Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Power Joy Voyager - The Last Voyage?

If I told you that I have a portable Famiclone you would most likely assume I was talking about a Super Joy 3 or a Power Joy. What if I said it was in fact a Power Joy, but it was in the shape of a quasi Game Boy Color, played "9999" built in games on an LCD screen but also played NES games from a Game Boy style cartridge? Well its all true, and that Famiclone's name is the Power Joy Voyager.
The Power Joy Voyager does everything the original Power Joy can do, with the bonus of having 9999 different Tetris clones as well, if you can consider that a bonus. This system has the unique ability to be powered by 4 AA batteries, unlike the original Power Joy, as well as allowing you to use the Game Boy style controller layout for single player games (While in "NES" mode) or plugging in a pair of controllers, which are tied together to a single DB9 end.
 Although slightly bigger, the overall design is undoubtedly trying to resemble that of a Nintendo Game Boy Color, and at first glace thats what I originally thought it was. Even the cartridge has a slight Game Boy look to it, but more of a knock off Game Boy pirate design. Its comfortable to hold, but the built in games aren't really what will have you holding the system for too long, thats the built in NOAC.
 On the very top are the (mono) AV outs, all you have to do is plug in your cables and flip the switch on the side from LCD or Off to TV and you have a tiny Famiclone. For the Famiclone part there are no built in games, the software comes from the PJ-007 cartridge. The cartridge shares the same name, and game list, as the Famicom style cartridge that comes with the original Power Joy.
Short of it having the 9999 LCD games, the Power Joy Voyager functions exactly the same as the Power Joy. I find this one to be more unique in design and a lot easier to shove in a bag and take on the road. Although they made different cartridges for the Power Joy, I believe the PJ-007 is the only one they made for the Voyager.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

57000 Super Video Game

My deep interest in Famiclones started when I picked up my first Power Joy, and although it didn't initially work it still spurred extensive research into Famiclones and their history. That research lead me to want more Famiclones, not just handhelds like the Super Joys and Power Joys, but more console based Famiclones. That day finally came when I found a Super 57000 Video Game at the Goodwill outlet store.
The Super 57000 Super Video Game's shell and controllers are, unashamedly, based on the original Sony Playstation, although made of much cheaper plastic. The insides are pretty simplistic, running a NOAC (Nintendo on a Chip) with two built in Famicom slots, one for the built in games board (mine doesn't work so I swapped it out for a loose Hogan's Alley board I had) and the other for Famicom or pirated cartridges, which is hidden under the giant, round lid. From there you have the standard db-9 controller inputs on the front and the audio/video output board on the back, nothing fancy.

When I found mine it was quite yellow, one controller was pretty beat up and neither controller had D-pads; I later found a D-pad that fits, while it works it doesn't really fit the controller. As for it being a console, I didn't know what I expected because honestly, it works like a console. Even though this thing is quite ugly its still functional!
As such the Super 57000 uses the same DC 9v adapter as all of my other Famiclones, as well as offering not only AV out, but a pseudo-RF output as well. Sadly I could never get any of my TVs to find the RF channel this system sends the signal to, perhaps it doesn't and its just on there for looks. The back of this thing really shows Chinese ingenuity, a simple output mix up was "corrected" when they sharpied the white jack black, to use for RF, and painted the black output red, for audio, instead of just resoldering them into the right place.
The front of the console isn't much better either, the plastic shows gaps all over the place. The lid doesn't always shut properly, half the time due to the sticky release button. But since its only covering a 60 pin port, instead of a CD drive unit, the gap is forgivable.

Again, I honestly don't know what I expected from the Super 57000 Video Game, other than the excitement of finally having my own console style Famiclone. Which its just that, a Famiclone in a console shell. The console does what its asked and nothing less, nothing more, it just works!

The controllers are comfortable, the video quality is what you would expect from a Famiclone and the audio is what you would expect from a NOAC. This was my favorite (I mean only) Famiclone console until I found my Dreamstation. Sadly, it took a slightly better Famiclone to make me realize how abysmal this system was, but that still doesn't mean this system is complete junk.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

An Additional (Blue) Super Joy 3

As you can see I own three blue Super Joy 3 Famiclones. No, I'm not being greedy, its the fact that two of them have different game sets inside and the third one, although looking identical from this angle, is quite different from the other two. In fact, its different from almost all of my Super Joy 3 systems, and not just by color.
The two on the center and right have an open Famicom slot, as where the one on the left has a strange blue thing that seemingly hangs underneath it. This isn't the first Super Joy 3 I've found that has one of these, but I've found them to be harder to find than the ones with open cartridge ports. If you're quite careful and push in on the bottom of the cover (oriented as shown below), after breaking loose those two clips, then gentling pulling it back down toward the long handle of the unit you can easily pop that cover off, revealing the Famicom slot and extremely small board inserted within.
The board is much smaller than any true Famicom game board, so much so that the 60 pins hardly align up correctly in the 60 pin slot. And even though I tried, you simply can not use these type of Super Joys to play Famicom games, unless you have loose game boards. And for some strange, inexplicable reason these units prefer to be powered by battery, giving an extremely poor quality video output when powered by a wallwart.
My total Super Joy 3 count is up to a total of six, half of those are blue, but I will continue to collect them as I find new colors or maybe even more like this and the light blue/gray one. Well, that previous statement isn't strictly true as I do have one that's shell was broken beyond repair, so I salvaged the guts and plan to turn it into a console... someday, but it doesn't really count as its no long in its shell. Regardless, the Super Joy 3 is fun in short bursts of time and to some, like myself, fun to collect all the different colors and variants.