The Pyra at GamesCom

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If you follow the small world of Videogames, you are probably aware that the biggest European event, aka the Gamescom, is going on in Cologne right now. The first day was reserved to businesses only, but the rest of the days are open to the public. There’s one more reason to go this year: to see the Pyra prototype at the Dragonbox Booth. And some of key community members. Here’s a quick report from the first couple of days.

It’s still not too late, by the way, if you want to go to the Gamescom. It’s still open this Sunday so if you happen to be not too far from Germany. You could then see the Pandora / Pyra booth by yourself. Here’s the Official site of the Gamescom if you are inclined to go and have a look! Here’s what the Dragonbox booth was like. Lots of retro hardware around.

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Including old consoles. Notice the Everdrive ads on the walls, another item that Evil Dragon is actively selling through its shop. The Everdrives are SD cartridges. They allow you to play all your games on one cart, and play as well some hacked and homebrew software on the original hardware without changing carts when you want to play a different game.

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The Pandora was not forgotten, still in display with some cute creations from Promotheus to advertize the handheld.

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The Pandora was free to use during the day and as you can see, it was quite popular to sit on beans bag and have a go at a game or two. I’m not sure what games were showcased on the show, though.

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You could have a look at the latest prototype of the Pyra, now in green color. ED changes the color of the plastic for each prototype iteration. As you can see this prototype features a few keys (in white color) which were used for quick testing. ED mentioned they are quite comfortable to use. That’s very good news.

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This is close to be the final case, however there are some concerns regarding the shoulder buttons. They are apparently not as practical to use at the same time as initially thought. There’s a whole thread about that on the Pandora boards.

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Fusion_Power, on the Pandora boards, has been quick to react and propose and improved design with CAD drawings and all.

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No idea if this design will make to be another prototype or not, but this is great to see community involvement even at this kind of details. At least it gives food for thought.

The Pyra devboard was connected to a screen where it was displaying a Full HD desktop, and running two instances of PS1 emulators as well as Gimp in the back.

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Frankly, I’m a little disappointed they were still not showing anything else this time around, this is basically the same demo that was at the FOSDEM a couple of months earlier. I hope they will have other demos sometimes soon.

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EDIT: ED actually shared a short video of the above desktop on youtube:

In the back room, away from the public, the devboard was available for a few selected Pandora community members who could hack with it. Since Notaz and PtitSeb were both at the show, no doubt they tried to do some work with it. It may be hard to see on the below pictures but they apparently tried to run Reicast (the Dreamcast emulator) on the devboard. ED reported on Twitter than they managed to run Sonic DC at twice the speed on the devboard. EDIT 2: here’s the video of the Dreamcast emulation running full speed on Pyra:

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We’ll probably have more pictures after the show. If you attended on your own and want to share pictures with Pandoralive, don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can add them to the show report.

I’m attaching a couple of other pictures below, from other booths in the retro area. They apparently had a fully functional Amiga Walker (a prototype that was never produced!) it’s pretty cool to see such things in real.

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Some old Cinemaware titles with the actual box artworks ! Wings was one of my all time favorite games back then.

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And no, the Commodore 64 is still far from being dead!

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I guess the C64 is pretty much like the Nintendo GameBoy, it will have a cult-like following for many years to come.

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4 Comments on "The Pyra at GamesCom"

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Steven Craft
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Dreamcast emulation footage is somewhat exciting, I am typically dubious whenever I see ‘full speed’ being thrown around, but the speed is certainly better than I was expecting (I was quite pessimistic). I think I am now being swayed over into believing Dreamcast maybe something that really does run really nicely on the Pyra when it is released.

Just need to decide on which Dreamcast games I am eager to play now 🙂

Egon L.
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Try Star Wars Racer, too. It’s far better than the N64 version, though not as complete as the PC version obviously. That one’s got the force feedback settings for game peripherals, multiplayer modes and probably had widescreen resolution.

Power Stone 1/2 I think, but these were already ported to the PSP, too. Jet Set Grind Radio maybe. But if you’ve got an Xbox 360 then maybe it is already available to be emulated on it.

Simon
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commodore 64 makes the GB look like some odl russian computer nobody remembers.