Saturday, February 28, 2015

Retro Clone Console Review: 2010 Powerzone (Penguin Famiclone)

Console Cloned: Nintendo NES/Famicom (supposedly)
Built in Games: Yes (111 supposedly)
Controllers Included: 2 Wireless Controllers and 1 Light Gun
Purchased At:  Amazon.com
Purchase Price: $10.99 usd

Every now and again I will stumble across a retro clone console online that either looks pretty cool or has some nice features that eventually sucker me into a purchase. Even after owning the legit original consoles, I sometimes just want to own something a bit different. So during one of my typical adventures through the Amazon, I came across this awe inspiring Famiclone shaped like a penguin. If you know me, you know that I love all things penguin. From the way the silly little tuxedo clad clowns waddle, all the way to how they taste with a nibble of cheese, its all good. So after reading the product description on the picture of the box and seeing that it offers "The very latest inbuilt 8 bit graphics" and  "III Builtin Games with 8 bit graphics for sharper quality GAME LIST" I was hooked. I then saw that it supported 60 pin Famicom games via a cartridge slot on the back...BAM SOLD! I bought it. How could I not? Sadly I soon learned, things are not always what they seem.



As soon as my new penguin friend arrived, I opened the box and plugged it in. Upon doing so I noticed a VERY high pitch squeal coming from the AC Adapter, not surprising considering it was probably manufactured in a Chinese preschool I said aloud. My assumption was that there must have been some toddler tears still not dry inside the ac adapter and that this would go away with usage. As my now deaf dog can attest to, I was wrong. But we can't give up at the first sign of trouble I told my canine companion, so we ventured on.  I continued to load the 1st wireless controller full of batteries, went to turn it on and sync it. No power light, no response, no luck. Seemed to be DOA. So I gave the second controller a shot, Success! The little red LED inside the controller lit up brilliantly. Things were off to a promising start. After some intense flickering I found myself at the main menu. Where a slew of blatant rip offs and poor renditions of our favorite child hood games appeared. As you can see below many games are just listed multiple times and given different names. This penguin is pulling some shady business.



Even if the included games were junk, I figured I still have a working console that I can play my beloved Japanese Famicom games on. Wrong again! After trying 6 different games, not a single one of my Famicom games even started up when plugged into the back of the console. A tragedy. The one redeeming feature of this console was nothing but a fallacy ...Even worse was how tough the pin connection was. When inserting your games into the cart slot it feels like you are shoving the game in between two sheets of jagged broken glass. You can hear and feel the cartridge scrape all the way in. It is a painful experience and I would not recommend doing so with any game you actually care about playing again.





Graphics:
Surprisingly the graphics put out by this console were actually pretty crisp for the most part. Though some of the included games have graphic glitches around the borders of the screen that constantly flicker, they are still very playable but it can get quite annoying and it can make it a bit tricky to see oncoming obstacles and enemies. Hard to say how an actual cartridge would play since none of mine worked on this unit.



Music/Sound:
Not surprisingly, the sound quality of this console is as poor as the overall build quality. There wasn't a single game I played that prevented me from hitting the mute button on my TV remote as quickly as possible. Many titles did not feature the original music, and if it was somewhat like the original titles music it was such horrible quality that one could barely recognize it. The sound effects within the games are honestly even worse than the music itself. Each time one occurred i thought my televisions speakers were dying a slow painful death. If you actually attempt to play this console, just throw on some headphones and listen to your own music. If you have any pets in the house and you care for their well being, put headphones on them as well.




Controls:
The folks behind the creation of this lovely machine decided it best to include 2 incredibly cheap Sony Playstation Dualshock style infrared wireless controllers instead of typical NES or Famicom style controllers. I have never been a huge fan of infrared controllers but some honestly work pretty well, like Acclaims wireless NES controllers from back in the day. Sadly, these are nothing like those controllers. Even sitting at the proper distance and holding the controller perfectly in line with the receiver they will lag, miss button presses, double press, and surely bring shame to your ancestors. The only saving grace here is that the console has inputs for original NES controllers, but in truth after playing this thing for 5 minutes I highly doubt you will take the time to go get a legit controller and plug it in for round 2. The light gun included is a little bit more usable than the standard controllers but it is still pretty awful, After a 3 uses the trigger broke


 

Final Impressions:
 If you are looking to pick up a famiclone that actually functions as one should, this is not the console for you. This is no Retron or Yobo FC. The quality of those is honestly far superior to this console in every way and I would definitely recommend those. If you are looking for a cool shell for a custom case mod then this isn't a bad choice.After removing the board and depositing it in the dumpster it will be much more enjoyable. This will become my new case for my much loved Ouya console!

**Notes: There have been cases reported online of these consoles actually shocking people and even exploding.

Bonus Pics:

 



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