Could The Retron 5 Kick Off A Retro Gaming Renaissance?

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Could The Retron 5 Kick Off A Retro Gaming Renaissance?

There's a certain kind of value in retro gaming, a kind of value that's hard to deny, and potentially somewhat difficult to quantify. Maybe it's the feel of old friends come home again, or the expansion of a historical perspective, allowing us a look at where we're going in gaming by showing us conclusively where we've been. But a product known as the Retron 5 may represent something of the future in the gaming of the past.

Under normal circumstances, retro gaming can be a difficult prospect. With several different systems to factor into the equation, and several different connection systems, retro gaming in the fullest sense can be expensive, time-consuming, space-consuming and an all-around mess. The idea of emulation comes into play here, as some systems have discovered the value of bringing the past of gaming forward into gaming's future. I personally have enjoyed the opportunity to have “Sid Meyer's Pirates!” back into my living room; I enjoyed it once on original Xbox, and now enjoy it once again on my Xbox 360. Perhaps one day it will even make its way into the Xbox One, perhaps even joining such greats as “Morrowind”, though the “Skywind” project seems to be doing every bit as good a job of that as possible.

Anyway, the Retron 5; this device seems to have quite a bit going for it, taking the cartridges of the past—long past, in some cases—and bringing the games contained therein forward, using a kind of software emulation system at last report. While it doesn't always work—nor does it always work with certain peripherals—it does work with basic games, at last report, and includes the Famicom and Super Famicom, the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, the Sega Mega Drive, the Sega Master System (with an adapter), and three separate breeds of Game Boy, including Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance.

There are some issues, of course, beyond the lack of peripheral support. There are issues of playback—the system actually has HDMI support, which is saying a lot for eight-bit games intended for standard resolution systems—but by all reports, the games themselves work, and work well. There are actually other versions of the Retron available—the Retron 3 handles Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis games—but the Retron 5 can be found on Amazon for $232.89.

This is, from what I can tell, essentially a multi-platform gaming system, a way to take all those cartridges sitting around your basements and whatnot and bring them back into the thick of things for the cost of a discount newer-model system. Given what groups of these are selling for on eBay—a video store's lot of 531 Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo titles is selling at $222.50 at this writing—it could be a positively amazing entertainment value for those who have a taste of retro gaming. It may well represent, also, the start of something much more interesting in gaming. Nintendo has already brought back quite a few games through its shops, as has Microsoft, but we may well start seeing the phenomenon fire up on a broader scale. There are still plenty of games out there that can't be played through any means but an emulator or on the original systems, and that's an opportunity that shouldn't be easily ignored.

We've talked about retro gaming before, but it's not every day an effort like this, this extensive and this thorough, has come into play. We may well see the beginnings of a more active approach in retro gaming starting from this, and the end result could go just about anywhere.

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