Handheld retro gaming machines come and go, but few go so simply and effectively to the point as My Arcade’s Retro Champ. You stick in your NES cartridge, hit the power button, and assuming you blew on it beforehand, it powers up. This one sets itself apart with a big ol’ screen, Famicom compatibility, and a whopping 35-hour battery life.
I played with the Retro Champ at CES, where they had one under lock and key — it’s not the production version, but that’s coming in the Spring. But it works just like you’d expect, and I was pleased to find it responsive, comfortable, and pleasantly ridiculous. It’s really quite big, but not nearly as heavy as it looks.
The 7-inch screen is bright and the color looked good; it was responsive and the device felt well-balanced. The controls are where you’d expect, with big scoops in the back of the case to help you grip it. NES cartridges go in the top (and stick out as you see) and Famicom cartridges tuck in the bottom.
There’s a stand so you can prop it up and use wireless controllers with it (not included; they’re trying to keep the price low), and you can also plug it straight into your TV via HDMI, which basically makes this thing a spare NES home console. (I’m waiting to hear back on the screen and output resolutions and some other technical details.)
Lastly (and hilariously) there’s a hidden cleaning kit with space for a few Q-tips and a small bottle of solvent, for getting those really grimed-up games working.