I have been into emulation for almost 15 years, I stumbled upon MAME while looking for a way to play Donkey Kong. I have been playing on a lot of consoles in my childhood and did not really have any interest in the new machines. I followed the GP2X, got one, and heard about the Pandora… and I am now a proud owner of one. This is my story.
Note: This is a guest post from Budweiser (no, we don’t do advertising here, and Bud certified that he does not drink, while that’s certainly hard to believe with such a nickname).
The passion started when I was a kid [Note From Ekianjo: are we talking about beer?]. I had a Odyssey2 game console and collected all the games, then I got real passionate with the Turbo-Grafx / Turbo Duo / Turbo Express. It was a real addiction. I started collecting all the games, and when I finally sold that system, I had almost a complete set of games (US/JPN) for it, in 2001. Then I moved on to the Dreamcast. I have about 500 original games and still use the console with my family to this day.
At this point I could see all the mini consoles coming out and was not very interested. I just wanted to play the older systems and games… not the newer ones. So I started searching the web and stumbled upon the GP2X in 2006. I ordered one right away. With the help of the awesome community there on the forums it was a breeze to set up. I started to carry this GP2X console everywhere I went and many people started asking questions and even got about 10 or so people to order, and I would just help them out with the SD cards and show them how it worked. About that time is when all the rumors about the Pandora were flying around. I was hooked and had to have one, but with a brutal divorce and a cross country relocation for the third time in five years it was not looking so good.
I still followed the forums and the progression of the Pandora without missing a beat, but when the time actually came to pre-order, I was just getting up and heading to work in the wee hours of the morning. As I was sneaking out the door, my new wife asked me to come over there (she was up with our newborn son), she told me to have a nice day. As I headed for my 30 minute drive to work, she then called me. She said “Baby, I ordered the thing you been so excited about”.
She tried three different credit cards before one was accepted.
I could not believe it… a dream come true for me.
I was sad, on the other hand, because I knew we could not afford this device… So we went trough all the credit card / bank transfer hassle… but I was in and could not wait.
So I waited and waited, through all the you got scammed rumors not only from the web but from friends and family. I upheld my faith in the company and the Pandora. Then one day I get the email “Your Pandora has been shipped”.
Praise the Lord!!
But looking closer at the email, I came to find out it was being shipped to my old address 1000 miles away. I sent a message right away to the Open Pandora team, like… “my Pandora is on the way but I moved over a year ago” and they fixed it for me and I received it here without missing a beat. Man this was Fucking Awesome !!!!
I have been using the Pandora now for just over 2 years and I use it daily and I use it a lot. With my wife, my daughter and my son it does come in handy. Let me explain.
The Pandora is the ultimate tool. I bring it everywhere with me. The best controls ever for a hand held… Hands Down !!! Touch screen / Wifi / Bluetooth / Full keyboard… Best thing I have ever bought (talking about electronic devices).
Starting in the morning, I wake up to the alarm with PandoraClock. It’s awesome especially with the news feeds. I get up and check my main desktop while listening to my music (MSFL Flac files) on Audacious, which I keep going almost all day. I can also plug this right into my car stereo which is also great for watching movies with PanPlayer, while waiting for the kids to get out of school or their after school gymnastics or swimming class.
When the kids start fussing at the doctors office or something it’s really easy to hand them the Pandora with some Angry Birds or some Hallowian. Even in the car, on the long car rides, they love to sit and watch the Simpsons with PanPlayer. Great way to keep the kids quiet.
Even my wife likes to steal the Pandora and play all her classic Commander Keen with Commander Genius.
I have a 2Tb hard drive set up to my computer with 50 Gb of music and 1.5 TB of ripped movies and complete TV series, that I stream to the Pandora with Gigolo. Even with the standard wifi connection on the Pandora I can still stream all the way upstairs to my bedroom. I usually stay up later than my wife, even though we get up at the same time. She usually watches TV and I’m all about a good movie or two, so that is where my movie time comes in.
I would like to play games while winding down in bed but I guess I am to loud and wiggle the bed to much, so most of my game playing comes when I’m in the car waiting for the kids or when they are out playing. You want to know what I like to play ? Allright, it’s going to be a long list… I play Blazing Lazers on Temper. On PCSX ReARMed there are too many good games I enjoy, it would be a waste of time to list them all. With MAME or PanMame or the new Comp4All MAME, I love replaying all the classics. One of my Favorite games is U.F.O. for the Odyssey2 O2EM Emulator. With Stella, I spent some good time with River Raid and Pitfall. Gngeo lets me enjoy Turfmasters, and with Daphne I can play all these old laserdisc video games.
Let’s not forget PicoDrive, the excellent MegaDrive / Genesis and Sega CD emulator, on which I had lots of fun too. I am still hooked on Donald Duck Qoing Quacker on gpSP, even though I have already beaten the game before. And since DraStic came out, there are too many games to name to play with that DS Emulator. And on top of that, apkenv makes it possible to run some android .apk games, and it is awesome (while I hope to see it progress further). I am still kind of hooked on Amazing Alex.
They are all superb emulators, being improved all the time. The Open Pandora scene has a passionate, dedicated core of developers / coders / forum members, all who are very helpful and friendly.
And that’s not all. Even when I don’t play with emulators, I enjoy Super Geometry Dust – One of my all time favorites, which is truly made for the Pandora controls. Battle Jewels is another one deserving a mention, and the kids’ favorite is Hallowian.
With the Pandora I have no problems using Firefox or Arora as my web browsers. I check a number of websites, such as Mame world (Mame news / releases), the Pandora boards, the gp32x boards, Pandora stalker, Pandoralive [Note From Ekianjo: let me know where to send the check, Bud! I want to make sure it goes to the right address this time], woot.com (great deals everyday), Facebook and more… Speed is there and having the whole page load instead of a modified or cut down version like most phones is a plus for me. LibreOffice for all my documents takes care of all my office needs… I use it mostly for my Resume, I always keep it with me, you never know when you might need it. I also keep track of my home Solar Electrical Production (yes we are somewhat green [NFE: and your ale is brown?]).
Pandora has everything I could want at this point Except – Donkey Kong II – Jumpman Returns (hack). Hopefully someone will be kind enough to add this to the MAME 1.06 version …one day.
The Pandora is the single most important device I own. I really do bring it everywhere and use It multiple times a day, I would be truly lost with out it. There is no way I would carry a laptop around and I always have time for a quick game on the Pandora, plus it never gets old to see the turned heads wondering what I have in my hands and come to find out what it really is. Only few are brave enough to ask.
Again thanks to the Pandora for all it’s done for me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
I’m sure the future holds a lot more to come.