I was looking for a handheld that could play multiple emulators and I stumbled upon this little gem. Sure, there are other handhelds that you can hack to play emulators – NVidia Shield, PSP, Dingoo A380E – but this one seemed like what I was looking for. I was correct.
This device is the result of a Kickstarter campaign, which I did not contribute to, but would have. I found mine on ThinkGeek.com, but it appears that they are very hard to find now. A quick Google search showed a couple on Amazon and one on Ebay. They are made by one guy at his home, so stock is very low. I feel lucky to have gotten one.
The GCW Zero is an awesome emulation device. However, it’s not for the novice. It took me hours and hours to get it set up the way I want. It runs on the Linux OS and it’s open source, so if you have experience there, you’ll be at home. Fortunately, I already had a lot of ROMS, but I also found some online and now have just about every Atari, Commodore 64, Gameboy Advance, NES, SNES and Sega Genesis game ever made on this thing. The games play really well and the graphics are authentic. The screen feels a lot bigger than it looks. The control buttons are responsive.
There is also a very active community (forums) that actively develop new emulators and are quick to answer any questions you have. They also develop games specifically for the GCW Zero and are typically clones of better-known games. If you don’t mind a little work (that was the fun part for me), see if you can find one.