Uh, Is Soulja Boy Selling Cheap Emulation Boxes? A Waypoint Investigation

We're serious.

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Dec 5 2018, 6:19pm

Souja Boy, a rapper perhaps best known for making sure you tell ‘em, crank that (soulja boy), and celebrating the heroism of Superman, has returned to his love of video games. This time, though, he’s apparently selling emulation machines loaded with ROMs?

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The SouljaGame Console ($200, on sale for $150) and the SouljaGame Handheld($200, on sale for $100) were recently listed on his online shop, SouljaGame, in time for Christmas. The console version supposedly has “800 built in games” and the handheld has “3000 built in games,” though the website doesn’t list what games are really included with the devices.

My request for clarification via the website’s built-in SouljaChat has gone unanswered.

That said, the SouljaGame Handheld is currently being promoted with this image:

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Apparently, the SouljaGame Handheld includes NeoGeo, GBA, and GBC games? Impressive. In that image alone, I can spot...The Incredibles? Pokemon? I think there’s a Zelda game, too? How’s Soulja Boy get the rights to those games, presuming they’re actually included?

Soulja Boy and video games crossing over aren’t new. In 2008, Soulja Boy weighed in on the great Braid controversy: Is it good? (He didn’t like it.) And he launched a mobile game in 2017 called Beef With Soulja? The game riffs on the very popular “runner” genre, now with lots of loud sound effects from Soulja Boy, as you try to make sure he collects lots of coins.

His console, though, seems to just come with a...Dual Shock?

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The controller is pictured in another promotional image featuring artwork from a recent Tomb Raider game, one promising “pre-installed 800 classic games,” and “game speed FPS 1:1 output (perfect and fluent),” and it definitely looks like a Dual Shock.

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Unsurprisingly, Soulja Boy did not manufacture either device himself; they’re produced by a company called Anbernic. Anbernic sells a series of “retro” machines on Amazon, including machines that look suspiciously like the SoujaGame Console and SouljaGame Handheld. On Amazon, these devices are generic “handheld game console” and “retro game console.”

They even sell some kind of PSP knock-off? All of these seem like the modern version of those shady knockoff consoles you'd find at the mall promising "100+ games in one!!!"

The console sells for $150 on SouljaBoy’s website, $90 on Amazon, and $40 on the Chinese version of Amazon, Alibaba. The handheld pricing is similar: $100, $60, and then just $32.

As with Soulja Boy’s store, there’s no listing of what games are included because it would give away the scam, and cause the listings to be taken down for copyright infringement. That said, customer images include shots of games like Super Mario Bros. 3, and menus that explicitly promise games for Game Boy Advance, SNES, the original PlayStation, and more.

Actually, I take that back. In the customer reviews section for the handheld version, Anbernic—the seller of this device and another one that looks exactly like the one Soulja Boy is selling on his online storefront right now—listed everything included, and it’s basically every game you would have wanted on a nostalgia device: Super Mario World, Kirby’s Superstar, Earthbound, Mortal Kombat 2, Donkey Kong Country, etc.

The Alibaba listings for both devices are so much more forward than the others, as evidenced by these promotional videos straight up showing people playing ROMs:

The funniest part is Soulja Boy isn’t even hiding what’s going on, based on what he’s saying on social media. After announcing the first sale of his console “brought tears to my eyes,” he quickly defended a tweet calling him out for selling little more than a “an OEM ROM box.”

There are, perhaps, other reasons to be suspicious, too. Soulja Boy is also selling his Soulja Watch for $50, but it’s on sale—surprise, surprise—for just $20 right now. A $20 smart watch? Hmm. One of the main promotional images for the Soulja Watch is just an edited image of an Apple Watch, a device whose pricing starts at $280, if you buy last year’s model.

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It’s unclear how long these devices will stay one sale, though Anbernic’s creations have survived on Amazon for a while, it seems. In order to keep tabs on history, however, Waypoint has purchased both the SouljaGame Console and SouljaGame Handheld. If Soulja Boy keeps his promise to deliver these before Christmas, we’ll have impressions for you shortly.

Follow Patrick on Twitter. If you have a tip or a story idea, drop him an email: patrick.klepek@vice.com.

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