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The GameKing is a handheld console released by Timetop in 2003. It is a cartridge-based system designed for the Hong Kong market, and is based on original, albeit primitive, hardware specifications. It was followed by a GameKing II and GameKing III.

Console overview[]

The GameKing runs on a 65C02-based processor, comparable to the 6502 capabilities of the Famicom/NES (but it is not a Famiclone). It outputs in black-and-white at an incredibly tiny 48 x 32 pixel resolution (in comparison, the original Game Boy outputs at 160 x 144 pixels). The plastic shell is loosely modeled after the Game Boy Advance, and was produced in various colors.

The original GameKing model features three built-in games (Drifter, 2003, and Mine Battle), with the ability to run additional games via cartridges; some are single-game cartridges, while others are 4-in-1 multicarts. Most, if not all, of the games are clones of Famicom/NES titles, with varying degrees of accuracy. The cartridges' box art are stolen from various sources; for one game (Ares), its cover image was stolen from an artist on DeviantArt.

GameKing II[]

The GameKing II is a second model of the GameKing released in 2004. It features an increased audio amplifier and a backlight, which can be turned on or off. All other features (including the three built-in games) are identical to the first model.

There is a colored background image affixed to the back of the screen (similar to many bootleg-affiliated LCD games); this is commonly considered hinderous to playing the games, especially with the backlight turned on. The backgrounds reportedly vary depending on the unit, and is usually designed to only match one built-in game (while being completely illogical in setting for the others).

GameKing III[]

The GameKing III was released in 2005. Unlike the GameKing II, it is largely different in terms of hardware, featuring a full color screen. However, the console outputs in a nonstandard, hexagonal pixel pattern, similar to a honeycomb; creating a very strange look across all games.

Rather than a 3-in-1 menu, the console only includes one built-in game (Galaxy Crisis). Additional GameKing III-exclusive cartridges were released to take advantage of its color capabilities. It is also backwards-compatible with all original GameKing titles, but they all run in a three-color RGB palette.

Further successors[]

A Famiclone-based console - also called the GameKing III - was originally planned to be released by Timetop; prior to its release, however, it was rebranded as the "LTPS Handy Game". The console features similar games to those seen in the "TV Joystick 36 in 1" plug & play.

A series of GameKing clone consoles were produced beginning in the late 2000s, with production continuing into the mid-2010s. Similar to many "POP Station"-like LCD games, these consoles often have the user swap out the LCD screen "cartridge" to switch between games; a few later models, in a quite strange fashion, have the user swipe a plastic card to change games. These consoles reuse some games from the GameKing library, while others are original. The GameKing clone library later served as basis for the "1.8" Handheld Games, a set of proprietary color handhelds launched in 2012. The extent of TimeTop's involvement with these consoles is currently unclear; though curiously, one GameKing clone console (model PCP-926) was released under the LTPS Handy Game name.

Games (GameKing)[]

(Note: an asterisk [*] indicates a game variant exclusive to multicarts. Games without an asterisk were sold on single-game cartridges.)

Built-in games[]

  • 2003* - A 1942 clone.
  • Drifter* - A clone of Adventure Island/Wonder Boy with the player controlling a mouse. The music is sampled from Castlevania.
  • Mine Battle* - A Bomberman clone; referred to as just "Miner" in the game select menu. Later hacked to create Popper; Popper uses music from the City Connection and Tengen's version of Tetris. The music is (presumably) sampled from the Flash game Spybot: The Nightfall Incident.

Cartridge releases[]

  • 2004 - A 1943 clone. Later hacked to create Tantivy*.
  • Adventure Legend Carlo - A Super Mario Bros. clone; the title screen just reads "Caro" [sic]. The music is a poor loop of the map theme from Adventure Island II. Later hacked to create Bad Boy*, Dino Adventure Legend, and Farer*. Dino Adventure Legend's title screen reads "Dragon".
  • Air War* - A side-scrolling shooter. Later hacked to create Airforce*.
  • Airhero* - A vertically-scrolling shooter.
  • Ares - A clone of Zanac. Later hacked to create Peace Kavass* and Revenger*.
  • Armada* - A vertically-scrolling shooter.
  • Arrow* - A Pooyan clone; the enemies make screaming cat sounds when attacked.
  • Blackjack* - A blackjack game.
  • Blaster* - A Blaster Master clone. Later hacked to create Chariot* and Nagual*; Nagual is not to be confused for the separate game of this title.
  • Brains* - A Moai-kun clone; oddly, the character in the intro (presumably representing the player) is Waixing's logo mascot. Later hacked to create Challenge*.
  • Captain* - Appears to be a clone of Tokoro-san no Mamoru mo Semeru mo.
  • Chaser* - The player controls a tank submerged in water, and must shoot at planes flying above.
  • Cleverhawk* - A Star Force clone.
  • CS-I* - A Contra-like game that is seemingly based on Counter-Strike. Later hacked to create Catman*.
  • Cycloneact* - A side-scrolling action-shooting game; the player can roll into a ball as an additional attack.
  • Duck Man - Clone of the Darkwing Duck NES game; even using Darkwing in the game's opening intro.
  • Explorer* - A Gradius clone.
  • F-1 2004 Racing - Clone of F-1 Race for the Famicom; the title screen reads "Race F1-2004". The game features a sampled countdown sound yelling "3, 2, 1, GO, Y'ALL!". Later hacked to create Racing Car*, Supermotor, and Speed Boat*.
  • Feichuan VII - A vertically-scrolling shooter where the player is only given one life; the outer walls form a clear path, and touching the wall will destroy the ship upon contact. The player will get a game over within a fraction of a second if they do not dodge the first wall instantly. The title screen reads "Shenzhou Liuhao".
  • Fighter* - A one-on-one fighting game similar to Street Fighter.
  • General* - A side-scrolling action game where the player attacks enemies with a knife.
  • Happy Ball - A Lode Runner clone. Later hacked to create Searcher*.
  • Happy Garden* - A Circus Charlie clone.
  • Happy Killer - A strangely-modified version of Happy Ball where the player can shoot enemies. Due to the GameKing only having two buttons, one button shoots while the other digs behind the player (meaning the player cannot dig in two directions). The title screen just reads "Killer".
  • HERO* - Clone of the Batman: Return of the Joker NES game; Batman is used in the game's opening intro.
  • Lanneret - A clone of Choplifter; the title screen reads "Hawk". Later hacked to create Thunderbird*.
  • Lightsword* - A top-down game where the player shoots at enemies.
  • Nagual* - A clone of Spartan X/Kung Fu.
  • Penguin - A loose adaption of either Antarctic Adventure or Tux Racer.
  • Pet* - A Bird Week clone. Later hacked to create Mother Love*.
  • Phantom Fighter* - A horizontally-scrolling shooter, possibly based on Burai Fighter or the Silver Surfer NES game. Features a character resembling a Stormtrooper in its opening intro. Later hacked to create DraculaZone* and Seabedwar*. Dracula Zone's title screen reads "Surf Eidolon".
  • Risker* - A racing game similar to Spy Hunter.
  • Sea War* - The player controls a submarine, and must attack incoming enemies from above and below. Somewhat similar to the arcade game Depthcharge, though that game has the player solely shoot downward. Later hacked to create Sea Guard.
  • PocketTank* - A top-down shooting game similar to Jackal. Later hacked to create Seafight*.
  • Seatercel - A vertically-scrolling shooter, possibly based on Gyrodine or Tiger-Heli. The title screen reads "Sea Tercle". Later hacked to create Air Wrestle*.
  • Soldier - A loose adaption of Contra. Later hacked to create Bobby* and Might*.
  • Soldier* (2) - A side-scrolling platformer-shooter; different than the single-cart release. Features an ability select option on the pause screen. Later hacked to create Magician*, Nobody*, and Metal Deform*.
  • Starwars* - A clone of Choujikuu Yousai - Macross.
  • Street Hero - A clone of Double Dragon. Later hacked to create Spectask* and Terminator*.
  • Trojan Legend - A loose adaption of Mega Man; the title screen just reads "Trojan". Later hacked to create Dead Shot* and Manhunt*.
  • Valiant* - A side-scrolling shooter.
  • Elfin* - A vertically-scrolling shooter, possibly based on King's Knight or Adventures of Dino-Riki. Uses sprites from Saiyuuki World. Later hacked to create Three Battles* and Warrior*.
  • Whirlybird* - A vertically-scrolling shooter. Later hacked to create Sortie*.

Games (GameKing III)[]

Built-in game[]

  • Galaxy Crisis - A vertically-scrolling shooter.

Cartridge releases[]

  • Adventure - Clone of The Flintstones for Sega Genesis. Notably, Timetop also created an NES-based (VT03) port of the same game (under the name Stoneage).
  • Falcon Corps - A Jackal clone; it is closer to the original game than PocketTank.
  • Fly Car - An enhanced version of the original GameKing's F-1 2004 Racing.
  • Panzer - An enhanced version of the original GameKing's Blaster.
  • Search Action - A vertically-scrolling shooter.
  • Urgent Action - A Contra clone; it is closer to the original game than Soldier.
  • Vagrant - An Adventures of Dino Riki clone. The music is sampled from the title screen theme of some black box NES games (e.g. Tennis and Baseball).

Trivia[]

  • In the ROM code, GameKing games use raw, uncompressed bitmaps for graphics data. This is an uncommon strategy compared to other 8 and 16-bit consoles, and is presumably coded this way due to how low the screen resolution is.[1]
  • The GameKing I uses two AAA batteries, while the GameKing II uses three AAAs. Strangely, one battery socket in the GameKing II is solely linked to the backlight and audio amplifier; meaning the system can operate with only two batteries inserted (with those capabilities disabled).
  • There is a console with an ID of "YX-2036" that is labeled "GameKing I", with almost identical casing to the GameKing II; however, it is seemingly not manufactured by TimeTop, and is not compatible with actual GameKing games. The console appears to feature built-in software with faux-"cartridges", similar to the GameKing clone systems. It is unclear if it is based on the same GameKing clone hardware as the comparable clone units.[2]

References[]

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