Famed classic consoles such as the Nintendo Enterainment System have been out of production for a very long time now. Finding a used NES that works reliably can be a challenge, but fortunately there are companies manufacturing their own hardware that can play beloved cartridges from days gone by. Consider Hyperkin's RetroN line that has a history of playing NES, Sega Genesis, and other formats. The company recently announced that it's going all out with its next product, the RetroN 5. Expected to release this summer, the RetroN 5 boasts the ability to play NES, Famicom, Super NES, Super Famicom, Genesis, Mega Drive, and Game Boy Advance cartridges. Remember that the GBA hardware can also handle Game Boy Color and original Game Boy games and we're looking at a home video game console capable of playing games from nine models of hardware. That's impressive! Here's some of the press release:
Along with the features already announced on the RetroN 4, Hyperkin also revealed several key features of the RetroN 5 which include the ability to save games at any point during gameplay, audio interpolation to improve sound output quality, shaders to up convert video signals to show clearer images of up to 720p resolution, button reassignment, and manual and passive overclocking to speed up or slow down the speed of games. Also revealed is more information on the Bluetooth wireless controllers; a Microswitch Directional Pad will be utilized instead of a traditional directional pad, and Macro Buttons have also been included. Users will also be able to use any controller to play any of the compatible systems, as well as given the option to remap buttons on any of the original controllers as well.
Assuming it lives up to its promises, I'd expect the RetroN 5 to be the biggest thing to hit the retro gaming scene since ThinkGeek sold Dingoo A320 units several years ago (you remember the Pocket Retro Game Emulator, right?). Of course, while the A320 was emulating games, the RetroN 5 is using actual hardware to produce the classic gaming experience. In my experience these kinds of retro game systems tend to fall just under the mark of total compatibility (perhaps a sound effect or music clip is off pitch or a complex image may not appear properly) and games with special microchips tend not to work at all, but I hear that Hyperkin is going for 100% compatibility with this one. I really hope they succeed. I'd love to replay my old favorites in clear high definition.