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GSD-1988 (Nintendo NES clone) review

Purchase

The Nintendo NES console is the most popular 8 bit console ever. Because its wide popularity, it is also the most cloned console. Literally hundreds of clones of the original hardware exist, the so called Famiclones. Some of the clones are of really bad quality and does not offer much than playing some built-in games, but others are more advanced, presenting new design, up to date features and additional software. When browsing for some retro consoles at the Ilianci stock bazaar, I noticed a lot of Famiclones from various manufacturers. Some of them looked exactly like the original, while other look like new consoles, have gun and mouse. The only way to identify these consoles what really they are, is to ask the seller to show you a demo or tell you what games it plays. The most often answer for the console games is Super Mario, which clears the doubts about the type of console. While I was buying another cloned hardware - the 16 BIT Mega Drive 2 (Sega Mega Drive 2 clone), I made a deal to buy another console, which I liked because it had a keyboard on which I can code. The second console was GSD (GD-1988) 48 in 1 with two cartridges included. The deal was about the consoles and 8 cartridges total, for 80 BGN. As I calculated the price of the Mega Drive 2 console as 40 BGN, the Famiclone GSD-1988 also cost me 40 BGN. I got two Sega Mega Drive cartridges - Davis Cup World Tour Tennis and Superman, and six NES cartridges - 2 included in the GSD package - 48 in 1 and 17in1, and four cartridges separately - 133in1, 1000000in1, Iron Tank and 80 in 1. As I went home, after successfully installing the Sega compatible, I went to try the famiclone as well.

Package

GSD-1988 console - package. The console comes in a big colorful box, sized 56.5/31/6.3 cm. The box have mascot, the GSD logo and list of the 48 games included on the top. At the center is a picture of 2 yellow cartridges on the left with the 48 in 1 cartridge and a compilation cartridge. Right to the cartridges is a picture of the console itself, which looks like ordinary keyboard with the QWERTY layout, with the only difference the cartridge cover with button at the middle and one red led and button at the right. Coming out under the keyboard is the cord for the mouse pictured under it. There are also two controllers shot, looking similar to Playstation pads, but with six buttons on the front and no side buttons. On the right of the keyboard is a picture of little girl playing some learning game with an old man, involving paper, pencils and cards. LEARNING SOFTWARE PLAY & LEARN text is above them. On the bottom are the model name GD-1988 and HIGH TECH COMPUTER EDUCATIONAL TV GAME text, then on red background is the MADE IN CHINA sentence. On the other side of the box is the same pictures, so there is no front or back on the box. On the top and bottom sides of the box is again the mascot, the GSD logo and the list of the 48 games along with the slogan. On the right and left sides are only the mascot, the GSD logo and the slogan.

GSD-1988 console - package contents. After opening the package, the contents are sealed in a nylon and put in a Styrofoam. Included from top left to right are a controller, two cartridges, another controller, the console itself (the keyboard), the TV-GAME AC ADAPTOR and the mouse. Included under the cartridges are also the RF cable and Audio/Video cinch cables. The whole package is very lightweight and easy to transport. The controller cables are short - only 60 cm, while the mouse cable is 72 cm. The mouse is a ball type, small one with two buttons. At least the audio/video cable is long 130 cm, so I can place the console far from the TV or the monitor. On the keyboard the model is written with red letters - GSD-1988 and on the right is the COMPUTER text, also in red letters. On the cover is inscribed a Chinese text, while on the right is inscribed a planet with satellite, LED and POWER under the power led and the power button respectively. The keyboard have the Windows keys, plus a Rest right to the Scroll Lock key. Except for these small differences, the lack of Num Lock, Caps Lock and Scroll Lock led, the rest of the keyboard look like an ordinary keyboard. On the top right side are the RF, V, A and DC plugs. On the right side at the upper part are the two controller ports, without any indication of ports numbers. Under the keyboard is placed the OPERATION INSTRUCTION, consisting of 6 pages with a picture of three different keyboards and a slogan at the bottom right:

Play while you learn
learn while you play

GSD-1988 console - package contents removed from the styrofoam and the cartridge cover opened. The Intruduction describes the keys, which is funny to read with the spelling mistakes and the descriptions for example: F1-F12 is peculiar keys. They have different functions in different programme., then is the description with guide where to plug the different parts and computer repair guide. Another explanations about the power, the cables and the console itself are on the next pages. The Joystick explanations puts light to what the additional three buttons over the main three do - they are continuous emmision keys. At the back is the Simple problems diagnose and clear pages, with some easy to follow guides for fixation of the console. The instruction is made from very thin paper of newspapers quality and when reading, you can see the text of the opposite page, but it is informative enough about the package contents and how to connect the console to the TV SET and the controller ports. The cartridge cover of the keyboard is easily opened where a cartridge have to be put before starting the console.

Installation

GSD console on TV with the 17 in one cartridge. Installing the console shall be as easy as connecting it to the TV via the RF or A/V cables, insert the cartridge in the cartridge slot, plug the adaptor cable in the console, then plug the adaptor to the power socket and press the power button. Again it did not turned that easy, because the adaptor did not plug in the Shucko socket. Having already the same experience with the Sega adaptor, I already had the Schucko to USA adaptor, but I wanted to be able to use both consoles at same time. I went for another choose - I bought an Shucko to 3 way Schucko adapter and cut the plastic at the upper part from one of external sockets then covered it to be safe. The adaptor plugged nicely and it was strongly seated as well. I connected the console with the 17in1 to my old SAMSUNG CK21S1TB TV, and pressed Power. It turned out that the 17in1 cartridge was 72in1 instead, but the picture shown and the music was good indication that the console works fine. I have tried turning the console without a cartridge, but nothing displayed - there were no built-in games. It turned out the 17in1 also known as 72in1 was in fact only 5 games with different levels and names, but this came as no surprise to me. I have tried the other cartridges and they worked all fine.

Usage

GSD console on TV with the 48 in 1 cartridge and G BASIC. Using the console is as easy as any other console. The Joysticks even if not of highest quality are good enough for playing games. The mouse come very handy in the 48 in 1 cartridge at the menu screen then in the games. The mouse is very fast, even if with ball. It can be used for navigation even when put on leg or other tiny surface. The keyboard keys are hard to press and require extra force applied for some keys, but work and can be used, for example in the G BASIC, or the other titles included with the console. The Rest key works flawlessly for resetting the console, which I used a lot, when trying the 1000000in1 cartridge, which had only a few games, but with different graphics, levels or characters. I found annoying that the mouse and the Controller 1 are on same port, so I had to change the mouse and the controller often, when playing the games. In some educational titles, the function keys have their usage as well, so the keyboard is almost fully used. I still did not find the usage for the Windows and Alt keys though. The lack of Caps Lock led did not make its usage harder, once you are used to it. I tried the console through the RF cable and the shown picture looked more sharp than the picture through the RF cable from the Mega Drive 2, but not as clear as when using the A/V cables.

Hardware

GSD-1988 console opened with seen main board, cables, additional boards, cover and keyboard membranes. When swapping cartridges, they not always fitted nice. Often they sat curved and the console did not start at all. I had a look at the cartridge slot and saw that two capacitors were placed at the way of the cartridges. That is why the cartridges were not put properly so often. The capacitors moved from the force applied, which was hazardous for the console itself. First I moved them carefully far from the slot, but later I decided to open the console, to place them more properly and see the contents of the keyboard. Inside the keyboard were two membranes for the keys and above them a very small board with the cartridge slot. As I did not saw any chip on it, I did not believe they managed to make it without any chips. I removed the main board and the chip was under it, placed as a drop on the bottom side of the board. A cable was going to the right, connecting it with the board holding the power button, the controller plugs and the keyboard interfaces. The small boards and the cheap electronic components on them, for sure reduce the price a lot and make the console possible at this low price. After carefully placing the capacitors away from the cartridge slot I closed the console and continued to play with it.

Software

GSD-1988 - 48 in 1 cartridge front view. The Nintendo NES console being the most popular console of the 1980ies had a wide variety of software. Even if with limited capabilities and strict license policy by the creator, it has big amount of games, educational titles and even programming languages, graphics and audio applications. It had official commercial support till 1995, but after that year, it received a great deal of software, also hacks, translations, patches and even new releases by commercial and homebrew developers. The GSD-1988 console as a Nintendo NES compatible, can play all these games, with the plus of having applications usable only with keyboard. The 48 in 1 cartridge contain some very good titles for gaming, education, coding or pure fun. I was unable to find any G BASIC manual, but by old experience, trial and error, some small programs worked on it, with the inability to save them, being a show stopper for coding on it directly. The shop from where I bought it also have other cartridges, and the other shops next to it offer games for these consoles as well. I was told that the single games cost more than the compilations, which is no surprise, seeing all that compilations containing less than 10 games with different graphics and start levels. Even the 1000000in1 cartridge which I bought contains only six games, repeated over and over again till the impressive number one million. The wide availability of cartridges makes me not to worry about further obtaining of new titles. Still have to look what I am buying, or take the risk of buying some games which I have, repeated continuously.

Accessories

I have only the mouse accessory, included with the console, and it worked like a real mouse - very fast and responsible, not as a joystick in mouse case.

Final Words

Having a compatible clone of one of the most popular consoles ever is a big plus, especially when having a keyboard, programming and educational kits and some cartridges. I do not regret buying it, even 24 years after its release, it is a nice console to have and tinker with. I like my NES compatible console. I can play the games on emulators which exist for almost any platform, including the classic Amiga. I have played some NES games on my A1200 and A4000 with the CoolNES and AmiNES emulators. Now I can also enjoy playing NES games on very good cloned hardware, directly on the old TV set in lowres resolution with old fashioned controller. The ability to test the games on real hardware is not to be omitted. I can experiment with the G BASIC as well, so it has some educational value too.


Comments:

Comments to date: 2. Page 1 of 1. Average Rating:

Soha   Egypt 

12:35pm on Saturday, June 24th, 2017 

Hello, Would you please give me a clear screenshot of the adaptor (input & output), I know it is a strange question; but I've version glk-2010 and tried to start it once but I got a white smoke!!, guess I used the wrong adaptor. of course I've to fix... read more »

Naudi   BRAZIL 

8:19pm on Sunday, April 24th, 2016 

Is possible make games style street fighter 2, mario bros or contra with G-BASIC ou FamilyBasic ?

Ventzi:  No. G-BASIC is for simple games. The games like Street Fighter 2 and Mario Bros are coded in Assembler.



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