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Anbernic RG351MP user guide

Tuning

We have used our expert knowledge to tune the configuration of your Anbernic handheld. If you discover other tips or configurations that enhance your experience, please use the contact form to let us know. Here’s a list of the changes we’ve made.

microSD cards

The microSD cards that Anbernic usually supplies with its handhelds are unbranded and we are not satisfied with their reliability. Therefore, we ship these devices with brand-name microSD cards.

We are so confident about the quality of these cards that we provide a lifetime guarantee.

It’s important to make a backup

Even with the lifetime guarantee we give our microSD cards, it is still recommended that you backup your card(s) as soon as you receive your device. See How to backup your retro handheld’s microSD card(s)

Firmware

We have replaced the stock firmware with the ArkOS custom firmware. In our testing, ArkOS provided excellent balance between ease of use and performance. We have further refined the configuration of the firmware with settings specific to the RG351MP.

N64

Use the Standalone-Rice emulator

Standalone-Rice performs better on this device than the default Parallel-N64 retroarch core.

To try a different emulator, see Hints -> Trying different cores/emulators in this guide.

Configure the button-mapping for use with Standalone-Rice

Without configuration, this emulator uses an incomplete and uncomfortable mapping for the inputs. We have configured the inputs to match the common layout used for N64 emulation (L1 used for L-targeting, right analogue-stick directions used for C-inputs).

PSP

We have tuned the configuration for each installed game. The configuration files are stored in psp/ppsspp/PSP/SYSTEM/ on the EASYROMS partition of the SD card. That folder contains configuration files for other games you may choose to install in the future. Our configurations are based on those found at https://github.com/jserodio/rg351p-ppsspp-settings/.

PSP pushes the limit of what this kind of device can emulate, but these settings give you the best available experience.

You can show the menu used to alter these settings by pressing L2.

GameBoy

Set the screen colour to a light green, matching the original GameBoy display

If you would like to try a different colour palette, bring up the Retroarch Quick Menu while in-game (SELECT + X), then going to Options -> Internal Palette.

Save the changes by going back up a menu level (press B) until you see the Overrides item; then select Overrides -> Save Current Directory Overrides.

Dreamcast

We have set the core used for emulation to RETRORUN32 -> Flycast32_Rumble.

To try a different emulator, see Hints -> Trying different cores/emulators in this guide.

All Retroarch cores

Shaders

We have configured shaders to improve the display of these retro games on your RG351’s high-resolution screen.

Set the aspect ratio to Core Provided

This tells Retroarch’s cores to conform to the shape of each device’s original screen shape, preventing games from appearing squashed.

Arcade games

A number of the installed arcade games were designed for use with a portrait-format screen. These have been properly flipped to use vertical mode. We have also mapped the controls so that you can use the analogue stick and buttons that will be at the bottom of the device as you’re holding it.

Ports

Ports are games that have been ported to run natively on your device.

Of particular interest may be sm64, the native port of Super Mario 64. It should run at a smooth 60fps, due to the fact that it doesn’t require an emulation layer, and can be compared with the version available for Nintendo 64 emulation. It is also considered to be a seminal 3D game.

Hints

Hotkeys

Note

L3 is the button function (click it) of the left-hand analogue stick; R3 is the same for the right-hand stick.

ActionHotkey
Safe power-offR3 + power button
Quit gameSELECT + START twice (once for some stand-alone emulators)
SleepPower button quick press; press again to wake up
Add favouriteY when in game list
Remove favouriteY when in favourites list
Retroarch quick menuSELECT + X
Retroarch quick saveSELECT + R1
Retroarch quick loadSELECT + L1
Retroarch fast forwardSELECT + R2 (hold)
Retroarch rewindSELECT + L2 (can undo a small fail)

Turning off the device

Hotkey

Press R3 (the right-hand analogue stick) and the POWER button together.

Using the menu

Press START, then go down to Quit, and choose Shutdown System.

Hard shutdown or reset

If the device crashes and neither of the previous two methods work, you can perform a hard shutdown by holding the POWER button. Similarly, you can press the RESET button to perform a hard reset.

You should use these only as a last resort, as they risk data corruption.

Note

Your Anbernic device is a handheld computer and, as such, should be powered down in a safe manner. Otherwise, there is a risk of data corruption.

Quitting a game

When using a retroarch core

Most systems are emulated using Retroarch cores.

You can press SELECT + START on the device, twice in quick succession, to quit a game.

Standalone emulators and Ports

Some systems use stand-alone emulators. These include N64, PSP, Dreamcast, and Nintendo DS. Pressing SELECT + START once will quit most of these. Most Ports are quit using the same method.

Nintendo DS: The Nintendo DS emulator (Drastic) is quit by using its menu. You can display the menu by pressing L3. The text is tiny but the last menu option is the one you use to quit.

Sleep

You can put your Anbernic handheld into sleep mode with a short-press of the POWER button. If you press the power button again, the device will quickly return to the state it was in before entering sleep mode.

This mode drains the battery at a very slow rate. However, we don’t recommend leaving your device in sleep mode for days at a time. It will eventually run out of battery and the unsafe shutdown may result in data corruption.

Stand-alone emulators and Ports

Don’t use the sleep mode while a stand-alone emulator is active or while you are playing one of the Ports. If you do, you will find that the controls don’t work when the device wakes up and you will need to perform a power-cycle. Systems that use a stand-alone emulator include N64, PSP, Dreamcast, and Nintendo DS.

Show the battery level

When in the system selection or game list screens, press the START button. The battery level, along with other status information, is shown in the second-to-last entry.

Show the Retroarch menu

Select RETROARCH from the main menu and then either retroarch or retroarch32. These are 64-bit and 32-bit versions of the software, respectively. The available game systems are configured to use the 32-bit or 64-bit depending on which happens to work best for that system.

To bring up the Quick Menu, press SELECT + X while in-game.

Updating the firmware

Make sure to backup your microSD card before performing an update. This requires an internet connection. Attach the provided USB adapter and WiFi dongle. Connect to your WiFi router by using the Options -> WiFi menu entry (use the shoulder buttons to change focus between items on the screen).

To perform an update, use the Options -> Update menu entry and follow the instructions. You may need to use the shoulder buttons to navigate between items on the screen.

Important

Updating the installed firmware may provide improved performance or stability. However, it should also be noted that it’s possible an update could overwrite some of the refinements we’ve made the device’s configuration.

Screen-saver

After several minutes of sitting idle, your handheld will start playing videos of random installed games. This is the screen-saver. To play the game currently displayed, press START. To exit the screen-saver, press one of the face buttons.

Trying different cores/emulators

To try a different emulator for a specific game, press SELECT on the game list screen, then choose Edit this game’s metadata -> Emulator.

Nintendo DS

Nintendo DS uses the stand-alone emulator, Drastic.

Games that do not use touch-screen input are the most usable.

L2 swaps between the two screens. Display the Drastic emulator’s menu by pressing L3 (the left-hand analogue stick). You quit DS games, and the Drastic emulator, using this menu. The menu text is tiny but the last entry is the one you use to quit.

Amstrad

When required, you can use the R1 button to bring up an on-screen keyboard.

Glossary

ArkOS
This is the Operating System that runs on your Anbernic retro handheld device. It’s a version of Linux that’s been streamlined to run emulators most efficiently.
Retroarch
Retroarch provides most of the cores/emulators that run the provided games. The Retroarch menu is used to configure its cores.
Core
A Core is an emulator that has been adapted to work with Retroarch.
Emulator
Using an emulator, your device pretends that it’s a different device. For instance, using the PPSSPP emulator, your Anbernic retro handheld pretends that it’s a PlayStation Portable. It can then run games designed for the PSP. Some devices are more difficult to emulate than others, such as the Nintendo 64 or Sega Dreamcast.

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