly classified in my top 5 favorite games of all time. I yearned for more, and luckily my needs were satisfied by Seisen no Keifu’s epic “mid-quel” entitled Fire Emblem: Thracia 776.



Continue reading “Japan-Only Release: Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 (SNES) Resource”

Please follow and like us: