GP32 Review

Game Park 32

Little-known handheld from Korea let's you bring almost every classic game system with you.

Lik-Sang
A special Thanks to Lik-Sang for providing the GP32 for this review. They are very fast and friendly.

I received the test unit in 3 days via UPS. You can buy your own GP32 from their web site, http://www.lik-sang.com.

June 7, 2003 – Probably most of you haven't even heard of the Game Park 32, and if you have you probably don't know of what it can do.

The Game Park 32, or GP32 for short, is a Korean-made portable game system similar to a Game Boy Advance (GBA). Now that I have said it is similar, let me tell you how it is different.

Screen:

The GBA display's resolution is 240x160 and it can display up to 512 colors simultaneously.

The GP32 display is 320x240 and can display 65,536 colors simultaneously.

Processor:

GBA - 32-bit ARM7TDMI 16.7 Mhz

GP32 – 32-bit ARM920T variable speed processor 20-133Mhz (with the ability to be overclocked to 186MHz)

So far you can see that the GP32 far exceeds the specifications of the GBA, so I will stop with the comparison.

Packinging

The GP32 arrived in a simple box containing the GP32, manual, and the USB link cable. All the drivers and software need to be downloaded from Game Park's Web site.

Specifications

Dimension/Weight 147mm X 88mm X 34mm(163g)
Display 3.5" Reflective TFT LCD(65,536 concurrent colors)
Resolution 320 X 240 pixel
CPU 32-bit RISC CPU(ARM9)
RAM 8MB SDRAM
ROM 512K
Sound 44.1Khz 16 bit Stereo Sound / 4 Channel Wav Mixing, 16Poly S/W MIDI Support / Earphone Port / 2 Speakers
External Storage Medium Smart Media Card (SMC)
Wireless Multiplayer Gaming 4-Channel RF Module
PC Connection USB Port Connection
Power Supply 2AA batteries (12 hours use time between charges) / DC 3V Adapter
Option Rechargeable Battery
Controls 8-way directional pad (joystick) + Durable 6 key button
MP3 Capability MPEG ( °, ±) Audio Support
Other Add-on Applications Image Viewer, Text Viewer, Media Player, E-Book Viewer
RF Module 2.4GHz ISM Band

Layout

The GP32 layout is like a cross between an original GBA and a Neo Geo Pocket Color (NGPC), taking the L and R buttons from the GBA and the control stick from the NGPC. The Control Stick is very sensitive, the slightest movement it registered. I found that I adjusted it sensitivity after playing for a few minutes. The opposite is true for the L and R buttons, they are very stiff. I like this since I found myself accidentally pressing the L and R on the GBA.

The GP32 does not have a cartridge slot; instead it has a Smart Media slot (such as in digital cameras), and can support up to a 128MB card. This allows you to easily load your games on to the GP32 from your PC via the included USB cable ( software has to be downloaded from gp32 web site - http://english.gamepark.com /). The GP32 also has a built in MP3 player that works great – but I won't go into detail since this article is about games.

Uploading Games

Since the GP32 is such a powerful system, many people have taken to porting their favorite PC emulators to the GP32. Since I am a classic game freak, that was the first thing I wanted to do. So when I received my GP32 I grabbed the Smart Media Card from my camera, hooked the GP32 to my PC, installed the software and driver, then initialized the card. I had already downloaded the NES emulator, so I decided to install it. I clicked on "install" but it would only allow files with the extension .zpk and .fpk. This was confusing, as the emulator's extension was .fxe, so I looked around the web trying to figure out what I was missing. It turns out that you first need to install a launcher program that allows you to run .fxe files on your GP32. Once I installed the launcher, all I had to do is put the .fxe files in the GPMM folder on the card. It was pretty annoying, but once I figured it out, it was smooth sailing.

First connect the GP32 to you PC via the USB cable (you will need to install the drivers first), and select the communication icon on the main menu.

Next run the PClink program on you PC. You will also need to install this first.

I tried to install the .fxe file, but found that I could only select .zpk or .fpk files...

...Then I found that you need to install the freeloader (gp_launc.zpk) once I installed it, all I had to do was to copy my .fxe files into the GPMM directory.

Now select game from the main menu

Now select the GP32 Freeloader

Finally, Select your uploaded game, application, or emulator.

MP3 Player

The MP3 Player is pretty simple, just copy your mp3 files into the MP3 directory on the GP32. Then select MP3 on the selection screen of the GP32. File names cannot be more than 8 characters with a .mp3 extension.

The Emulators:

There are many emulators for the GP32, some are mature, and others are still in progress.

Here is a list of emulators that the GP32 will run:

These emulators can be downloaded from http://www.gp32x.com .

Also, there are ports of Doom (runs any Doom Wad, Doom II etc), AgiSci, Descent, Elite - The New Kind, gpSCUMM, Heretic, Rick Dangerous, Wolfenstein 3D & SoD. Check it all out at http://www.gp32x.com .

NES Emulators

fNES32 - fNES32 is still an immature emulator, which has no sound support, but runs a decent speed. One annoyance, you cannot go back to the main menu to select a different NES game, you will have to turn off the GP32, yuck!

InfoNES-GP32 - InfoNES has sound support, albeit poor sound (buzzing). The NES emulation is pretty good. It could use a clean up of the sound and a speed boost.

SNES emulators.

SNES9xGP - This is an excellent port of SNES9x, which has flawless sound, but is on the slow side with sound enabled. I expect this emulator to be perfect someday.

SNESEMU - This SNES emulator is faster than SNES9xGP, but has no sound. Hopefully one of these emulators will mature soon.

TurboGrafx 16/TurboExpress

GPEngine - GPEngine is a flawless TurboGrafx emulator, a must-have for your GP32. Here is an example of what can be done on the GP32. The TurboGrafx was more powerful than a NES, and close to a SNES, so it goes to show that the NES and SNES emulators should be better in the future.

GameBoy Emulators

GPVGB – is an excellent black and white GameBoy emulator. It runs full speed, and hopefully it will support Game Boy Color games soon.

Atari 2600

VCS32 – This emulator has a beautiful interface, although some games do not work properly. For example, in Adventure you can walk through any wall.

GP2600 – GP2600 this emulator is good too, but the interface is not as nice. At least Adventure works.

Doom

I installed this port of Doom, and copied my Doom II WAD file (16MB) to the GP32. It works great, I just whish it had gamma controls to make the screen brighter.

Overall, I am very pleased with my GP32, and I look forward to future emulators. I will be doing detailed reviews of emulators for each game system in the future, so check back

Tighe

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