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FRONTBURNR | August 23, 2014

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Why I Want Hyperkin’s Retron 5

| On 27, Jun 2013

As excited as I am for the next generation of video games, I’m still interested in old school gaming.

Tecmo_Super_Bowl_GEN_ScreenShot4I don’t own many older systems. Super Nintendo was the only console my parents ever bought for me (and then my dad got into PC gaming), but I played plenty of NES, Sega Genesis, N64, Sony Playstation and Sega Dreamcast at other people’s homes when I was younger. I have new consoles and games I want to purchase, but the desire to buy consoles and games from my youth has not gone away.

For years, I thought third party consoles were dumb and pointless. “So this thing can play games from multiple systems? Who cares? I’d rather play the original systems.” However, I recently discovered Hyperkin’s upcoming Retron 5 (a clone console that can play NES, SNES, Genesis, Famicom, and GBA & earlier games.)

Here’s why I’m interested in buying a Retron 5:

Quality

The biggest concern I have about third party consoles is the quality – no point in buying them if they don’t work properly. A few months ago, I bought Hyperkin’s Supaboy (handheld Super Nintendo) and I’ve really enjoyed my experience with it. I did my research before buying this system and so far, I haven’t been disappointed. The Supaboy has given me confidence in the quality of Hyperkin’s products. I trust that the Retron 5 will be a quality product as well.

supaboy
The Supaboy is one of the coolest things ever made (to someone like myself who grew up playing Super Nintendo and thinks it’s the greatest console ever made.)

HDMI

When I heard about the NEO-GEO X Gold I thought, “How awesome would it be to have an SNES with an HDMI connection?!” Old systems don’t look good on HDTVs. Yeah, yeah… some of you are thinking, “Ummm, maybe because they’re old systems.” Trust me, I know what I’m talking about. I still play my Super Nintendo quite a bit and refuse to get rid of my tube TV because my SNES games look the way they should on there. With the Retron 5’s HDMI connection, I might actually prefer to play old-school games on my 46” LCD TV.

shaders_retron5
The Retron 5 will up convert the video signal to show clearer and cleaner images, with vibrant colors on an HDTV with a resolution output of up to 720p through the use of shaders.

Save Anywhere

I usually try to stay away from emulators as I’ve never been clear on how legal they are. One of the great things about emulators though is that you can save your games anywhere. When I was younger, my dad and I went and bought a device that was supposed to achieve this idea of saving anywhere. The game that caused us to want this hardware was Doom, and when we tried it, it didn’t work successfully. The game loaded where we last played, but it was frozen, and we couldn’t keep playing. I’m not sure if the Retron 5’s save anywhere functionality will work any differently than Nakitek’s Game Saver, but I sure hope so because it’s an appealing idea, especially for games on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Remember how much progress you lost in some of the NES games when you died?

game_saver
Doom may have been one of the few games that the Game Saver didn’t work with, but it was still disappointing. On the Super Nintendo, I can’t really think of any other games we would have wanted to use it with since the SNES games usually had a good, built-in save system. Come to think of it though, I usually play a castle or ghost house again when I’m ready to be done playing Super Mario World so I can save before I quit.

Game Boy Advance

I remember when I bought a Gameboy Advance SP to play Metroid: Fusion around the time it released. At the time, the newly added back-light option was a long awaited feature for Nintendo’s handheld systems, so it was a pretty awesome experience. However, I’m currently borrowing my brother-in-law’s GBA SP to play Metroid: Zero Mission and the experience isn’t as awesome as I remember (what can I say, I’m pretty spoiled by the crystal clear, well-lit display on my iPhone 4S.) I have some more Gameboy Advance games I’d like to play (and a few I’d like to play again.) I was recently thinking about buying a Gamecube again since there is a Game Boy Player for it (an attachment similar in concept to the Super Gameboy for Super Nintendo.) I technically already have a Gamecube because I own an original Wii, so spending money on a Retron 5 instead sounds like a better idea for me.

Yep, that’s a Gameboy Advance game playing on that TV. Impressive, right?! I really want to re-experience the GBA Metroid games this way.

Cross-Controller Support

The Retron 5 has a wireless controller that comes with it, but it also has ports for the original NES, Genesis, and SNES controllers. It gets better. The Retron 5 will allow you to play games with another system’s controller. For example, you can play Sega Genesis games with a Super Nintendo controller. (Why would I give the reverse example? HAHA!) This is a big selling point for me because I’ve had an interest in buying some Sega Genesis games for years (mainly the Sonic games), but I’ve never been a fan of the Genesis controller. Playing Sonic with an SNES controller would be a dream come true.

custom controller
A friend of mine is custom painting a Super Nintendo for me with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme that I designed. The console isn’t done yet, but here’s the custom painted controller. I’d probably play every game on the Retron 5 with SNES controllers – I really like them.

I used to think third party consoles were pointless – just buy the original systems, right? I still see the value in owning the original consoles, but the Retron 5 looks like an awesome new way to experience the classic games we love, even for people who own all of the original systems supported on this console. At a price just under $100, it’s worth considering.

To learn more about Hyperkin’s Retron 5, visit this page on Hyperkin’s website.

Comments

  1. This really does seem like a nice nexus between original consoles and emulation. You can use your old cartridges, but can also save anywhere and use SD cards. I will consider getting one, but I really wish it could also play N64 games too — the last cartridge system that mattered. My OUYA does almost perfect emulation but this is likely better.

    An Atari Jaguar emulator would be pleasant too, but no one cares about that system!

    • born4this

      Yeah, having a cartridge slot for the N64 would be great! If I were you, I’d hold out for the Retron 6. HAHA! I’m not sure if there will be a Retron 6, but N64 is a good enough reason to make one.

      • Supposedly wireless N64 controllers are on the way. I’m tempted, but it would be nice to know if they’re Bluetooth or otherwise flexible enough to use elsewhere. Composite cables and wired controllers on the N64 are the weakest link. http://www.joystiq.com/2013/06/15/retro-bits-wireless-n64-controllers-are-just-smashing/

        • born4this

          I know they’re going for the original look & feel, but if I were to make a new N64 controller, I’d put a Gamecube analog stick on it instead. :P