Handheld Linux Retrogaming recommendation? [solved-ish]
from wjrii@lemmy.world to retrogaming@lemmy.world on 02 Jul 03:49

I figure it will be a good thing to throw onto a wish list for whatever holiday is coming next. In a perfect world, it would run a Linux-based OS, be moddable, have decent ergonomics for an adult, and kinda just generally not suck. Is a hundred bucks a reasonable price point? One hundred fifty? I grew up in the 8-bit and 16-bit eras but never completely stopped gaming, so I’d be interested in emulating somewhat newer stuff too. I normally just plug in a controller and find a desktop emulator, but portable could be fun, especially if it had potential for general SBC computing.

Edit: I think I have a better idea what I’m looking for now. The Anbernic devices seem to more or less match up with what I am looking for, so I’ll start there with a more informed search. Thanks! Happy to get more suggestions and tips, though.


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Lost_My_Mind@lemmy.world on 02 Jul 04:10 next collapse

Have you looked into Miyo Mini+?

wjrii@lemmy.world on 02 Jul 05:29 collapse

That was one of the posts that piqued my interest. Also think the Anbernic ones look decent.

SilentStorms@lemmy.dbzer0.com on 02 Jul 05:51 next collapse

There’s the RG35XX line of devices, they have decent performance and come in a bunch of different form factors. Wouldn’t be a bad choice.

CorrodedCranium@leminal.space on 02 Jul 09:33 collapse

The RG35XXSP has a GBA SP clamshell style and is relatively new with a lot of positive reviews

GrappleHat@lemmy.ml on 02 Jul 12:06 collapse

I have an Anbernic RG353M & it sounds like it fits your needs. Emulates up to PSP. Moddable: I run ArkOS which is Debian-based - so I can SSH in, apt install programs, run custom bash scripts I wrote, etc. I also ported a desktop game to run on it. So moddability points are high! Also dual-boots into Android, so Android games are available if that’s your thing. It comes with the Android dual-boot right out of the box!


  • It can be a little small in my hands for long play sessions. I have a custom 3D printed handle extension which works great and solves this problem.
  • There’s a hardware problem involving the 3.5mm audio jack output where chip noise gets in the audio. Annoying, but ignorable. Switching to Bluetooth headphones is a fine workaround too.
  • In long play sessions when the device gets hot horizontal bar artifacts show up on the screen. Like the audio thing, they are annoying but ignorable. When they show up I normally interpret it as a sign I’ve been playing too long and take a break while the device cools down.

Overall, it’s got those hardware quirks above but I still like it and I don’t regret it for the price (something like ~$100 a couple of years ago I think). Battery life is very good, even for graphics intensive games. It can go many hours without needing a charge, and generally it has better stamina than I do!

wjrii@lemmy.world on 02 Jul 13:56 next collapse

Thanks! That class of device is probably where I’m leaning, having now poked around some other sites as well. Honestly, those issues are about what I’d expect from this pricepoint/feature combination, but they don’t seem like dealbreakers and sounds like it’s a usable SBC in a gaming friendly package, which is about what I’m after.

GrappleHat@lemmy.ml on 03 Jul 00:15 collapse

Sweet! You’ve probably already found this, but if you’re interested in these devices the Retro Game Corps channel on YouTube is an invaluable resource. That guy does a beyond excellent job reviewing options and giving quality advice!

wjrii@lemmy.world on 02 Jul 21:44 collapse

Do you find you are able to emulate much that can make use of the analog sticks? The RG Arc-S and -D have similar internals and a nice screen, but they seem to have been consigned to the discount pile for lack of analog sticks (and maybe being late to the game for RK3566 models). As a Genesis kid, I always liked the Sega controllers of that era.

GrappleHat@lemmy.ml on 03 Jul 00:12 collapse

Yeah, for sure. The analog stocks work flawlessly & I love them. I use them for games where they’re native (i.e. ZDoom & mods), where they emulate a mouse (i.e. Minetest), or where they emulate a d-pad (i.e. psx games). All cases work great! For d-pad games I find myself switching back and forth between d-pad and sticks depending on the application (i.e. Tetris needs precision & is better with d-pad, NBA Jam needs adaptivity & is better with sticks).

m88youngling@slrpnk.net on 02 Jul 04:12 next collapse

This is probably not what you’re looking for, but I have two suggestions that don’t really fit your criteria but you might find at least mildly interesting:

  1. Playstation Vita. Moddable, retroarch gives you most retro games, and you can stream your PC with Moonlight. It’s a bit small but it roughly fits your price point and is just awesome

  2. Surface Duo & Duo 2. A bit out of your price range but with a good expandable controller, I consider this the ultimate Nintendo ds emulator. And I mean, I guess android is sort of like Linux? lol

The original Surface Duo is dirt cheap on ebay and I enjoy it

I am certainly interested in something that fits your criteria more closely. But it most likely doesn’t exist out of the box. You’d probably have to hobble it together yourself with a Raspberry Pi and other hardware

CorrodedCranium@leminal.space on 02 Jul 09:38 collapse

The Vita also has a lot of source ports.

For the right price it can be a pretty good deal considering it can play PSX and below as well as PSP games and a lot of handheld emulators still struggle with Vita emulation.

mox@lemmy.sdf.org on 02 Jul 04:14 next collapse

If your budget would allow it, I think it would be tough to beat the Steam Deck.

mesamunefire@lemmy.world on 02 Jul 04:53 next collapse

Steam Deck or the miyoo mini plus with onion os would be my picks. I have both and they both scratch an itch in a different way.

wjrii@lemmy.world on 02 Jul 05:31 next collapse

I think the SteamDeck might be overkill here. Something along the Miyo or Anbernic is what I’m thinking initially, but I have no idea what in this product category is worthwhile.

[deleted] on 03 Jul 16:19 collapse


any1th3r3@lemmy.ca on 02 Jul 06:18 next collapse

I guess the main question is where do you draw the line for “somewhat newer stuff”? 5th gen consoles only (and then which one) or even newer?
And what screen size are you looking for?

wjrii@lemmy.world on 02 Jul 14:01 collapse

I think realistically 5th gen would be the limit in the price range, right? Any recommendations on which are most versatile? I understand Android can be better for some emulators, and Linux for others.

CorrodedCranium@leminal.space on 02 Jul 09:31 collapse

It depends what you want to emulate. Most consoles can do PSX and below without any trouble. A lot of devices share the same chipset so that’s a big thing to look out for.

If you want to get into things like PS2 and GameCube you are going to have to pay more and likely consider Android.

A console with HDMI out and Bluetooth might be what you are looking for so you can potentially have that desktop experience you are used to.

wjrii@lemmy.world on 02 Jul 14:12 collapse

Thanks. This product category has matured nicely from the days of the GP2X and Pandora.

CorrodedCranium@leminal.space on 02 Jul 20:35 collapse

Yeah it seems like since COVID19 and the release of RG350 there’s been a real increase in the amount of progress