A lot of the recent “Day with Pandora” articles have focused on areas outside of gaming for the most part, with a bit of gaming here and there. I am the opposite, I got the Pandora primarily for gaming, but also wanted the freedom of a full Linux system if I wanted it. So, here is my typical day with the Pandora. Please note that my system is an original CC unit.
[ Note: This is a guest post from Lethco from the Open Pandora boards. ]
I start my morning with PND Manager. I have a ton of apps on my Pandora, and always update them and download any new ones that pop up, since I love to experiment with random apps. I then load up one of the numerous browsers to get my morning dose of news (usually either Arora or Firefox), and than use Sylpheed to download my e-mail. If you are interested in what I browse… hardocp.com, lordsofpain.net, boards.openpandora.org, gamegavel.com, retroreviewrevolution.com, all those are a good start to the sites I usually hit.
I can wear headphones while I work, and usually its the Pandora in my pocket listening to podcasts. One of my favorite podcasts is Retro Gaming Roundup, a monthly podcast that is normally 5 to 7 hours long, and the Pandora is a great way to easily (and comfortably) play a 100+ MB file, and has the power to quickly rewind or fast forward the larger MP3 files without a delay.
During breaks, Mame is a great way to pass the time. My work has wi-fi, so I can load up Compo4All to try for a high score with other members in the Pandora community (Donkey Kong, Pacman) or in one of the two homebrew titles currently supported by it (Mini Slug or the port of Tyrian, Open Tyrian).
At home I prefer longer games. The SNES and PS1 in my opinion had the best RPG games. Starting with the SNES, for me the best emulator on the Pandora is SNES 9X EX, since it has the best audio and supports savestates. Its a perfect candidate for longer games like Final Fantasy 6 and Earthbound.
The PS1 also had great RPGs, but ISO files are significantly larger than SNES ROMs, and would take a lot of space on my two 32 GB SD cards. Fortunately, the Pandora also has a fullsize USB host. Its quite easy to take a USB Thumbdrive (I use a 32 GB) and fill it with Playstation 1 ISOs to have a huge portion of my Playstation collection playable portably. PCSX has great compatibility with the great PS1 RPGs, such as the Final Fantasy series, Parasite Eve, and Chrono Cross. If I am in an action mood, it works great with such hits as Metal Gear Solid and Twisted Metal, along with quirky titles like No One Can Stop Mr. Domino.
But its not all about emulation. The Pandora also eats my time with its large collection of PC ports, even without resorting to DOSbox, or an Amiga or C64 emulator. I already mentioned OpenTyrian, but Descent 1 and 2, Doom 1 and 2, Quake 1 and 2 (notice a pattern here?) in addition to 3, Ultima 4 and 7. Duke Nukem 3D is also fun. On the Amiga I emulator usually play Worms, Theme Park, Civilization, Chaos Engine, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Ultima 5, Pinball Fantasies, Turrican, Speedball 2, and Lemmings. The best news is that all these titles mentioned above play perfectly on my original 600 MHZ unit.
Finally, you can’t ignore games the community makes. Singularity is a fave of mine, along with the Streets of Rage Remake. Kami Retro is a paid game in the repo, but its unique graphics style and fun gameplay makes it worth the small price of purchase. Project Starfighter is a fun side scrolling shooter as well.
As you can tell, I do a LOT of gaming on my Pandora. Thankfully, it has a great D-pad and button setup, and the analog sticks are serviceable as well. The keyboard is quite nice for online browsing and the quick email, and for those times I play on an Amiga or C64 using my Pandora, its the best handheld experience I have had with either of those systems.
My Pandora is easily worth the price of admission (I would like to thank Alerino from the forums for doing a trade to get mine – I actually got it in a trade. I traded a PS vita 3g model plus 6 games, a case, and a 16gb card for my unit. Although the Vita is a fine system, it wasn’t what I was looking for after owning it for half a year.) and I am sure in a year or two I will probably pick up a 1 GHZ unit so I can use the extra power to play DS and PSP games as well. I’m looking forward to the TV-Out cable to release so I can enjoy all this on my TV.
So far I have only had my Pandora a couple of months and have barely scratched the surface of its potential, but it has proven to be a huge upgrade over my old GP2X Wiz.
One of the greatest strengths of the Pandora is the massive selection of software. The repo hosts close to 900 apps as of this writing, and I always make sure to try a couple new ones every day. You never know what you may end up loving. To those on the fence, stop fretting over the price and pick up one of these handhelds. The community is more than willing to help with the teething pains of setting it up, and once configured the way you want it the system is the most versatile handheld I have ever seen.