The GCW-Zero: A new open source handheld console (Kickstarter)


Been followin' the console hacking scene since 2006, I'm an old guy so get off my lawn!

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131 Responses

  1. SteveBass says:

    What resolution do all other retro (open or not) handhelds have? Oh yeah, it’s the same as this!
    Trust me, along with the case design it was one of the biggest discussions on the forums and most people (not to mention the OD developers) thought this was the best bet. The other big issue was the case – putting it in a cheap plastic PSP case would have drastically cut the price and production time, however the community wanted quality and good original design, which is what they got.

    There is already lots of homebrew for this resolution, look at Dingoo A320, Caanoo, GP2X Wiz….. Not a problem for them at all. People are developing for it all the time.

    Before development on OpenDingux was really ramped up (and those guys work hard for free) look at the names of the people who were developing for Dingoo, then have a look at the list of names on the GCW Kickstarter page. Sound familiar? They know what they’re doing.

    One last remark about the price – take a look at the Neo Geo X. This is a very similar (lower) spec handheld to the GCW0, underclocked and running a bastardised Dingux with the FBA port (no sources and violates GPL). It’s cheaply made and does a fraction of what the GCW0 does (poorly I might add) yet sells for twice the price and people lap it up, cheap plastic controller and all.
    Maybe GCW should have bought a license, violated GPL and closed the system off?

    • wololo says:

      I don’t know where you are coming from with the NeoGeoX. Do you see me praising the quality of that console? No, and for a good reason.

      Side question: where can I find a list of homebrews for the dingoo family? In particular, homebrews that are not emulators or ports of commercial games.

      • I don’t think there is a complete list anywhere, but right now the following homebrew games were ported with the approval of their authors:
        * Sqrxz 3
        * Unnamed Monkey Game (my own game)
        * Puzzletube
        * Worship Vector
        * Flare
        * Samegoo
        * Astrolander

        There is more homebrew already ported, but we never contacted the authors (usually because there is no need to – they’re GPL):
        * Blockrage
        * Heroes
        * Spout
        * Liero (I have talked with the original author once, it wasn’t exactly about GCW but rather Dingoo and Dreamcast ports, yet he was very happy someone is porting his old game)

        There’s also a ton of the old commercial game engines ported, so that you don’t think it’s all we have.

        And yes, GCW originates from the Dingoo scene, so we have quite a repository of games we have ported to the Dingoo in the past, which we are slowly polishing and porting to GCW one by one.
        Some of these that will be ported in the future and belong to the homebrew category:
        * Powder
        * Meritous
        * ASCII Portal
        * Biniax 1/2
        * Freedroid
        * GNU Robbo
        * Powermanga
        * Wizznic!
        * Nethack
        * Super Transball 2

        That’s just from the top of my head. That list will be MUCH longer in the future :)

        Also, thanks for giving us a chance and preordering a unit. If you want to join our community, we’re available at #gcw irc channel on

      • SteveBass says:

        I used it as an example of a similar spec console that people lap up which is nowhere near the quality of the Zero yet costs much more (twice the price over here), which “borrows” code from the community.
        People have “hacked” it to run OD but you can get the real deal for much less.

        For Dingux software check out the Dingoonity Wiki and openhandhelds:

        Some of that will be for the A320 Native OS and some will be legacy Dingux and will not work on OD at the moment (due to coding habits, not OD).

        Oh and regarding the Vita for emulation, a 32gb memory card will set me back nearly £60 so make sure you take that into account.

  2. Deagle275 says:

    Seriously , the point is :
    Would you rather have CGW-ZERO or a jailbroken vita with Ark.
    I would choose a CGW-ZERO .

    • wololo says:

      But then you give up on the great screen, vita and psp games, youtube, web browsing, the touch pad, the dual nub… Sure, the vita is almost twice the price… if emulators are the only thing you are looking for, I guess yes…

      • Deagle275 says:

        Yes they are most of what i’m looking for .

      • Deagle275 says:

        Also , i haven’t said the vita is worse . But for homebrew and emulation CGW-Zero is nicer . At least now.

      • Lorz says:

        Personally wololo, I really want to like the Vita, but I can’t, not because of the hardware or the price, because I find all of that great, if not amazing…. but the company behind it has continually and arrogantly screwed gamers and homebrew enthusiasts over and over and over and over and over……. I cannot support that, my conscience simply will not allow me, it may seem harsh, but i really hope Sony either changes, or simply leaves the consumer media industry all together, it may sound childish to wish for the demise of a company like this, but they have done far more damage than good to an industry that is supposed to be all about having fun.

        • wololo says:

          I’m with you on this. The only reason I got a Vita is to blog about the hacking side of it, and my personal hopes is that things like the Ouya, or the recent moves on Steam are going to disrupt the market in a way that will either kill Sony on the Western market, or make them change their ways dramatically. Sounds far fetched, but one can hope :)

          Edit: as a device though, the Vita is simply awesome. But I agree that it hurts me more and more to give money to a company like Sony.

          • Lorz says:

            I agree, it’s an amazing device, I love my PSP, but the Vita is what the PSP should have been in the first place, I’d really love to have one, but only if it’s made by someone(anyone) than Sony, lol.

            I’ve recently been playing with cheap android handhelds…. JXD S5110, it’s alot like the Droid X360 you reviewed, except arguably improved in some areas, and worse in some other areas…and though it hasn’t been perfect, I’m pretty pleased so far.

            Oh, btw wololo, there is an upcoming Android based handheld which I think you might find interesting, it is retailing for $150 US, and is set to compete with the Archos gamepad, its features are a 7 inch screen(which is a little too big for a handheld imo), Amlogic MX dual core 1.5ghz CPU with mali 400 GPU, dual analogs(and they are supposed to be actual analogs….. but we are wating for confirmation from a distributor who has offered to test it and report the results)…. It’s the JXD S7300, and if interested, you can find out more about it at dingoonity in the android section, or at… a distributor for dingoos and android handhelds, who also happens to be active on the dingoonity forums.

  3. Deagle275 says:

    Sincerely , ” I would prefer a psp” . I would prefer a GCW Zero . You pay additional 35 dollars for :
    Three times the processor
    Open Source
    No jailbreaking
    You can play Starfox on the SNES Emulator.Try it on the psp emulator.
    G-Sensor .
    4 times the ram .
    Sincerely , if you like emulation , but you prefer to buy a psp , you’re drunk brother .

  4. HIMFan says:

    I agree with your original opinion 100% wololo. I’m rather disappointed. And the fact that Android has officially become a non-open source OS means that things like this have no future without being expensive. So we’re going to pay a lot for something that a good Android phone and a MOGA gamepad couldn’t already give us…and in better quality.

    So if they decide to take the route of using an older Android OS, then people will also lose out because most apps other than emulators will cease working. This thing is basically an NES controller with 1 nub and designed to play emulators. I’d welcome it with arms wide open in 2009. I would’ve called it a marvel of technology in 2005. But in 2013, everyone already has this device already in their house.

    • joevar says:

      This doesn’t run on Andriod. It runs on a customized linux called OpenDingux, or OD for short. OD was originally created for the Dingoo A320. (Note: There was a previous Linux distro for the Dingoo A320 was called Dingux which commonly used to replace the default Symbian based OS. All Linux distros on the A320 were always unofficial.) At some point the OD maintainers, brewers, and supporters decided that they could create a better device. Since they already had working software, they designed and build newer hardware around it. The GCW-Zero is this device.

  5. SatanClause says:

    Perfect device for homebrew. I would prefer a screen featuring 16:9 aspect ration, but I suppose that can either be emulated or a screen replacement shouldn’t be a problem. I would actually go ahead and move all the hardware into a PSP casing.

    Are these available for order now? I would like to present one of these to my class and see if we can maybe do an independent project, programming a few apps and games for this platform rather than the others. I’m sure my professors wouldn’t mind at all.

  6. andrej says:

    I know it’s all about emulation, but why everyone keeps forgeting about native PSP games?
    I don’t see anyone making high profilr games for GCW such as God of War, Lumines, Crisis Core, Patapon, Wipeout and so on…

  7. Vita_User says:

    Built for gamers by gamers yet it has no second analogue stick?

    The single analogue stick it has doesn’t look very good either.

    • Aero says:

      This rubs me to no end, you have no idea. The only thing I can take away from this is that only a couple of PS1 games require two sticks (Ape Escape and R/C Stunt Copter by my recollection)

      Also…this thing can’t emulate a dreamcast, and that’s almost literally all I want at this juncture. A portable N64 sounds grand as well…but not $130 grand.

  8. Hiroyasu says:

    Id like to give this project the benefit of the doubt but by only building it with 1 analog such as the psp, you might as well just get a psp. Bye for any chances of having any sort of f2p styles of games on it or any other 3d 3 person view games.

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  10. Алёна says:

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