Thanks to new updates to their emulators, you can get greatly improved Sega Saturn performance on RG351V, RG351MP, RGB10, ODROID Go Advance, ODROID Go Super, and RGB10 Max devices running ArkOS and RetroOZ. In this guide I’ll show you how to install the new update, configure the emulator, and we’ll take a look at some gameplay, too.
Note that 351ELEC support is planned but not implemented yet.
Last updated: 20JAN2022 (see Changelog for details)
The beloved farming simulator Stardew Valley has now been ported to RK3326 devices such as the Anbernic RG351 series, PowKiddy RGB10 series, ODROID Go Advance/Super, and the GameForce Chi. This game also works on the RG552 running 351ELEC beta. Setting up this game is similar to other ports such as Shovel Knight, Undertale, and Iconoclasts. Mad props to developer JohnnyOnFlame for getting this port running; please consider buying him a coffee for his hard work.
IMPORTANT NOTE: since making my installation video below, the game has been updated which affects that installation. From now on, it’s important to download the “Compatibility” version of the game in order for the process to work. The written instructions below will walk you through that process.
There are many Android TV boxes that are capable of running EmuELEC, a gaming-centered operating system that makes playing retro games very simple and streamlined. Popular consoles are the “Super Console X” line of devices, which come pre-loaded with a bunch of games and with a couple cheap controllers. While these boxes are a great option for people who aren’t interested in learning how to set something like this up, they do have some shortcomings: they use unreliable SD cards that will fail on you eventually, the bundled controllers are laughably bad, and the game library they load onto the card is often poorly organized.
In this guide we’re going to walk you through how to make your own “Super Console X King” for the same price (or cheaper) as the pre-loaded box, but with superior materials and your own curated game library.
Where and how to buy
For this guide we are going to use the premier S922X chipset TV box, the Beelink GT King, which is what is used in the Super Console X King. The GT King has WiFi-6 for super stable connection, and a sleek looking box. It should cost about $110 altogether. There is an updated model called the Beelink GT King Pro, which has a negligible performance improvement. If you want similar performance but for a bit cheaper, I recommend the X88 King (4GB model), which can generally be found right at that $100 price range.
These devices are readily available on AliExpress, and with free shipping, but the ship time will take upwards of a month to arrive. If you want faster delivery, and don’t mind paying a bit extra for that convenience, here are some Amazon links:
Finally, if you’re really looking to get the best TV retro gaming performance, you will want to consider the NVIDIA Shield TV Pro. This device will support smooth Dreamcast and PSP performance, but doesn’t have EmuELEC support. So you will be relegated to Android-based gaming. That being said, this is a powerful 4K TV box in its own right, so if you’re shopping for something like a Roku box, Fire Stick, or Apple TV, this $200 device will replace those *and* perform as an impressively powerful gaming machine. Here is my video on that box.
For starters, you’re going to want an SD card to load EmuELEC. Since this box can play systems like Dreamcast, PSP, and Sega Saturn reasonably well, you may want to get a larger card (like 256GB) since the game files for those systems can be rather large.
One more accessory to consider: if you don’t have a nice microSD to USB adapter, you might want to think about getting one. A nice adapter like this one from Anker will give you the fastest transfer speeds possible, and won’t cause any corruption issues with your card.
For controllers, I recommend the wired Betop controllers, which work well and are reasonably priced. If you want to go wireless, a bluetooth controller from 8BitDo is a great choice, or you could use an adapter to play using an Xbox or PlayStation controller you might already have around the house.
Finally, I would recommend that you build your ROM library now, if you haven’t already. Make a folder called “Retro Games” or something like it, and make distinct folders for each of the systems you would like to play on your device. I recommend naming your game folders after the “Rom Path” names found in this guide, because that’s how they’ll be organized on your device once we flash new firmware. Also be sure to load the folders with ROMs of the correct file extension, which is also found in that guide. For example, NES games can be in .7z, .fds, .nes, or .zip format.
When naming your games, I recommend using the “No Intro” standard (e.g. “Super Mario Bros. 3 (USA)”). This will allow you to use custom bezels when launching games (as demonstrated in the video guide above).
How to load EmuELEC on an Android TV box
To start, you will need to determine what type of device you’re actually running. The simplest answer it to check on CoreELEC’s device tree website and see if your device is listed. If so, make note of the device tree name associated with your device. If your device is not listed, look at other devices that have the same chipset, and find the most common device tree listed. For example, the GT King has the device tree named “g12b_s922x_beelink_gt_king”. We’re going to go with that one.
Note: if you have trouble determining your device’s CPU and RAM information, I recommend installing the Aida64 app on the Android side of your device, which will then show you all the internal specs of your device.
Next, let’s download EmuELEC. Go to the EmuELEC releases page and download the most recent img file named “EmuELEC-Amlogic-ng.aarch64-4.1-Generic.img.gz”. Using an app like Balena Etcher, flash this image to an SD card.
Once you have flashed the image to your SD card, a bunch of windows will pop up, one for every SD card partition. Just ignore all the warnings asking you to reformat the driver. Find the “EMUELEC” card partition, and within there, find the folder named “device_trees”. Inside, you’ll find a bunch of .dtb files. Find the one that corresponds to your device (remember, we’re using “g12b_s922x_beelink_gt_king” in this example), and then rename that file to dtb.img. Put it in the root directory of the EMUELEC card partition.
Using a toothpick, push in the reset button on the bottom of the device while plugging the device into its wall plug. Hold the reset button until you see the boot logo, and then release the button — EmuELEC will now install onto the device. Depending on your model, the reset button may be inside of the headphone jack.
How to load games onto your EmuELEC SD card image
You will need to add your own ROMs (game images) to the SD card. When you plug the SD card into your device, you should see three partitions appear: EmuELEC, Storage, and EEROMS. In the EEROMS partition you will find all sorts of game folders. Refer to this guide to see which gaming system each folder corresponds to, the required file types, and what emulator will run the games.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to load BIOS files, which are necessary for some systems, like Game Boy Advance, PlayStation, Dreamcast, and Sega CD. Refer to this page for a list of required BIOS files for each platform, or just load an entire RetroArch BIOS pack into the folder for a carpet-bomb approach.
Last updated: 02MAR2022 (see Changelog for details)
The PowKiddy RGB10 Max is my favorite of the current “budget” (sub-$150) retro handheld devices. Most of that has to do with its lovely 5″ display, plastic shell, and internal WiFi. There are some definitely flaws with the device (underwhelming quality assurance, mono speaker, a weird rubber coating), but it ticks enough boxes that I recommend it as a good starting device for anyone looking to play retro games on a handheld device.
So in this guide I’m going to walk you through the entire process of buying the device, getting oriented with its user experience, and customizing the firmware to suit your needs. Note that the video guide was made before the RGB10 Max 2 was announced, but the process will be the same.
With a starting price of $78, the Super Console X Max is a fairly beefy jump up from the original Super Console X line. But even at that price, is the experience worth the savings you can gain by simply doing it yourself?
Seemingly out of nowhere, the RG351MP (“Metal Pro”) dropped from the sky. This device has the oft-requested 4:3 aspect / 640×480 display but in a horizontal form factor. So is this device getting, or would it be better to grab an older (and cheaper) handheld instead? Let’s find out.
The Super Console X King is a rebranded version of the beloved Beelink GT King Android TV box, but pre-loaded with EmuELEC 4.2 and a bunch of games. Let’s see how this performs as an all-in-one retro gaming console.
Last updated: 07AUG2021 (see Changelog for details)
The GameForce Chi shouldn’t exist — its design is garish, it runs the agin RK3326 chipset, and it looks like it traveled through time from the 1990s to reach us here in the 2020s. But somehow, it all seems to work out in the end. So in this guide I’ll show you how to set the device up, some tips and tricks, as well as a teardown video.