Growing up in a family that celebrated, there was little that could compare to the tangible excitement of Christmas morning. The hype built up over months of watching stores roll out decorations, combined with an endless avalanche of themed TV shows, was overwhelming. All the while, gifts were slowly piling up under the tree, allowing you to examine potential boxes, drop not-so-subtle clues, and be completely caught up in anticipation of amazing gifts. (opens in a new tab)
Trying to sleep on Christmas Eve was a challenge on par with descending the steepest hill in town, so as soon as a theoretical argument could be formed that it was technically morning, you were up and ready. Cloudy-eyed parents were dragged from their rooms with bathrobes and weak teacups to watch these expertly wrapped gifts torn apart by dirty, ungrateful and motor-impaired little hands.
“It’s a NINTENDOOO SIXTY FOUUR” came the elated cry of a very happy child with a brand new brand console. Right next to it, we heard faintly in the distance “Uh… thank you?” while an unhappy kid revealed something that probably looks a lot like one of those Powkiddy products. An appropriate name that sounds a bit like punching a child in the face.
What is a Powkiddy? Yeah, I’m not too sure either after going through the two Walmart listings (opens in a new tab) and the official site (opens in a new tab), but they seem to be counterfeit console emulators desperate for litigation. These things straddle the weaker lines to get as close to popular consoles old and new as possible. They come with a selection of included games that are mysteriously not listed and all feature oddly vivid displays in their product images.
Besides giving the gift of disappointment this year, Powkiddy devices are likely to be very useful for DIY enthusiasts. While I wouldn’t give one to an excited kid, for anyone wanting to try their own emulation, this could be just fine. Although it’s always good to be wary of the legal side of these things (opens in a new tab). The consoles on offer vary in price and come in heaps of different sizes and shapes, and right now they’re on sale on the official website.
There are GameBoy SP devices like the Powkiddy V90 (opens in a new tab)which is $20 off right now for $39.99 USD and is known to run custom firmware. (opens in a new tab) Or something like the more switch-like Powkiddy Max2 open source system (opens in a new tab) up to $114.99 USD from $154.99. Each has their specs listed on the official site, but you won’t get awesome hardware here.
If you’re happy to tinker with an emulation machine, or just looking for what might be a fairly easy-to-use shell for your own project, some of these might be great choices. There are even spare knobs and parts, which are also on sale now if you don’t need the complete part. Unfortunately, I don’t know what any of these units look like, but I’m willing to bet they’re a lot nicer than anything I could easily install myself at home. Definitely a much more polished solution to something than this 3D printed Steam Deck case (opens in a new tab).