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Thread: RetroN5: Hands on first look

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    You can't play light gun games on an HDTV. That's not a big issue for most consoles, but for some, like the Master System, NES, PS1, and PS2 you block off a chunk of the library. Most of those games are good!

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    I have a game room and in my previous house had a basement but neither was conducive for having friends or family over to play. The retron 5 on my HDTV in the living room gives me the opportunity to have friends and family play retro games in the comfort of the family room without going to a basement.

    This is worth the $100 price tag to me. It's another option to enjoy the games I love.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nusilver View Post
    And I don't really understand the "retro games have to be played on a CRT" argument. Yes, systems like the N64, PS1 and Saturn look much better on a lower res TV, but my SNES (1CHIP) outputs gloriously crisp images via S-Video and, while my Twin Famicom doesn't have the best composite signal, the AV Famicom looks quite good. With properly calibrated equipment (or modified systems for those who don't think s-video is good enough or whose TVs don't have s-video), CRTs just aren't all that necessary anymore.
    There is also the argument that not everyone cares about quality. I'm personally not bothered if my old NES and SNES games don't shine like special little stars, so long as I can see the damn screen and play the game, I'm happy.




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    Quote Originally Posted by genesisguy View Post
    I see that point but I still side on the "what's the big deal" side of this argument. Yes CRT's take up a lot of space. But I have an entire basement I could fill with them should I want to. I guess my big thing is I see all this argument/concerns about what this console is going to be or not be and I and I get it don't get me wrong. This could make or break some gamer's entire gaming setups and It would be cool to have a console work on my HDMI TVs for retro games. I'm just not at the point where I HAVE to have that. I'm happy going downstairs to play my original Genesis on a CRT.
    Quote Originally Posted by nusilver View Post
    And I don't really understand the "retro games have to be played on a CRT" argument. Yes, systems like the N64, PS1 and Saturn look much better on a lower res TV, but my SNES (1CHIP) outputs gloriously crisp images via S-Video and, while my Twin Famicom doesn't have the best composite signal, the AV Famicom looks quite good. With properly calibrated equipment (or modified systems for those who don't think s-video is good enough or whose TVs don't have s-video), CRTs just aren't all that necessary anymore.
    To both sides of the argument, I would ultimately ask: what's to prevent having both options? Keep a CRT for the authentic hardware retro consoles, and have a solution like the RetorN5 for your HDTV? Why does the RetroN5 need to replace the original hardware? Not can't it be either or? Just food for thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by Melf View Post
    You can't play light gun games on an HDTV. That's not a big issue for most consoles, but for some, like the Master System, NES, PS1, and PS2 you block off a chunk of the library. Most of those games are good!
    I would first suggest that lightgun game support is an extremely minor loss on HDTV gaming, and secondly suggest that if those kind of games really are important enough, it only serves as a reason to keep an old CRT around specifically for those kinds of games rather than use that as a reason to not get a RetroN5.


    Quote Originally Posted by Atarileaf View Post
    I have a game room and in my previous house had a basement but neither was conducive for having friends or family over to play. The retron 5 on my HDTV in the living room gives me the opportunity to have friends and family play retro games in the comfort of the family room without going to a basement.

    This is worth the $100 price tag to me. It's another option to enjoy the games I love.
    If that's your only reason to get a RetroN5, might I suggest that you consider buying an Ouya instead? As I've said, the Ouya does everythingt he RetroN5 does and more, and takes up almost no space. With a usb hub and a couple SNES or whatever else to USB controllers, you can set up multiplayer retro gaming outtings easily with the Ouya. I'm going to buy a RetroN5 myself, but not for parties. I htink the OUya is a better fit for that given its greater range at exactly the same price.

    Quote Originally Posted by JSoup View Post
    There is also the argument that not everyone cares about quality. I'm personally not bothered if my old NES and SNES games don't shine like special little stars, so long as I can see the damn screen and play the game, I'm happy.
    Then I would say...lucky you. If you're perfectly happy with your current set up, then great. it means you don't have to spend any money at all, and it's completely fine if you're not interested in the RetroN5. There's a lot of things in gaming that I have no interest in either, and I'm perfectly happy ignoring things like yearly football games on the newest consoles.

    Realistically, no matter what Hyperkin does, there will always be those who simply aren't interested.
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    Kirby (Level 13) Tanooki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nusilver View Post
    And I don't really understand the "retro games have to be played on a CRT" argument. Yes, systems like the N64, PS1 and Saturn look much better on a lower res TV, but my SNES (1CHIP) outputs gloriously crisp images via S-Video and, while my Twin Famicom doesn't have the best composite signal, the AV Famicom looks quite good. With properly calibrated equipment (or modified systems for those who don't think s-video is good enough or whose TVs don't have s-video), CRTs just aren't all that necessary anymore.
    Well there's two things to easily understand why the CRT is usually superior for old games.
    1) Light Guns and other similar devices needing that style of TV will not work on anything else.
    2) Lag. LCD/LED/Plasmas have this inherent lag to them as it processes the lower quality image and then scales it to fit the newer tv. Some sets handle it exceptionally well that you don't get lag, but you'll need to do a lot of research or get lucky(I lucked into one) but a lot of them lag bad enough that timing and twitch sensitive gaming say even like a basic platformer like a Mario or a Ghosts n Goblins you'll see one thing, the game is a 1/2 second off of that, and you end up in a pit time and time again.

    This Retron device if it's all it's cracked up to be will perhaps remove the issue by outputing natively to HDMI, still won't allow light guns though.

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    To throw my insignificant opinion on "the point" of this device... I want this for the living room. I'm bummed out that apparently it won't work with Everdrives and other flash carts. I was hoping that it would because I have my original hardware and cart collections in my game room with a nice Trinitron CRT and everything going through S-Video, but we could have this in the living room with the games on the flash carts. That goes down the old pooper if the rumors are true.

    It kinda goes down the pooper anyway if this is essentially a Retrode that dumps games one at a time to an Android emulator. Doesn't that OS have a hard-coded but with audio lag? I can't deal with that.

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    Even if there are ways to get old systems to look good and play well on newer HDTVs, it's usually easier and cheaper to just use a CRT instead. Would you get every system modded, or use a CRT that people are giving away for free every week? Ordering an expensive upscaler, or use a free CRT? Having to search for specific HDTVs that are better compatible with old system, or pick up any CRT for free?

    Usually people stick with consoles for authentic hardware experience, even using flash carts for convenience on real consoles so games will play authentic. If you just want to play games and don't care about authenticity, there is the option of using an emulator and just hooking up your PC/laptop to the TV.

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    Key (Level 9) Satoshi_Matrix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanooki View Post
    This Retron device if it's all it's cracked up to be will perhaps remove the issue by outputing natively to HDMI, still won't allow light guns though.
    This is purely speculation, but Hyperkin could in theory come up with a solution for light gun support by offering a universal bluetooth light gun similar to the PS Move or Wiimote with a sensor bar. Most light games aside from the Super Scope have only a single button - the trigger - so coming up with a universal design could work with light gun games for FC, NES, SNES and Genesis. I doubt they will do so given that light gun gaming is such a minority genre, but it is possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheChristoph View Post
    To throw my insignificant opinion on "the point" of this device... I want this for the living room. I'm bummed out that apparently it won't work with Everdrives and other flash carts. I was hoping that it would because I have my original hardware and cart collections in my game room with a nice Trinitron CRT and everything going through S-Video, but we could have this in the living room with the games on the flash carts. That goes down the old pooper if the rumors are true.
    If you were planning on using an emulator to run a flash cart, why not just run an emulator? What I mean by that is the alternative to the Retron5 that nobody else is talking about is the Ouya.

    The Ouya and the RetroN5 are extremely similar devices. Both have an msrp of $99, both are Android based emulation powerhouses, both output 1080p HDMI only, both come with a bluetooth wireless controller and I'll bet that under the fancy skins Hyperkin will use, there's a good chance both will actually run the same Android based emulators.

    The differences are that the RetorN5 will rely on carts to provide roms, whereas on the Ouya you supply your own and put them on the system's internal 8 GB storage which for running FC/NES/Gen/SNES/GB/C/A games is easily way more space than you'd ever really need.

    The one advantage I'd give to the RetorN5 over the Ouya is that the RetroN5 has those native controller ports for using OEM controllers. Even so, the Ouya has a standard USB port, so you can use PC controller adapters such as an SNES to USB, Saturn to USB, or pretty much anything you'd like, as well as all manner of native USB controllers and even other bluetooth controllers such as the Sony DualShock 3.

    Now I'm not necessarily avocation the Ouya over the RetroN5, especially since the RetroN5 hasn't been released yet. What I am saying is that if all you're after is to run flash carts on an emulation machine, why not simply buy an emulation machine that dispenses with the need for the flash carts altogether?


    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    Even if there are ways to get old systems to look good and play well on newer HDTVs, it's usually easier and cheaper to just use a CRT instead. Would you get every system modded, or use a CRT that people are giving away for free every week? Ordering an expensive upscaler, or use a free CRT? Having to search for specific HDTVs that are better compatible with old system, or pick up any CRT for free?

    Usually people stick with consoles for authentic hardware experience, even using flash carts for convenience on real consoles so games will play authentic. If you just want to play games and don't care about authenticity, there is the option of using an emulator and just hooking up your PC/laptop to the TV.
    Back on to the CRT debate, CRTs do have their advantages, and free is definitely one of them. The last two CRTs I picked up were free, and the one before that was a legendary Wega Trinitron I got at a price I couldn't refuse. even though it was 32" and a total, total bitch to move on my own.

    But as is so often the case, you get what you pay for, and CRTs have a lot of disadvantages as well. The big one is visual clarity. I'm sorry for those who don't want to hear it, but digital HD signals simply look better than analog SD signals. Retro games on emulators using native HD processing simply look better than the original SD games on an analog TV no matter what you do, even through RGB. There are rare CRT HDTVs that support HDMI, but those are few and far between.

    The difference between say a CRT running Super Mario Bros. on an NES through composite vs Super Mario Bros. via the Ouya (for example) on an HDTV in 1080p is quite staggering once you see it for yourself. So staggering in fact that it really puts a dent in any argument one could offer for CRTs being better.

    Still, I'm not here to claim that. That's ultimately a matter of personal preference. All I'm saying is when directly compared, HDTVs are clearly the winner in terms of visual output capabilities for retro gaming given the proper set up.

    Also consider the fact that HDTVs come in ludicrous sizes, some upwards of 70". Most CRTs are below 42", unless you have one of those rear projection CRTs that are big enough to be furniture...but even then HDTVs can and often are bigger.

    When I was a kid I had a 13" television to play SNES games like the Legend of Zelda Link to the Past on. Today, I can play the same game on my Ouya on a 65" Plasma that while it has a huge display. it's 1/8th as thick as a CRT and can be put in places you could never put a hulking CRT, including up on walls like you'd hang a picture.

    Ultimately, I think there is still a place for CRTs for retro gamers, but to cling to them blindly ignores all the advances and benefits that come with HD gaming.
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    Great Puma (Level 12) JSoup's Avatar
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    If you're looking for an emulation machine and have access to a PC/USB controller, forget both systems and just use your PC.




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    Quote Originally Posted by JSoup View Post
    If you're looking for an emulation machine and have access to a PC/USB controller, forget both systems and just use your PC.
    But isn't that whats great? You have all these different ways to play retro games:
    • Original Cart on Original Hardware
    • Original Cart on Clone
    • Flash Carts
    • Original Carts on PC and other devices (Retrode)
    • Original Carts on Emulation Device (RetroN5)
    • Emulation


    Personally even if its something I am not interested in personally. If someone wants to make something new for retro gaming I am all for it. It keeps the hobby relevant.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSoup View Post
    If you're looking for an emulation machine and have access to a PC/USB controller, forget both systems and just use your PC.
    Sure, but the Ouya removes a lot of the hassle. No PC interface to deal with, no lengthy boot times, no mouse based navigation, just boot and go directly to the game on your big screen tv and sit on your sofa, as opposed to sitting at your desk on your computer screen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    Sure, but the Ouya removes a lot of the hassle. No PC interface to deal with, no lengthy boot times, no mouse based navigation, just boot and go directly to the game on your big screen tv and sit on your sofa, as opposed to sitting at your desk on your computer screen.
    Fair enough, I guess. I don't see how the extra steps of "click the thing to play" is really any more fiddly, but to each is own. On the point about the TV, I'm not sure how many TVs do this these days, but all three of mine have options to use them as computer monitors. Never done it before now, so I hooked up my main gaming TV to see how it goes and.....both Super Mario RPG and WoW look pretty good.




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    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    If you were planning on using an emulator to run a flash cart, why not just run an emulator? What I mean by that is the alternative to the Retron5 that nobody else is talking about is the Ouya.

    The Ouya and the RetroN5 are extremely similar devices. Both have an msrp of $99, both are Android based emulation powerhouses, both output 1080p HDMI only, both come with a bluetooth wireless controller and I'll bet that under the fancy skins Hyperkin will use, there's a good chance both will actually run the same Android based emulators.

    The differences are that the RetorN5 will rely on carts to provide roms, whereas on the Ouya you supply your own and put them on the system's internal 8 GB storage which for running FC/NES/Gen/SNES/GB/C/A games is easily way more space than you'd ever really need.

    The one advantage I'd give to the RetorN5 over the Ouya is that the RetroN5 has those native controller ports for using OEM controllers. Even so, the Ouya has a standard USB port, so you can use PC controller adapters such as an SNES to USB, Saturn to USB, or pretty much anything you'd like, as well as all manner of native USB controllers and even other bluetooth controllers such as the Sony DualShock 3.

    Now I'm not necessarily avocation the Ouya over the RetroN5, especially since the RetroN5 hasn't been released yet. What I am saying is that if all you're after is to run flash carts on an emulation machine, why not simply buy an emulation machine that dispenses with the need for the flash carts altogether?
    Isn't the fact that this is just a box that runs emulators fairly new news? I know it was speculated when they first announced it'd do save states and the like, but I don't remember it ever really being confirmed until people got their hands on the thing. I was hoping against this.

    With the knowledge that this IS an emulator box, you're right, there is no reason to choose this over something like an Ouya or Gamestick or any other number of set-top Android machines.

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    Maybe this has already been answered and I missed it...

    But what is the point of the console needing to check a pre-programmed database of roms? If it's an emulation machine, I don't understand why that would be the case. If it's reading the data directly from the cart and putting it through an emulator, the data is right there so why cross check? If it's dumping the rom from the cart, then emulating it, it just dumped the rom so the data is right there so why cross check?

    The cross checking seems like a useless middleman that will only hurt compatibility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheChristoph View Post
    With the knowledge that this IS an emulator box, you're right, there is no reason to choose this over something like an Ouya or Gamestick or any other number of set-top Android machines.
    Well there actually is. Ouya doesn't play original carts (unless you buy a Retrode). I am not defending the RetroN5, but the idea the it has no use since its a rom dump -> emulation machine is kind of absurd. No use to you? Sure. No use at all to anyone ever? Wrong.

    You know how many people have told me flash carts have no use? That they could just emulate for free? A lot. There have even been people who have told me that playing on the original hardware with original carts is useless when there are emulators. Its all subjective.

    If the RetroN5 is a good product it will sell well. Obviously right now that's a big IF. As discussed earlier your casual consumer who buys this (and yes most will be casual) don't care about installing emulators on a Ouya or hacking their PSP to play ROMs. They care if they can take their Super Mario World cartridge from their closet and play it again. Oh and you can save at any point in time? HELL YEAH! They could careless how it works as long as it works. Software or hardware emulation makes no difference to them
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    I was hoping it would have this ability. Will be handy for changing out save batteries. And hopefully it will offer some other advantages.

    I wonder if I'd be able to get all the known e-Reader add-ons for Super Mario Brothers 3 onto my cartridge by downloading the appropriate file to SD card and writing it to my own cartridge?
    Last edited by Leo_A; 01-14-2014 at 11:33 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_A View Post


    I was hoping it would have this ability. Will be handy for changing out save batteries. And hopefully it will offer some other advantages.

    I wonder if I'd be able to get all the known e-Reader add-ons for Super Mario Brothers 3 onto my cartridge by downloading the appropriate file to SD card and writing it to my own cartridge?
    You know, I can do this with a DS Lite and a slot-1 flash cart. It's been about 3 years since I last did it and I think the deal is I can get all but two of the levels on there because of limited storage space, but if you're interested, PM me and we can probably work something out. I'd just need to brush up on the process. :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheChristoph View Post
    Isn't the fact that this is just a box that runs emulators fairly new news? I know it was speculated when they first announced it'd do save states and the like, but I don't remember it ever really being confirmed until people got their hands on the thing. I was hoping against this.

    With the knowledge that this IS an emulator box, you're right, there is no reason to choose this over something like an Ouya or Gamestick or any other number of set-top Android machines.
    No no, Hyperkin announced last winter that the RetroN5 would be Android based, which meant emulation right off the bat. The only thing that's new news is exactly how it does that - ie. by dumping the contents of the carts to rom and then running those roms as any other emulator would.

    As to where the RetroN5 fits in between the other options like Ouya, I think it would be unfair to prejudge the RetroN5, especially since it isn't out yet, and I've yet to try it. I wasn't and I still am not trying to suggest the Ouya is a better option, especially for everyone. I was specifically referring to those people who planned on buying a RetroN5 solely to run flashcarts. Compared with that specific situation, the Ouya would make a lot more sense than an emulator machine running roms off a flashcart not designed for an emulator machine.



    Quote Originally Posted by Drclaw411 View Post
    Maybe this has already been answered and I missed it...

    But what is the point of the console needing to check a pre-programmed database of roms? If it's an emulation machine, I don't understand why that would be the case. If it's reading the data directly from the cart and putting it through an emulator, the data is right there so why cross check? If it's dumping the rom from the cart, then emulating it, it just dumped the rom so the data is right there so why cross check?

    The cross checking seems like a useless middleman that will only hurt compatibility.
    The fact is, we simply don't know yet. It could be the preprogrammed database is used for game rom identification purposes so that it can automatically bring up gamegenie codes or perhaps box art. I suspect that hacks or homebrews or unlicensed games may still work, but just come up as unknown games. That's speculation as is everything else, because the system isn't out yet and Hyperkin hasn't confirmed anything on the subject.


    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_A View Post

    I was hoping it would have this ability. Will be handy for changing out save batteries. And hopefully it will offer some other advantages.
    I wonder if I'd be able to get all the known e-Reader add-ons for Super Mario Brothers 3 onto my cartridge by downloading the appropriate file to SD card and writing it to my own cartridge?
    Savestates are a given. Any emulator worth a damn has savestates. It's unheard of for an emulator not to offer savestates. *COUGHCOUGHWIIVIRUTALCONSOLE*

    I doubt the RetroN5 will allow you to dump a rom to another medium. What would Hyperkin gain by allowing you to do that? It's not like they have any reason to do so, other than it would be nice.

    Quote Originally Posted by nusilver View Post
    You know, I can do this with a DS Lite and a slot-1 flash cart. It's been about 3 years since I last did it and I think the deal is I can get all but two of the levels on there because of limited storage space, but if you're interested, PM me and we can probably work something out. I'd just need to brush up on the process. :-)
    Do...you have a Mario Advance 4 rom that has the e-reader stages? I bought the game on launch, but I never bought an e-reader. If you've got a rom that has those stages unlocked, that would be something that I'd be interested in. could you email me at satoshimatrix@hotmail.com? Thanks.
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    Thanks for the offer, I very well might take you up on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    No no, Hyperkin announced last winter that the RetroN5 would be Android base

    Savestates are a given. Any emulator worth a damn has savestates. It's unheard of for an emulator not to offer savestates. *COUGHCOUGHWIIVIRUTALCONSOLE*
    They did not, it's speculation that it's Android based and remains to be confirmed.

    And I wasn't talking about save states. I was talking about its ability to read and write saves to the cartridge itself, anything but a given when it dumps cartridges. And most Wii emulators do have a suspend state feature which offers the convenience of a save state without the ability to abuse it.
    Last edited by Leo_A; 01-15-2014 at 07:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    Do...you have a Mario Advance 4 rom that has the e-reader stages? I bought the game on launch, but I never bought an e-reader. If you've got a rom that has those stages unlocked, that would be something that I'd be interested in. could you email me at satoshimatrix@hotmail.com? Thanks.
    Hey, In fact, I have a cart that has the e-reader stages unlocked, which I accomplished by copying a downloaded save from a slot-1 flashcart to my GBA cart. I checked it last night - it's 32 stages, not including the remakes of stages from Super Mario Bros (there's a 32 stage limit in the cart's memory, I guess.)

    I'll find the save file and send you a copy in a bit. You can use it with an emulator or whatever, too.

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