Will the RetroN 5 deliver what it promises?
Underwhelmed by the announcements of the Microsoft Xbox One, the Sony Playstation 4 and the already emerged Nintendo Wii U? Well, buck up, pilgrim — the forthcoming Hyperkin RetroN 5 may be just the thing to get you excited about a new console coming out this year.
What is the RetroN 5? Simply put, Hyperkin promises it’ll play a slew of classic games from Nintendo and Sega and address a major problem — those old games look great on the CRT sets for which they were designed, but look awful on modern, high definition sets. As a matter of fact, we at First Arkansas News addressed that problem about three years ago in this article and have been keeping an eye on developments bridging the HDTV/classic console gap since then.
Hyperkin promises to fix the HDTV resolution problem with the Retron5 through clever manipulation of an HDMI port that will upscale those classic games but it in a way that doesn’t make them look terrible. You can read more about the RetroN 5 here.
What is the RetroN 5? There are scant details available from Hyperkin at this time, but the company has said it hopes to release the console around July for about $100. It has five cartridge slots that will handle titles for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance (GBA), Sega Genesis, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Nintendo Famicom (Japanese), Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Game boy color (GBC), Super Famicom (SFC), Sega Mega Drive and original Game Boy games. The only thing it’s lacking is support for the Sega Master System, but that is a very minor detail.
Want more? The system will come with a couple of wireless controllers that can be remapped for each machine the RetroN 5 emulates but will also sport six controller ports so you can plug in the original controllers for Genesis, NES or SNES. There will even be an SD slot so players can save game states — a welcome addition for games like Sonic the Hedgehog don’t have battery backup but do have multiple levels. Players, then, could simply save a game state, power down the RetroN 5 and then pick up where they left off when they turn the system on later.
So, the system costs $100 and can be hooked up to either an HDTV or regular, CRT set. A slew of games are supported and players can even use their favorite controllers. PAL (European and Australian) games are supported as are NTSC (North America and Japan). There’s no need for the console to stay connected to the Internet and no chance of a company pulling a Nintendo Wii and shutting down servers in hopes of making a console obsolete so consumers will upgrade. Hyperkin has decided to simply make a console that focuses on gaming rather than go the Microsoft route by tacking on a bunch of expensive features that have nothing to do with playing games. Oh, and the RetroN 5 will thrive on used games that can be picked up for a little bit of nothing — there’s no worry about the threatened app and licensing fee structure that may be built into the next generation of consoles and could render used games all but worthless.
In short, the RetroN 5 could well be the system that a lot of fans of the Genesis, NES and SNES have been waiting to come around for years. If the emulation is accurate, the RetroN 5 may be an absolute bargain as it will force classic games to play nice with HDTV sets. For more information, have a look at the below video of the RetroN 5 reveal at the Midwest Gaming Classic Conference in March in Milwaukee.
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.