Handheld gaming is at an all-time high, and we couldn’t be happier. From modified GameBoys to the newest Nintendo Switch Lite accessories, the number of the best retro handhelds that we’re reporting here at Retro Dodo increases every single day.
Thanks to Raspberry Pi technology and a growing number of gaming enthusiasts putting their passion for retro gaming into new and exciting devices, we’re seeing more and more well-built and impressive looking handheld consoles making their way into peoples outstretched palms.
But what sends a portable gaming device to the top of the ranks, setting it apart from other consoles of a similar ilk? One of the things that makes the Nintendo Switch such a popular choice is its ability to be used as both a handheld and a TV-compatible console, two important qualities that the Creoqode Lyra offers gaming fans who are looking for a portable blast from gaming past.
The Creoqode Lyra is the newest gaming device on the block, allowing retro gaming fans to get their fix on the bus, in the park, or on a plane without having to lug around all of their best N64 games or their best SEGA Genesis games with them.
It marks the 5th Kickstarter project from gaming company Creoqode and brings the history of video gaming into the users hands.
If you’re wondering what all of the fuss is about and what the Lyra can actually do, then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a look at this mighty mini gamer and see if it’s all that it’s cracked up to be!
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Meet The Creoqode Lyra, A Portable & Playable Gaming Hall Of Fame
Here it is in all its glory, the Lyra from Creoqode. First impressions of the device are very pleasing; the mat-black finish and curved shell bring the PSP to mind, and the ‘x y a b’ button setup twinned with the d-pad will make playing any classic Nintendo ROMs a piece of cake.
The Creoqode Lyra can virtually emulate pretty much any game from your childhood, reproducing titles from the classic era of yesteryear with ease.
If you’re sick of using your android device to play your favourite SNES and PS1 games and want something far superior and 100% more stylish, then this could be the handheld for you.
So how is this impressive device powered? Well, it runs using a Raspberry Pi CM3L (Compute Module 3 Lite). Creoqode say that this device can be a personal computer, a gaming computer and an entertainment system. If the Lyra lives up to this mantle, then the $250 price tag looks as though it could well be worth it.
Give Us Some Stats About The Creoqode Lyra
The Creoqode Lyra uses a 5” TFT LCD 800×480 resolution screen and comes with a DPI interface and HDMI connectivity. It has an integrated speaker and a 3.5mm audio output compatible with pretty much every brand of headphones on the planet.
You can upgrade your memory with a 16GB memory card, and the battery boasts 3000 mAh. That’s a lot of gaming for your buck! In terms of CPI, the Lyra uses a 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 and comes with 1GB of ram.
If you’re unsure what all of this means or just don’t care, then all you need to know is that it’s an impressive bit of kit that will run smoothly when you want to play a bit of Duke Nukem on the train.
What’s Inside The Box?
Raspberry Pie devices often lend themselves to coders and creators who want to build computing devices themselves, and the Creoqode Lyra encompasses this trait perfectly.
You can buy this console in two options; an RTG package (ready to go) which will allow you to turn on and start gaming in less time than it takes to brew a cup of
You don’t have to worry about heading down to your local electronics store to pick up extra wire and solder; all of the components come inside the box and you don’t need any special skills to be able to put it together (or solder for that matter).
It takes around about 15 minutes to put together and makes for a great exercise for anyone who is looking to get into console creation in the future. To be honest, we would get the RTG package as we’re impatient when it comes to trying out new things, and we wouldn’t want to accidentally put something in the wrong place and end up damaging our new purchase.
Can You Game With Friends?
One of the things that I miss most about modern-day consoles such as the XBOX One and the PS4 is the lack of couch co-op gaming. It just doesn’t happen
The Creoqode Lyra allows for multiple gamers to play their favourite titles at the same time by connecting up to any sized TV using the built-in HDMI output. Additional controllers can be added via the built-in USB ports, but just make sure you keep your cool while playing. One angry jerk of the wire and you’ll send your Lyra hurtling off the table and onto the floor.
The Creoqode Lyra also acts as a personal computer too for those people who don’t currently have one in their house. I was fully prepared to talk about how pointless this section is now that most people have laptops in their homes or just use their smartphones, but as I started to write this paragraph, I changed my mind completely.
Sometimes it’s nice to have a big computer screen to surf the web with and to send emails, and with the ability to watch your favourite movies and shows straight from the browser on your Lyra, it would make a nice addition for someone who doesn’t have a Sky box or an Apple TV device hooked up in their living room.
It also gives you a much smaller portable computing device than a laptop, meaning that you can access your important documents in the cloud or learn about coding on any screen with an HDMI input while travelling around. It’s actually pretty impressive and a nice little touch!
Can The Creoqode Lyra Be Upgraded?
It wouldn’t be a Raspberry Pie device if you couldn’t have a little tinker with it now, would it? If putting the device together isn’t enough to get your creative juices flowing, then you can access Raspberry Pi CM3L through the GPIO pads that have been left exposed and create more amazing custom projects.
Up to eight sensors and electronic gadgets can be connected to your Lyra to enhance the product with added functionalities.
It’s beginning to sound less like a games consoles and more like the
The Creoqode Lyra is a one-stop-shop for retro gaming enthusiasts with a modern twist. It boasts a well-thought-out and user-friendly design and allows users to relive their favourite moments in gaming history whenever they want in a multitude of ways.
We like the fact that it can double up as a media device for streaming movies and television shows too, but that will always come second to blasting out some cult gaming classics.
I totally get the appeal with the ability to mix things up and upgrade the Raspberry Pi elements of this build, but frankly, I like my gaming devices ready out of the box and to stay whole and intact until their dying day.
It’s a nice feature that would appeal to many of my friends, but just give me some classic shoot-em-ups and a nice place to play and I’m sold.
Now the last thing we need to talk about it is the price. At $250, the Creoqode Lyra is almost $50 dollars more than the new Nintendo Switch Lite.
Is it worth the extra money? Consider the fact that ROMs are free, I would be inclined to say yes, especially as this is a great way of playing your favourite classic games without lugging around your laptop to access your emulators. Would I get one myself?
Yes, I’d definitely like to try one out and give it a full test over; the pull of playing classic games never goes away! If you’re interested in finding out more, then head over to the official Creoqode Lyra page over on Kickstarter.
What do you think of the Creoqode Lyra? Would you give it a go, or would you rather save your cash for a cheaper device? Join the conversation over on the Retro Dodo Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts!
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 33 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.