It’s pretty safe to say that we are rather fond of Kickstarter projects here at Retro Domination. The entire team got behind the Cheetahmen II project and we are all currently waiting on our shiny new NES carts. You may have also noticed that we are currently heavily trying to raise awareness of the most excellent “The Video Craze: Where we you in 82?” documentary about life in the arcades in the 80’s, by Director/Producer Dave Danzara (as a side note, if you haven’t already pledged for this, please do so or myself and the rest of the RD team will be really, really sad. You don’t want that on your consciousness, do you?). There is now another project that may be of interest to retro gamers: The GCW Zero ‘open source’ handheld console!
So what is an open source console? I’ll let the developers explain:
Open Source Software Is Awesome
We here at Game Consoles Worldwide believe that a company should not just capitalize and consumers should be allowed to do more than consume. Too many devices today are walled gardens, designed solely for consumption. Not ours! The GCW Zero gives you full control of your handheld. Install any application you want to run, change the operating system in any way you want. We won’t fight you; in fact we’ll encourage you.
Because the Zero runs Linux, a huge library of excellent, free, open source software can run on it. Our core development team is hard at work porting popular applications to provide a strong launch day lineup and we’re sure many more will follow from us and from our community.
Developers Are Awesome
We are committed to working with the open source and homebrew communities. Have an idea for the Zero? We want to help. Port your favorite game, or write your own homebrew title! How about media software? Streaming? Turn it into a server? Your ideas and creativity excite us and we want to help develop the Zero into a full-spectrum device.
The Zero’s operating system is OpenDingux, a Linux distribution which is designed to be developer friendly with SSH login, SFTP file transfer and a debugger with profiling tools already included. Both the distribution and the SDK are kept up-to-date; for example we are currently using Linux 3.7 and GCC 4.7.2.
So in a nutshell, unlike platforms like the 3DS and the PS Vita, anyone with the necessary Linux coding skills and an idea can bring their title to the GCW Zero without the need for expensive development kits and licensing fees. This in turn means a healthy homebrew scene, so there is normally a steady flow of software for the device. So why should retro gamers be excited about the GCW Zero’s use of the Linux platform? Emulation! Love it or hate it, emulation running on the GCW Zero means being able to take some of your favourite classics with you on the go!
If you are still unsure as to what to expect from the GCW Zero, please see our very own Daz Retro’s review of another open source handheld, the GP2X WIZ by the now defunct GamePark Holdings:
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