Sega's latest mini-console, the Astro City Mini V, has just been released, bringing 22 vertical shmups to people who may not have had access to many of these Japan-only, arcade-only titles before... but, let's be realistic, this teeny-tiny little cabinet is for the kind of hardcore arcade nerds that can afford to drop $180 on something this specific. No shame in that, though!
Unfortunately, as pointed out in multiple reviews (including our own Damien McFerran's review over on our new sister site, Time Extension), the input lag is extreme, marring the experience a fair bit. Here's how Damien describes it:
"The latency is so extreme it actually becomes noticeable during play, and when you're playing 'twitch' genres like shooters, even the smallest amount of lag can prove fatal."
Over on Twitter, @moftsoft ran informal tests to determine how bad the lag was, finding that it ranged from six to ten frames depending on the game, and pointing out that some of the games have lag in the game itself, compounded by the Astro City Mini V's own problems.
Some have stated that the lag can be fixed by switching out the power supply. The Astro City Mini V uses a micro-USB port to charge, so you can just use any old charger — but specifically, as the reports state, you have to use a 5V power supply.
This method appeared to work for YouTube reviewer Madlittlepixel, but not for our reviewer, who tested the Astro City Mini V with a Storm 2 Liquid power bank.
Here's a wee excerpt from Damien's review to give you an idea of why all of this is important:
"Does this render the Astro City Mini V unplayable? No, of course not. It's still possible to enjoy the games included here, despite the presence of input lag.
However, a good analogy to use here is what happened in Europe in the '80s and '90s; European players had to endure PAL conversions which ran slower than their NTSC counterparts and were saddled with ugly black borders at the top and bottom of the display.
Did this stop millions of players from enjoying the likes of Sonic, Mario and Zelda? Of course it didn't, but the moment a PAL gamer saw a game running at its true speed in full-screen via NTSC, there was no going back. Likewise, if you play any of these titles elsewhere (some are even supported by the excellent FPGA MiSTer platform now), the difference in responsiveness is like night and day, which is a crying shame."
Hey, at least we got some gorgeous photos out of the darn thing.
Have you bought the Astro City Mini V? Have you changed your mind about buying it because of the lag issue? Tell us in the comments!
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