The GCW-Zero is a portable gaming device designed for playing retro games — basically anything up until the era of the original PlayStation. It packs a 3.5 inch display, a 1 GHz MIPS processor, and and an open source Linux-based operating system called OpenDingux.

Thanks to that operating system, you’ll be able to run a range of apps on the platform, including emulators for classic gaming consoles.

Earlier this year the developers of the GCW-Zero took to Kickstarter to raise funds for the project, with the goal of shipping the first units to backers in March. But the handheld game console is also expected to be available to the public in May.


Retail partner Ithic is already showing a list price of $159 for the GCW-Zero, but it’s not yet available for order.

A large part of the appeal of this device is its open source software. It’s not the fastest or cheapest portable gaming device. You can pick up a JXD gaming tablet running Android for a much lower price, for instance.

The GCW-Zero has a 1 GHz Ingenic JZ4470 MIPS processor, Vivante GC860 graphics, and a 3.5 inch, 320 x 240 pixel display. The thing is, it doesn’t really need more than that to handle classic games — most older console games were designed for low resolution screens.

The device has 512MB of RAM and 16GB of storage as well as a microSD card slot for extra space. There’s an HDMI port if you want to hook up an external display.

While the GCW-Zero isn’t available for purchase yet, there’s already a very active user forum for the device (and a somewhat less active developer sub-forum).

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11 replies on “GCW-Zero $159 Linux-based retro gaming handheld coming in May”

  1. Interesting but think I’ll stick with Pandora. Pandora is dearer but is worth it – plays more systems + has keyboard/is a mini computer

    1. This machine is an open source multi-platform emulation machine.

      The only multi-platforms you get with the 3DS are under Mario.

      1. If it breaks after 2 months, it’s OK? That’s insane. They could have gone with recessed controls a la PSPGo or a 3DS thumbstick.

        1. They didnt copy it, I mean yes it basically is but it has true analog and psp go really? 3ds thumsticks good but really isnt analog

          1. 3DS thumbsticks may be proprietary, so I’ll go through this another way:

            The PSP’s analog nub is infamous for being terribly unusable, so much so that Sony obviously dropped it off for the Vita, at the expense of that system’s portability, So why copy it if there were alternate ways of making analog controls? Why not put a real analog stick there? This just makes it look cheap and like a poor PSP copycat, of which many already exist.

            They could have at least gone the way of the OpenPandora portable, which has analog nubs with proper recessed concave nubs:

  2. I’ve been monitoring the progress of this and while the screen is too small for my old eyes it reminds me enough of my old Dingoo A320 to make me want to wish it nothing but success!
    That JXD S7300 has turned out to be loads of fun, and quite usable as a tablet too with the NCCE 0.3b firmware and new mapping tool.

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