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Thread: RetroN5: Hands on first look

  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    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.
    He never said anything about Android though. He said something about an FPGA which puzzled me since they'd have to have pretty expensive hardware here for such technology to replicate these systems and I thought the driving force behind this was cost reduction by utilizing off the shelf hardware like the Android chipset.

    As far as I'm aware, we're still just assuming at this point that this is Android based.

    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    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.
    He actually did answer you. He said it doesn't reoccur if you leave the game in the system. But if you switch cartridges, that rom image is erased the next time you write a new game to the onboard memory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    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.
    I'm glad someone is happy about this even if it's a bizarre stance to take.

    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    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.
    I'm hoping this will be hacked. A $100 self contained emulation box able to load rom images and interface with original controllers out of the box would be nice. I want to play original cartridges with a nice picture on a HDTV, but the more useful functionality there is, the better as I see it.

    I never saw the need to so narrowly define the "purpose" of the Retron 5 as some have done. The more this does above and beyond what can be achieved with original hardware, like allowing me to use a Sega Genesis arcade stick with NES games and remap my buttons as I desire, the better.

    The reason I'm buying this is to accomplish what I can't with original hardware. If this didn't have things like HD output, frankly, I'd just have a passing interest since I have the original hardware here and already setup. It's those extra features that are the reason I'm here for. The less of those it has, the less my interest is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    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.
    A placeholder?

    If this dumps roms, the Retron 5 not having a database entry for something like the Super Everdrive is the least of its worries. And the best we could hope for, as I see it, would be having it work like StoneAgeGamer said with it serving as a pre-defined game.
    Last edited by Leo_A; 01-07-2014 at 07:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    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.
    You can so often be the master of assumptions and selective memory.

    "Everything" he said, with regards to any issues with the console, weren't attributable to firmware issues. It was explained that firmware updates may be able to solve some of the cited problems.

    He explained that games would need to be re-dumped every time the console is turned off and gave ZERO indication that subsequent uses of that game would result in faster dump times.

    There was no information regarding the machine holding save files for individual games. Games with dead batteries may very well remain useless when it comes to saving. We just don't know.

    As far as repro carts go, again, you're making an assumption. You have no idea exactly how the machine checks against a database and what data it uses to verify the game is on the list.

    He explained exactly why he didn't like the controllers and it was because they use micro switches (just like mice do) instead of silicone springs with conductive contact pads.

    He said the audio sounded reminiscent of 90s emulators. I think that's enough of an explanation for most anyone here.

    His issue with hot swapping controllers had nothing to do with how it didn't "magically have all the buttons needed" and you know it.

    What more "useful" info do you want at this point?
    Last edited by wiggyx; 01-07-2014 at 07:38 PM.

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    Kirby (Level 13) Leo_A's Avatar
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    He said it's erased when you power the system down? I could've swore he said it does that when you changed games. Either way, he definitely did address that after the question was asked.
    Last edited by Leo_A; 01-07-2014 at 07:46 PM.

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    I'll check my PC when I get home. I may still the tab open. If so, I'll double check.

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    Well....I somewhat question how credible the OP was with any of his claims, given that he didn't go into detail about anything any retracted everything he said. but even if everything he said was 100% honest, keep in mind he had access to a prototype, not the final unit. it might yet have composite input.

    on the other hand, it probably won't, given that no android device outputs composite natively.
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    ah, don't blame OP one bit for walking it all back, that sucks though.


    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    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)

    ...

    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.
    i don't think you're paiting the same picture here, and the snark about beta/prototype stuff is unnecessary given that he clearly stated as much? nevermind that him taking it down just for you to (questionably) summarize kinda defeats the purpose; if he took heat for it here why would you do that to the guy & possibly bring more his way?

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    I feel like whatever "damage" he caused has already been done, and this thread would be pointless if all it contained was [removed] notes and then people responding to those before they were removed. No, if he was asked to remove the comments he left so be it, but he can't remove the memory from those who already saw the comments and my abridged version of what he said is justified because I'm the one who posting it and I didn't sign a non-disclosure about it. it was already shared publicly. its like pandora's box; once opened, it can't be contained again. and anyway, very little of this info is new. it's mostly what we already knew, or already suspected. nothing really specific was revealed.

    All the info posted really amounts to is that the RetroN5 is in beta and isn't quite ready for a public release...which given that it isn't out yet...is a pretty easy assumption to make.
    Last edited by Satoshi_Matrix; 01-08-2014 at 04:32 AM.
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    So, is there anyway for me to save a copy of the rom dumps this thing makes? I'd actually be tempted to buy one if I can use it to dump my own ROMs and then back those up to my computer.

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    I highly doubt that. In all likelihood the rom dumps will be stored either temporarily (meaning they are deleted when the power is turned off) or they are on an inaccessible storage area that you won't be able to access. I never did get a reply from the OP of this thread, but my hunch is that the rom data is dumped only temporarily and then deleted later.

    Also, Hyperkin has said zeltch about the RetroN having any sort of connectivity with pcs, so unless(until) the system gets hacked the possibility of that happening is nonexistant.

    If you want to dump your cartridge games to a pc, buy a Retrode. This isn't that and likely will never be.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    Also, Hyperkin has said zeltch about the RetroN having any sort of connectivity with pcs, so unless(until) the system gets hacked the possibility of that happening is nonexistant.
    Team guys at SacAnime stated that PC connectivity is something they'd like to eventually do, but it's not priority. Others are saying that other reps said the same at different shows over the same weekend.




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    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    it might yet have composite input.
    OP is actually 100% correct on Retron 5 not having composite input. Hyperkin actually scrapped the composite, and made the console HDMI only.

    Either way, for everything else... With the ROM dumps apparently being temporarily, I only have one question: If you save the in game (not talking about save states), does it save to the cartridge? I'm honestly extremely confused on how this would work. I'm not even 100% sure on how emulation works itself. I was honestly considering getting the Retron 5, because it'd be an affordable option for me, as I'm wanting to get into collecting for these systems.

    If anyone could answer that I'd actually really appreciate it. I'm interested in getting the Retron 5. If it isn't actually a very good piece of hardware, I might skip over it and try and find the actual systems instead.

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    Wow... the whole ROM dumping and header database thing is absurd.

    If it doesn't interface directly with the cart then games with bank switching, SRAM checks, and other times weird copy protection schemes won't work unless the emulator has those routines patched into it on a case by case basis.

    If games require a valid header to be checked against a database then weird shit like unlicensed games and multi-game pirates won't load.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vidmusc View Post
    OP is actually 100% correct on Retron 5 not having composite input. Hyperkin actually scrapped the composite, and made the console HDMI only.

    Either way, for everything else... With the ROM dumps apparently being temporarily, I only have one question: If you save the in game (not talking about save states), does it save to the cartridge? I'm honestly extremely confused on how this would work. I'm not even 100% sure on how emulation works itself. I was honestly considering getting the Retron 5, because it'd be an affordable option for me, as I'm wanting to get into collecting for these systems.

    If anyone could answer that I'd actually really appreciate it. I'm interested in getting the Retron 5. If it isn't actually a very good piece of hardware, I might skip over it and try and find the actual systems instead.
    Well the Retrode, which works similar to this, can write to cart save file. However I think the Retrode only supports SNES/SFC games saves. Maybe Hyperkin went beyond that and allows saves to other carts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by StoneAgeGamer View Post
    Well the Retrode, which works similar to this, can write to cart save file. However I think the Retrode only supports SNES/SFC games saves. Maybe Hyperkin went beyond that and allows saves to other carts.
    Ah okay. Hopefully it works with all the carts then. I'll probably wait for an actual review before I make a firm decision on getting this or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vidmusc View Post
    OP is actually 100% correct on Retron 5 not having composite input. Hyperkin actually scrapped the composite, and made the console HDMI only.
    That makes sense, since the Ouya also is HDMI only and no Android device natively produces composite anyway, and composite inputs would mostly go unused for the majority of the people who buy it. Why use composite when you can have HDMI 1080p? Well, other than hardcore gamers who claim to notice input lag with the non-game mode HDTVs. Those in that group have my sympathies, but you guys are in a tiny minority compared to most who don't notice/don't care.

    I was hoping Hyperkin would have S-Video, but that wasnt even ever planned it seems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vidmusc View Post
    With the ROM dumps apparently being temporarily, I only have one question: If you save the in game (not talking about save states), does it save to the cartridge?
    first, it's important to note that the following is speculation based on what's been revealed and how other Android devices work such as the Ouya. I may be mistaken about some of this, but I strongly suspect I'm not.

    Hyperkin has stated the RetroN5 will have some amount of built in storage capacity for savestates. It's extremely likely that will also be true of battery backed s-ram storage. Most emulators create a a dummy .sav file (or some other extension) to store battery-baced sram saves from cartridges. They are independent of savestates which are created manually.

    In all likelihood the RetroN5 will follow this as well. Game saves will not be dependent on the cartridge. Now, it's possible Hyperkin could add a manual feature to upload the cartridge s-ram to such a .sav file or even the reverse and put a generated .sav file back to the cart, but I highly doubt that it will actively use the cartridge for pretty much anything once its been dumped to rom.



    Quote Originally Posted by Az View Post
    Wow... the whole ROM dumping and header database thing is absurd.

    If it doesn't interface directly with the cart then games with bank switching, SRAM checks, and other times weird copy protection schemes won't work unless the emulator has those routines patched into it on a case by case basis.

    If games require a valid header to be checked against a database then weird shit like unlicensed games and multi-game pirates won't load.
    It's not absurd at all. This is how emulators run roms. Everything you mentioned - bank switching, s-ram checks, copyright protection schemes (like EarthBound has) are all dealt with in rom and run by the android based emulator. Just look at how PCs have been emulating cartridge games flawlessly for years. The only thing the RetroN5 is doing differently is requiring the cart as the source of a rom rather than the internet for the source of the rom.

    But you're right; it's very possible that some unlicnesned games, particularly multi carts and flash carts will not work. Giant questions loom about those things right now. They might boot anyway, with the RetroN5 saying "unknown game" or they could refuse to work. Only time will tell on those.

    Quote Originally Posted by StoneAgeGamer View Post
    Well the Retrode, which works similar to this, can write to cart save file. However I think the Retrode only supports SNES/SFC games saves. Maybe Hyperkin went beyond that and allows saves to other carts.
    The Retrode also does Genesis, and has adapters for other consoles too. It's possible Hyperkin will adopt uploading and downloading sram to and from the cart and RetroN5, but they have no compelling reason to.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    It's not absurd at all. This is how emulators run roms.
    Perhaps absurd was the incorrect term to use. Pointless? Needlessly limiting? I'm sure there is one but I just don't see a technical reason for it.

    This instantly means Pier Solar and any future Watermelon games and any Super Fighter Team games will not work.

    Taking the usual culprits out (Castlevania III, Virtua Racing) clone systems generally boot virtually anything you throw at them and as a whole have *more* compatibility with games than official systems do. By requiring a certain header in games in order for them to work the console has less compatibility than both a real system or previous clones. Requiring header information when it previously wasn't needed is why playing oddball stuff on both the SNES Powerpak and Everdrive is a nerve wrecking experience but with a normal copier it's a walk in the park.

    Both real and clone SNES machines do not require valid headers. MD clones will play games that have screwy headers and do not include TMSS. PC emulators for either system are the same way, they don't require a rigid set of header info to work.
    Last edited by Az; 01-08-2014 at 06:27 PM.

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    shadowkn55 is a long-time and reputable member here. Honestly I'm not sure of what the hoopla over the RetroN5 is? For a pack rate like me it's totally unneeded!
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    Generally speaking, it's unneeded for me as well. It's neat and all, but I still have original systems for all the games I own. Anything I don't own that the Retron5 runs I can download.




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    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    I never did get a reply from the OP of this thread, but my hunch is that the rom data is dumped only temporarily and then deleted later.
    Like we already said, he did reply to you on this matter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Az View Post
    Perhaps absurd was the incorrect term to use. Pointless? Needlessly limiting? I'm sure there is one but I just don't see a technical reason for it.

    This instantly means Pier Solar and any future Watermelon games and any Super Fighter Team games will not work.
    Whoa whoa, slow down. First, keep in mind that everything mentioned here is based on what one person said who didn't post any proof of his claims and in fact quickly removed the claims he did make. Also, he was using beta hardware. I'm not saying that he was lying, just that there is no confirmation on anything of this, and even if there was, things could change a lot between now and whenever hyperkin decides to release this damn thing.

    Second, you're directly comparing reverse engineered hardware to raw emulation. Hardware clones are incredibly dumb; they're limited at whatever flaws they were designed with, with a limited window of tinkering from the end user should they be knowledgeable in soldering and basic electronics.

    Emulators on the other hand exist purely as software. The RetroN5 won't be running any of the games in hardware because it doesn't have the hardware to do that. It's not a reverse engineered hardware clone. Therefore, it has to reduce the games to roms for the emulators to run them. Interfacing with the cartridges at that point is no longer possible. Think of it like the GameBoy Player's boot disc that's only purpose is to be there upon bootup. the header check is needed so the Retron5 knows what the hell cartridge it is that it's dumping to rom.

    Third, the header check against a database doesn't necessarily mean the RetorN5 won't be able to play games that don't show up in the database. For example, on Ouya, one of the SNES emulators -SuperGNES- uses the header info of snes roms to generate boxart thumbnail to make browsing for the game you want to play a less boring.

    It's possible Hyperkin might have the same kind of thing in mind for the RetroN5's interface. Maybe there could be a 'history' page telling a blurb about the game and it's release data similar to have mame and coinops work.

    Any game that's a fan translation or unlicensed or whatever shows up with invalid boxart data, but the games are still playable. The interface might spit out "unknown game" for games like Pier Solar or Battle Kid and still let them boot. and even if not...this is fixable in the future with firmware updates.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg2600 View Post
    shadowkn55 is a long-time and reputable member here. Honestly I'm not sure of what the hoopla over the RetroN5 is? For a pack rat like me it's totally unneeded!
    This IS an interesting question, no doubt. What is the point of the RetroN5? why not either stick with the original hardware on all accounts, or go with a 100% pure emulation option like the Ouya? Why do this half-and-half system?

    I'm not sure I have an explanation myself as to the interest besides novel curiosity. I do admit that I am drawn to the idea of multiple in one consoles such as the crazy contraptions Bacteria has made and I'm also drawn to the concept of having convenient emulators on other devices like the PSP.

    I'm also at a crossroads of sorts when it comes to how I really prefer to play my retro games. Long has it been that I've hung onto several CRTs to keep my precious retro gaming systems alive since they look awful on HDTVs, but with devices like this that aim to bridge the gap I'm hopeful the day is not too distant that I'll feel completely justified in getting rid of all but one of my heavy heavy CRTs and replace them with slim, light HDTVs.

    "Need' isn't the right word.

    I have hope for the RetroN5.

    Quote Originally Posted by JSoup View Post
    Generally speaking, it's unneeded for me as well. It's neat and all, but I still have original systems for all the games I own. Anything I don't own that the Retron5 runs I can download.
    This brings up anther conflicting point within me. I own everything the RetroN5 will run in hardware, including the Famicom. I Also own an Ouya - an HDTV ready emulation machine that does everything the RetroN5 does and a whole lot more. The RetroN5 won't work on CRTs (at least not natively) and I already have an HDTV retro gaming solution I'm very satisfied with. Still, its the burning curiosity that drives me forward with the RetroN5. I'm really curious to know it directly compares to the original hardware and also the Ouya.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_A View Post
    Like we already said, he did reply to you on this matter.
    If so, it was [removed]. Do you know what he said?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    Whoa whoa, slow down. First, keep in mind that everything mentioned here is based on what one person said
    Pontificating over the header issues may be a moot point but one absolute remains; the OP mentioned that it dumps the cart to RAM and runs it as a ROM image as any other emulator does. Granted anything and everything may change by the time it's released, but that's a fairly gigantic puzzle piece to remove and redesign hardware/software over, and I personally don't see anyone going that far back to the drawing board.

    Taking that into consideration means that anything that won't work in a regular copier (or Retrode) won't work in this.

    You can't jam a Super Game Boy into a Double Pro Fighter and get a workable ROM image, nor can you use an Action Replay, Game Genie, Magicard, or any other cart based peripheral. No compatibility with copiers or flash cartridges, with the exception of possibly Tototek's flash cart (since you can have it load as a single game with no GUI). Anything with complexity beyond a pin converter won't work.

    You won't be able to play any MD stuff from Watermelon (Pier Solar, Project Y, etc) SFT (Beggar Prince, Star Odyssey, etc) and a few other unlicensed companies, you won't be able to play any unlicensed SNES games or some of the oddball, GB, GBC, & GBA titles from Sachen, Gowin, and other companies due to

    ) The emulators do not support the copy routines
    ) Even if they did support the routines, the carts cannot be dumped with conventional run of the mill copier tech, so the console can't pull a working ROM image from the cart

    Granted that those issues probably do not matter to 99.9% of people in the world, much less the RetroN5's target audience; I'm just disappointed that there's an extremely good possibility that all these clones we've dragged through the mud over shitty sound or colors being off will manage to have more compatibility than something brand new.

  23. #48
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    not to beat a dead horse, but

    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    Whoa whoa, slow down. First, keep in mind that everything mentioned here is based on what one person said who didn't post any proof of his claims and in fact quickly removed the claims he did make.
    the dude was involved in the MVS Omega & has had people vouch for him since, why bust his chops like there's no credit in the bank there? i'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here.

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    Az, it really just sounds like you are harping on the RetroN5 for being an emulation machine even though that's clearly what it is. You're probably right though; peripherals like the GameGenie or Super GameBoy and unlicensed/indie game support is questionable at best with the RetroN5.

    That's the trade off for full comparability of all licensed games, particularly the troublesome licensed games on NES such as MMC4 and MMC5 games, Rad Racer 2, Gauntlet 2, etc that typically don't work with hardware clones.

    If hardware based peripherals and unlicensed and indie game support is really that important to you, then it doesn't sound like the RetroN5 is really for you. But hey, that's fine - keep in mind that the rival company Retro-Bit is also working on a similar clone called the Super Retro Trio - which is reverse engineered hardware, so that will work with those unlicensed and indie games.



    Quote Originally Posted by IrishNinja View Post
    the dude was involved in the MVS Omega & has had people vouch for him since, why bust his chops like there's no credit in the bank there? i'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here.
    Why did you gloss over the part where I said:
    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    . I'm not saying that he was lying, just that there is no confirmation on anything of this, and even if there was, things could change a lot between now and whenever hyperkin decides to release this damn thing.
    check out my classic gaming review site: http://satoshimatrix.wordpress.com/

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    I don't really get the hype of this. My original NES, Genesis, and SNES work fine. I have a CRT TV in the basement and that still works fine too. Maybe one day when all the CRTs are dead and I have need to play the classics on an HDTV I'll be in the market for something like this.

    I mean I guess do get it. It's cool but all this arguing about what it can and can't do is solved by just playing your Nintendo on a CRT.

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