Adventures with Anbernic

It finally came!

I've been waiting [x] days for my new Anbernic RG280V to arrive. This is my second such device, after my "New" BittBoy v1, which I purchased on a whim. (It was $35, after all.) I was ultimately disappointed by the BittBoy: the version that I had didn't even support sram, which defeated my desire to use it to play the Game Boy Final Fantasy and Zelda Oracle games, and Shante. But recently I realized that it was pretty good at NES emulation, and lots of the NES games I liked growing up were no-save. So I went through my collection and loaded it up with password and arcade titles. Suddenly I was having fun again.

Recently I've been playing Little Samson on it, and having a great time; but then my kids started wanting to play it, too. With newfound competition for the device, and further delays and supply constraints for the Analogue Pocket dampening my enthusaism for it, I thought it was a good time to take my experiences and investigate the current state of retro emulation handhelds.

I quickly gravitated towards Anbernic due to their reputation for build quality, and the RG350 line seemed like where I wanted to be: the next generational line doesn't actually do that much more, aside from being able to run RetroArch and, as a result, inheriting a better UI. But I actually don't want any analog sticks in my handheld--at least not right now. So while I mentally mocked the RG280V for its proportions at first, I eventually decided it was right where I wanted to be.

I'm definitely a tinkerer, so I spent my shipping time planning my deployment. While the handheld charges I'm reformatting and reimaging both of the SD cards that came with it. I don't actually want thousands of games at a time, so I'm pulling all the roms off for now and laying down a clean format on the included TF2 card. I'll then be applying the OpenDingux Beta to the TF1.

I copied all the data off of the TF2 card and reformatted it. Then I created a random-data 1GB file and copied it to the sd card 16 times, ensuring that they all had the same (correct) data.

% dd if=/dev/urandom of=random-data bs=1m count=1024 % for i in {1..16}; do cp random-data /Volumes/ROMS/random-data${i}; done % shasum /Volumes/ROMS/random-data{1..16}

At this point I remembered that this is a 64GB card, not a 16GB card, so this test hasn't completely filled the card (or anything close); but it's taking long enough that I'm getting impatient. I'll probably resume running it overnight.

Now it's time to update OD to the beta release, as well as deploy the other apps I want.

I have to admit, it's not as comfortable as I wish it was; but it's less because it's too small, and more because it's an awkward, boxy thickness.

I definitely keep running into bugs. I'm running the OD beta, and trying to make liberal use of the sleep function; but I slept while Genesis was running and then every time I tried to open the menu the emulator crashed, and failed to record my sram. I expect that the emulator was no longer able to access the sdcard. (Maybe I had removed it during sleep?) It sucked to have to replay the same long segment of MW4. Twice.

I'm surprised by how dependent configuration is on files. e.g., I wish I could configure my simplemenu roms directories from the interface.

The MTP support on macos causes a "USB disabled due to power" error on my macbook.