Wednesday, 28 March 2012

New game: Sqrxz 3 - Adventure for Love

Retroguru has uploaded a new Jump and Run game to the OHH archive: Sqrxz 3 - Adventure for Love is (surprisingly enough) the third in the Sqrxz series, and sees the titular hero collecting rings to try to save his kidnapped girlfriend Yve. Not perhaps the most original plot in history, but then this developer is trying to be retro! The GP2X port is by Pickle.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Game review: Sponge Blob Tennis

Sponge Blob Tennis
Genre: Sport
Author: Michel Rouzic ("A_SN")
OHH download: v0.1 "FBAX2007" (12/07/07)
Size: 3.0 MB
Licence: Freeware

Sponge Blob Tennis is, to my knowledge, the only (non-emulated) tennis game available for the GP2X, so it's a relief that it's quite a well designed program. As its name implies, you control a cuboid spongy blob, and whack a ball back and forth over an isometric tennis court. The game implements most of the basic features of tennis, though not tie-breaks. Notably, it runs smoothly at CPU speeds as low as 80 MHz, making it excellent for battery-powered sessions on the bus or train.

Addictiveness: 8
This is not an easy game to get started with, because of the difficulty of visualising the ball's movement in three dimensions on an isometric court. However, there's a real feeling of satisfaction that comes with even scoring your first point, let alone the much harder task of winning a game. I like tennis games anyway, so perhaps I'm biased, but I think Sponge Blob Tennis has what it takes to keep you coming back for more.

Depth: 6
More complex tennis games can have a great deal of depth, but this one is just too simple to score any higher. The main thing to learn is how to use jumps, which depending on your position cause either lobs or smashes. You also have to deal with the fact that the shape of your blob changes as you move -- you can be long and thin, or short and fat, or something in between! The game starts with both blobs AI-controlled; you can take charge of one or both.

Controls: 5
I found these rather fiddly. A and Y toggle AI/human control for left and right blobs. If you choose to control the left blob (and have the right one AI-controlled) you use the joystick to move and left trigger to jump. If you control the right blob, it's X and B to move and right trigger to jump. You're allowed to use (for example) joystick and right trigger, but what you can't do is use joystick and B, which would be my preferred combination. With two players, things get a bit cramped, but that's to be expected. Serving is always automatic, for both AI and human players.

Graphics: 9
I really like the look of Sponge Blob Tennis. It has a very attractive, old-school console, appearance that I think suits the GP2X perfectly. The design of the tennis court is thoughtful, with mown grass, a clubhouse behind the court, a useful digital scoreboard, and so on. It's been thought about right down to the flowers around the edge, and the colours are bright and cheerful. There's a lot to like here.

Sound: N/A
There isn't any.

Documentation: 7
Considering the unfinished nature of the program (see below), not too bad. There's a readme that explains the general principles behind the game, which has slightly uneven English in a few spots but is fairly easily understood; and the control guide that appears if you press Select is comprehensive and reasonably clear.

One bizarre line from the credits in the readme: "Original idea and artwork : An italian artist whose name I ignore (" I suspect "ignore" is a mistranslation into English, as it's a weird thing to say otherwise.

Completeness: 6
Sponge Blob Tennis is rough around the edges, as its 0.1 version number would suggest, but it's a playable game even as it is, and it can be good fun. What might have been, though... with better AI, sound, manual serving and tie-breaks, this could perhaps have become one of the truly great GP2X games.

Overall: 7
This was a tricky game to rate, because it has so obviously been left unfinished, but what is there -- especially the graphics -- is quite polished. I would recommend Sponge Blob Tennis, so long as you don't download it under the illusion that what you're getting will be a fully-fledged tennis sim. As Rouzic says in the readme, it's really more of a cross between tennis and Pong.

Friday, 16 March 2012

GP2X OHH program list 3b - Applications: Misc Apps (part 2 of 3)

Right then; here's part two of the Misc Apps section, at long last. Unfortunately the OHH archive is a bit of a mess in this category, with a lot of near-duplication. I haven't attempted to untangle things; just listed what's there. Part 3 of this list will be along in a week or two.

OHH GP2X archive - Applications: Misc Apps

Click the link above to go to the contents page for this section on, which gives rather more details for each file, and a screenshot for many. This list is intended more as a quick reference, for those who just want to scan what's available. Note that I haven't generally commented on a program's quality or completeness.

GP2xOpenSSH: port of OpenSSH 4.3p2 client and server
GP2Xpdf: PDF viewer
GPmark GP2X: graphics benchmark
Gprss and Getrss: offline RSS reader and download tool
Graffiti: load a JPG and scribble on it
Grafx2 - The Ultimate 256-color painting program: bitmap-based graphics app
GReader2X: improved ebook reader
gshot: save screenshots of GP2X programs
gshot Sourcecode: source of the above
HDPARM 4 GP2X: SD card tester

Hotkey: background daemon; launches app on specified button combination
Icon starter pack for GP2X: collection of menu icons
Interactive Messageboard 2.0: bulletin board for DOSBox
J2ME PhoneME cli_install script: command-line installation for J2ME
J2ME PhoneME for GP2X: allows some Java games to run
J2ME PhoneME for GP2X v0.2: updated version of the above
JoyTest: tests joystick configuration
KdiTor: text editor
KdiTor: slightly newer version of the above [yes, same title!]
LCD Pixel Fixer: unstick stuck pixels

libncurse 5.7: ncurses library; uses Open2x toolchain
Links Web Browser: basic browser
Links Web Browser for GP2X: newer version of the above
lrzsz (ZModem): serial-based file transfer utility
Mandelbrot: fractal pattern viewer
Map2X 0.0.6 for GP2X: simple navigation app; uses Google Maps data
Map2X 0.0.6 for Windows: as above, but for Windows
Map2X : traduction francaise: French text for Map2x
Map2X: Traduzione italiana: Italian text for Map2x port of Midnight Commander; use telnet

Mount Nand FW3.0: enables the NAND to be mounted with older firmware
movie history remover: delete history of films watched
msmtp: send mails to server via STMP
nano2x: console-based text editor; use telnet
Network(RNDIS) over USB driver & Samba Server: custom kernel; beware!
New bluetooth modules and scripts for GP2X: what it says!
Notes2x: text editor
Open2X Image Viewer: picture viewer; based on o2xiv
PDFView : view PDF files
Pocket Flash Gp2x: basic Flash player (up to v7, without sound)

pv2x: image slideshow
pyBrush: simple drawing program
pyDiskUsage-fw2.0 : check free space in NAND and SD card
Qtopia F200 1.0.1: port of the PDA desktop
Qtopia on GP2X Test Version: older version of the above
RamHack Utility: tweak to increase your GP2X's speed
Rhapsody2x: command-line IRC client
Rhapsody2x: newer version of the above[yes, same title!]
rsvp4gp2x: Rapid Serial Visual Presentation

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Progress on the program list

Yes, things have gone a little quiet, but I'm still beavering away at the "Misc Apps" section, and I would hope to have the next part of the program list up in no more than a week from now. I want to do at least one more review in the meantime, though.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

A couple more new uploads to OHH

Both from Rafa Vico ("saboteur"). We have:

La Escoba, a Spanish card game. Only in Spanish, but I was taught this game (by a Spaniard) years ago, so might give it a shot at some point.

EXP for GP2X, an "achievement system" compatible with several games, including La Escoba.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Games, games, games!

The first (just over) three months of the year have seen six new games released for the GP2X and posted up on the OHH archive, the best hit rate for quite some time. I reviewed Liquid Counter a few days ago, but we also have:

Wizznic: an implementation of the arcade classic Puzznic
Puzzletube: a tube-based (surprisingly enough) puzzler
Rookie Hero: a hostage-rescue platformer
Starship Soldier: a retro-styled "simple but tricky" arcade game
Bermuda Syndrome: a port of the 1995 PC Flashback-style game

It's great to see the little old GP2X still being supported by a core of loyal programmers, and I certainly hope to try these games out in due course.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Game review: Liquid Counter

Liquid Counter
Genre: Arcade
Author: Drumpi
OHH download: v? (13/02/12)
Size: 1.6 MB
Licence: Freeware

Sometimes simple is best, and the brand new game Liquid Counter (yes, there are still GP2X games appearing in 2012!) attempts to bring back the glory days of LCD handhelds, a little along the lines of Game & Watch consoles. The object of the game is very straightforward: you must press a certain button, or tap the screen (on an F200) as many times as you can within ten seconds. The tap version is one-player only, but the button options allow one to four players to compete. A countdown timer and a running total of score(s) are shown, and the top score flashes at the end.

Note that this game does not quite come ready to run. Two sets of runtime are provided -- one for official firmware, and one for Open2x -- and the appropriate one must be unzipped so that the runtime folder sits next to (not in!) the game folder.

Addictiveness: 6
More so than you might think, especially when it comes to multiplayer gaming. On your own, you might play this a couple of times and then shrug and move on... but when the competitive spirit is running hot, that fabled "I'll beat you all this time!" feel is very much in evidence.

Depth: 2
It would be difficult to find a less deep game than this one, given that "push a button as fast as you can" is pretty much the entire object. It only scores as high as 2 because of the multiplayer and tap options.

Controls: 6
The joystick selects which game you want to play. The A, B, X and Y buttons are the ones the players have to press. It's a bit of a squash with the full four, but probably better than trying to make others use the volume controls, trigger buttons etc.

Graphics: 6
They may be monochrome and very simple, but if the aim of the programmer was to convey a sense of old-fashioned LCD gaming, then that aim was met. The claim of "beautiful" in the OHH description is over the top, but "retro aesthetic" certainly isn't.

Sound: 3
Beeps. Squawky, basic beeps. Not unbearably annoying, and probably true to the game's feel, but they don't really add much.

Documentation: 4
You can add several marks here if you speak Spanish, since there's a decent readme (well, "leeme") in that language. Unfortunately, there's no English documentation at all beyond what's in the game. Thankfully the brief instructions included on screen are enough to get you started.

Completeness: 6
The game works, but it's still a bit rough around the edges. I'd like to see an English readme, a level select, and a mute option. A combined, and ready-prepared, runtime folder would be welcome, too.

Overall: 5
Liquid Counter is a nice idea, and things like Game & Watch emulators have done quite well on the GP2X. However, it's too lacking in features, and not quite polished enough, to score more than an average rating.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

GP2X OHH program list 3a - Applications: Misc Apps (part 1 of 3)

It's taking rather a long time to get through the huge (100+ programs!) Misc Apps section, so I'm splitting it into three parts. I expect I'll merge them all into one big post when I've finished. NB: I've left out the pre-rendered graphics viewer 3DNP GP2X, as the download link from OHH seems to be broken.

OHH GP2X archive - Applications: Misc Apps

Click the link above to go to the contents page for this section on, which gives rather more details for each file, and a screenshot for many. This list is intended more as a quick reference, for those who just want to scan what's available. Note that I haven't generally commented on a program's quality or completeness.

2XWord: crossword solver utility
Autorun Icon for Windows F200 Style: put on root of SD card to create icon when plugged into Windows
Autorun ini and icon for Windows: as above, but for the F100
Autorun.ini and Icon for Windows PCs: as above again, but slightly different design
Battery Test: benchmarking utility
Box2d Physics Library tech-demo 0.0001: SDL port of the 2D physics engine
BusyBox 1.8.2 ( set of command-line tools
Cafix: connect a Casio fx-9850 calculator
Calculator: simple scientific calculator
CBook - EBook Reader: text reader

Clock2x: on-screen analogue/digital clock, with alarm
colourd - LCD colour correction daemon: adjust screen colours
Counter: very simple tally-keeping program
CPU/LCD-Tweaker: adjust CPU clock, RAM and memory timing
Croquet Deadness Board: tool for (American?) croquet players
dhcp client daemon: for the DHCP network management protocol
Dicey: dice-rolling app; supports many-sided dice and Fudge
DOSBox: Interactive Messageboard: requires DOSBox; shows text messages
Edge Pad: joystick-controlled notepad
Enexfi: file manager and explorer

Enlightenment for Embedded: proof-of-concept (unfinished) E17 implementation
eReader: another e-reader
F-200 wireless with WPA connect script: use the DWL-G122 adapter; requires cradle
fbGrab: grabs framebuffer and dumps it to .png file
Fcalc: touchscreen calculator, for F200 only
Fcalc 0.2: updated version of above
fetchmail: command-line POP3/IMAP mail grabber
* fGrabber - Ein fGrab Frontent: frontend for fbGrab
FlashPlay: simple Flash player
Flashplayer2x: another Flash player; fork of Pocketflash

FX00 Batery Meter: check battery levels
G(P)=2X: function plotter
GirEllO Reboot: software-reboot your GP2X
gmenu2x - MAME und NeoGeo Alias Files: gmenu2x alias files for, er, MAME and NeoGeo
GNU Netcat for gp2x: networking utility
GP2X Energy Saver 1.0: minimises power consumption when GP2X not being used
GP2X GPE: port of the GPE Palmtop Environment
GP2X Package Manager: install files as .deb packages
GP2X Samba Client: a Samba client. For the GP2X
GP2X Sierpinski Carpet: draws a Sierpinski Carpet pattern

GP2X Sleep: power-saving utility
gp2x Stereo Fix: fixes the "mono sound" problem with early firmware
gp2x stereo patch autostart: autostart file for the above
GP2X Text File Viewer - gp2x VTex v0.2: text viewer with wordwrap
gp2x USB Host Driver: attach a powered USB hub to the Ext port
GP2X USB Serial: redirect serial output to USB cable
GP2X-Write: text editor with Danzeff-style on-screen keyboard
GP2X11: port of the KDrive Tiny X Server.

* Note the slightly incorrect spelling of fbGrab