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Shenzhen Safari Ⅲ

Frankly, Data Frog #

Well? Do you really want to buy a chuntering, spluttering, late ’90s SNES Pentium II era emulation experience, in stick form, that plugs directly into your TV and comes with two wireless controllers that feel nice but are about as surgically precise as cutting a Mars bar with brittle plastic cutlery while wearing winter gloves, scarves and coats—of many colours—, and a wooly hat; inside; surrounded by sugar-addled peers cheering you on?!

Of course you do…for fifteen bangers.
It’s not like they’re asking for, say, forty quid(see SSⅡ).
You can buy it here.

Data Frog SF2000

What! No-Intro? #

Quentin Tarantino liked to chop up his movies in the ’90s, and shuffle the scenes so they weren’t in chronological order. We all thought it was very clever, and I’ve just done that here now. Impressed?

Well, neither was I when I slipped into my dirty white Gi and tried to summon a fireball from my palms, solely with willpower and chi.

Whereas the Street Fighter 2 “Hadouken!” (fireball) requires only an adroit rolling of the left thumb across the direction-pad arrows: from down, to down-towards, then towards…and punch.

That is, unless you’re using the Data Frog SF2000.

Shenzhen Safari : Data Frog SF2000 #

You see, the controller looks like fantastic plastic. It feels luxurious in surface texture, grip, and temperature. The size is just right for me, with large face buttons, satisfyingly skeletal click-click shoulders, and ergonomic angles all round.

Of course, this all falls apart when you attempt to use it for its intended purpose: to play games with.

I submit the following Hadouken Attempts evidence, to you, dear reader:

Exhibit A - Data Frog SF2000 Street Fighter 2 Hadouken Attempts #

Exhibit B - Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNEZ mini) Street Fighter 2 Hadouken Attempts #

A fair comparison? Yes, but for the price.
The SNEZ mini was ~£80 on release in 2017.
It is now discontinued and scalpers are asking £250–450 for it.

The Data Frog SF2000 is fifteen bangers, delivered (maybe).
See for yourself.

And if you rule out action games and action RPGs, there is still a wealth of turn-based games where the abysmally clumsy eight-direction detection doesn’t immediately piss you off.

Frog Real? #

Oh, who am I kidding. It’s hard to see past the intermittent dropping of diagonals. Even the FastROM hack of Sid Meier’s Civilization is crushed by the unresponsive direction pad.

In despair, I even opened up a controller. See:

Data Frog SF2000 Controller Internals

Data Frog SF2000 Controller Internals

Snug shoulder buttons, passable face buttons, and a flat, mushy D. Perhaps a mod-worthy mini-project? Certainly using card and Blu Tak shims to add pressure behind the ball mount was ineffective. But it felt good, dammit!

Compromise / Conclusion #

Okay, real talk. I’ve mentioned this whole package is £15 a few times now. It comes with a whole bunch of games on a little MicroSD card, and you can even add your own to the “Download” playlist.

But here’s the thing. Janky sometimes equals charming. And the Data Frog SF2000 exudes this, evoking nostalgia in it’s execution and without intention. I will enjoy it for years to come, as a little plug and play toy.

If only the d-pad worked well, I’d give it all my love AND five stars.

Thanks for reading Shenzhen Safari of .

Every second month throughout 2023, I reviewed a choice piece of AliExpress’ gaming hardware, carefully appraising each gift horse’s mouth, teeth, mane, and muscles.

  1. Shenzhen Safari : Pocket Multi Game (PMG) 99 in 1
  2. Shenzhen Safari : NES 143 in 1 Cart
  3. Shenzhen Safari : Data Frog SF2000
  4. Shenzhen Safari : Wireless PS2 Controller (2.4Ghz | Translucent)
  5. Shenzhen Safari : 3D Neon Sign Lamp Headphone Stand
  6. Shenzhen Safari : Non-tendo 168-in-1 iPhone 12 mini Phone Case