Tuesday, July 14, 2009

FC Mobile II: A Revolutionary Way to Play NES Games

Upon opening the FC Mobile II, we were struck by its size. Considering it houses a full NES and the necessary sensors for the two included wireless controllers and wireless light gun, we expected something larger. But the FC Mobile II fits snugly into your pocket and is designed for travel play. Keep in mind, however, that an NES cartridge in the system increases its size.

Buttons are placed in the perfect location so your hands won't cover the speakers and the power switch is along the top so you don't accidentally turn it off while playing. However, the buttons are quite stiff when you first start using the machine. In addition to that, the unit itself and the wireless controllers have dedicated turbo buttons which make games like Contra and Commando much more fun.

The cartridge bay was also built in a way that prevents the games from being shaken so even if you're playing on a bus or airplane, gameplay is never interrupted. The 72-pin connector is made with high-quality metals to prevent erosion and the bay is designed to allow a straight and direct connection with the cartridge similar to the design of the Model 2 NES, the SNES, or the N64. Games will always work as long as they are cleaned properly. (To properly clean an NES game, open the cartridge using a security bit and remove dust or carbon build-up from the connectors.)

The LCD screen is backlit to allow easy play in any light conditions. As for the sound, the speakers are loud enough so you won't have to use headphones, but you have the option to do so, of course. When compared to modern day handhelds, the screen seems a bit small but considering that NES games are not as graphically complex as newer titles, a larger screen isn’t necessary.

The main attraction of the FC Mobile II is undoubtedly the fact that it can be connected to any TV set and used just like a regular NES console, making it the ideal machine for people on the road or at home. The bundled AV cable hooks into any composite input and the range on the wireless controllers and light gun is good enough for you to play from anywhere in the room as long as you have the sensors lined up. Unfortunately, the wireless technology used in the FC Mobile II is slightly outdated. Rather than utilizing Bluetooth or even actual wireless, the system employs infra-red technology similar to a TV remote.

You can also use the actual system as a controller even when connected to a TV, so for business trips or hotel stays you need only bring the AV cable to enjoy great games. It also comes with a small AC adapter that will override any batteries in the compartment and thus save power during at home play.

Another improvement over most handhelds is the fact that the battery compartment is secured with a small screw, making it impossible to lose the battery cover. The same applies to the battery compartments on the wireless controllers and light gun. And you won't have to change the batteries that often either because the FC Mobile II can operate for over 6 hours on one set of batteries. It’s available in matte black or white and both models are textured to prevent fingerprints, keeping a bit of the classic NES aesthetic but still maintaining a modern look.

Then there’s the obvious price aspect. While the FC Mobile II Portable NES System is only 49.95, to buy an original NES system, another controller, and a Zapper Light Gun you’d have to spend almost $30 more.

The packaging says that the FC Mobile II is "a revolutionary way to play NES games" and that is 100% true. If you're looking to replace your old NES console or just want a way to enjoy classic titles on the road, the FC Mobile II is the game system for you. It has a few design flaws but the ability to play Bionic Commando or any other one of the great NES games wherever you are makes up for it.

The FC Mobile II is available at eStarland in two colors:

FC Mobile White - $49.95
FC Mobile Black - $49.95