Android gaming devices these days can hit or miss. On the one hand, you have the Amazon Fire TV, which has access to a vast library of thousands of Google Play games, as well as original titles being made for it. On the other, you have the OUYA, a device that had great potential, but kind of blew it with a strange pricing structure, little support for developers, and an expensive console set-up, just coming in at over $100.
Recently, however, an interesting alternative has arisen, one that is a media hub that comes with auto-synching capabilities across Android, iOS and other devices, as well as the means to access said content. So, why does that qualify this device as an Old Made New? Because of its ability to play 16-bit games with very little hassle.
The EzeeCube is a rather sizable unit, clocking in at just being bigger than the OUYA with its 140 x 140 x 45mm dimensions, is a stackable media hub that lets you configure whatever you see fit. It comes with all the whiz-bang technology you've come to expect from a device, including HDMI support, an SD card memory slot, a USB 2.0 socket slot and WiFi/Bluetooth support. However, it can also support the classic Sega Genesis and SNES game libraries, so if you feel like popping in a Sonic the Hedgehog cartridge, that's certainly your perspective.
Of course, the EzeeCube also supports other means of media, including photo storage, as well as movies and TV shows that are uploaded. But, again, I can't help but like the idea of turning the little device into a retro-based system, without having to worry about unreliable hardware (like those early RetroN systems before the 5th edition came out) or even blowing in the cartridge (unless, well, they've been sitting around a while).
Part of the collaboration lies behind the XBMC's RetroPlayer emulator, which supports the 16-bit media and allows games to be played with ease through the device. Though I didn't get to see it in action, it sounds quite promising. The team didn't specify if it would be region-locked or not. It could be possible for the EzeeCube to support the Japanese equivalents of those systems, the Mega Drive and Super Famicom. After all, that import copy of Super Mario Kart won't play itself.
While the EzeeCube isn't available quite yet, the team is confident that this will be the ideal set-top box when it makes it to market later this year. It's already surpassed its total of $75,000 over on Indiegogo.
Although more pricey than the OUYA and the Amazon Fire TV, the Ezee is loaded with potential, and the fact the team wants to support old-school gaming right at the source (rather than just using an emulator to get the job done) makes this project all the more appealing. We certainly wish them the best of luck.
Learn more about the EzeeCube (and buy your own) here.