Is Ouya the Emulation Panacea That I Wish For?
April 17, 2014 10:06 AM   Subscribe

I want to play old school videogames (Atari 2600, NES, SNES) with my kids. I have a Wii right now with Homebrew Channel and a handful of Virtual Console games, but the controller feels clunky with NES games and it is not very easy to do SNES or 2600 games. I have read about Ouya at various places and it looks like a pretty smooth system. For those who have an Ouya - is it very easy to load emulators and ROMS? Do they play naturally?

I can do some (very very) basic hacks - I got Homebrew Channel on the Wii, for example - but I put a great premium on simplicity and elegance. Ideally, I would like to have the emulators built right into the Ouya interface so that I am worried that an update will break things.

Ideally, my 7 year old would be able to turn on the machine and navigate through it himself. Ideally, the controller would feel like it was a natural fit for the games rather than a reasonable substitute. Ideally, the ROMS could sit on an SD card or USB stick and feel like they were a part of machine.

It seems crazy to spend $140 on an emulator when I already have one, but if OUYA makes it simple and easy it would be worth it to me.
posted by AgentRocket to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
For Atari games, what about getting a couple of the Flashback multi-game consoles? That way you have the added advantage of a real joystick.
posted by jbickers at 10:35 AM on April 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

I just got an Ouya and so far, so good. I've only yet set up N64 emulation, but it was very easy and the games I've played care working great. It's considerably easier than anynother emulation I've done.

Bonus: it runs XBMC. The official Ouya version has some issues with audio but the SMTP version works great, particularly if you run xunity's 0 cache tweak.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:33 PM on April 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also: you may not need to spend $140. A lot of the gamers who bought Ouya consoles right out of the gate are disappointed by the limited selection of games and are unloading theirs cheap. I got mine off Craigslist for $70, including a second controller.

$70 for an XBMC box that also emulates? Sweet deal, I thought.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:36 PM on April 17, 2014

The Raspberry Pi might suit you. I've not used either of mine for emulation myself, but there are plenty of tutorials available on setting it up. They're cheap and infinitely hackable (we use one of ours as a server and the other as an OpenELEC media player, for example). The Model B costs $35, cases, SD card cables and controller will cost extra but you should be able to get everything you need for under $60 in total.
posted by peteyjlawson at 1:27 PM on April 17, 2014

I think the Ouya would be great for your purposes. Emulators work great (some difficulties with the N64 emulator), very clean interface that feels natural. Setting up the emulators is as easy as downloading them from the official Ouya store or sideloading them (somewhat more difficult). I did get a PS3 controller and set that up.

I haven't used the Raspberry Pi, but I think the Ouya is a much simpler, easier solution.
posted by crazy with stars at 1:35 PM on April 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's very easy to find modded Xboxes (the original, not the 360) for super cheap. Install CoinOPS. Enjoy pretty much every console and home PC there ever was.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:32 AM on April 18, 2014

Yeah, it's been *years* since I've looked at it, but in 2007ish, a friend had a modded xbox with about every emu I knew of at the time. Atari, NES, SNES, N64, Sega, MAME, and some I hadn't heard about..
posted by k5.user at 6:55 AM on April 18, 2014

ouya is already past its sell-by-date, but it's still decent. couple months ago spamazon had it on sale for usd60, but now it's back up to 99, same price as firetv in town - which has better specs - but only a remote not a game controller. 70 on craigslist with 2 controllers sounds like a steal.

I have both. I don't exactly like the ouya controller, I prefer my wired usb 360 controller (10 years old and still 100% solid) which works great on both ouya and firetv.

I did order a cheap rechargeable controller for firetv, sort of as a novelty. (but, seriously, the S controller may be the greatest good Microsoft hath ever unleashed upon this world). Nyko's seems better than the non-rechargeable spamazon official controller of twice the price, we'll see.

oh, and, the ouya controller works with firetv by default. ok that part was random.

both devices run emulators equally well.

the ouya, you can root and even replace the OS - I have kitkat/4.4 on mine, now - I use it for gathering data - gpsd/ntpd, ads-b - generic overpowered Rpi-type stuff.

the firetv has been rooted and that will eventually be released into the wilderness. but honestly I prefer it because it has a primeTV app which you will never get on generic android.

ouya games pool: crap.
amazon games pool: utter crap. even if you are 5 years old.

get the firetv and your controller of choice, s'what'm'sayin. is like 120 bucks.
it is not a small amount of money. but it makes the goal so easy. I NEVER use my desktop at all anymore (unless I feel the burning need to play borderlands2) - but I use these wacky little lo-power hi-performance doodads all the time.

the rhetorical question is what do you want to do with it
posted by dorian at 4:52 PM on April 18, 2014

I use OUYA running Mamedroid arcade emulator and it works like a dream. Literally, I've been dreaming of introducing many of these classic arcade games to my 8 year old son. Now he's as much of a fan of Rampage! as I am.

You can get Mamedriod for free from the Ouya store. You will also need an app to move your files around. I use Filepwn I think.

Then the hard part is getting the game roms and putting them in the right place on the Ouya. I use an external drive plugged into the Ouya's USB port because the Ouya's 8gigs fills up fast.

More good info on Ouya and emulators:
posted by bwee_ask at 12:48 PM on June 23, 2014

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