What to make of emulator handhelds like the Retroid Pocket?

I recently purchased a Retroid Pocket 2 and it‘s unlocked a vast new world of old school gaming experiences that I had not had access to previously, but it also seems to sit in a gray area of probably illegal/immoral technology. No one is making any money off stuff like Majuuou King of Demons in 2021 so I don’t feel that bad about playing a rom, but maybe it's bad form. These things are really incredible though, able to emulate everything from the Famicom to PSP while also having wifi support and lots of other bells/whistles. Is this “THE FUTURE?”

The evolution of these machines has been fantastic over the last few years. I, and I know @exodus, have had a long history with the portable emulation devices manufactured by GamePark Holdings from Korea with the GP32, 2X, WIZ, and CAANOO from the early aughts. I think a huge jump was made when android was pushed into these consoles rather than the Linux OS that the early systems were developed with (The DragonBox Pyra, and previously Pandora, have stubbornly held on to that Linux OS). Unfortunately, I have yet to dip my toes in the android market, only because the systems are improving so rapidly. I do support GPD though and own a GPD WIN, GPD Pocket 2, and have backed the GPD WIN 3. Handhelds are my favorite systems and I miss the day when I owned them all :,(

I feel like it‘s a natural progression for retro gaming and emulation. I have wanted a Retroid Pocket 2 for a long time and perhaps I’m on the cusp of finally plonking down money for one. Getting out my laptop to play a random genesis game or GBA game kinda doesn't do it for me, and while I have an xbox with a butt ton of romsets on it, I have to plonk it in front of a TV and play it that way, with an OG xbox controller. Not Great.

Dedicated handheld emulators like this are neat because they are not A Phone and none of the companies would ever do a handheld like this (Except maybe Nintendo, at some point, which they should). and they've gone through enough iterations to where the hardware, buttons, and case are all pretty good. The fact that Retroid sell units in Gamecube Purple means they're paying attention.

Anyway I want one!

I got an Rg350 and it's been great fun.


As a guy who had felt playing emulators on a laptop was good enough, I say the $90 entry price for a RP2 is more than worth it. It‘s the same level of tinkering on settings to get things working that you’re already used to. It‘s much more convenient to have multiple systems in one package that is easily accessible. It comes preloaded with all kinds of stuff you would never think to manually download on your own. The ease of scrolling through a massive arcade of genres I wouldn’t have touched before is the best part. Like yeah, I can download MGS and FF6, but I can also play Metal Slug and Street Fighter III Third Strike with a few button presses. They just released a new set of colors that replicates the jungle N64 colors. They definitely know who the audience is.