Game Boy, Swipe app logo, robot emoji representing AI, and Game Boy Mario jumping

Published stuff

My Stuff column this week is: Just say no: not every piece of tech needs subscriptions and AI. And last Sunday, I apparently traumatised several people by reminding them of their age as I wrote about the Game Boy turning 35. Still: it could be worse. My first computer was released in 1979

For TapSmart, I mull over where Apple will be in 2030 and add Tiny Wings to my classics series.

Other stuff

First up, Swipe magazine has hit the milestone of 300(!) issues. This iPhone-first indie mag (essentially the extended app version of TapSmart) is packed with app recommendations, tips and features. There’s a free trial if you’d like to check it out, and then it’s just a couple of bucks per month for two issues and back issue access, to support our work.

I wasn’t there quite from the start – I was brought on board with issue 17. But I’m now wondering if I’ve written for more issues of any other mag. Regardless, it’s been a privilege to be a part of Swipe, and I do hope it’s around for many issues more.

RGB30 running Pico-8

Elsewhere, I’ve been continuing to discover the idiosyncrasies of the Powkiddy RBG30. The company has a reputation for cutting corners, but I was seduced by the 1:1 720p display, which I thought would be fantastic for Pico-8. (Pico-8 is a fantasy console, with intentionally limited specs, for which developers have created a slew of amazing old-school games.)

I was dead-on about the display. As a real-world Pico-8, the RGB30 is hard to beat. And that’s even taking into account the iffy D-pad. That screen, though: so good. And ideal for Game Boy, NES and SNES too, along with vertical arcade titles. (Some 4:3 games also work well in 8:7, if you’re prepared to ignore slight distortion.)

Where the RGB30 falls into baffling territory is in how it charges. A hardware issue means it doesn’t recognise USB-C cables. But even when I use USB-A to USB-C, the device needs to be on to successfully charge. And if I shut it down in software, the battery continues to drain in a manner I’ve never seen before. Fortunately, turning off RGB30 by holding the power button down for several seconds reduces that drain significantly – or even eliminates it. I’m not quite sure which, though, because the battery indicator’s quality appears to be on par with the charging system’s.