Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Super Joy IV

Many Famiclone enthusiasts will certainly be familiar with the famous, perhaps infamous, Power Player Super Joy III. Personally I always wondered where the first and second had gone, but there's no time for that now as the Power Player Super Joy IV has arrived! Yes, the Super Joy family has grown a bit bigger with this new addition. Let's find out whether it's worth picking up or not.

As is standard with Power Player Super Joys you'll find everything needed to start enjoying your Super Joy IV right away inside the box; instruction manual, power adapter, AV cables, zapper gun and second player controller as well as the main console. In short, the AV cables are cheap, the power adapter is cheap and the zapper and second player controller are very small. The zapper and second player controller work perfectly well, but I find the second player controller to be a bit uncomfortable to hold for extended periods of time.

The first thing anyone will notice about the Super Joy IV is the new design. Instead of the Nintendo 64 controller, this time the more ergonomic Nintendo Wavebird has been chosen to house the console. When compared to the genuine article, the Super Joy IV is just a bit bigger than the Wavebird. I'm sure dimensions had to be modified a little to get everything inside of it, but overall the shape is fairly true to the Wavebird. Personally I find the slightly bigger dimensions to be more comfortable than the real Wavebird.

The button placement is the one true fail of the Super Joy IV. In my experience the Wavebird (more accurately all Nintendo Gamecube controllers) action buttons took a little getting use to, but after playing with it for a while I became familiar with them. With the Super Joy IV the action buttons aren't very well thought out at all. The only buttons you'll really need to use, B and A, are along the far right side and kind of easily used by resting your thumb straight up and down on them, but still a bit uncomfortable. And don't get me started on the turbo buttons or the silly B and A combo button in the center, they're just too cumbersome for my liking.

As with every Super Joy Famiclone there are built in games. On the surface the Super Joy IV offers 60 games, but once broken down you'll get more like 50, which all things considered is pretty good for the way built in games are usually broken up. Titles such as Islander (Adventure Island), Grading (Gradius), King Kong 1, 2 and 3 (Donkey Kong) and many of the black box era games are included. In my opinion they're all solid titles; even if you never used the cartridge slot the included games are worth the price for the whole thing.

Super Joy III compared to its younger brother the Super Joy IV

One of the main draws to these types of Famiclones, I think, is that they're portable Famicom/NES style systems that will allow you to play Famicom style cartridges. My particular Super Joy IV has a very tight cartridge port that makes me uncomfortable using any of my Famicom cartridges. I managed to wiggle some in, but the stabilizing ribs are just too snug for me to feel comfortable pushing and pulling 20+ year old plastic in and out of there too many times. I'm sure the ribs can be shaved down, and I may do so, but I'm just more familiar with the massive area the Super Joy III offered when it actually had an open cartridge slot.

So what are my thoughts on the Super Joy IV? It's comfortable to hold, the only buttons you need to use aren't as easy to use as other Famiclones, but they're still functional. The included games are standard Famiclone titles, but they're all pretty good and the joystick actually works this time. Wait, what? Yes, the Super Joy III had a hard plastic joystick that was always useless, but on the Super Joy IV the joystick is very much useful. A bit stiff, but useful. All things considered I'm glad I own it because it's unique, but I feel the Super Joy III is a more user friendly Famiclone.

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