If you're like us, you grew up and love retro games. But sometimes playing retro games has hurdles, this is where the Retron 5 comes in. Here's our long overdue review of the Retron 5.
Here at Pixel Rants (owned by Black Hive Media), we have quite the retro game collection. From NES to Atari Jaguar to 3DO and Virtual Boy, we have quite the museum of classic games. It's great to be reminded of why we do what we do by firing up an old game and see where things have come.
We have recently moved and space is limited, so we're pairing down what we actually have hooked up in our game room(s). Many of our favorite games are on the 8-16 bit consoles like Genesis, SNES, and NES. It naturally made sense for us to check out the Retron 5 since it plays precisely those games and more.
The first, and probably most important (to us) aspect of the console is it's ability to save shelf space and TV connections. This console is ten consoles in one! NES, Famicom, SNES, Super Famicom, Genesis, Mega Drive, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance. That's impressive and it all goes through one cable to the TV. It's also nice because while I have a Game Boy and GBA, playing on those tiny darrrrrrrk screens is quite the chore.
The second huge advantage to this machine is that not only does it go through one cable; it goes through one HDMI cable! That means games are upscaled to 720p internally, creating a sharp clean picture on modern TVs. As great as the original machines are, they cannot achieve that without some serious A/V equipment. You are also given options for the visuals like filters and scanlines, to get the desired effect you're looking for. Sound is excellent too, even allowing the ability to add bass or treble enhancement.
The last major advantage** to the Retron 5 is that is supports original controllers. That's right. Plug in your NES, SNES, or Genesis controller right into it. It does come with a wireless controller. It's definitely on the low-end side, but it is wireless and can get the job done. It even can sync four of them to the console at one time.
**Actually the REAL last major advantage is it's ability to have save states. As an adult it's definitely hard to do a playthrough of Metroid or Lightning Force, but the Retron 5 lets you take a snapshot so it'll later pick up where you left off. That's excellent, especially when you realize games like Super Mario Bros. 3 don't offer save states. How did I forget that?
So, now that we've praised the console, what are it's weaknesses? There's a few.
The biggest problem I see is that the cartridges get held in the slots like the goddamned Hulk is inside of there grabbing the SOB. It's pretty terrifying pulling it out and there's even been reports of bent pins inside of the console from it. Definitely need to be careful.
Second, it doesn't easily play ROMs. While we have a ton of cartridges, there are some very-hard-to-come-by carts out there. There are work arounds, but it seems like that would have been a great feature out of the box. I'm sure it's a legal thing (in fact, word is that they are in legal hotwater over the software it uses in the first place). Again, it is possible (as are cheats) but it involves converting ROMs, which is a big barrier. Maybe it's for the best, who knows.
Verdict: This is a great buy if you're a fan of retro games but are limited on space. It offers convenient features to not only give you a good foundation to play old games on, but also makes it easy to be an adult with other responsibilities. Home Button>Save State>Turn Off>Go Into a meeting for work, come back and pick up where you left off after dinner. That's pretty damn cool.