Certainly, Rare has worked hard over the years to keep its back catalogue out of the diaphoretic and rancid hands of retro gaming fans (though scrub hard enough, and you'll find what you're looking for) - and now that we've played Rare Replay, we can see why. There's no doubt that the free availability of Nintendo's past endeavours online have impacted on its Virtual Console sales. And how many times has Sega re-released Sonic the Hedgehog now? No wonder you want to murder him with a brick.
But by the same token, there doesn't seem to be much policing of the retro gaming scene. There are many old games that aren't commercially available. And it's pretty apparent that Funstock and JXD think it's sufficiently un-policed to offer this: the Fart-o-Matic Party Ruiner (JXD S7800B Retro Gaming Tablet). And!
The Retro Gaming Tablet has been out for a while, and we know we're playing catch-up here. It's basically an Android tablet, shoved into a case with enough physical controls to allow you to play almost any console game without needing to cry. Consequently, it does almost everything that a regular Android tab can do - so you've got full access to the Play Store (we tried Modern Combat 4, but it felt a tad sluggish; like an overweight alcoholic trying to cosplay as Master Chief, by draping himself in a Halo bedspread) - but selling itself as a "Retro Gaming Tablet".
See, the JXD arrives loaded with software that makes the downloading of emulators - and old games - easier than it ever has been before. From the get-go you'll be playing games for the Dreamcast, N64, NeoGeo, Atari, PlayStation, NES, SNES, Gameboy, Gameboy Colour, Gameboy Advance, SEGA Master System, SEGA Mega Drive, and MAME (old arcade game emulation). You'll also be able to download emulators for any 80s home computer you can think of (though with most of them, you'll have to fanny around with the controls a bit).
You can either play them on the mostly-nice screen (there's some light bleeding around the edges, we noticed), or plug the thing into your telly, via the HDMI output. What stunned us is, however, just how intuitive and quick everything is. If ghastly luddites like ourselves can work it out, even a big idiot with a scrunched-up hat for a brain could do it.
Having spent a week with the system, we can confirm that the JXD works like a dream... and not the bad sort of dream where a wolf with a beak bites your glans, but the good sort of dream where you spend a wonderful hour or two in the company of Old King Cole.
In short: almost every game plays perfectly - the only time we had trouble was with certain N64 games. Though most were trying to happen, to a point, a few either had chronic graphical glitches, or sound glitches, or both. We were surprised how well it ran Dreamcast games, however - both Crazy Taxi and Powerstone worked so well that we had to surprise ourselves with an impromptu dance.
The hardware itself - barring a couple of issues we had with the screen - feels pretty solid. Certainly, everything worked well enough to not interfere with playing old games. It is telling that the only time it felt insufficient was when we played a game designed specifically for Android.
There's not really much more to say to be honest. It works. It is nice. It is smooth. It gives you access to the entire history of gaming, up to a point. And if you buy one from Funstock - priced at a reasonable £129.99 - we're going to tell the police, and make you go to prison. Ha ha. Punk'd you.