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Torr

Considering buying a Pandora's Box, recommendations?

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As the title asks,..

 

Really, what I want to know is amongst the many I've seen which model has the best games, compatibility, controls, etc..

Maybe they all suck like the Sega Genesis plug and plays, I dunno!

I find it hard to trust online reviews, but I trust you guys.

 

Basically I want the arcade style joysticks, but something I can plug into any TV and be able to put away when not in use.

If they have SD slots to accept more ROMs is not a deciding factor. As long as it comes decently loaded it's good. I hate hunting down PCB ROM sets anyway, though most are fairly complete these days on good sites; point is, I don't NEED or want to be able to add ROMs, I'd rather it comes loaded with a good variety (and they work!)

Edited by Torr

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I hear that most Pandora boxes are average in emulation, some games work well and others not so well.

 

Heard from some people the Pandoras Box The King of Air - 51 in 1 Vertical Jamma is probably the best one, though you will probably need a supergun to have it connected to a TV.

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I have a 4s, which is a jamma/hdmi unit. There was a screen tear, or tear-like sync issue, visible at all times via jamma on both (or maybe 3) games I tried, and IIRC other emulation issues.

 

My testing was as extensive as 'under 15 minutes total use' could provide, but since it was ~$30, I really can't say I feel ripped off.

Maybe I'll try it again someday--on the day I feel like doing all the work of messing with the supergun, but not playing arcade games right.

I recall the intro movie being the best part, but I don't remember if it was truly good, or just unintentionally funny.

 

Don't get the 4s.

I also just watched a 5s promotional video, to see how much better it is, and saw stuttering, tearing, and a lot of dropped frames on really random games. If its far enough off to see problems while spectating, then it's not stellar.

If we don't watch it, the next generation will grow up thinking all these games were awful.
Edited by Reaperman
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If we don't watch it, the next generation will grow up thinking these games were all awful.

 

That's my biggest gripe on these devices (aside from the whole yohoho and a bottle of rum thing); they could be done at much higher quality but it feels like a quick cash grab.

The thing is though something like an MVS + SuperGun would need an upscaler and getting those at decent quality is also expensive... so there aren't many options unless one spends quite a bit of coin.

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if you mean the Pandora’s key (the units that are a control panel with joysticks) , not the Pandora’s box (a jamma pcb for use in a jamma arcade cabinet)

then they are not great

 

i sold a few in my store at Christmas time and so far all but 2 have come back with problems

joysticks breaking

software getting corrupted

and the most common so far is the stupid cooling fan breaks and gets noisy

 

for 150$ they are what they are

a cheap way to get a crap ton of games and a basic control panel

they are the equivalent of shoving a bad multibaord into a cheap xbox 360 fight stick

low quality joysticks and buttons and emulation that’s ok at best

 

if i had one i would swap the parts for good sanwa sticks and buttons

and rewire it with a blue elf of even a real Pandora’s box (not the bootleg version they come with )

 

me i i bought one of these

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Arcade-Jamma-Supergun-RetroelectroniK-the-most-polyvalent/152235391790?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

 

im lucky and have a tv with scart

 

but you can always buy something like this as well

https://www.ebay.com/itm/SCART-HDMI-To-HDMI-HD-Video-Converter-Box-720P-1080P-3-5mm-Coaxial-Audio-Out/282801509508?hash=item41d8489484:m:m_rTTskkdoVsWBlmS3mtTWw

 

and then play all the games with a nice neo geo stick

or build a nice arcade panel

 

even the soso x arcade is a better option

https://shop.xgaming.com/collections/arcade-joysticks/products/x-arcade-dual-joystick-usb-included

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I have the same kind of question and have been considering all-in-ones like these:

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/TCB0001Plus-Deluxe-Edition-Pandoras-Box-4S-HDMI-Multi-game-Arcade-Console/232306172877?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Pandoras-Box-4s-800-Games-in-1-TV-Jamma-Arcade-Console-Kit-Double-Joystick-VGA/142586650500?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649

 

Especially the second one seems worth the risk, but I've never really heard any unequivocal, enthusiastic recommendations of the things. Also, they contain many of the games I love (Pooyan, for instance), but not all of them (Satan's Hollow, for instance), so that's another reason for me to hesitate.

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$150 will buy the top-end X-Arcade joystick panel with a trackball, from USA shippers and a non-zero level of support. Stick a Retropie on/in it and it's a much better arcade replica than the all-in-one boxes I've seen so far.

 

Here are some red flags for me from the auctions Bill is considering:

 

the first one looks nicer, but this is a serious WTF

Not compatible with Sony, Panasonic, Pioneer TV HDMI input. Please use VGA connection if you have Sony, Panasonic , Pioneer TV.

 

from the second one, some crazy engrish

NOTE:

6. Pay attention to using method to avoid using for long time.

 

I'm feeling a bit burned by low-cost clone hardware ever since my GPD XD was ruined by a bad (expanding) battery, and otherwise cute hardware clones (Retro Mini, PAPKIII) have terrible software. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft hardware look better than ever to me.

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$150 will buy the top-end X-Arcade joystick panel with a trackball, from USA shippers and a non-zero level of support. Stick a Retropie on/in it and it's a much better arcade replica than the all-in-one boxes I've seen so far.

 

I have the dual stick X-Arcade (non-trackball version) with almost every adapter they make (I have yet to get the PS4 or Xbox One adapters), and I can't personally say I'm overly thrilled with the joysticks or buttons on it. I don't think there's lag, but it almost feels like there's a bit of lag at times or some unresponsiveness to the controls (at least on the PS3).

 

In terms of your other comment about incompatibility with certain TVs, I suspect that only relates to older LCDs that might have trouble syncing. I bet that even some "standard" consoles have trouble syncing with those particular sets. I know when I had an older Toshiba LCD TV with built-in DVD drive that we used to use in our bedroom many moons ago, I couldn't get anything to work over its HDMI port. I can only assume that that's what they mean by that and it's just a clumsy way of saying it.

 

 

I'm feeling a bit burned by low-cost clone hardware ever since my GPD XD was ruined by a bad (expanding) battery, and otherwise cute hardware clones (Retro Mini, PAPKIII) have terrible software. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft hardware look better than ever to me.

 

Me too. As I think I say too much these days, after getting rid of most of my collection, the last thing I want to do is re-clutter my life with "junk" again or with stuff that is too much of a pain to configure to where I'll actually like it. There was too much of that in my past. I'd much more prefer the lazy man's plug and play approach, even if it means a few compromises here and there (but not too many compromises!). So yeah, especially in my case, I only want to take one or two new shots at these types of devices and be done with it, rather than continuing to be disappointed with a series of purchases. I'm thrilled with my Retro Freak and would love an equivalent (with good controls) for arcade stuff (the latest Retro-bit console is tempting in that regard, but I'm not so sure about those controls).

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I have the dual stick X-Arcade (non-trackball version) with almost every adapter they make (I have yet to get the PS4 or Xbox One adapters), and I can't personally say I'm overly thrilled with the joysticks or buttons on it. I don't think there's lag, but it almost feels like there's a bit of lag at times or some unresponsiveness to the controls (at least on the PS3).

 

In terms of your other comment about incompatibility with certain TVs, I suspect that only relates to older LCDs that might have trouble syncing. I bet that even some "standard" consoles have trouble syncing with those particular sets. I know when I had an older Toshiba LCD TV with built-in DVD drive that we used to use in our bedroom many moons ago, I couldn't get anything to work over its HDMI port. I can only assume that that's what they mean by that and it's just a clumsy way of saying it.

 

 

Me too. As I think I say too much these days, after getting rid of most of my collection, the last thing I want to do is re-clutter my life with "junk" again or with stuff that is too much of a pain to configure to where I'll actually like it. There was too much of that in my past. I'd much more prefer the lazy man's plug and play approach, even if it means a few compromises here and there (but not too many compromises!). So yeah, especially in my case, I only want to take one or two new shots at these types of devices and be done with it, rather than continuing to be disappointed with a series of purchases. I'm thrilled with my Retro Freak and would love an equivalent (with good controls) for arcade stuff (the latest Retro-bit console is tempting in that regard, but I'm not so sure about those controls).

I cant say much about the first one, but the ones I stocked at Christmas were the second link (but the 999 in 1 version )

if you think the x - arcade controls are sub par then don't even think about it lol

the joysticks are a inferior knock of of the zippy sticks (didn't think you could get worse than zippy lol) pretty sloppy and feel like my 2 year old could break them

and the buttons are mushy sanwa clones

 

next the pcb is pretty bad we had 2 that for some reason ended up always pressing up (this was in the pcb not wiring or software as the problem would follow the pcb )

and all of these china machine use the same pcb (if you want to play with one they sell them (pcb) on wish for 60$ and you can build your own panel )

 

we deal with the jamma based Pandora's box in my shop all the time and they are actually not to bad overall (emulation is hit or miss depending on the game )

if I remember correct they are built on some arm based prototype board(actually a bootleg of it) and custom jamma interface

 

 

but the boards used in these all in one panels are like a 3 times knocked off device lol and actually are called Pandora's key on the boot screen

 

the biggest problem is the software/hardware mix

there seems to be a very big chance that the sd card gets corrupted and you end up with the green screen of death

the only way to fix it is to have a backup of your original sd card

 

the green screen can happen during turning off the machine

but seems that it happens 90% of the time involving the favorites list creation (add a game to favorites bam next reboot green screen )

 

 

as I said they are what they are

a cheap instant way to play a few arcade games at home for someone that does not want /know how to build their own

for the price meh not to bad as long as you get one without fan or pcb problems (just make sure to backup the sd card first thing)

 

but for a little bit more you can buy a used x-arcade on ebay, swap out the buttons/sticks with quality happ or sanwa parts,

slap in a pi

and end up with a 100 times better experience

Edited by discgolfer72
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I cant say much about the first one, but the ones I stocked at Christmas were the second link (but the 999 in 1 version )

if you think the x - arcade controls are sub par then don't even think about it lol

the joysticks are a inferior knock of of the zippy sticks (didn't think you could get worse than zippy lol) pretty sloppy and feel like my 2 year old could break them

and the buttons are mushy sanwa clones

 

Your other points are well taken and something noted (and, as a result, not something I'll be investing in), but in terms of controls, I think that varies widely by seller. It appears some of the pricier ones ($200+ range) go for nicer arcade-style parts.

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Your other points are well taken and something noted (and, as a result, not something I'll be investing in), but in terms of controls, I think that varies widely by seller. It appears some of the pricier ones ($200+ range) go for nicer arcade-style parts.

unless they say sanwa , happ , or seimitsu brand sticks /buttons id stay away

almost all the ones I came across said sanwa "style" in the listing (someone may be building some with better parts tho ) that means they are going to have some sort of zippy or zippy clone stick inside

(on a side note all the ones we got in came with 2 extra start buttons packaged as spares for some reason lol)

 

a quick search on ebay I found the kit to build your own

but I found them on wish for around 60$ without the fancy plastic shell(had to order a few to fix the ones our customers bought )

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1299-in-1-JAMMA-PCB-Pandoras-Key-Box-5s-Arcade-Multigame-Board-PCB-With-Cable/253391998966?hash=item3aff570ff6:g:M00AAOSwPOhabHXl

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So basically I should give up on the idea.

This is exactly what I was afraid of when I seen so many models. That NONE of them are really great, they're all sub-par, and mainly good as a hobby if you want to put a soldering gun to use.

 

I don't wanna have to tinker or whatnot.

I just wanna buy one bring it home and it works.

Guess my tax refund is going to a new PC after all. That'll run Mame.

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That was my next question! Any good arcade sticks for PC that can be recommended?... jeez maybe a flight stick... haven't had one in a decade

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If money is no concern, and you love Japanese Arcade style controls then you may want to consider a Hori RAP VLX:

http://stores.horiusa.com/real-arcade-pro-4-premium-vlx-for-playstation-4/

 

If instead you prefer American style then you can consider a Tankstick:

https://shop.xgaming.com/collections/arcade-joysticks

 

Now for a more reasonable budget there are "portable" arcade sticks of various price ppint. I have a Qanba R4 with Sanwa buttons (not pictured but gives you a reference):

https://arcadestick.club/arcade-stick-comparison-chart/

 

If you want something more old school, my personal favorite are these custom sticks but they are only two buttons, and might be hard to find a maker unless you DIY:

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/256722-black-retro-joystick-by-arcade-forge/

 

I liked the ArcadeForge mini sticks but they seem to be discontinued :(

Edited by Newsdee

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I have a Hanaho Hotrod (older competitor to the X-Arcade) and all those sticks are very nice and sturdy. Just make sure you have the space!

 

If you want analogue sticks, an Xbox controller is good. Steam also has a good controller which is nice but polarizing (some unique features you love or hate).

 

Flight sticks are another realm. Not that familoar but its a deep rabbit hole with all controls ome can get. I just got a basic one I pickex up at a flea market and waiting to use it a bit before I buy anything else.

 

(yes, I might have a bit of a controller addiction...)

Edited by Newsdee

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I have one that I bought off ebay for when friends visit with their kids and want to play my Final Fight cabinet. Never had any noticeable problems like those mentioned so far. Next chance I get I'll take a look to see which version it is.

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For sticks, I've had generally good luck with MAS products, but they can be kind of tricky to find these days. About once a month or so, their ebay store has been listing a stick or two, but they're not making very many at all these days. They're not the household name they used to be.

 

I like that they still sell sticks american/european style hardware (instead of japanese/korean). That thick MDF case in the classic MAS shape, hits me right in the nostalgia. I really wanted one back when I was a kid.

 

The only problem I recall having with a MAS stick, was on one that featured an 'Opticon' optical stick, that went funny before I felt it should have. It was easily replaced by a switched unit from IL, and I don't think they sell them with that stick any more.

Edited by Reaperman

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Hello guys,

 

I recently bought an old arcade cabinet made in the 90’s working with those old jamma boards

Can I simply plug in Pandora Box without modifying the cabinet?

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Hello guys,

 

I recently bought an old arcade cabinet made in the 90’s working with those old jamma boards

Can I simply plug in Pandora Box without modifying the cabinet?

Yes if its runs arcade Jamma board's which most 90's arcades did

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I was looking at the 5s pandora box w/ 900-1200 games or so.

I do like the versatility of the board

I saw ok reviews

for the stick i was thinking a custom enclosure w/ happ stick and buttons.

these enclosures should have enough space for the boards, the x-arcades do not.

i have a solo x-arcade rewired usb for retropie, works great.

 

https://www.harumancustoms.com/products/stand-alone-controllers/the-fighter

 

https://www.harumancustoms.com/products/stand-alone-controllers/barstick

Edited by laz455

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From the units I've seen in person, I find the upscaling is horrible. HDMI video is stretched with a filter. Is there any way to turn the scaling off or at least configure it?

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I believe there's a systems settings you can configure but for the upscaling not sure.

from the youtube videos they look ok, the new boards have a higher resolution video output.

so anyone else can shed some light on the quality of the videos, I'm also thinking all these games where not in super high def even in the arcades.

their seem to be a lot of people running them ?

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I was looking at the 5s pandora box w/ 900-1200 games or so.

I do like the versatility of the board

I saw ok reviews

for the stick i was thinking a custom enclosure w/ happ stick and buttons.

these enclosures should have enough space for the boards, the x-arcades do not.

i have a solo x-arcade rewired usb for retropie, works great.

 

https://www.harumancustoms.com/products/stand-alone-controllers/the-fighter

 

https://www.harumancustoms.com/products/stand-alone-controllers/barstick

If you are going to buy a JAMMA Pandora's Box board just to make a custom enclosure, you are wasting your time. This is archaic, outdated hardware and emulation. Just make a more modern setup with something like a Pi (or better) and use a USB arcade stick. The quality of the emulation will be greater and it will be easier to put together.

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