The Pandora at Pix & Tech 2014

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During the last weekend of May took place the first edition of Pix & Tech, an exhibition with a broad appeal, in Nimes, in the southern part of France. And when I say broad, I mean it. They had several themes: Lord of the Geek (everything from board games to live action RPG, with Cosplay in the middle), Indie video games (with french creators on stage), e-Sport (competitions with prizes), Education (Universities dedicated to new technologies, graphics design and video games), e-Health (how to apply technology to be in better shape), Retrogaming, and Innovation (startups, Internet of things, etc…). And the Pandora was there, too.

The Open Pandora community was represented by the usual suspects: Fantomid, PtitSeb and Linux-SWAT (I say usual since they were already at the Toulouse Game Show in 2013 for the same purpose). It’s worth mentioning as well Magic_sam and his girlfriend who helped set up the Pandora booth the night before the show, while they just acted as visitors during the show itself. The location could not be better: in the central alley, just in front of the Playstation booth where games for the PS3, PS4 and Vita were exhibited. Once people visited the Sony booth, it was relatively easy to get them to come to the Pandora booth as well.

Linux-SWAT demoing Starcraft on Open Pandora.
Linux-SWAT demoing Starcraft on Open Pandora.

The Toulouse Game Show is a similar event and hosts about 44000 visitors, but in comparison the Pix & Tech 2014 did not attract as many people. However it feels less commerce oriented, so that’s not always a bad thing.

An alley at the show.
An alley at the show. Lots of space to walk in between booths.

So, how did the Pandora fare at the show? As I mentioned, it attracted curious visitors, mainly because of its specs and its features. From a software standpoint, being able to run most of Linux software and tons of emulators was a highlight of the device.

Interestingly, most visitors were not overly shocked by the price of the device, since they understood it was produced in Europe, by and for a small community… and most importantly the price seemed reasonable compared to what the device could do. Out of all the visitors there was one who actually owned a Pandora, but who was not registered on the boards. He was surprised to find out about the upcoming Pyra and rather interested to know more. A couple more people had heard about it but did not know the exact status of the project itself.

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The usual questions about the Pandora were quite standard!

  • How do you install games ? (PND Manager…)
  • Can you do anything else apart from gaming ? (-> demo of LibreOffice…)
  • Can it run Photoshop ? (No, but Gimp, Pinta, MtPaint are a decent replacement…)
  • What can it emulate correctly ? (Fantomid had ShenMue running on Reicast… and MarioKart 64 ! Pictures are louder than words…)
  • How does it compare to the Raspberry Pi ? (similar but more powerful, and it can run Blender and Jedi Knight II and III much better!)
  • How about TV-out ? (Possible, but only analog, no HDMI yet… this will be for the Pyra!)
  • Can it run… Minecraft ? (Yeah, but too slow! We’ll need the Pyra for that too.)
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R2D2 found a new friend to talk to!
Stormtroopers impressed by Jedi Knight running on Pandora!
Stormtroopers impressed by Jedi Knight running on Pandora!

Apart from the Pandora booth, there were several interesting places to visit at the show. Some booths displayed new technologies, some other large Lego constructions. Sony and Nintendo were there for gamers and to showcase their consoles. It was easy to move around and try things out since it was not overly crowded compared to the Toulouse Game Show.

Cool Lego constructions!
Cool Lego constructions!

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Traditional arts?
Traditional arts?
This is Retro...
This is Retro…
And the Occulus Rift!
And the Oculus Rift!
Mario Kart 8 is as popular as ever, now on the WiiU
Mario Kart 8 is as popular as ever, now on the WiiU

If you found these pictures interesting you may want to try to get in the show next year ! In the mean time there are however some good opportunities to see the Pyra prototype much, much earlier. In early July the Rencontres Mondiales du Logiciel Libre (RMLL / the Worldwide Free Software Exhibition) will take place in Montpellier, France, and there’s a bunch of Pandora forum members who will be there: ED, Askarus, Linux-SWAT, Fantomid and probably PtitSeb and Magic_sam. A conference about the Pyra is planned for the 7th of July. In case you cannot make it, I’m pretty sure it will be recorded somewhere… and posted on PandoraLive again later on.

Thanks to Linux-SWAT, Fantomid and PtitSeb for the pictures and their impressions about the event.

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Traditional arts -> Steampunk
Cfr. Final Fantasy VI 😉