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Thoughts on The Arctic Cooling GCM

Posted on 18th Feb 2011 at 07:39 by Joe Martin with 25 comments

Joe Martin
This isn’t really a review, and I can’t label it as such, if only because Arctic Cooling’s GCM isn’t really the type of device we usually cover. Still, when it landed in the office I just couldn’t help myself. It looked so cheap and nasty that the other guys in the office recoiled from it in melodramatic disgust. I had to write about it.

You’ve seen gizmos like the GCM before, probably. It wouldn’t be out of place on the prize rack of a fairground attraction, or in a machine at that really run-down arcade that your parents never let you go to. The packaging is emblazoned with bold claims that try to sell the GCM to you on a sheer value factor – 80 games in 1? Wowee! – all of which strengthens the impression that it’s going to be rubbish.

But, hey, at least it comes with its own Arctic Cooling batteries!

Of course, you can tell from the moment you turn it on and first hear those tiny, tinny speakers squeak into life that the 80 games it offers are going to be terrible; the lowest, cheapest emulations of the franchises and games that the creators feel they can get away with. You know that they’re going to be full of simplistic knock-offs at best, if they work at all.

Thoughts on The Arctic Cooling GCM
Available in three colours - infinite white space not included

Still, if you’re anything like me, you can’t help but hope a little. Maybe one of those games could actually be quite good, eh? Or maybe it’ll be just entertaining and cheap enough for it to be worth shoving the GCM into the bottom of your rucksack and keeping it for an absolute last resort – those times when your DS, PSP, iPod Touch, Gameboy Color and mobile phone are all out of battery life. And your solar charger is broken. And you’ve not got a book. Then the GCM might sputter its way towards usefulness, maybe.

As soon as I picked up the GCM, however, all these ideas scuttled out of my head and it suddenly dawned on me what the others knew intuitively – that there is no way the GCM could ever be good at anything, ever, for whatever reason. It’s too light and flimsy to even make a good paperweight, too bulky to fit into a pocket and too flimsy to feel satisfactory in your hands.

The GCM seems to sum up everything bad about mass production; vomited onto the market thoughtlessly and crudely because – and I'm guessing this is the extent of any executive approval it might have received – ‘someone must want to buy this crap.’

And, seriously, it’s so badly made and designed that it makes broken glass look like a solid product. The sensitive Reset and Main Menu buttons are on the shoulders, right where your fingers normally rest. Even the screen rattles.

Thoughts on The Arctic Cooling GCM
In the face of tragedy, one must either laugh or cry

And the games? Sheesh. There are 80 of them, but they're all even worse than you might have feared – mostly boring one-button affairs with no depth or excitement, in which bland Mii-like avatars drift floatily around boring backgrounds and respond to your button presses after a half-second delay. There are a few titles in the mix, such as the obligatory Breakout clone and Schmup, which work OK, but even they lack enough lustre or speed to encourage more than the first five-minute fiddle.

Most of the included games don’t even work, in fact. The GCM has got more bugs than an ant farm, and it crashes regularly too. One time I tried to boot up Jet Girl, one of the less obnoxious titles in the Racing Games category, but got nothing more than a 12 second loading screen followed by a burst of numbers running across the screen. A moment later the Fencing game loaded up instead. In French.

The GCM is really a joke, and its punchline must be the price. £40 for this pile of cheap, worthless trash? It’s one thing for the GCM to fulfil expectations by turning out to be a poorly built and cheaply produced pocket-toy full of games you wouldn’t play if you had to. It’s something altogether to charge such an outrageous RRP – you could have a nice meal for two for the cost of this bloody thing!

As I predicted earlier, the GCM is indeed the type of product you’d expect to see in an oversized gumball machine outside a hairdresser in the bad part of town. No wonder this isn’t a proper review; there just isn’t a score low enough.

25 Comments

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adidan 18th February 2011, 07:43 Quote
Arrrgghhhhhhhh!

My eyes are bleeding!

Damn you!
Loafers 18th February 2011, 08:11 Quote
Since nobody in your office likes them, can I have one :D?
mi1ez 18th February 2011, 08:17 Quote
I'll stick with my original Game Boy then (which still comes on holiday with me)!
antiHero 18th February 2011, 08:18 Quote
Quietpc has them for 29 pounds before vat.
Canon 18th February 2011, 08:36 Quote
looks set to rival the 3DS for sure :|
FelixTech 18th February 2011, 08:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by antiHero
Quietpc has them for 29 pounds before vat.

I think the review still stands :)
Guinevere 18th February 2011, 08:45 Quote
What no screen shots?
Zurechial 18th February 2011, 09:11 Quote
But can it play Crysis?



...Sorry.
Xir 18th February 2011, 09:24 Quote
Why is it called Arctic Cooling?
Doesn't fit into their productline at all :?
mkb 18th February 2011, 09:45 Quote
LOL that was a little scathing hehe. So in summary: do not want.
PureSilver 18th February 2011, 09:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by antiHero
Quietpc has them for 29 pounds before vat.

Bargain!
maverik-sg1 18th February 2011, 10:11 Quote
So reading between the lines - you don't like it then? :p
Cupboard 18th February 2011, 10:55 Quote
On one hand, good that you seem to have made up with Arctic Cooling.
OTOH, lol
Skippylee 18th February 2011, 11:20 Quote
Having tried one of these I totally agree with the review. It is as described. But I have to say the product is not aimed at mature gamers, those people how are used to the game play of the more modern hand held gaming consoles, so you would think it is a "pile of crap", I know I did, and still do!

The GCM is aimed at young children of 4-7, the type of kid who will pick up a console like this, play it for about a month or so and then move onto some new. Trust me I know. I have a kid at that age and that is exactly how it went, he loved it! Therefore it is cheaper for you to buy a console like this than one of the more expensive mainstream alternatives. It's better to waste £30-40 rather than £100+!
l3v1ck 18th February 2011, 12:36 Quote
You guys need to come up with a "Bit-Tech Steaming Turd Award" for products this bad.
enciem 18th February 2011, 12:49 Quote
Looks like trash, but I'd love something similar that had all the old LCD Game & Watch games on it. Loved those things.
edzieba 18th February 2011, 16:10 Quote
Could be worse. It could be a PopStation.
Toploaded 18th February 2011, 17:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippylee
Having tried one of these I totally agree with the review. It is as described. But I have to say the product is not aimed at mature gamers, those people how are used to the game play of the more modern hand held gaming consoles, so you would think it is a "pile of crap", I know I did, and still do!

The GCM is aimed at young children of 4-7, the type of kid who will pick up a console like this, play it for about a month or so and then move onto some new. Trust me I know. I have a kid at that age and that is exactly how it went, he loved it! Therefore it is cheaper for you to buy a console like this than one of the more expensive mainstream alternatives. It's better to waste £30-40 rather than £100+!

Yeah pretty much, it's what gamers like us would give to their young kids to stop them whining on about playing our PSP's. However, for the same price you could probably get a gameboy advance with a good few games off ebay, so there really is just no justification for this.
Blackmoon181 18th February 2011, 19:39 Quote
whats the battery life like on it ?

the only saving grace perhaps....
adidan 18th February 2011, 20:44 Quote
My eyes are still bleeding!

The horror!

:)
feathers 19th February 2011, 15:43 Quote
Whatever this thing is it beats any Nintendo. I wonder if it comes with doom and half life 2?
raxonb 19th February 2011, 16:06 Quote
Possibly the first product to get banned by Bindi's Hammer? That would make a cool T-Shirt.
Technobod 20th February 2011, 03:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3v1ck
You guys need to come up with a "Bit-Tech Steaming Turd Award" for products this bad.

+1
adidan 20th February 2011, 09:10 Quote
BTB's - Bit-Tech Banhammered.
WilHarris 25th February 2011, 09:09 Quote
All this review needs is to finish in the grand tradition of mocking Bit-Tech reviews:

"If you buy this product, I will laugh at you."

Never fails to get you blackballed....
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