Wondering what are some of the best handhelds to play retro games? Well, you’re not alone. We wondered the same and thought it’d be awesome to share it with you.
Since you’re here, you can probably relate that while phone gaming is fun, it can’t really match the classic and original gaming experience. So, to help you out, we’ve created this guide with the best handhelds for retro gaming ever made.
By the end of this article, you will have a device to experience the 80s and 90s games to their fullest. Let’s dig in to get you the best retro gaming handhelds!
5 Best Handhelds To Play Retro Games
Our guide will allow you to choose the best handhelds to play your favorite retro-style games on the go. Here are some of them:
1. Nintendo 3DS XL – For 3D Glasses-Free Retro Gaming
With the Nintendo 3DS XL, you can enjoy games like Mario Kart 7, Pokemon X, Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 3D Land, and many others. What’s amazing is, that you get to experience all these games in 3D and on a big screen!
3DS XL gaming console has two cameras installed, making the glasses-free 3D experience possible for its gamers. While the screen sizes are pretty big – 4.9 inches on top for game display and 4.2 below for touch screen interaction.
As far as playtime is concerned, you can play games for up to three to eight hours. While its curvy design lets you hold it quite comfortably. Moreover, You can extend its 2 GB flash memory by adding a 2GB SD card in the slot located in the console.
Having a big screen makes it a bit heavier but doesn’t compromise its portability. That is, you can still carry Nintendo 3DS XL in your pocket all day.
2. Nintendo Gameboy – For 2D Pixelated Classic Retro Gaming
The phrase, old but gold, describes the Original Nintendo Gameboy perfectly – durable with a great gaming library. You can enjoy all 2D pixellated retro games with this console. It lets you play tons of retro games like Tetris, Legend of Zelda, and Pokemon Blue.
Original Nintendo Gameboy is a simple handheld gaming console without a backlight while having a really long playtime of up to thirty hours. Also, being one of the oldest consoles, it has the pleasure of having tons of retro games available to play on it – definitely a good console for retro gamers.
The screen size is 1.9 inches by 1.7 inches, along with sturdy keypads. It is pretty much operable by almost anyone, even by kids.
This is why the Original Nintendo Gameboy is a better option for playing classic retro games. You can either buy for young kids or enjoy reminiscing childhood memories of playing classic retro games.
3. PSP – Value Added Features at the Right Price
PSP (or PlayStation Portable) is not only the first Sony handheld internet-enabled gaming console, but it also has other value-added features. Such as a built-in web browser app, viewable media options, and quality graphics downloadable games like Dissidia Final Fantasy, Sonic Rivals, and whatnot!
Sony PSP allows you to play games or view media files on a 4.3-inch wide-screen display. Interestingly, its keypad design is very much familiar to the past gamepad controller of PlayStations. The square, triangle, circle, and X buttons, along with directional and joystick keypads. Making it an easy-to-use handheld gaming console, especially for PlayStation gamers.
Unlike other gaming handhelds, Sony PSP has dedicated game installation memory cards, often referred to as discs. So you have to buy memory cards to install other games instead of using cartridges.
However, its additional functionalities are overwhelmingly appealing to make gamers bear the additional costs. And especially, the idea of enjoying high-quality graphics of retro games on a handheld console makes it an even better option to buy the Sony PSP.
4. PS Vita – For High Visual Retro Style Gaming
Since the launch of PS Vita (or PlayStation Vita), Sony developers have designed many famous retro games for it, like Little Big Planet PS Vita, Metal Slug, Rayman Legends, and even more. If that’s not enough, then you can find more of your favorite retro-style games over PlayStation Network. Just make sure to connect to the internet using its WiFi features.
PS Vita got a 5-inch OLED screen along with an ultra-responsive front touch screen and rear motion-sensing capabilities. Sony has, indeed, smartly designed the OS of PS Vita with Quad-Cores to provide a seamless experience for game processing and its visuals. In addition, the front and back camera lets you enjoy augmented reality gaming too. While the updates for PS Vita let you use the gaming console as a controller for PS4 games.
So, the only downside is buying separate memory cards to play most games. As it results in some additional costs. Other than that, the PS Vita is still the most advanced portable gaming handheld ever made.
In other words, the hefty price of PS Vita compensates for its great gaming visuals and other value-added features.
5. Nintendo DS Lite – Pro Version of Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS Lite has everything that the original DS should have. That is, it is slimmer, lighter, and supports backward games compatibility – even for GBA games! You can play the New Super Mario Bros, Pokemon Diamond, and many other games on a brighter and better screen.
The screen size is 3.12 inches for the top display and 3.12 inches for touch screen interaction. Its design looks slick and stunning – especially as compared to the original Nintendo DS. In fact, you can say that Nintendo DS Lite is more like a pro version of the original Nintendo DS.
Besides, it has much better features to offer. For instance, microphone-enabled gameplay and dual-screen display.
Want even more? Then you can play online against other Nintendo gamers with its WiFi capabilities. Also, the compatibility with the old GBA retro games adds variety for gamers, letting them enjoy this console even more.
So, it is fair to say that Nintendo DS Lite is an impressive improvement over the original Nintendo DS.
FAQs About Handhelds To Play Retro Games
Some of the particular questions that might have popped up in your mind about retro handhelds might be:
You can either go for pre-installed games on a gaming console or customize it at the time of your purchase. However, you’ll have to pay some additional costs for the game you want to buy and get installed on your gaming console.
The fact is, retro game prices have gradually boomed since the pandemic and the lockdowns. Another aspect that may hinder its value is the collectors’ reasons – people who enjoy collecting retro consoles and play old retro games. But one thing is for sure, the value of handhelds will not drop down like other console values in the market.
Our guide lets you know the 5 best gaming consoles for playing retro games. But it highly depends on the kind of retro games you want to play, the compatible retro games available, and your budget to buy that gaming console.
Original Nintendo Gameboy is one of the best retro game consoles to play classic and simple retro games. Since it has a huge gaming library for simple retro games.
People want to enjoy simple games and live their childhood gaming memories as retro games were once really famous. While the other reasons are its portability and fewer requirements as compared to other gaming systems.
To Wrap Up
Overall, many intriguing retro handhelds are out there that let you enjoy the classic retro-style games on the go. Plus, the handheld market is again in its booming stages. So, we can expect some new gaming console releases in the coming years. But before buying any of these retro gaming handhelds, make sure to check out some of the top-rated and pricey retro games.