Today I came across the most peculiar videogame console at a local thrift store. I knew immediately what it was when I spotted it, but the thing that prompted me to plunk down $5 for it was its sheer design lunacy. I just could not resist.
The Super Joy Voyager is a Nintendo Entertainment System/Famicom clone unit. Because the original NES (Famicom in asian markets) had such widespread popularity, many black market vendors created their own version. These units have ranged in design styles to varying degrees of success. In fact I already own a Famicom clone that looks identical to the original Famicom with the exception of the faceplate. Some of these clones are cased in mock PlayStation cases, or even stranger N64 controller housings. The Super Joy Voyager is a bit of an oddity among this style of clones in that it is housed in a GameBoy casing. The outer casing features the following.:
- Control pad
- Four face buttons
- Select, reset, and start buttons
- Audio speaker
- Joystick port similar to Genesis or Atari
- AC input
- Battery compartment (4 AAA)
- LCD/TV/Off switch
- RCA Video/Audio output
- Cartridge slot
Because they originate from the black market their quality is somewhat dubious. Even more questionable is the content provided with them. Often the clones include a number of illegally copied games. The Super Joy Voyager is no different as this unit features 84 games. Among the titles include the well known Galaga, Galaxian, 1942, Arkanoid, Dig Dug, Paperboy, Gradius, Spy vs. Spy, and Xevious. The rest of the titles are much lesser known or never released outside of asian markets. Piracy does not always go hand in hand as some Famicom clones sometimes include a cartridge slot to connect original games to. This clone has a cartridge slot, but oddly, it only fits the single cartridge ever made for the unit. Turning the Power Joy Voyager on without the cartridge labeled PJ-008 only yields a purple screen on the television. The decision to include a cartridge instead of hard wiring the ROMs to the unit seems very strange. I doubt I will ever come across another cartridge for this thing.
There are two controllers that connect simultaneously to the bottom of the unit. Both controllers are unique in their design. The first controller is your standard fair run of the mill buttons. The directional pad however is a stick that can best be likened to a cheap version of the NeoGeo Color’s superb “clicky” control stick. The other controller is simply an ugly abomination. You know how sometimes things go wrong in the womb for twins. One turns out fine and the other turns out “different.” This would be the a case of the latter. The second controller has your standard buttons, a normal directional pad, a trigger under the right handle, and a nozzle for a light gun wrapped around the upper edge. So far I have only been able to use it with “Clay Shooting” which is the third option from Nintendo’s Duck Hunt. Why they would go through the hassle and not include Duck Hunt is beyond me.
The coup de gras for the mediocrity of this unit lies in the monochromatic screen. You cannot play the Famicom games on this screen. Instead this feature is used for the “668-in-1” LCD block games. Some versions of the games are, like the ROMs, well known like Tetris or Breakout. The rest are completely irrational or unplayable. Spending more than a minute with them will most likely make your eyes bleed. I value my eyesight too much to review each of the questionable 668 games. I am willing to gather most are merely variations in difficulty on the same few titles. Oh, how did I fail to mention thep absolute worst feature? When turning the LCD on that this thing plays the same music on the loudest volume setting it can. I recognize the tune as a famous Christmas holiday song but have yet to identify it.
The one thing that this unit does have going in its favor is the sticker on the back which says “This device complies with part 15 of the FCC Rules [sic].” I secretly pray that it does.