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Old 5th January 2008   #1
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Default PlayPal Portable Player Review

This is my review of the Playpal Portable Player, which is also known as the Coleco Sonic. This is a handheld with 20 built-in Master System and Game Gear games which has been out in North America for a while. It was never released in Europe but you can buy them imported from Play-Asia for less than 20.

See pictures here.
http://www.play-asia.com/paOS-01-49-en-70-1zp6.html

It works in 2 modes, you can either play as a handheld or plug into a TV with the cable provided and play in full screen. If you live in Europe to do this you'll need an NTSC-compatible TV, but most modern TVs should work.

20 built-in games, 5 Game Gear and 15 Master System.

Alex Kidd in High Tech World (Master System)
Alex Kidd in Miracle World (Master System)
Altered Beast (Master System)
Assault City (Master System)
Astro Warrior (Master System)
Astec Adventure (Master System)
Bomber Raid (Master System)
Columns (Game Gear)
Ecco II Tides of Time (Game Gear)
Fantasy Zone (Master System)
Fantasy Zone The Maze (Master System)
Global Defense (Master System)
Kung Fu Kid (Master System)
The Ninja (Master System)
Penguin Land (Master System)
Quartet (Master System)
Snale Maze (Master System)
Super Columns (Game Gear)
Sonic Drift 2 (Game Gear)
Sonic Triple Trouble (Game Gear)

Nothing will replace my original Master System collection, but having 20 games in one portable package for such a low price was what made me buy it, even though I own a lot of them already.

For such a cheap machine I was surprised at the fairly high build quality. It feels very solid and re-assuringly heavy, the d-pad and buttons are all good quality. It's also quite small, the most relevent size comparison I can think of is that it's about the same size as a PAL Master System cart (except for being slightly shorter and wider, and heavier). If it wasn't for the awful PlayPal logo on the front it would pass as being quite expensive. The only bad thing about its physical design is that you need a screw driver to open the battery compartment (3xAAA batteries) meaning that you can't just take some spare batteries with you. The battery-life, however, is quite good.

For some reason it takes about 5 seconds to load the start-up screen when you turn it on, which had me worried when I first tried it. The games are then selected from a simple menu.

In handheld mode the Game Gear games run perfectly, looking and sounding exactly as they do on the original Game Gear. The screen is bright and clear, the speakers aren't loud but you can plug in headphones. The Master System games also run fine on the small screen, although sometimes some graphics are a bit small to make out.

In TV mode the Master System games run as well as on the original Master System (60Hz as well, being NTSC). The picture quality itself isn't quite as good as the original Master System (maybe this it to do with poor NTSC-compatibility on my TV) but it's not bad. The Game Gear games appear with borders when played on a TV, just like the ones on Sonic Adventure DX and Sonic Gems Collection so that's not as good.

So overall I'm quite pleased with it, there could have been a few better games on there, but I'm not here to review the games (you can check them out for yourselves by looking at the list). Some games are great (like Alex Kidd in Miracle World) and make the whole thing worth while, and other lesser games can still be quite fun on a handheld. The low price and ability to play it on TV and as a handheld makes it a perfect all-round budget machine, and since Master System isn't available on VC* it would be a good introduction for newcomers to the machine.

Tell me what you think of the review.

*Update: at the time of writing it wasn't but is now.


Last edited by SegaFan; 4th May 2008 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 14th January 2008   #2
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Old 23rd February 2008   #3
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hmmm NICE
can i turn my super joy into a handheld?
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Old 27th February 2008   #4
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By the way, this is very old news but there is also now a Mega Drive handheld similar to this.
http://www.play-asia.com/paOS-13-71-...e-70-2f9m.html

It's kind of confusing, I think this is the one that was released in Brazil, although Play Asia says it's from the US, which would be strange as it's labled Mega Drive and not Genesis. It's also NTSC, but Brazil and just about everywhere that calles it Mega Drive (except Japan) uses PAL. Maybe there was a limited release in the US, anyone know more information about this?

It's 20 and contains 20 games (can't find a complete list) with the same handheld/TV modes as the PlayPal Portable. Tempting to buy it.
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Old 24th March 2008   #5
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You guys might wanna look at the GP2X. http://gp2x.com/
Has emulators for pretty much everything, bit pricey though...
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Old 12th April 2008   #6
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I own one, it's pretty good, not bad for the money. It's cool that you can play Ristar, Sonic Drift 2 and Sonic Triple Trouble on your TV. Shame they didn't release these on the Master System....this is the next best thing though
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Old 26th August 2008   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SegaFan View Post
By the way, this is very old news but there is also now a Mega Drive handheld similar to this.
http://www.play-asia.com/paOS-13-71-...e-70-2f9m.html

It's kind of confusing, I think this is the one that was released in Brazil, although Play Asia says it's from the US, which would be strange as it's labled Mega Drive and not Genesis. It's also NTSC, but Brazil and just about everywhere that calles it Mega Drive (except Japan) uses PAL. Maybe there was a limited release in the US, anyone know more information about this?

It's 20 and contains 20 games (can't find a complete list) with the same handheld/TV modes as the PlayPal Portable. Tempting to buy it.
Well if it says its from AtGames like mine Its the US version .
Strange as they kept the Megadrive name even if Sega was forced to rename it as Genesis .

But i have haerd of the UK version distrubited by Blaze & i have stared a thread of the thing in the Megadrive section of the forums but still hopefully my local GameTraider store woud bring in this play-pal thing as well

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