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The POP Station is a Chinese electronic handheld game, designed to resemble the PlayStation Portable. The technology is similar to Nintendo's Game & Watch Super Color series, where the LCD panel is covered by strips of coloured plastic, but with illumination added. Because of the often poor animations (even by the standard of handheld LCD games) and the overall bad design, it is difficult to understand what is happening in several games.

Overview[]

The original POP Station models (referred to as the POP Station Value Pack on the box) feature one built-in game, chosen out of a selection of four. A set of earphones and a wrist strap are also included.

POP Station Silicon Die

POP Station Silicon Die

The available selection of titles includes:

  • City Fighter - A Street Fighter clone. Due to the limited graphics, the fighters appear to be throwing their own arms and legs at each other.
  • Soccer - A generic soccer game with players moving vertically.
  • Submarine Invasion - A clone of Casio's CG-330 Submarine Battle from 1985. Shooting game involving a submarine gunning down planes.
  • Fortress Guardian - A clone of Casio's CG-370 Heli-Battle from 1987. A shooting game where the player must keep their bases safe.

There is an additional, somewhat more common model of the POP Station that instead features a "Brick Game" program.

Similar systems[]

Due to the ubiquity of the technology used, many different consoles exist with nearly identical hardware to the POP Station. The name "POP Station" is commonly dubbed for these types of handhelds due to its infamy; though in actuality, many of these devices predate the POP Station in creation, and it is not the sole "source" such games originated from.

Although some POP Station-like handhelds are made by the same still-unknown manufacturer of the POP Station (such as the NEO Double Games), most are made by different Chinese companies with different shapes; some have an original appearance, while others instead mock other famous handhelds or consoles. For example, the PCP Station is another PSP clone, the Mini PolyStation 3 has the shape of a miniaturized PS3 and the WLL resembles a Wii Remote. The games are often built with cheap materials and are not very durable, particularly with models that require you to switch games by switching the LCD screens.

Certain POP Station clones allow you to play different games changing the LCD screen cartridge. This is the same method used by electronic handheld systems of the 80's like the V-Tech Variety or the Bandai Digi Casse, and in the 90's by the Tiger R-Zone. The cartridge contains the LCD display, while the game hardware is built into the console; the screen triggers a switch to tell the system what game is inserted. The original four POP Station games often appear on these systems, but usually in pure black-and-white rather than with a color overlay. Sometimes they are extensively hacked to change graphics and sounds; a notable example is Chanticleer Hegemony, a hack of City Fighter that turns the characters into chickens and adds sampled clucking noises. A handful of other games are also commonly included, such as Super Mary (clone of the Super Mario Bros. Game & Watch), Anti-Terrorism (a top-down shooting game), and many generic racing games.

Possibly the most infamous POP Station is the single-game handheld Laden vs. USA. The system features actual 9/11 images on the package and the unit, with the backdrop showing the World Trade Center collapsing. The game inside is identical to the POP Station game Submarine Invasion, which in itself is a modified version of Casio's Submarine Battle.

In terms of manufacturing, POP Station-like hardware was largely abandoned by the 2010s (with the exception of "brick games", which are still common). Several POP Station clone manufacturers switched to producing GameKing clones in the late 2000s, followed by the "1.8" Handheld Games (and several variations thereof) from 2012 onward; in addition to a large increase in handheld Famiclone devices.

Trivia[]

  • Variants of this have been featured in various videos on ashens' YouTube channel. A playlist of these videos by ashens himself, titled The POP Station Saga, can be found here.
  • In 2022, the die of the POP Station was decapped by Athosworld revealing a logic gate array and a CMOS ROM saving function.
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