New Sega Saturn
Anbernic RG ARC-D/RG
As you all know I am a sucker for dedicated handhelds, yet one that has always slipped my grasps was the Sega Nomad. Rightly so I mean with only about 1 million units released in North America they aren’t easy to get a hold of. It wasn’t too long after that Sega had its demise.
So why in 2023 are we seeing the handheld that should have been! The Sega Saturn (styled) handheld that in my opinion if Sega had released late 90s could have changed gaming history.
Sega Fans Rejoice!
While its not a real Sega handheld (if you couldn’t already tell), its design and layout screams Saturn and I have to say I love it. The Anbernic RG ARC-D/RG while there are two variants one with touch screen being the /RS. Its the ARC-D that has me riled up. See the ARC-RS doesn’t come in the black styling shown above. If you are in North America like me this is the style we remember the Saturn.
It also shares the similar top functionality to my favourite Anbernic handheld the RG353P which of course is designed after my #1 console the Super Nintendo. But the ergonomic design of the ARC hits home even better.
There are no analog sticks which I love! See for me this should be a dedicated Sega handheld and I know people are going to be saying its a waste of money, just have one handheld that does everything. Unfortunately thats not me I have all Nintendo consoles and handhelds as well as half the Sega library but a dedicated Saturn and Dreamcast handheld with a few Genesis games thrown in there. Done!
Anbernic ARC-D/RG Build Quality
I’ve fallen in love with the ARC-D/RG its what you would expect from Anbernic. The usual plastic durability remember these weren’t made in the 90s so drop tests wouldnt be a good idea. However its durable to a point but what these days isn’t.
The directional pad (D-pad) is good it can be a little sloppy at times but its on par with that of a Genesis. If you can manage a Genesis controller then you can definitely manage the ARC. No issues with platformers and the ducking test came out with flying colours. The biggest standout for me is the six face buttons they knocked it out of the park. Sensitive but firm in all the right places (get your mind out of the gutter!).
The only real thing that I had an issue with is the shoulder buttons. They are what you get these days when companies push to tick all the boxes. I have big hands and its makes life difficult even on a Gamecube controller, I just found myself struggling when using the L1 and R1 buttons. They are still responsive and easy to push but its to location just a little to small. Other than that the feeling the in hand is on par with possibly the best designed handheld to date including the Swtich.
Check out Anbernics full range of handhelds.
RG ARC-D/RG Emulator Compatability
The RK3566 is back again with its Quad-Core A55 its been at the base of most of Anbernic and other handhelds for the past 18 months so we know whats its able to handle out of the box. The same dual Micro SD cards as usual one for OS and one for your games.
It comes packed with all the usual Emulators and of course RetroArch cores everything from Atomiswave, Capcom Playsystem 1 2 and 3, all the Gameboy range as well as consoles from Master System to Dreamcast and Nintendo’s Nes right through to N64. Yes, Gamecube wont happen with this chipset. But who needs it if we are going Sega only.
One of the main reasons to use this as a dedicated Sega handheld is because of the lack of analog buttons. You can get away with most games on Dreamcast without using them so it opens up the entire Sega library.
Linux was my preferred OS for the Sega focused emulation. Now for my testing I was focused on the Sega side of things because of the build and lack of analog sticks. Obviously Master System, Genesis (MegaDrive) are all flawless as you would expect. Saturn with frame skip on it hits 60fps on most games using the Yaba emulator. Which is great now Dreamcast there was some tinkering to do.
I had to use Linux with RetroArch which has its own frameskip enabled and its was the best experience I could get. Android was a no go at all unless you like 26-40 fps at the stanard screen resolution.
Price & Overall Value
This is where the ARC D/RG excells at $97 USD at the time of release which for what you get is simply gold. Now compare that to the ARC-S which is the cheaper of the two it comes in at about $77 USD which doesn’t come in that colour variant we all love here in North America.
Transparent if you want it again doesn’t share the touch screen taht the ARC D/RG does so there is a double hit if you want to save the $20.
Overall the build quality, game support and functionality are all a Yes for those looking for a Sega Saturn style handheld to add to the collection! Am I the only crazy collector who always wanted a Saturn handheld? Surely not.
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