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Fossbytes: What's gaming on GameShell like

Written by Charanjeet Singh

The original article is: https://fossbytes.com/clockwork-pi-gameshell-review/

When we talk about handheld gaming consoles, the first thing that leaps to our mind is Nintendo Switch. But for once, let’s hit down the nostalgia road when GameBoy made our lives richer with Mega Man V, Donkey Kong, Pokemon Red and thousands of Retro games.

Nowadays, emulators enable us to play all those games on our PC itself. But in spite of that, they miss one significant ingredient that only Gameboy could have given — the feel of it.

That is precisely where ClockworkPi GameShell comes in — a modular and portable game console that works like a Gameboy, but actually packs a generation of technology.

Gameshell Review — What’s gaming on GameShell like

Well, gaming on GameShell is plainly as amazing as I loved on the Game Boy Advance. Let me tell you more about it —

All-in-one gaming zone

Before I start, you should know that GameBoy is only one part of the story. With the help of Clockwork OS, one can install hundreds of emulators (aka “Cores”) on GameShell. So if you were into Tekken 3 of PlayStation One, or you liked playing FIFA on your PlayStation (PSP)portable, then Gameshell won’t disappoint you at all.

One of the cool things about Gameshell is that the popular all-in-one emulator RetroArch comes pre-installed on the device. It means that you can play all the classic games from history’s greatest consoles: Atari, GB, GBA, NES, SNES and more. While it already packs a few prominent games such as CaveStory, Doom, etc., I have installed a few of my personal favorites like Adventure Island, Contra, Legends of Zelda and more.

The aesthetics of it

The front-side of GameShell looks exactly like the GameBoy Advance: A beautiful yellow-colored casing; little 2.7 inch LCD screen, sporting a 320 X 240 resolution; A D-pad; face buttons; little holes for the dual channel stereo speaker.

Rotate the device, and you get to see the aesthetically pleasing ClockworkPi board, situated inside a transparent shell. GameShell even provides stickers for the back shell. However, I personally liked it just the way it is.

Talking about the GameShell casing, the device comes with an extra outer shell, just in case if you want to use the Light Key module: four-extra buttons on the back.

Although, there are a few things that could have been better. For instance, the casing comprising all the hardware elements is a little delicate. My best guess is three-four drops would be enough to damage it.

Another thing that was a bit letdown was the hard control buttons; because of less space between the rubber pad and plastic buttons, I had to put extra force which made gaming a little uncomfortable after a while.

However, that’s just a tiny problem in GameShell. Besides, when one has a modular hackable device, anything can be hacked or even replaced.

What do I mean by “hackable”?

It’s actually pretty simple — Gameshell is powered by Clockwork OS, which by the way, is a GNU/Linux-based embedded operating system. So, GameShell, naturally, comes ready to be hacked or mess around with.

Explains the modular design

But the hackable part of GameShell is not just limited to software, but hardware as well. Actually, it’s the first thing I saw while opening up the packaging. The entire GameShell kit is enclosed into small four-to-five black-colored boxes.

If you are ill-fated as am I and have no knowledge of assembling stuff like this, it will take around two-three hours to put in all the pieces together successfully.

Nevertheless, assembling GameShell turned out quite exciting for me. I think that’s because of the well-structuring of the GameShell kit.