RetroN 5

You are probably not exactly itching to play Bible Adventures ever again but maybe there are a lot of other old classics you would love to go play once more. An Emulator, a PC, or even your phone, is always an option. With an Emulator though, you don’t get the feel of the old classic controllers or the original cartridges. The RetroN line of consoles is the princess in the other castle you were looking for. It’s also, bigger and better than ever before, though it could still use some tweaks.

The newest edition is the RetroN 5. You can get it in either grey or black. It plays NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, Famicom, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and GBA cartridges. The console does have it’s own wireless controller, but if you’re old school like me, you can use your original NES, SNES, and Sega Genesis controllers with controller ports for all three. On the back, it has a slot for an SD card (which is used for cheat codes), a slot for the power cord, a USB port for charging the controller, and (what gets me excited) an HDMI port.

Now, if you’re an old school gamer, an HDMI may seem a bit confusing. You’re actually playing all of your old school games in real 720p. With it, you can either choose to dumb it down and add those old scan lines, or you can brighten the colors and give your old games an almost remastered look.

The reason the RetroN 5 is capable of changing the look of your games is because it actually dumps the ROM of the game onto the console’s own variation of the Android OS. Sadly, it doesn’t keep the ROM on the console when you take the cartridge out, but you can save your data of the game on the console itself. It’s great for playing something like Super Mario Bros. 3 if you don’t want to try to finish it all in one night. It’s also good for games where the battery in the cartridge itself has run dry and is unable to save the game.

The operating system is also nice because it allows the console to get updated firmware when needed. For example, as of right now you can only insert one cartridge into the console at a time. This is a step back from the RetroN 3 which was capable of switching between cartridges. Developers are working on this problem and are hoping to allow you to switch between cartridges in a future update.

As briefly mentioned before, the console has a slot for an SD card that allows for cheat codes. These cheat codes can be found on their website and are similar to those of the game shark. One problem with this is that you have to download all cheat codes, and it is a bit hard to navigate through all of them on certain games in order to find the ones you want.

The wireless controller is interesting to say the least. You have to have it to navigate the home screen which could be annoying to some. Instead of the D-Pad that all of the other controllers have, RetroN 5 opted to have an 8-point thumb stick instead. It does feel a bit like cheap plastic, as does the rest of the console, but, honestly, if you prefer older controllers, you are kind of used to cheap plastic anyway. One really cool thing about the controller setup is that you can use any controller, including using a Genesis controller for your NES.

Overall the RetroN 5 definitely has room for improvements, but it is leading the way in retro gaming. If you want one for yourself, you are looking at a price of $140.00. You will have to decide how much your nostalgia is really worth.

What do you think? Is the RetroN 5 the pinnacle of retro gaming, or would you rather play the same thing for free using a PC emulator and a keyboard? You tell us in the comments section down below.

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Cody Armour

YouTuber, Geek and most importantly Christian. You can always find me at www.YouTube.com/ArmourCody giving you the news, or on Twitter @CodyArmour

7 Comments

  1. jpparker88 on February 23, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    I am a huge retro gamer and currently own all 5 original consoles it emulates. While I was intrigued at first by this concept, and the fact that it has the HDMI port, it does not currently play 100% of the libraries for the consoles it supposedly takes the place of. I cannot also support a company that raises the price up before launch and has numerous delays in production. I used one of these in a local store and was unimpressed. The plastic itself seems really cheap, and the games had to be really shoved into the console for it to read, kind of like on a retroduo. I fear with time the console would break due to the force needed to make the game read coupled with the cheap plastic used in production. The battery life on the controller is subpar at best, and the console does not currently support the four score or multi tap for more than 2 player gaming, which is something that I do semi regularly with older sports games. While the famicom support is nice, it would not have taken much to also support super famicom because even the regular SNES supports it with a little cosmetic console modding ( removing two tabs from the top part of the cartridge slot). The sound on the console leaves a lot to be desired as well, and sounded really tinny and with some games there was some noticeable lag due to using the wireless controller. For the $140 you spend on the console, you can almost get all of the consoles it emulates. And, while the use of cheat codes is nice, that shouldn’t be someones main drive to get one.
    Maybe I’m just being nostalgic, but I would never own one of these unless I was really low on space ( which in retro gaming you really can’t be due to the actual collection of games taking up a fair amount on their own) or had no other way to get the consoles themselves. I’ve also heard the technical support the company offers for these is horrid.

  2. Jeremiah Jackson on October 13, 2014 at 12:18 am

    An Emulator is t Illegal. It is simply a software designed to operate on a different hardware (IE , Genesis on a computer) . What is illegal is downloading ROMs off the internet. It is the equivalent of copying CD’s / DVD’s.

    The R5 is basically a giant base of emulators, but instead of illegally downloading ROMs, you can use the ROM from your own Cartridges without copying them or downloading them from anywhere.
    It’s like playing a CD in a different CD Player. I’d rather they use NOAC or similar hardware because those are more likely to be closer to the original instead of all this HD mess.

  3. Jon Hill on October 12, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    I’ve been following the Retron 5 since its announcement and I thought it was going to be my retro game living room solution, but Hyperkin continuously disappointed me with every detail I learned. They originally announced that the price was going to be $99.99 for a system that will play all these consoles’ games. They even had retailers taking preorders at that price. Then they delayed it a ton of times. Then, 2 weeks before launch, they jacked the price up by $40. Then after it launched, people found out that it’s just an emulator box that requires cartridges. Then people found out that Hyperkin stole the source codes for the emulators on the system (zsnes, etc) without giving any credit or licensing from the codes creators. Now I just heard from Pat the NES Punk’s podcast that they’re jacking the price up another $20! Hyperkin is shady and I’m staying far away. If emulation is your thing, your laptop and an Xbox controller work just fine. If you collect retro games, original hardware and an old tube TV is the way to go.

  4. Rob M. on October 12, 2014 at 1:16 am

    Well, one thing to consider is that emulators are technically illegal (to the best of my knowledge). As Christians, we’re called to obey the laws of the land, so this offers a legitimate, legal way to play the old classics.

    • Steve Schoen on October 12, 2014 at 5:20 am

      Emulators are not strictly illegal, but developers like Nintendo frown on their use because their distribution promotes the play of illegally copied ROMs (software piracy). To draw a similar analogy, it’s like buying a hookah or a bong (paraphernalia) and pretending you’re not going to use it to smoke marijuana. For the record, a ROM is legal if you dump your own ROM image from your own cartridge for your own personal use. An emulator is simply software that “emulates” a piece of hardware. So, for older systems that run strictly on circuitry like NES, SNES, and Genesis, an emulator is fine as long as you’re playing your own ROMs.

      That being said, newer consoles with integrated software, such as the PS2 has its own BIOS, and creating an emulator with it and distributing it IS illegal, because you have to dump the copyrighted file from the PS2 in order to make a PS2 emulator work. Creators of newer emulators have gotten around this by simply building a “skeleton” PS2 emulator on the back of the BIOS from their own console, but then not including the BIOS file in their distributed work, making you dump the BIOS from your own console. The only problem with this is that there are multiple BIOS files in existence, representing different versions that have been released. So, your BIOS may or may not be compatible. With that in mind, you have to have a pretty good PC to successfully emulate PS2 games in the first place.

      However, to respond directly to the article… I really need to get one of these. LOL

      • Michael M. on October 12, 2014 at 2:02 pm

        Steve has done his emulator homework, that’s for sure. You pose a strong case for their use, and I personallly have used them so I’m not complaining 🙂 I played a LOT of games on emulators.

    • Daniel J. on January 10, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      They are not illegal just so long as you own them. I looked up the legal laws. Also, if a company isn’t making money off of it anymore, sometimes they will allow the emulation of the game, like bethesda did with their early elder scrolls games. Emulation is basically one giant legally grey area, so it is best to just use wisdom.

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