Monday, June 16, 2014

The vsMaxx MaxxPlay

When I first started to collect Famiclones, the only ones I could find were the handheld, N64 controller inspired ones. My very first being a Power Joy that I picked up, on a whim, after seeing a handful of them scattered around different thrift stores, but never having picked one up. Shortly after that I found a Super Joy 3, and after that was the vsMaxx MaxxPlay.

The console (left) and 2nd player controller look virtually identical
The MaxxPlay just isn't the same breed of Famiclone as the other handheld Famiclones, it stands out in quite a few ways. Most notably is the fact that the MaxxPlay has the best build quality out of any of my other handheld Famiclones. Although it does look like the typical Famiclone in an N64 style controller, this one feels far superior and a lot more solid when you hold it in your hands.

As soon as I first played the MaxxPlay I could immediately feel how different it was from the Super Joy and Power Joy systems I own. The plastic is substantially more rigid, the d-pad (and working joystick, might I add) is more accurate, and the buttons have a really nice springy response. Another step above is that the intro screen is a very well illustrated set of instructions on how to use the system, in case for some reason you couldn't figure it out otherwise.
 The basic design is much the same as many plug n play Famiclones: N64 controller styling, adjusted to suit the needs of the system dwelling within, with a Famicom 60 pin connector attached to the bottom and using the memory card slot as the battery pack receptacle. While also integrating a light gun, the MaxxPlay has added LEDs on either side of the barrel. And, just like the Power Joy, the plug for player 2, as well as the system's hardwired AV cables, are located on the bottom of the light gun handle.

Bottom of player 2 controller
The main system functions well with 95 built-in games, but the 60 pin connector on the bottom is plagued by the same tight, uncomfortable placement as all other plug n play Famiclones. Although this time there isn’t enough space to make a good enough connection for most of my Famicom cartridges to even work. I have found out that, by their poorly made nature, pirate carts work slightly better. Even so, if you accidentally bump the cartridge you’re going to need to reset the system and try again.

The second player controller is a feature that intrigues me as well as confuses me, all at the same time. The second player controller is completely identical to the main system, without the integrated battery pack holder, but they did leave a bit of it to become a stand for the controller. The second player controller works just as well as the main system controller, but it too has a built-in light gun, which I found a bit excessive, but whatever.

I like the second player controller so much, I actually own four of them.
Even though it's plagued with tight space issues and a 60 pin connector that only works sometimes, the vsMaxx MaxxPlay is still a system worth owning, simply for the build quality and games built-in. The 95 built-in games are hacks of their original counterparts, but you'll probably find them all fairly familiar. The solid plastic and very good controls push this, easily, above all other handheld Famiclones I own.
...and I like the console so much, I actually own three of them!

1 comment:

  1. Anyone know where I can find a spare battery pack online? I picked one up at a flea market for $4 but the battery pack was missing.