GPD Android Game Console XD (Hardware) Review

GPD Android Game Console XD (Hardware) Review

As a fan of classic games, I’m not big on emulators.  I prefer owning a physical copy and playing the game the way it was intended to be played. That said, I understand that their convenience makes emulators very popular, and I have used one or two in my day. So I understand who the GPD Android Game Console  XD is geared towards—those who like classic games, but who don’t want to sink a lot of time and money into hunting down old titles.  With a DS-like shell and an Android tablet under the hood, the GPD Android Game Console XD is not only an emulator, it’s also a streamlined device that aims to completely bridge the gap between handheld and mobile gaming . Unfortunately, despite making a fair amount of headway towards realizing that ambition, the system also has clear faults.

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I was actually surprised at how many games come packaged with the GPD Android Game Console XD.  Right from the moment you turn on the console , you have access to arcade games, SNES titles, N64 games, and a PS1 and Dreamcast game apiece. That’s on top of the three other emulator apps that come packed in as well, which allow you to download anything that comes to mind. The sheer amount of titles available is overwhelming. Even better, s these emulated games often look and play better than their original counterparts. Navigating to them kind of confusing at first, though, since many of the titles are represented by pictures for other games instead of their own l covers on the main menu.  It was kind of funny, especially since the device itself comes in one of the weirdest boxes ever, emblazoned with the quote “when you smile, the world loves him; when you laugh the world fears him.”  There is no context for this at all, and combined with the misplaced game covers, this gave me a very strange introduction to the console.

I encountered more serious issues when I started playing some emulators, though. I witnessed some titles (specifically N64 games) have parts of the game drop out, or flutter, or in some cases, crash completely.  There were other weird mishaps too. In one instance I ran Shenmue and Ryo’s eye started protruding from his cheek every other scene.  While it was funny, it concerned me. Maybe it’s just an emulation issue, but I encountered it enough to make note of it.  that being said, messing around with some settings fixed many of the issues, and I never experienced any problems with apps from the Google Play Store. – my issues came exclusively from emulators of 3D games.

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I don’t think the crashes are an issue with the GPD Android Game Console XD itself, because it’s not underpowered by any means. It packs a Rockchip quad-core processor, a five-inch touch screen that supports 720p resolution, and two gigs of ram, all running on Android 4.4.4. In layman’s terms, it’s a decent tablet, though not top of the line.  It’s casing bears a striking resemblance to Nintendo’s DS and 3DS family, sporting a closable shell with the screen sitting on the top and the button interface on the bottom.  Unlike the device it took inspiration from, however, the GPD Android Game Console XD features two thumb sticks along with the traditional, familiar four face buttons, D-pad, and bumper. It also possess some extra buttons that allow you to mess around with the system and how it runs games. Finally, it features an HDMI output so you can hook up your device to a TV and play on a bigger screen in the comfort of your own house. I couldn’t get over how much thought seems to have gone into designing the device.

Yet though the design is solid, it’s implementation leaves a bit to be desired. The GPD Android Game Console XD feels as if it’s made of slightly cheaper materials than you’d expect. The screen hinges don’t click the way they do on the 3DS, making it feel less secure, and the plastic does not seem high end. On top of that, the D-pad feels flimsy, the face buttons sink weirdly when you press them, and the bumpers click strangely when you squeeze them.  I constantly found myself unfairly comparing the build quality to the 3DS and being disappointed when it failed to live up to the standards of the console that inspired it. Despite these flaws, its design is solid enough that it nonetheless manages to look like a serious gamer console and not a toy.

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GPD (Left) – New Nintendo 3DS (Right)

The GPD Android Game Console XD is still a tablet through and through, and despite its gaming focus, it functions like most Androids do, just with a bit of a different interface that better accommodates gameplay and app organization. I still had access to Google Play, and used many of my favourite non-gaming apps with ease. And that’s where this console becomes a really great interconnected device. I could play something like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night while talking to my fellow writer Jordan Biordi on Facebook Messenger.  I could switch from Metal Slug to Microsoft Word to do a quick news story.  I know those are pretty basic apps, but it’s convenient to say the least.  It makes for a great bridge between two worlds I hadn’t known I wanted to intermingle.

Ultimately, that’s the best part of the GPD Android Game Console XD. It’s an interesting concept that, for the most part, does what it advertises.  It has the ability to make mobile games a little more playable, and its included emulators really make it worth the purchase alone. Yet, some cheap construction issues and the problems it has running certain games hold it back. But if you can get past that, this is a very functional first step in the melding of mobile and handheld gaming.

Editor’s note: Interested in picking one up? You can get it at Everbuying or GearBest.

Hate Mondays on Your Cell Phone

Hate Mondays on Your Cell Phone

Garfield is celebrating his 37

th

birthday this year and to bring his fans together Animoca Brands is releasing two mobile games on June 19. The two titles-Garfield Chief: Game of Food available for the App Store, and Garfield’s Epic Food Fight for Google Play will be available for free. Along with that, 11 other Garfield games will be available for free.

Here’s the press release.

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Hong Kong – 18 June 2015 – Animoca Brands (ASX: AB1) today announced the start of festivities to celebrate Garfield’s 37th birthday on 19 June 2015, including the launch of two new official games:  Garfield Chef: Game of Food on the App Store℠ and  Garfield’s Epic Food Fight on Google Play™, both available to download for free.

As part of the birthday celebrations, the newly launched games will include free in-game items, currency, and upgrades for a limited time. Animoca Brands is also gifting users of select  Garfield games with free in-game currency worth approximately USD 5 per game. Additionally, some paid  Garfield games and apps will receive temporary price reductions of up to 100%. Details of the birthday promotion are available at  http://37bday.webprancer.com/.

Based on its agreement with Paws, Inc., Animoca Brands has been developing and publishing mobile games based on the famous  Garfield comic strip since 2011. The games have proved highly popular, achieving more than 45 million downloads globally. Animoca Brands launched its first  Garfield title, called Garfield’s Diner, in 2012 and to date that game has generated revenues of over USD 2,840,000.

The Animoca Brands strategy to partner with well-known popular brands continued in 2015 with further partnerships signed including an agreement to license the name and image of Paris Hilton and an agreement with Mattel, Inc., the world’s leading publisher and manufacturer of toys and family products, to produce games based on various Mattel properties.

Robby Yung, CEO of Animoca Brands commented: “Our partnership with Paws, Inc. to develop and publish  Garfield mobile games has proved not only highly advantageous but also great fun. We’re absolutely delighted to have the fat lazy cat in our brand portfolio and we look forward to making plenty more games based on him and his companions.”

The  Garfield comic strip was created by Jim Davis and first published on 19 June 1978, achieving unprecedented global success.  Garfield holds the Guinness World Record as the most widely syndicated comic strip in history, and the title character has been the star of television series, feature films, comic books and video games.

About the new games
Garfield’s Epic Food Fight is available free to download on Google Play for Android™ devices. It fuses Match-3 gameplay, role-playing game mechanics, and general food-based zaniness as the player assists Garfield, Jon, Liz, Odie, Nermal and other beloved characters in repelling an alien invasion. A video trailer of Garfield’s Epic Food Fight is available at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYbWdNJgsdc . Get the game free at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.webprancer.google.garfieldsepicfoodfight.

Garfield Chef: Game of Food is available free to download for iPhone®, iPad® and  iPod touch® from the iTunes App Store. Using Match-3 gameplay, the game invites players on a culinary journey as Jon Arbuckle attempts to become a chef and Garfield hungrily devours everything in sight. The two are joined by a full cast of favorite characters including Pooky, Arlene, Nermal, Squeak, Odie and others. A video trailer of  Garfield Chef: Game of Food is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3l4GzSAETw . Get the game free at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/garfield-chef-game-of-food/id989061025.

Birthday giveaways
Until 30 June 2015, users of every participating  Garfield title will receive a gift of in-game currency worth approximately 5 USD in each game. The following is a list of participating games:

Garfield’s Diner
Garfield’s Diner HD
Garfield’s Gem
Garfield’s Defense
Garfield’s Defense 2
Garfield’s Diner Hawaii
Garfield’s Diner Hawaii HD
Garfield’s Pet Hospital
Garfield Saves the Holidays
Garfield Cookie Dozer
Garfield’s Adventure

Birthday price drop on Apple’s App Store
The following paid games on the iTunes App Store will be available free of charge for one day only on 19 June 2015:

Feed Garfield
Feed Garfield HD
Garfield’s Escape

Birthday price drop on Google Play
In select territories, the following paid apps on Google Play will be available free of charge on 18-19 June, and for 10 cents (USD 0.10) on 20-27 June 2015:

Garfield’s Escape Premium
Feed Garfield Premium
Home Sweet Garfield Live Wallpaper

Birthday price drop on Amazon Appstore
The following paid apps on the Amazon Appstore will be temporarily available for 0.99 USD from June 19 to June 25, 2015:

Garfield’s Escape Premium
Feed Garfield Premium

Animoca Brands’ Garfield-themed mobile games are published and operated by its wholly-owned studio Web Prancer (www.webprancer.com ).

Google Play and Android are trademarks of Google Inc. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

About Animoca Brands
Animoca Brands Corporation Ltd. (ASX: AB1) publishes globally a broad portfolio of mobile games, including several games based on popular intellectual properties such as Garfield, Ultraman, and Doraemon. The company’s games have been downloaded over 130 million times. Animoca Brands is based in Hong Kong. For more information please visit  www.animocabrands.com .

For ongoing updates, follow Animoca Brands on  FacebookTwitter or  Google+.

About GARFIELD
GARFIELD was born on the comics pages on June 19, 1978.  The creation of cartoonist Jim Davis, GARFIELD is a humorous strip centered on the lives of a quick-witted orange cat who loves lasagna, coffee, and his remote control; Jon Arbuckle, his owner; and Odie, a sweet but dumb dog. GARFIELD was introduced to the world in just 41 newspapers and is now the most widely syndicated comic strip ever, appearing in 2100 newspapers.  The strip, distributed by Universal Press, is read by over 200 million people each day and is translated into 42 languages.

The success of the comic strip spawned an entertainment empire including television: Garfield and FriendsThe Garfield Show, and a dozen primetime specials; movies:  Garfield: The Movie  and  Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; hundreds of best-selling books, and thousands of licensed products.

Garfield has long been considered an evergreen property because he has not only endured, but continues to be fresh and funny after 37 years in the limelight.

Follow Garfield, along with nearly 17 million other fans, on Facebook (facebook.com/Garfield) and Twitter (twitter.com/Garfield), and visit garfield.com, and Garfield’s free educational site,  professorgarfield.org.

 

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