Recently released, October 28 2007 in the US, the GP2X-F200 is the hottest open source hand held video game system available... And you've never heard of it!
In this instructable I'll talk some about it, and share some links and tips to get a couple hard to use programs to work.
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Step 1: Right Out of the Box
There are a few games on the firmware right out of the box, but that's not why you shelled out for this machine!
At any rate, if you are waiting for your SD cards to arrive or haven't gotten a chance to check the web yet, they are a good preview of the fun you'll soon be having.
It will play Mp3 and OGG files, works great with AVI video and you can put pictures and text files on it for ebooks and a digital photo album. This machine works great, and if you've ever tried one of the Chinese knock off PMP's, you'll know this is what you've been searching for.
+ works with most media out of the box
+ open source
+ many many programs and games to choose from
+ thriving worldwide community developement and support
+ expandable capacity with SD cards
- MY EYES! see next step
- AA batteries! $$$$$ you better have an army of rechargables
- My hands are too big so I can't play as long as I'd like
Step 2: My Eyes! My Eyes!
Wow! only had this thing out for 10 minutes and I already know its worst design flaw. This blue LED shines BRIGHTLY right in my eyes. I am tempted to try and remove it completely, and save myself some battery time, but for now...
Black electrical tape.
Step 3: Wait ... Why Did I Choose This Handheld Over a Second Hand PSP??!?
Oh yeah! Because it is supported by huge open source and emulation communities!
Nobody in the US has a gp2x, I checked. They are the most unknown, obscure piece of gaming hardware.
The rest of the world loves these little freeware and emulation machines however so you'd better bone up on your Spanish and German.
Although there are many open source games available for the GP2X, the best aspect of this machine is its emulation potential. MAME,NES, SNES, GBA, GB(C), Turbo Grafx, NEOGEO, SEGA (MS,GENESIS,MEGACD), ATARI(ST,800,2600,5200,7800,LYNX), the SCUMM VM, and even PC-DOS are all emulated (some more faithfully than others) on the GP2X.
The hardest part of using open source software is that it is usually published with insufficient documentation... and sometimes none at all. While this is fine for some people... let's call them Gurus... for the rest of us dweebs it makes using open source downright unpossible.
Lets cover two of the more complicated (and rewarding) emulator installations.
Step 4: LYNX and GBA Emulation
DISCLAIMER: I have an ATARI LYNX and a Nintendo GameBoy Advance and a wealth of cartridges for both. Don't make illegal copies. Support the resale market. My classic video game collection is embarrasingly large, but I almost never dig it out of the various boxes it resides in...
At any rate, at issue with the GBA and LYNX emulators is the fact that one must have a "bios rom" file which is basically a copy of the firmware used in the original machine. Getting it out of a LYNX or GBA is challenging. I won't go in to it here, but suffice it to say that you must have the correct files to set up the emulator.
At the end of this instructable I will give some links of popular, and productive, GP2X community websites. They can help you to find the right files to get you started, but they will not provide you with roms, bios or otherwise.
I used GP2xHandy(v0.01g) for LYNX and gpsp(v09-2xb_2) for GBA. The setup procedure on the GP2X is pretty simple. Download the archive, extract it, copy it to an SD card, insert and run from the games menu. The difficult part comes when you have to put roms or something in a specific directory.
Check out the pics, they show the way to set up these emulators initially, and the highlighted file is the bios rom (which won't be available from the site you download the emulator from).
Note the folder shown is on the desktop, I would set it up and then copy the files in the folder "sd_card_game_dir" to a folder called "game" on my SD card.
Step 5: Have Fun!
Check out these links to find more resources for your GP2X. Someone please show me how to remove that LED without breaking my GP2X!
gpsp v09-2xb_2gpsp v09-2xb_2
gp2xhandy v0.01ggp2xhandy v0.01g