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Thread: RetroN5: Hands on first look

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    Default RetroN5: Hands on first look

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    Last edited by shadowkn55; 01-07-2014 at 10:17 AM.

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    Can you explain who you are, and how you have access to the RetroN5 already? There have been others who have claimed to have access and badmouthed it, and I'd just like to know who you are, since StoneAgeGamer doesn't even have the beta yet.

    Did you take better pictures than those? I hope so, they don't show much we don't already know, like way it looks like out the back.

    What are the exact power supply specs? Is it 5v 1A, 12v 2A, what is it?

    What are the measurements of the system? The MVS cart is a good size reference, but I'd like to get a feel for how big and how tall the system is.

    So it's a rom dumper just as I suspected. You said NES/SNES games dump quickly, but GBA games can take minutes. Is that a one time only thing, or is that every single time? I would hope that GBA games won't take "minutes" to boot up every single time you want to play one.

    As for your troubles with SMW played with an NES pad, I can tell you right now that's not the RetroN5's doing. The 4021 is the same in both, and it would be screwy on the real hardware too. It should be able to handle on-the-fly switching of controllers without crashing, but maybe it can't because that's a prototype and the firmware to fix that hasn't been released yet. I'm sure that's not going to be a lingering problem forever.

    HDMI only? Are you sure? at PAX Hyperkin showed composite inputs as well.

    Please expand upon the audio issues you mentioned. What's wrong?

    I just really want you to take better pictures.
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    Last edited by shadowkn55; 01-07-2014 at 10:17 AM.

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    What are they gaining by dumping each cartridge that's inserted? Would seem as if it's just increasing their workload substantially since they now have to emulate everything like SuperFX chips rather than just letting the onboard cartridge hardware do its own job.

    And from our viewpoint, it increases the chances of inaccuracies, adds wait time for games we're used to booting immediately, and breaks the original saving mechanism in cartridges since obviously it won't actively be interacting with the cartridge after dumping its contents [Edit: Now that this is actually out as I edit this post, thankfully that last one has proven to be incorrect thanks to its ability to extract and then optionally later on, its ability to upload a save back to the cartridge.].
    Last edited by Leo_A; 06-29-2014 at 05:23 AM.

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    Last edited by shadowkn55; 01-07-2014 at 10:18 AM.

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    I understand how it works, but I don't understand why it needed to be that way here. Why does the emulator care where the rom data resides that it reads? PC emulators work that way since there isn't a physical interface for it to interact directly with the data on original cartridges. But this thing has those connections.
    Last edited by Leo_A; 01-07-2014 at 12:22 AM.

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    Last edited by shadowkn55; 01-07-2014 at 10:18 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    Can you explain who you are, and how you have access to the RetroN5 already? There have been others who have claimed to have access and badmouthed it, and I'd just like to know who you are, since StoneAgeGamer doesn't even have the beta yet.
    You keep saying this, but plenty of people have played with the damn thing. It was available for copious use over this past weekend during at least three conventions. Edit: Hell, that controller you said was "only a mock up" or something in other topic was at SacAnime as well. Wish I had gotten a pic of it, but I didn't think to.
    Last edited by JSoup; 01-07-2014 at 12:33 AM.




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    It's all software based, not hardware based. So I don't see what the complexity would be in keeping continuous communication with the cartridge slot going.

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    Last edited by shadowkn55; 01-07-2014 at 10:18 AM.

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    wait, OP made the Omega CVS? damn man, i'm a fan of your handiwork! totally wanna get one of those one day...

    great write-up; while there were no genesis specifics, its sounding like my expectations for its audio being in line with the last few models sounds about right, sadly. honestly, now that i have my old hardware over RGB the only pluses i saw here were savestates, controller options & region free but it's only the first one i could've used anyway. sounds like an awesome gift though!

    also, i still have the outside hope this thing gets hacked into being an interesting MAMEbox or something, haha.

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    Last edited by shadowkn55; 01-07-2014 at 10:19 AM.

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    Meh, sounds more like an Ouya than anything at this point. No thanks to waiting for ROMs to dump. Slow startups are something that I've had to learn to live with when using current gen consoles, but I'm not patient enough for that when trying to play classic games.

    OP, I don't think they plan on adding texture to the plastic shell. I think they're going for that cliché modern look that apple (unfortunately) started 10 years ago.

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    Dude unless an admin here or a lawyer said so, don't be spineless, put your posts back. There are people here very interested to learn what we can about this thing that want to throw real money at it if it's a good device.

    I'm seeing you think the audio is less than execellent and that the system reads carts then fires up the emulator to play the stuff. Can't say much to the first as I never heard a retron in action before, but to the other it would make sense I suppose if they feel that works best for their save/load states on games, but it still seems weird.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanooki View Post
    Dude unless an admin here or a lawyer said so, don't be spineless, put your posts back. There are people here very interested to learn what we can about this thing that want to throw real money at it if it's a good device.
    I got an early phone call this morning. One of those two things did happen.

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    Gotcha, that's a shame. I'd guess lawyers, they're usually full of shit and looking to make a buck any slimy way possible. Sorry you ran into trouble and I wish I had read this thread an hour earlier as it's infuriating they keep delaying and keeping their traps shut. Eventually I just won't care or pay for one if they keep it up.

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    The system has the potential to be an outstanding product if the development time was put into it. I'd rather see it continually delayed and come out near perfect than come out early as a cash grab. Otherwise, you'll stain your reputation beyond repair with the broken promises of the Neo-Geo X. How Tommo convinced SNKP that it was a good idea is beyond me.

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    Wow, what a way to derail a thread. Craziness. Was looking forward to seeing what was up with this thing, but I guess not now.

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    Well going by your feelings about the NGX. I'd guess it's acceptable and your average casual player with memories probably won't notice, but to people posting on this site I think it'll end up being another in the line of retrons they don't want to own. I hope that's not the case, but hey if it is I save a $100. Oh well, we'll see how it goes with the delays.

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    Wow, I came into this thread too late, huh?

    Incidentally, i heard from Hyperkin recently that they wouldn't ask their beta testers to test my Mother 3 repro (which they are familiar with) because of the legal grey zone associated with repros, but they did say that whatever incompatibilities the R5 had with any cartridge at all would be fixed with firmware updates.

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    For those who missed it, OP basically stated that he's mostly unhappy with the fact that an android based emulation machine.....is an android based emulation machine. Brilliant.

    pretty much everything he said can be attributed to beta firmware and could/will be fixed down the road, but the basic beats that I picked up on: (I'll delete this if necessary, but c'mon, it was already publically released, and I didn't sign any non-disclosure for this)

    -The Retron5 dumps roms, doesn't read from them. So it creates a rom file of your game cart and loads that, and thats how it does savestates and such. OP claims NES and SNES games dump quickly, but GBA games can take several minutes. I asked if this reoccurs, but never got a response. If I had to hazard a guess, I bet this is like the loading of Call of Cthulhu for Xbox, where the first time you do it the load times are lengthy, but on repeated plays the loadtimes are shortened. That's my guess.

    Dumping carts to roms rather than reading directly from them is what I was suspecting, and its not necessarily a bad thing. That would mean that games with dead batteries are savable through a digital storage medium (probably a small amount of onboard storage?) or savestates. yay for that.

    However, OP did also mention that because the rom dumps are checked against a database, reproduction carts probably won't work. Based on that, I suspect Flashcarts like the Everdrives and Powerpaks probably won't work on the RetroN5 either. Take that, everyone who planned on buying this solely for use with Flashcarts.

    -Only one game can be inserted into one of the five slots at a time. This ties into that it dumps the roms. If you put in more than one cart into the slots, it will confuse the system.

    -HDMI only. According to OP, there is no composite video outputs like Hyperkin showed off at PAX last year.

    -OP claims the wireless controller is garbage, with "mouse like" buttons. He didn't explain his position much, just that he didn't care for it. I'm still not going to judge the thing for myself until I have it in my own hands and use it myself. Maybe it's awful, maybe not. We'll just have to see.

    -OP claims there were slight audio issues, but didn't explain.

    -OP played NES games then switched to SNES and then used an OEM Nintendo NES controller to play Super Mario World, but didn't like that the NES controller didn't magically have all the buttons needed to do every action in SMW. Read my first reply comment for more info.


    That was pretty much it. Just that he felt that the RetroN5 needs tweaking, and that's somehow surprising given that its an Android based emulation machine in beta. I was hoping to get specific useful info, but alas, all we know right now is that the beta system is in beta. shocking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    However, OP did also mention that because the rom dumps are checked against a database, reproduction carts probably won't work. Based on that, I suspect Flashcarts like the Everdrives and Powerpaks probably won't work on the RetroN5 either. Take that, everyone who planned on buying this solely for use with Flashcarts.
    Controller thing surprised me a bit because I heard from people who played the system that the controller was nice. However I have yet to use it myself so I have no idea if its true.

    As for flash carts, I was not expecting them to work because I assume it dumped the carts. I mean KRIKzz might be able to program a work around where the cart mimics a pre-defined game, but it would kind of take the convenience out of the flash cart. For example if the in the Super EverDrive OS you could specify a game for it to mimic by either flagging a specific rom like putting a special character in front of its name or putting rom in specific directory. It would obviously need to be something that could be done through the file structure and not the OS, because it would defeat the purpose if you had to put it in an original system first to set the game you want it to mimic. However, that being said even if that could work it really kills the convenience of a flash cart to begin with. The only advantage would be for people who don't want to buy a bunch of games.
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    Quote Originally Posted by StoneAgeGamer View Post
    Controller thing surprised me a bit because I heard from people who played the system that the controller was nice. However I have yet to use it myself so I have no idea if its true.
    Right, that's why I'm taking the comment with a grain of salt. OP didn't really explain why he disliked the controller or go into any depth at all. When I get my review unit, I'll be doing an in-depth evaluation and review of the controller. I'm not going to be swayed by any opinion on it based solely on appearance.


    Quote Originally Posted by StoneAgeGamer View Post
    As for flash carts, I was not expecting them to work because I assume it dumped the carts. I mean KRIKzz might be able to program a work around where the cart mimics a pre-defined game, but it would kind of take the convenience out of the flash cart. For example if the in the Super EverDrive OS you could specify a game for it to mimic by either flagging a specific rom like putting a special character in front of its name or putting rom in specific directory. It would obviously need to be something that could be done through the file structure and not the OS, because it would defeat the purpose if you had to put it in an original system first to set the game you want it to mimic. However, that being said even if that could work it really kills the convenience of a flash cart to begin with. The only advantage would be for people who don't want to buy a bunch of games.
    My feeling on the matter is that people who plan on buying a RetroN5 solely to play flashcarts are better off with an Ouya - another $99 android based console that will do the same things as the RetroN5, and it would save them the cost of buying the flashcarts + SD/CF cards on top of that. One of the big reasons for the flashcarts over emulation is that you can play the games on the real hardware, but since the RetroN5 is emulation based anyway, the flashcarts advantages over emulators is negated.

    The Ouya runs everything the RetorN5 does perfectly (and if these reports are to be beleived, it does more, such as being able to run "repros"). Plus, it also runs other consoles too like PS1 and N64, as well as Android ported games and games specifically made for Ouya.

    But for everyone despairing about the RetorN5 due to this, keep in mind that it's possible Hyperkin could perhaps create a placeholder in their database for these flashcarts that would enable them to work on the RetroN5.

    The RetroN5 is for people who have a large collection of physical carts and don't want to go pure emulation. If all you're planning on doing is running flashcarts on it - and even if that does end up working flawlessly- you're better off buying an Ouya instead, and perhaps a USB to SNES controller adapter so you can use that SNES controller to play all your retro games with. that's what I do right now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    Right, that's why I'm taking the comment with a grain of salt. OP didn't really explain why he disliked the controller or go into any depth at all. When I get my review unit, I'll be doing an in-depth evaluation and review of the controller. I'm not going to be swayed by any opinion on it based solely on appearance.




    My feeling on the matter is that people who plan on buying a RetroN5 solely to play flashcarts are better off with an Ouya - another $99 android based console that will do the same things as the RetroN5, and it would save them the cost of buying the flashcarts + SD/CF cards on top of that. One of the big reasons for the flashcarts over emulation is that you can play the games on the real hardware, but since the RetroN5 is emulation based anyway, the flashcarts advantages over emulators is negated.

    The Ouya runs everything the RetorN5 does perfectly (and if these reports are to be beleived, it does more, such as being able to run "repros"). Plus, it also runs other consoles too like PS1 and N64, as well as Android ported games and games specifically made for Ouya.

    But for everyone despairing about the RetorN5 due to this, keep in mind that it's possible Hyperkin could perhaps create a placeholder in their database for these flashcarts that would enable them to work on the RetroN5.

    The RetroN5 is for people who have a large collection of physical carts and don't want to go pure emulation. If all you're planning on doing is running flashcarts on it - and even if that does end up working flawlessly- you're better off buying an Ouya instead, and perhaps a USB to SNES controller adapter so you can use that SNES controller to play all your retro games with. that's what I do right now.
    I agree at that point the flash cart is an unnecessary middleman. Flash carts are best used on original hardware.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    -HDMI only. According to OP, there is no composite video outputs like Hyperkin showed off at PAX last year.
    Ohhhhh... I'm sad to read that. For a few reasons-lag issues being foremost- I really prefer playing retro games on a CRT. Damn. This could be a deal breaker for me.

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