Yobo FC-16 Go Review
The world’s first Commerically available Portable SNES
For years, hobbyist gamers who are extremely handy have constructed some pretty amazing portable versions of their favorite systems. Everything from the Atari 2600 to the Dreamcast has been made portable, and amongst the most popular system people want to have in their hands is the SNES.
With a huge library of excellent , ageless games, the SNES is considered to be a system from the golden age of gaming and many people want to be able to be able to carry that with them in their lives – literally.
For the average joe like me without the mad skillz to redesign consoles of yesterday into something that can fit into my mitts, Yobo Gameware now has a solution.
First released last year, the Yobo FC-16 Go is just one of many new clones of the Super Nintendo to hit the market in the past few years, but what makes this one special is the fact that’s its portable.
Although it’s still much larger than any other handheld, it’s still more compact than any hobbyist could hope to make their own portable SNES.
Size issues aside, it all comes down to preference. How does the FC-16 measure up?
The FC-16 Go comes with the following:
Yobo FC-16 Go v2 Portable Handheld Super Nintendo clone unit
2x 2.4Ghz wireless SNES clone controllers
US Mains Adapter
1300 MhA Lithium Ion Battery
3mm Headphone jack to AV Cable with stereo
You need to open the battery cover, place in the battery and charge it before use. When fully charged, the light on the system will change from red to green to indicate full power. The wireless controllers each use 2 AAA batteries that last at least 40 hours.
The unit itself is well built with the design aesthetics of the original Nintendo DS as a model. The whole thing just looks like a bigger version of the DS that takes SNES cartridges instead of the tiny DS flash memory format. The unit comes in three colors black/red, silver or charcoal. I got the charcoal one. No matter what color you go with, expect a shiny glossy coat that seems to come on everything these days. Expect the system to be full of fingerprints, smuges and even scratches before too long. This kind of surface seems to just attract all the blemishes it can.
The build in controls of the system are solid for the most part. The D-pad of the second revision closely resmembles the SNES cross pattern, but is largely and slightly stiffer, but not to the point where it is a problem. Likewise, the buttons have a similar feel.
In the middle of the system is the reset button, which is a great place for it as your hands will never accidentally press it. The system itself lacks any controller ports which is unfortunate, but nevertheless, the included 2.4Ghz wireless controllers more than make up for the loss. These are without a doubt the best controllers I’ve used with any clone console; they’re responsive, comfortable and feel solid in your hands while still being as light as you would expect.
The FC-16 Go is powered by a proprietary 1300MAh lithium-ion battery. The battery lasts from 2-2.5 hours per charge, typical of a unit of this size. To reduce battery consumption, it helps to use headphones rather than the internal speakers.
The FC-16 Go has absolutely excellent compatibility with SNES games to the point where you will hardly believe this is a clone. I personally tested well over sixty SNES titles and a few dozen Super Famicom games and all but a few worked perfectly fine with no slowdown, no graphical glitches, no audio glitches, or any other problem present in clone hardware. In fact, the AV signal is cleaner than that of my real SNES!
The only Super Nintendo title I found not to work is Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Mario RPG will not run on the clone handheld because it was designed with a CIC Lockout chip that is present in the real hardware but not in this clone.
Luckily, there is a spot in the lower right corner of on the motherboard of the FC-16 for just such a lockout chip. All one needs to do is desolder a lockout chip from any NTSC SNES game and resolder it in place in the FC-16 Go for 100% NTSC compatibility. Similarly, this can also be done for PAL SNES games using a PAL CIC Lockout chip. Keep in my putting either lockout chip means you are region locking your system to only play games from that region, so weigh that in mind if you are ever planning in importing future games. Photo curdoisy of Hellrazer of benheck.com forums. What a swell guy that Hellrazer is!
Availability and Price
The FC-16 Go is currently being sold at StoneAgegamer.com for around $60. It can also be found on ebay for around the same price. Stoneagegamer will not accept returns for systems with dead pixels, so if you buy from them, cross your fingers you’ll luck out. For once in my life, I did with mine as it’s flawless. Hurray for no dead/stuck pixels!
The FC-16 Go has undergone slight design changes since it was first introduced last year. The first model had a Playstation broken d-pad, just a single speaker and a cheaper screen hinge. The redesign aims to correct these issues, and does an outstanding job at it. There’s very little wrong with the current design save for the tabs that prevent Super Famciom games to fit into the handheld. Hopefully a future revision will correct this slight error.
-It’s a portable SNES!
-Compatible with almost every SNES and Super Famicom game ever made
-Excellent, responsive 2.4Ghz wireless controllers
-Doubles as a small SNES console that can hook up to any TV with composite jacks
-Durable well built design
-Battery life is somewhat poor due to a low capacity battery. Perhaps it can be replaced with a higher capacity battery?
-Super glossy finish is like a magnet to fingerprints, dust and scratches. By time the FC-16 Go is 20 years old itself, chances are even a yellowed SNES will look more appealing
-Lacks controller ports for real accessories, so Mouse and Super Scope games, as well as Super Mario RPG, will not work on the handheld
The FC-16 Go does what it sets out to do and does a fairly good job. The AV hookups make it possible to serve as a total replacement for a console SNES. If you don’t already have (or sold years ago) a SNES, this is a great place to start building up a great 16-bit library. Long live the SNES.
For a video review of the material I’ve covered here, check out my youtube channel. Thanks for reading!