Sunday, June 29, 2014

Power Player Super Joy 3, the Super Joystick!

Throughout the years I passed up so many Super Joy consoles, because I didn't know exactly what they were. Later on, when my interest in handheld Famiclones started to grow, I found a powder blue Super Joy 3 and I decided to take a chance on it. I had only done a little research on Power Joys, but I was told the Super Joy 3 was essentially the same type of Famiclone, meaning this thing played classic NES/Famicom games, and supposedly played Famicom cartridges. Those two facts alone were well worth the couple of dollars I paid for it.

My very first Famiclone is the one on the far left side.
When I got home I scrambled to find all the needed cables and batteries to give the thing a complete test. After powering the system on I was greeted by a little bit of music and a screen boasting 12000 games, which I now know is just a marketing ploy to move these things off the shelves. After a little bit of playing around, I started to wonder how these things could play Famicom cartridges, because mine didn't have any visible cartridge slot. Instead mine had some weird cover protruded from under the console, which caused my hands to cramp if I used it for too long, with absolutely no possible way to externally connect a Famicom game.

After carefully removing the the plastic cover, so that I could reattach it later, I found the 60 pin connector with a small board stuck inside. I grabbed a Famicom game I had bought a few months prior and tried to get it to fit, but there was no hope. I decided I should take the Super Joy 3 apart and see if this thing really would play Famicom games through that slot.

The answer was a resounding yes; yes these things really do play Famicom cartridges. But if I had to take the whole thing apart, rendering in useless, how was I suppose to actually utilize this fact? In frustration, I just put the Super Joy 3 in my closet and used it on occasion the way it was, until I happened to find another Super Joy 3, this time with an actual slot to put a cartridge in.
As you can see above, the Super Joy 3 comes in 2 external variations. The first, and most common, has an actual Famicom sized slot on the bottom, allowing for cartridge insertion, opening the library to any Famicom (or pirate) cart you own. The second design still has the cartridge slot, but it's molded so that the unit only allows for the inserted rom board, leaving no room for any actual cartridge to be plugged in.

My collection has grown quite a bit, and hopefully will continue to grow, so I've found that although the Super Joy 3 is your typical handheld Famiclone, stuffed into an N64 style controller, there are at least two different programs inside that I've found. The first being the one I previously mentioned that boots up with a little bit of music and boasts 12000 games. The second one boots up with no music, a black background and Fun Time written in green, before going to a screen of 78000 options.

The overall quality varies from unit to unit as well. Some of my Super Joys have very nice video output, while others have lines in the background, and others have fuzzy, snowy screens that are almost unplayable! While the inner workings vary from unit to unit, the outer construction tends to stay the same with cheap plastics throughout. I have noticed a slight button variation, but it really isn't a plus or minus as they are all buttons and do their required jobs, no matter what plastic they used.
The Super Joy 3 has a player 2/light gun port on the very front of the unit, outside of where the battery pack goes. I've never owned a brand new Super Joy 3, so I can't comment on the quality of the zapper, but I do happen to own three of the second player controllers. Player 2 controllers are modeled heavily off a Sega Genesis controller, with slight modifications. These controllers are ok, for what they do, and work well with almost any other Famiclone you have as controllers for either player.
After collecting my first one, it seemed that I found them all over the place. If one of them happened to cross my path that I felt the price was worth paying, I couldn't pass it up. So, needless to say, my Super Joy collection has expanded to a total of six. I can't really say the Super Joy is a great unit, because it varies from unit to unit, but I can say that if you get your hands on one that works correctly, it's a great little handheld Famiclone.


  1. I stumbled on a Maxxplay at a yard sale recently and I too was impressed with the build quality of the system.

    Unfortunately it appears to be dead. I only get a single audio click sound when I turn the console on and a black screen/no video.

    I just have the single master controller though and player 2 is missing. Do I need the 2nd controller connected for the console to function? Any advice would be appreciated; thanks.

    1. The system should work by itself, without any other controllers plugged in. Are you sure you're using a correct power supply?

  2. Replies
    1. Depends on your country of origin. There may be some sold online, but they're expensive.