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October 2012 Retro Gaming Article


October 30, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Android-based Ouya game console could become the iPod of retro gaming

I understand the appeal of the iPod, but it's not for me.
I don't need every album I own at my disposal - anytime - anywhere. I'm content to leave the house with a few old-school rap CDs, some Greenday discs or a Kiss concert and be more than content. Instant access to everything seems burdensome and I prefer to have music filling the space around me - not blaring into my head via headphones. So, I can get by with rocking-out to a few select CDs. Music is often secondary to something else I'm focused on. I'll listen to music while reading, working on my computer or driving to work.

But does this same instant access mentality, of an iPod, apply to other collections... like video games?

Ouya could be the next big thing in retro gaming emulation
I certainly don't need to bring all of my Atari 2600 games when grocery shopping. Nor do I need access to the NES library while mowing the lawn. Gaming isn't about portability, for me. However, when it comes to retro gaming, the iPod metaphor (sans portability) becomes quite compelling. If I were to start a gaming session and limit myself to Berzerk and Super Mario Galaxy, I'd likely want some Yar's Revenge, Berzerk or DKC Returns too.

Gaming is a primary or focused activity where I'm not content with just a few selections to fill a void. I want exactly what I want. Despite rarely needing the portability of a Game Boy like handheld, the GPH Caanoo was the first gaming system that allowed me to wander across genres, eras and platforms much like pausing Taylor Swift in favor of some classic Metallica.

GPH Caanoo handheld game console Suddenly, I was exposed to the ability to play Atari 2600 Asteroids, 7800 Food fight, Popeye for NES, Burger Time on Colecovision or Star Castle for the Vectrex. WOW! I'd always had several game consoles connected via switch-boxes, but that still meant sifting through different bins to find the SNES game I wanted or a shelf of Jaguar carts, etc... The Caanoo brought the iPod concept to a medium I understood - Retro Gaming!

Of course those who've been playing ROMs on computers are quite accustomed to this diversity of play at one's fingertips, but I'm a console gamer. Those of us who prefer consoles may be quite excited to encounter a gaming console that brings the bounty of ROMs to the living room TV.

The Caanoo being an open source linux-based device makes running emulators very simple. I loaded a few thousand ROMs onto an SD card and saw how easily I could launch into nearly any game I wanted to play. I still have no desire to get an iPod, but when applying it's access to music to instant access for retro games, I began to think even more about the Ouya!

There are scads of emulators for Android devices. The Ouya being Android-based makes the Caanoo's appeal seem possible on a large TV. Part of the Ouya's marketing outreach is to bring the ease of mobile development (as compared to game console dev) back to the TV. I'm all for it and the notion that a bountiful supply of ROMs could then be accessed with ease and displayed on an HD TV is very compelling. I love the idea of that little 'Droid box firing up any number of different console emulators for a cross platform/era gaming session.

That makes me drool with retro excitement! Go Ouya!

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