If the Blackberry and the Game Boy had a baby, it might look something like the new Auspicious Machine, a game focused handheld device coming from China.
The new handheld was announced just last week on Chinese social media. So this one is very much locked behind language barriers. It took quite a lot of Google Translate to dig into the details of this one.
But what we can tell is that a new solo developer by the name of Fugui plans to launch the Auspicious Machine very soon.
So let’s take a look at see why this might make for one of the most unique gaming devices to come out in 2023.
Auspicious Machine Details
Perhaps the most interesting aspect to this new handheld is the physical keyboard that gives all of the Blackberry vibes. Intentionally, of course. They mention it in their announcement.
Whether that keyboard would benefit a retro game handheld or not is to be debated. But it’s interesting, nonetheless.
The screen is a 3.5 inch 4:3 640×480 screen, which we happen to believe is the best fit for retro gaming.
Translations also gave us “Auspicious Phone” for the name of the device, but it’s currently unknown if this would ever function as a cellphone. We suspect not.
But they are not hiding from the Blackberry inspirations with the addition of a QWERTY keyboard (12*4 array, backlight) and mini trackball.
And of course, the inclusion of a dpad and four action buttons means we can enjoy our favorite retro video games on the device as well.
Like a lot of recent handhelds, this seems to be going back to the basics in terms of what we might expect to emulate. No joysticks, no triggers.
The buttons surrounding the trackball offer additional button functions. So we can expect to at least get up to 32 bit era stuff out of the device. Game Boy Advance, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis.
The Auspicious Machine has an Allwinner H616 quad-core processor.
The device also features developer pins at the top, as this is meant to be an open-source project to allow developers to make their own programs for it.
There is also one visible SD card slot.
But what is unknown is whether the Auspicious Machine actually has a sim card slot and functions as a real phone.
Or maybe the appearance of “Phone” in the translations were in reference to the Blackberry inspirations.
This is a very intriguing handheld. Some elements are intriguing for good reasons, others have us scratching our heads. In fact, the more we look and think about the device, the more questions we have.
Perhaps the most curious is whether or not this is an actual phone or not. I’m thinking not. I think that was poor translation.
What we do know is that the Auspicious Machine is currently available for pre-order for RMB 1656, which is about $240USD.
And they are saying they hope to deliver them in June 2023. That’s not too far out for a device we assume does not have a finished physical prototype.
But hey, we like it. And we surely wanna see where they go with this project.
We always wanna support new developers and encourage new ideas in the handheld scene.
We just have to take some of these announcements with a grain of salt. They are promising something quite interesting and ambitious. And we hope they can deliver!
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Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.