Friday, December 3, 2010

Review: Sega Arcade Nano by AtGames! Pocket sized Retro gaming!

Look at how small they are!!!!

The AV Cable plugs right at the back of the unit

The kind guys from AtGames (the creator of SEGA Firecore Gopher i reviewed in the past) have sent me some samples of their new products : Arcade Nano series. They come in several different flavours, the one i received were Virtual Fighter 2 , Sonic the Hedgehog , and Ecco the Dolphin. Yes, all are Sega's famous mascots and each "nano arcade" contains 10 Games: 5 authentic sega games and 5 bonus mini games.

Ecco , Virtua Fighter 2, and Sonic Nano Arcades!
The back of the packaging

Arcade Nano?
At first glance the arcade nano series looks like a retro style, miniature joystick we used to find at the arcade centres. Most people at first would simple think that they are novelty keychains for retro gamers. One cool thing is that : yes they are keychains, but they also play FULL SEGA GAMES when connected to a TV!

Compared to my hand : so small!!!
Comes in many fruity flavors!!

The list of games available:

Nano Arcade Sonic Set :
  • Sonic
  • Sonic 2
  • Sonic Spinball
  • Sonic 3D Blast
  • Alex Kidd

Nano Arcade Virtua Fighter Set :
  • Virtua Fighter 2
  • Shinobi 3
  • Golden Axe
  • Golden Axe 3
  • Alien Storm

Nano Arcade Ecco the dolphin set:
  • Ecco the dolphin
  • Ecco Jr
  • Flicky
  • Puyo Puyo
  • Columns

As you can see they all have a good range of titles on each set, plus on top of them you get 5 extra mini games with each set (all different) making a total of 10 games per set. I personally find the mini games passable compared to the full blown sega games, but that is just a personal prefference

I must say that each set has their own classic games that a lot of people love, most people would be familiar with the blue hedgehog's set, as it has a lot of the sonic games and also the classic game ALEX KIDD!

Action game addicts would find the virtua fighter 2 set appealing, with included classics like golden axe and shinobi included!!

Those who love the classic puzzle games Columns and Puyo puyo might find the Ecco set very interesting

They are powered by one AAA battery, which will last you many hours of gameplay (so all you need is a tv) , the thing i can think about with these is when you are travelling overseas and find a tv in you hotel, by hooking up the included av cable you can enjoy some retro gaming on your hotel tv to kill time!


Game selection: This is what you see when you turn on the unit

Emulation :
The arcade nano series does a good job of emulating the sega graphics, even on bigger screen tvs, i personally tested this on a 32 inch flatscreen tv and the result is good, of course you cant compare 16 bit games to BLACK OPs! (LOL) but the graphics are comparable to the real sega, the only downside is the audio, the audio seems a bit slower than that of the original sega genesis, but other than that they are reproduced quite well, in mono (it comes with a mono cable only).

The mini joystick and buttons are pretty responsive, although they can be a tad small for people with massive handz like me), but even so i was able to throw special moves on virtua fighter quite well with this small joystick, they are pretty responsive, although very small! Also the av cable they supplied is a tad too short for people with very large tv like mine, you might end up holding the joystick too close to the screen,  if only they give a much longer cable then it would be really really awesome!

Well this is what the arcade nano is good at , they seem to pack some quality titles with each arcade nano, classic such as SHINOBI 3, Golden Axe, Golden axe 3 and alien storm are all present on the Virtua Fighter set, for example, i personally loved those games many years ago as a kid and its good to be able to play them all over again now.  The sonic set will prove to be popular as well, as it contains many classic sonic games (no sonic 3 though? ). Due to the small size of the unit, there is NO two player option.

This is how gameplay looks like on a big screen tv!

Value for money:
They are selling for USD $15 to $19 on amazon or the internet, so they are pretty damn cheap, if you have any retro gamer friend that you wanna give a christmast present to, these would be great! Remember that each set has 5 full games and 5 bonus mini games - not bad!

Who is it for?
The label at the back says "Age 6 and above" but while they are fine for little kids, these nano arcades will appeal the most for those who lived thru and survived the 8bit/16bit era (Like me!). For example, my older sister, whose first experience with gaming was the ATARI 2600, loves these Arcade Nano machines, she is one of those many who find the newer generation of consoles too complicated and too much emphasis on HD Graphics etc, For her retro gaming was what's its all about. I am sure we all know a few people like these, if not ourselves!

  • Small nano-sized, cute looking and doubles as an uber-cool retro keychain!
  • Good selection of Games on each set, many awesome classics!
  • Low price, packed full of retro goodness,  makes an AWESOME gift for retro gamers!
  • Awesome novelty item for sega hardcore fans!!

  • AV Cable supplied a tad too short
  • although acceptable, Sound emulation a bit slower than normal sega

(you can find them for as low as $15/$16 usd on amazon or the web!! If you decide to buy one, make sure to compare first and get the lowest prices possible!)
Sapphire Ar8101 Arcade Nano Vf2
Sapphire Ar8102 Arcade Nano Sonic
Sapphire Ar8103 Arcade Nano Columns

AtGames Sega Arcade Nano Review by Ivan Zilch

AtGames (The creator of Sega Firecore Gopher) told me they are releasing the new and improved GOPHER 2011 very soon, which I've been told has been fixed and way improved than the previous version. Are we finally going to see the ULTIMATE Portable Sega genesis gaming? We shall see in about 3 weeks time - review coming up soon!