My new games machine cost $24
The Bluetek Plug & Play Controller - which I found in a Harvey Norman bargain bin, reduced from $40 - is powered by three AA batteries, connects to the television via long AV cables and contains within its light, yellow'n'black shell a miniature console and 120 games. I suspect its guts are the equivalent of a Nintendo Entertainment System and that the "analog" stick is merely a second rocker pad in disguise.
Unlike multi-game carts of yore that artificially inflated their counts with minor tweaks of the same thing (eg. "Red Mario Bros", "Green Mario Bros", "Blue Mario Bros"...), I haven't struck much repetition on the P&PC so far. The titles are unmistakably 8-bit and many appear to be NES classics with their filenames changed, attract screens removed and graphics redone - badly, I might add - for the Chinese black market.
So "Tetris" becomes "Russia", in which the puzzle pieces tumble over a garish waterfall. And "Excite Bike" is redubbed "Risker", and has you driving a sports car around a motocross track - while illogically retaining the handlebars in the HUD. Bizarrely, the shooter "Super Fighter", possibly based on "Contra", bestows infinite men without being asked (C64/Amiga crackers would say it was "trained"). I persevered through eight areas alternating between horizontal and vertical scrolling to see... a flickering helicopter, squashed sunset and congratulatory message "The End". Other games, however, seem to have been coded from scratch. One such is "Jewelry", a relatively pretty "Columns"-style affair.
I'm quite impressed with the design of the device itself - not just the compactness, but the fact it has a proper on/off switch with red LED and turbo versions of the "A" and "B" buttons that actually work. I know 'cos I tested 'em on "Aether Kavass", an original cross between "Gradius", "Uridium" (superficially), "Yar's Revenge" and a steaming turd.
While checking the spelling of "A/K" just now, I had a quick go on "Street War". Can you guess what it is? If you responded, "An unofficial port of 'Final Fight' where scoring has been replaced by XP and skill levels that are surely redundant in a scenario where you alone must defeat every single enemy in order to progress," yer absolutely correct.
I love my Bluetek Plug & Play Controller - so wrong it's right!
Retro gazer: "The Office - The Christmas Specials" (2003).