Paddling my own Caanoo


I recently purchased a GP2X Caanoo from Think Geek and holy crap am I happy! In short, the Caanoo is an open-source, Linux-based handheld gaming system that you load emulators and ROMs onto (a ROM is a file that contains all the original game data). It plays Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, TurboGrafx-16, Arcade games, and more. It’s amazing, especially for a retro gaming nut like me. Initially it takes a little bit of figuring out, but it’s totally worth the effort. Here are a few tips to get started:

  • Charge the Caanoo fully before using.
  • Pop in an SD card (it doesn’t come with one). It supports up to 32GB, but I fit a lot onto a single 1GB card.
  • Download emulators from
    • GPFCE – Nintendo (NES, Famicom). NES ROMs are small so it’s no sweat dropping the entire library on there. (tip: close out of NES games by holding the Home button and L trigger at the same time.)
    • DrPocketSNES – Super Nintendo (SNES, Super Famicom). The Caanoo has L and R shoulder triggers so all SNES buttons are present.
    • PicoDrive – Sega Genesis (Mega Drive)
    • Hugo – TurboGrafx-16 (PC Engine)
    • MAME4ALL – Plays Arcade games (MAME). Leave the ROMs zipped. A list of compatible games is supplied by the developers, and I’ve re-formatted it nicely in this PDF: Mame4All Compatibility List
    • GpSp – Gameboy Advance
  • I’ve had success downloading ROMs from and Each emulator should have a “roms” folder that the ROMs should be loaded into. If it doesn’t have this folder, make one.
  • Not every ROM will work. Some will get an error, and others won’t show up at all. Downloading a different version, or from a different site, may work.

I unfortunately haven’t gotten the NeoGeo emulator, GnGeo, to work yet. Regardless, there are thousands of retro games to be played on the Caanoo. The control pad and buttons feel great and are programmable in some emulators. I got my Caanoo for $120 USD and it’s worth every penny. More details and specs are on the Caanoo Wikipedia entry.