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!