Out of all the Famiclones that I own, I would have to say the MaxxPlay has the best build quality, by far. It may look like the run of the mill Famiclone packed into an N64 style controller, and it is, but there is a strange sense of quality behind it that pushes it further up the ladder than the others. I will be giving the MaxxPlay a good going over and explaining the pros and cons of this system, compared to the other plug n play Famiclones that I own.
As soon as I first played the MaxxPlay, I could immediately feel how different it was from the Super Joy and Power Joy systems I own. The plastic is substantially more rigid, the d-pad (and working joystick, might I add) is more accurate and the buttons have a really nice springy response. The intro screen is even a well illustrated set of instructions on how to use the system, in case for some reason you couldn’t figure it out otherwise.
The basic design is much the same as many plug n play Famiclones, N64 controller styling, adjusted to suit the needs of the system dwelling within, with a Famicom 60 pin connector attached to the bottom and using the memory card slot as the battery pack receptacle. The integrated light gun is present as well, with added LEDs on either side (for added dramatic effect?). Player 2 plugs into the handle of player one, as well as the system has hardwired AV cables, both of which are just like the Power Joy.
The main system functions well with 95 built-in games, but the 60 pin connector on the bottom is plagued by the same tight, uncomfortable placement as all other plug n play Famiclones. Although this time there isn’t enough space to make a good enough connection for most of my Famicom cartridges even work, oddly enough I’ve found by their poorly made nature pirate carts work slightly better. Even so, if you accidentally bump the cartridge you’re going to need to reset the system and try again.
The 95 built-in games are all decent enough to keep you busy for a while, comprised mostly of shameless hacks and blatant pirates. Strewn throughout are a good mix of action games and even a selection of games to test out the integrated light gun, which is as accurate as any other. Although I don’t know what every single games was originally, I’ve done my best to compile a list to the best of my knowledge:
Fun Click — Bejewled like Game — Real Name unknown
Box World — Box/Warehouse style puzzle game — Boxxle Clone?
UFO Race — Famicom F1 hack
Obstacle Race — Zippy Race pirate
Boat Race — Road Fighter Hack
Cowboy — Wild Gunman hack
Forest Guard — Hogan’s Alley hack
Space 2050 — Duck Hunt hack
UFO SHoot — Duck Hunt hack
Snowfield Shoot — Duck Hunt hack
Aether Tiger — 1942 hack
Archery — Pooyan hack
Zero Gravity — Balloon Fight
Super Elf — Circus Charlie Hack, although the main char looks familiar
Baseball — NES Baseball hack
Future Copter — Battle City Hack
Diamond — Arkanoid hack
Matching — Card matching game, unknown if original or hack
Tennis — NES Tennis Hack
Gold Digger — Main Character resymbols Kirby, otherwise unknown.
Mars Man — Binary Land hack.
Bomb — DOS Minesweeper
Spar — Urban Champion hack
Strange Pop Pop — Bubble Tetris
Soccer — NES Soccer hack
Clonk — Adventure Island hack
Egg it — Pacman Hack
High Jump — Gold Medal Challenge ’92
Long Jump — Gold Medal Challenge ’92
Triple Jump — Gold Medal Challenge ’92
Shot Put — Gold Medal Challenge ’92
Discus Put — Gold Medal Challenge ’92
Javelin Throw — Gold Medal Challenge ’92
Shooting — Gold Medal Challenge ’92
Target Practice — Gold Medal Challenge ’92
100 Meter Dash — Gold Medal Challenge ’92
100 Meter Hurdles — Gold Medal Challenge ’92
Witch Run — Aladdin 3
Ballistic Mayhem — Mach Rider
Planetary Pool — Lunar Pool hack
Helicopter Harry — Raid on Bungeling Bay hack
Fly By —
Snack Attack —
Bomb Drop — Chack n Pop hack
Cloud Fire — Twinbee hack.
Dragon — Dragon
Top Shot — Galaga Hack
Warrior Chase — Ninja Jajamaru Kun hack
Thinker — Othello Hack
Down Deep — Dig Dug hack
Climbing Club — Ice Climber Hack
Ultimate Choice —
Bird Brain — Bird Week hack
Burger Build — Burger Time hack
Need for Speed — Spy Hunter hack
Zig Zag — Road Fighter hack
Bumpity Bop — Bump n Jump hack
In and Out Racer — Zippy Racing hack
Monster Dash — Brush Roller hack
Street Frenzy — City Connection hack
Neighborhood Smash — Karate hack
Extreme Racer — Excitebike hack
Enemy Assault —
Flip Out — Pinball hack
Championship Golf — NES Golf hack
Right Move — Othello style
Fish Fight — Clu Clu Land hack
What’s Up — Donkey Kong hack
Rescue — Donkey Kong hack
Frogland — Donkey Kong hack
Jump and Journey — Mario Bros. hack
Saucer Wars —
Make well — Dr. Mario hack
Depths of Space —
Convert Soldier — Formation Z hack
Seascape — Sqoon hack
Swirl — Millipede hack
Break Out — Mappyland hack
Soaring Warrior — Joust hack
Warrior Tales — Kung Fu hack
Championship wrestling — MUSCLE hack
Let Loose — Popeye hack
Jungle Trial — Spelunker hack
Arctic Hunt — Spelunker hack
Warship — Galaxian hack
Village Protector — Space Invaders hack
Abacus — Tetris style game
Underworld — Devil world hack
Championship Football — 10 Yard Fight hack
World Championship Badminton — Badminton hack
Even though the system feels good and performs solidly, with the aforementioned cartridge issue there is only one more shortcoming that drags the system down slightly. On both the Power Joy and Super Joy systems there is an option to use an AC adapter to power the system, when batteries fail and boy do batteries fail when they run low. The MaxxPlay, through its seemingly well planned design, does not afford the option to be powered by an AC adapter, strictly running on batteries.
Player 2’s controller is essentially the same as the main system, obviously lacking the brain and any other functions that the main system would need. The battery pack area is instead a very cleverly designed stand, for some reason. Also lacking is any sign of a connector, although Player 2 does get their own integrated gun as well.
Overall, with the 2 minor gripes that I have about the MaxxPlay, I wouldn’t suggest anyone avoiding this system. Although by definition the MaxxPlay is a Famiclone, I personally wouldn’t credit it as such since its pretty hard to get Famicom cartridges to work, more a portable system with built-in games. If you’re on the road, and have access to a TV to plug one into, I would say the MaxxPlay is a rugged enough system to play and enjoy to pass the time.
Being the Famiclone freak I am, I’m quite familiar with the Power Joy name, considering that is the name that kicked off my adoration for not only Famiclones, but the system and game piracy market as a whole. When you think of a handheld Famiclone many would think of the jet fighter/Nintendo 64 cross-breed I’ve shown here many times before, but Power Joy took the term quite literally. Power Joy created a Famiclone concealed within a package that most casual gamers would pass up without a second glance, however this Famiclone is definitely worth a second glance, and perhaps even more.
Today I will be taking a look at quite a peculiar Famiclone called the Power Joy Voyager, a Famiclone that I had only seen online and never really expected one to ever cross my path, which recently happened. I was at the Goodwill outlet store, digging through bins, when I happened to unearth what I originally thought was a Nintendo Gameboy, but upon further inspection it was the Power Joy Voyager. The screen is clearly an LCD of a cheap Chinese Tetris clone, but when I flipped the unit over it had a cartridge inside, which gave me hope that it had more games than just cheap Tetris knock-offs.
After getting everything home I pulled the Voyager out of the bag and gave it a test, sure enough it was nothing more than different variations of games made up of blocks; Tetris clones, blocky designed tank battle games and even (admittedly fun) blocky car racing games. I turned the unit over and pulled out the cartridge to see how it would function without it, which yielded absolutely no change in the game selection. I wondered to myself why the unit would have a cartridge inside of it that had no bearing on the games.
At this point I have to admit that prior to even testing the unit I was well aware of the controller port and power input on the bottom (luckily I also found the controllers), as well as the AV output on the top. However, this is a Chinese made system, which means this unit doesn’t need to follow any sense of logic, this thing could have a Megazord built in, simply because they had one laying around that day. But when the cartridge failed to change the game selection I was stunned and decided that I needed to plug it in to see exactly what was going on.
Oddly enough there is no volume adjustment wheel, like Nintendo’s Gameboy, but while in LCD mode you simply press the yellow button to cycle through different volume levels. The switch on the side of the system has 3 options: off, TV and LCD. LCD is pretty obvious but when I tried the TV option the LCD shut off and a red light turned on, which at first seemed to do absolutely nothing until I jiggled the switch a bit, and much to my surprise the television screen flashed up just like the other Power Joy I own, with a list of NES games!
As I mentioned before the system has a controller port and power input on the bottom, as well as AV ports on the very top, none of which hinder the ability to use it as a portable system, should you want to. The controllers come paired together, much like the old Atari 2600 paddle controllers, simply two controllers with a single plug at the end. Aiding in the efforts to push the unit’s “portability” is the ability to use (4xAAA) batteries to power the system, although this doesn’t yield the best results in TV mode, I also presume this would drain the batteries quite quickly.
The built-in controls are pretty standard for any Famiclone, even including a reset button, but the detachable controllers are quite unique. Small, yet comfortable, player one’s controller has an integrated light gun and standard D-pad, while player two has more of an analog style stick. Both controllers have the standard and turbo A and B buttons as well as their own start and select buttons.
The shell is blatantly copied from the Gameboy Color, which makes the system comfortable to hold, sadly the portable side of the unit isn’t strong enough to make you want to hold it for too long. The Voyager’s cartridge design isn’t exactly based off the Gameboy cartridge design, it may slightly resemble it but it any gamer should easily be able to tell the difference, nor are the cartridges interchangeable between the two systems.
The cartridge (PJ-008) has 84 games comprised mostly of pirated classics with no repeats, which is the exact same line up of games in the Famicom sized PJ-008 cartridge. Being a Chinese system, yet again I must note the cheap AV outputs, but the picture quality is great compared to other handheld Famiclones. Much like other handheld Famiclones using batteries isn’t the best option, and when the batteries start running down you will notice strange reactions to pressing buttons, as well as lines in the screen.
The NES side of this strange little beast heavily out weighs the handheld block games, but that isn’t saying the handheld games are all bad. With a few good variations of Tetris, some Breakout clones and various other games thrown in, the Power Joy Voyager will keep you entertained on short car rides, work commutes or even between your favorite TV shows. I picked this thing up super cheap, or else I probably wouldn’t have bought it at all, but if you find one for a few bucks I would highly recommend it, if nothing more than just the sheer oddity of the thing.
Since I don’t have the instruction manual I did a Google search and came up empty, although I did send off an email to someone who was selling one on Craigslist from Derby, CT. That person was gracious enough to actually scan the manual and send me the photos! For that I have to send a huge thank you to Bryan!