The Gamerz Tek Super HD-2 vs. Old Skool Classic II

I had my 2 year old Retron 5 finally die (it had been having problems with the Famicom slot for a while now, and the most problem-ridden slot was the Famicom (for whatever reason). Then the Genesis slot started becoming grabby (for lack of a better word) on the cartridges, but the NES slot finally gave up the ghost and I decided to give it a once-over. It didn’t look like anything “blew out” or “let the blue smoke out” of any chips, but the cart slot pins on the NES and Famicom had a few bent ones. I tried re-bending them with small tools, but after that, none of the cart slots would show the cart’s name (just “unknown cartridge”) on things that were cleaned or used previously and cleaned. So I bought another one, but I got to thinking, what about allΒ  those one-chip hardware compatible SNES/NES clones out there? I knew I needed HD, just because the Retron 5 spoiled me, so I began looking for a possible replacement (and one that can play multicarts and repros.)

I went digging around youtube, looking around the reviews and settled on two to try out. The Old Skool Classic II and the Gamerz Tek Super HD-2. Both are SNES/NES (and Super Famicom, but not famicom (without an adapter that I am not sure would work anyway).Β  I got the Old Skool first (hence named “Classic II” and the Gamerz Tek will be called “Super HD-2”).

The Classic II so far…

I’ve been fiddling with it for about a week and it has been really compatible with most anything (it has issues with my Burger Time cart for some reason), and it has some really nice controllers. The problem I had with the Classic II was when the 4:3 switch was set (not widescreen), 90% or more of the NES/SNES games I tried came out garbled, like they needed cleaning. I tried on a whim to go to 16:9 and had no issues with any cart, even those that were garbled initially. Another weird feature was the passive HDMI, which played havoc with my HDMI powered switchbox. It never showed as “connected” until shortly after the intro started on any cart I tried. And I would have to manually switch to the port on the HDMI switch to get to it. It was strange, but it would work fine after that. Other than these issues, the Classic II is a solid console. It’s surprisingly beefy, compared to some of the other clones. You always know a clone by its weight, and most of the time you have to put double-sided tape on the clones to keep them on the desk. πŸ™‚

The Super HD-2 so far…

I got this just today (May 28th) and so far it’s been far better than the Classic II in two respects: 1. It has no trouble with 4:3, with all carts working flawlessly, and 2. the HDMI port isn’t playing weirdly with my switch box. If I turn on the Super HD-2, it switches like I expect it to. (And the Super HD-2 has a Pal switch too, not that I would ever need it.) The Super HD-2 has the same problem with Burger Time, but it seems not as bad as the Classic II. I like the fact that my Retro-bit Joe and Mac compilation works (on both without incident.)Β  I am going to play with the Super HD-2 some more over the week and see how it handles various strange carts, like SuperFX cartridges, etc. The Classic II had no trouble with them, so it should be the same for this one. Overall, I like this one as I do the Classic II.

Verdict so far…

I am right now leaning more to the HD-2 because the Classic II has weird issues with my switch box. I don’t consider this a dig at the Classic II, because they both perform very well (and are colored like the American SNES.) I just prefer the active switch on the HD-2. Other than that (I am not a slave to 4:3) I like both and will keep both for my “main” gaming console. I will continue to use my Retron 5 for Famicom games and for Genesis (until my Mega HD gets here from Gamerz Tek). I will also use my Retron for gamest that have a “Save” feature but have a dead battery. (Makes it easier to play RPGs on it.) But if I were in the market for a decent clone console, both of these SNES/NES clone systems are top notch.

As an aside, I couldn’t get the Retro Trio 3+ to work at all (it was DOA.) I may try again, because it’s also hardware, but it has some nice features (like a cover for the controller ports, and would be more compact than 3 devices on my desk.) I’ll order another from Amazon soon, but not right away, because I don’t want to run afoul of their “return violation” policy. πŸ™‚

I am not a fan of the FPGA “super” clones, mainly because of their price. If they were about $100 cheaper, I’d snatch one up. But $300 for an FPGA (emulated after all) console is not my cup of tea. Heck, I use a cheap-o Dell PC with onboard video for most of my MAME gaming. πŸ™‚ I am not one to be looking for the aesthetic equivalent of a Rolex watch. My Casio tells time just as well and at a fraction of the cost. YMMV, but I’m more into buying the games I want to play. I skipped the Genesis/SNES era, mainly because I was a computer gamer (and I really missed the NES era for the same reason), so I’m playing catchup a bit. I would’ve bought a Genesis had I been more financially secure then (college wasn’t cheap.) But I still had my Amiga 500 well into my college years (yes I’m old.) πŸ™‚ Happy gaming!


Linux Drivers for “Gaming” Mice

I don’t really game all that much in terms of needing a special mouse to game, but I do have a nice Logitech G Pro gaming mouse because it fits my hand so perfectly. The only problem is the LED effect is simply cycling through colors because I don’t have a Linux driver to handle whatever bit needs to be set to stop the cycling of colors. It really is a great mouse… I tried “libratbag”, but it seems I need a newer version of the ninja compiler than exists in the Ubuntu LTS repositories. Ah well…. I can live with the colors… they look pretty neat. πŸ™‚

Nintendo Switch

It’s been a few months, and I’ve seen that the Nintendo Switch is doing well. It has far too many “enhanced” versions of games (I suppose that’s generally to put product on the shelves. Save the new stuff for later in the year, like Christmas). I have seen that the Switch is going to get Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but so far, there have been no compelling titles that I really am interested in playing at the moment. I guess because I’m still immersed in Skyrim, Mass Effect Andromeda, and Diablo 3. I know, it’s a bit silly to be playing Diablo 3 (over and over and over), but by golly, they got the Necromancer finally! I am so glad they added that character. πŸ™‚

Anyhow, I suppose at some point I’ll get a Switch. But for now, I don’t expect I’ll need to make room under my TV just yet. πŸ™‚

Twitter part 2

I have left twitter, but I decided to leave my “self” there, rather than disappear completely. I have no desire to interact with any of the nitwits anymore. I simply don’t. I thought after a break it’d be a pleasant change and things could go back to normal and the polarized (not sunglasses) opinions would calm down. Well, like in everything else, there is no such thing as an adult anymore. One or two folks who I really enjoy chatting with are still there, but for the most part, it’s a flaming ball of yelling, name-calling, and other nonsense. Twitter has their “elite”, which reminds me of the old days of IRC mods. They were the blue-checks of the pre-social-media era. πŸ™‚ And some were quite alright. However, some were not. And that became most as IRC got more and more AOL folks on its servers.

I guess I’m trying to say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. I’m frankly done being bothered by it. I need to write a script that sorts my working v. non-working MAME ROMs. πŸ™‚

Quick Python Game Update

I thought I’d leave a quick note to my millions of readers about my Python game. Β I got to reading the rules of the game I was going to port, and well, it might be too esoteric to be fun solo. So I will play it on paper first to see if it works for electronics. In the meantime, I have a few other ideas involving dice and cards for games that just might be fun. Ages ago I found a website that made a starship combat game with only a poker deck. I wish I could find that site again (it’s not in my bookmarks for some reason.) But needless to say, I think I could create one similarly with some dice and cards too. I’m going to be working on that too, just because I can. πŸ™‚


By the way, Moria is an addictive game like Nethack, and I’ve not even left the town yet to explore the endless dungeon. (I did accidentally kill a homeless person in town though. I feel bad about that.) Anyway, in between trips to the dungeon of Moria, I’ll be working on that game. πŸ™‚

Retro-gaming dilemma

At the local Game-eXchange, there’s a Sega Saturn (US version). It looks in reasonably good shape, but it certainly needs a good cleaning. There’s also a few XBox (originals) there as well. I have often thought about getting another spare XBox, because I only have the one that is working (and one spare.) I have a damaged DVD drive XBox that I might could repair now that no one cares if you open the XBox case. I’ve got enough PS2’s and Wiis (though I think I’ll get another one for good measure.)

The dilemma, I suppose you could call it that, is should I get another Japanese one (and perhaps another Action Replay cart), or an American one and another Action Replay cart. πŸ™‚ It’s not an easy decision, given my two Japanese Saturns are in great shape. Based on the number of games I have, I am always on the lookout for spare PS1s. Because it’s easier to play on the original units than overtax my PS2s. (or Ps3 for that matter.) I have many games on the PS2 that will require them to be on for long stretches as I play. Plus, with my secondary console setups (over here at my PC desk), I’ve got enough room to have all my consoles hooked up to something. πŸ™‚

Well, I’ll have to sleep on it, I guess. I’m not going to be able to figure it out this week anyway. Father’s Day is this weekend, and I’ve got lots of work to do. πŸ™‚


Retron 5

Now that I’ve used it for a time (a long time actually), I have grown rather fond of it. I don’t necessarily care about the HD portion (though now that I use a 24″ television as a monitor, it’s much more convenient), but the emulation is very good. I have all my retro-esque consoles hooked up now, with the exception of my PS1. It’s not that I don’t want to plug one in, it’s just that I don’t have the room on the computer desk/entertainment center. πŸ™‚

The console is quite playable with the supplied bluetooth controller, but I prefer using the actual system controllers when possible. (I have a Genesis/SNES/NES controller set plugged in at all times, and surprisingly, you can use any of them for any other emulated console, of course the # of buttons will be the deciding factor.)Β  If you wanted to play Super Mario Bros 3 with an SNES controller, it is possible (and quite usable).

On the other retro-console front, I decided to get my original XBox out of mothballs (I only have one other spare, and one with a dead DVD drive that I could possibly fix in the future) and play a few games. I am shocked how good it was for the time. I enjoy playing Gauntlet:Seven Sorrows on it the most (better than the PS2 version.)

I’ll plug in Morrowind at some point, after I play KOTOR again. (well, finish it for once.)

I guess at some point I’ll turn on my PS4 again. πŸ™‚Β  Last time I turned on my PS3 was to play Robotron:2084 on the Midway Origins collection. πŸ™‚