Bought a GP2X

I splurged on a GP2X (the open-source handheld game/entertainment console) the other day, and it arrived today in the mail. I also went ahead and bought a couple accessories at the same time: the TV-out cable, a USB-SD card reader, and the GP2X “cradle” (which will allow for connecting USB controllers, if I figure out how to get the darn thing to sit right).

I was under the mistaken impression that either the device itself or the cradle would come with an AC/DC power adapter cord, but that's not the case. Luckily, a quick trip down to Radio Shack to grab a “Digital Camera Power Adapter” solved that issue (although I hope to find my AA battery charger around the house somewhere…).

I also picked up an inexpensive 2GB SD card for storage—an SD card is really a necessity for any substantial usage of the GP2X. All told, I've dropped almost USD $300 on this little adventure.

I am “cautiously optimistic” about the potential for this device. The hardware isn't nearly as ergonomic or solidly-constructed as, say, a Nintendo handheld, but everything seems to work. I can't say my expectations for quality were terribly high, anyway; I knew it was a risky purchase, but it seems to have paid off. Anyway, what it lacks in craftsmanship, it makes up for in ease of development for homebrew software.

In fact, a Rubygame user had already ported Rubygame-1 to the GP2X in January 2006, and I downloaded and ran it today on my own GP2X to check for myself. It sure was nice seeing those silly pandas spinning and squishing on a handheld device! Nearly any Rubygame app that works on the PC should work just fine on the GP2X, although probably with some changes to the player controls. (“If there were any Rubygame apps, that is!”, he says with a wink and a nudge.)

I'm hoping to ‘officially’ support Rubygame on the GP2X for future versions, and possibly add some GP2X-specific features, such as dimming the backlight or changing the CPU clock speed.

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