Need more instructions? figuring out your way around a Pandoras Box Arcade

Pandora Box arcades come in many flavours however the user guide, manual that comes with them can miss key elements. That said models can be grouped by features.

From saving games, favourites, search function, adding games, adding game pads and allocating player 1,2,3 or 4 and much more. This guide will step you through the key elements your console does and give you a clear indication of what it doesnt have - no smoke and mirrors here.

Lets start with the heart of your Pandoras Box, 99.99% of these and many other consoles have either everything or atleast the games stored on a MicroSD card.
The console reads this card constantly and over time turning the device off during read can cause corruption. There is also the chance of potential card failure. This doesnt happen often but can and as such we recomend backing up whats on the card. Even more so if you're device supports adding games.


Exit, Pause a game and Shutting down safely

Depending on how your console has been setup you can either Hold the >Start OR >Select buttons. This will prompt an exit menu and can also be used to Pause gameplay.

To maintain the health of your MicroSD card, its recomended to shut down the console when the card is not being accessed. In order to do so we recomend accessing the search function by Pressing >START. This will turn off video preview and allow you to then safely power off the unit.


Backing up your games card

When importing games the Micro SD card is modified. Depending on your console it can be anything from 16GB - 128GB. The EX2 boards come with 8k games 64GB and 10k games on a 128GB Micro SD card.
With anything tech, things can go wrong so its strongly advised that you backup the card. Keep in mind that in most cases your computer wont be able to read the contents and may prompt you to format the card which you must avoid!

In order to backup the card you will need atleast 128GB free space on your computer and preferably a USB 3.0 Micro SD card reader.
This guide should assist in finding and removing the Pandora Box card.

Once removed insert it into the card reader and if prompted to format or anything else click cancel/no.

Depending on your computer you can use programs like

  • Win32 Disk Imager
  • balenaEtcher

Once you have inserted card into reader and started your desired backup program, you will need to select source being the card and destination being a folder on your computer.

This will create an .IMG file that cant be read. Its sole purpose will be to restore the existing card or a replacement card should you need to revert to the current state at any time. Keeping a backup is highly recomended. 


Button layout and order

You can change your button layout to your liking, keeping in mind this is system wide and cannot be done on a per console be it N64, Arcade, Playstation etc. Most Pandora box button are set at, from top left;

You might find some are;

As any change will be applied to all consoles, you’ll need to find what consoles you play more and a subsequent layout that works for you. To change your button layout we access the settings section by pressing the little 'configure' button on the back of your Pandoras Box usually near the USB ports. From setting menu click >Key Settings >Redefine Keys. Once set to exit click 


Recently Played, Search, Favourites and Hide Games

The Saga 12s, 18s, EX2 and 3D+ Pandora Box boxes include a recently played list. This holds upto 1 page of games you have played from recent to oldest date. This is the easiest and quickest way to replay a recent game.

The next easiest way to find a game is the Search Function. This is a simple search meaning its a single phrase with no spaces. That said depending on search phrase filtering through one to a few pages is still better than a few thousand titles. The good thing is the search results show the console icon next to each title, the not so good is there is no video preview in search results.

Onto Favourites, this one takes a tad more effort, but provides easier long term results for your most wanted titles and you can relatively easily add/remove from this. This isnt an individual list, but instead shows your chosen games at the top of the standard games list, so you maintain video preview as well - just incase you need it ;-).

You'll need to access the settings section, this is done by pressing the Configuration button on the rear of the unit near USB ports.
Scroll down and select >Enter Game Settings >Edit Favorite List

From here you will need to scroll through the standard game list, hover over the desired game and click A to add it to favourites. What we recomend is before going into the Settings section, document the game number of each favourite, that way when in the Settings section you can quickly scroll through by number to find it and add it as a favourite. Keep in mind while in the favourite settings section you can remove individual or all games from here, so tread with caution.

Much like favourites, you may wish to hide some games based on who is using the console and what you decide is suitable. This allows you to chose which games to hide from the main menu and is set up much like favourites.

Press the Configuration button on the rear of the unit near USB ports.
Scroll down and select >Enter Game Settings >Edit Game List

You can now scroll through the list of games and hover over game you wish to hide and Click A. 

What you can also do here is Press B to Hide All. Then Press C to show hidden list and go over titles you want to show and Press A to display each title you want shown. This can give you a vetted list of a few titles for parties, kids or any ocassion. 

Once done Press D until you are out of settings and back to the Main games menu. 


Adding and Allocating USB controllers

While older arcade titles only had 1 player setup, meaning P1 and P2 would take turns sharing the joystick/buttons, newer arcade and console titles gave each player their own controls.

A number of titles will support 2 Player and some 4 Player. Games and Consoles that support 4P will need compatible USB gamepads or fightsticks. In the Pandoras Box world compatibility is king and a rarity. In addition using any Pandoras Box manufactured pre June 2022 means you will have 2 USB ports. 1 for gamepads and 1 that allows it to be used to play games on a PC/PS3.
This includes 11s,12s,18s, 28s, 3D+, CX, DX, EX and first release of EX2.

The later/newer EX2 has 3 USB ports meaning you can connect two controllers direct to the unit, instead of going with an additional USB hub that would split into 2. 

Back to how this is all achieved, when connecting 1-2 USB controllers they are usually allocated as P1 and P2. Thats fine as you might want to play a particular game with a gamepad instead of fightstick.

If you are wanting to go 4Up you'll need to access settings via the Configuration button on the rear near USB ports.
From the Menu click on >Key Settings >Gamepad Settings
From there you should see both gamepads, if not click the big silver button or analog button on youe controller which on most devices will turn red.
You can then hover over the 2 detected USB Gamepads, if not showing press the bottom left D button on P1 fightstick to exit and then go back into >Gamepad Settings.
Once USB devices are detected, you can hover over each one and click left or right to allocate either gamepad to player 1-4.
Once each has been assigned you click the D button again all the way back out of the Settings section. Once back at the games menu this allocation has been saved and will be kept until changed even after restarting the console.
Keep in mind some games will only be 2 player and some will be 4.

On the EX2, this list should help identify what is multiplayer >>