This one’s been a long time coming. Especially after seeing so many other great “first retro handheld” experiences shared, I figured now would be a good time to share a little about my journey.

Where It Started

I’ve never been much of a “hardcore gamer”, as Call of Duty and Madden are really the only two games that I put any meaningful time into. But I do have fond memories of playing some of the retro classics, from the Atari, SNES, and Saturn. Growing up, my favorite “console” was the Game Boy Color in Atomic Purple. I played Pokemon and Tetris DX for hours upon hours. That included hiding it under my pillow when I was supposed to be asleep and my parents came in to check on me.

Game Boy Color AMOLED Mod with RH Sticker

After forgetting my Game Boy Color in a hotel on a family vacation, I never replaced it. It wasn’t until my Mom let me mess around with her PSP that I started even remotely caring, but that fad didn’t last long either. Honestly, the Nintendo Switch kind of reinvigorated my love for portable gaming, playing through Breath of the Wild over and over until I beat Ganon for the fourth or fifth time.

Since then, my focus has shifted towards emulation, but specifically, with smartphones and tablets. See, I’m a bit of a homer for foldable phones and have been a devout owner of such a device since the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Currently, my arsenal consists of the OnePlus Open, Galaxy Z Fold 5, and a couple of other foldable phones. Being able to emulate games on a smartphone still continues to blow me away especially when it comes to Switch emulation (RIP).

Blame Stubbs and Rob

Even still, I never really got into the plethora of retro handhelds until last Summer. I’ve been following Russ from Retro Game Corps for a while, but what really lit a fire in me was seeing a stream with Stubbs and Rob talking about emulation on the Surface Duo. Oh yeah, thanks again guys for making the Surface Duo resale market skyrocket. Anyways.

I happened to be back in my hometown with some buddies for our fantasy football league, and the morning of the draft, a couple of us went to a flea market. There was a retro gaming booth there, and there was a PS Vita PCH-1000 that I just had to have. Ya know, because it has an OLED screen, but it also reminded me of the PSP that my Mom let me use. Within an hour of getting back to my hotel room, the Vita was jailbroken and a couple of Funturbo Memory Card Adapters were ordered from Amazon.

The Vita has served its purpose, even though I’m still holding out hope for an original Vita grip that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. From there, I was hooked on trying to play retro games on dedicated hardware, as opposed to trying to make things work on my phones and tablets. That being said, I decided to go on Amazon and see what kind of retro handhelds I could get my hands on.

Making a Decision

Miyoo Mini and RG353V

After a bunch of hemming and hawing between the Retroid Pocket 3 and the Anbernic RG353V, I opted for the latter. Not only does it come in the DMG colorway, but it also runs both Linux and Android, meaning that I get the best of both worlds! Well, I would, if I actually ended up installing a custom firmware on it. Instead, I played it for a few weeks, but the Miyoo Mini stole my heart.

I won’t gush about the Miyoo Mini, as that’s already been done over and over and over again. But seriously, the Mini is still a fantastic handheld, and I immediately jumped on the Miyoo Mini Plus once that was announced. If it weren’t for other handhelds getting released every week, I would probably have all the colors.

The Retro Handheld Collection Multiplies

Since that fateful night of watching Stubbs and Rob, my collection of handhelds has grown exponentially. It started with the Vita, RG353V, and Miyoo Mini. But now, I’ve added the Miyoo Mini Plus, Retroid Pocket 2S, RGB30, Retroid Pocket 4, Anbernic RG353P, TrimUI Smart Pro, RG353M, R33S, RG35XX Plus, and have an RGB20SX on the way. I’ve started collecting original handhelds too, such as the Game Boy Color, GBA SP, DSi XL, PSP 3000, and most recently, I snagged an original DMG for a decent price.

Andrews Retro Handheld Collection

Not to mention all of the x86 handhelds at my disposal, which all started with the Steam Deck LCD. I even have the MSI Claw, but that’s currently collecting dust until I get the energy to futz with the new updates that recently rolled out. I’m more content using my Lenovo Legion Deck and Steam Deck OLED, along with whatever retro handheld shows up in the mail because of a random AliExpress sale.

There’s Nothing Quite Like It

Once I get enough energy to actually start paring down my collection of handhelds, the RG353V will be staying with me. I don’t use it anymore, but every once in a while, I’ll charge it up and play a game or two for a little while. It’s still kind of the “grail” of vertical retro handhelds, as there hasn’t really been anything quite like it since its release. Hell, only the RG405V has gotten close, but it didn’t instantly capture my attention like the 353V.

It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, but Anbernic is still selling the RG353 V. You can get it over at AliExpress and it’s actually on sale for $66 with free shipping!

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