In the retro gaming world emulation can be quite a dirty word, but what if you could play your old games on a console that takes the original cartridges, supports multiple consoles, and upscales the games to 720p via HDMI? Well this is exactly what the RetroN 5 promises to do so we decided to take a closer and see if this console is a retro gamers dream or a nightmare in our RetroN 5 review.
Lets start off with the console itself, it defiantly has that old retro game console feel to it with the multiple top loading cartridge slots and how ‘blocky’ the consoles looks. It allows so many different games to be played on it, in fact it supports these retro consoles…
- Sega MegaDrive
- Super Famicom
- GameBoy Colour
- GameBoy Advance
Thats a heck of a lot of games to play, all displayed in a great 720p!
The console and the controller do feel a little cheap but with how much the console costs and the fact most of the time you wont be touching the console and also use a different controller.
While we are on the subject of different controllers one of the nicest and biggest things about the RetroN is it has 6 original controller ports so that you can play using your original console controllers! We are talking Sega MegaDrive, Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo Entertainment System, with 2 ports on each so that you can play the 2 player games you grew up playing with your friends. I noticed a good amount of people who bought a RetroN 5 refused to use the wireless controller due to lag on button presses, fortunately I can say I never really noticed any noticeable lag and.
The wireless controller that comes with the console actually really surprised me, its really comfy in the hands even after long hours of play, the buttons feel really high quality and its pretty nice to have hotkey buttons for different functions the console can perform.
Based on my experience with trying out different games the RetroN 5 played 99% of all games I threw at it, this is counting games for all the consoles and also games from regions outside of the UK. The one game I did have a problem with is Pinball of the Dead for the GBA which did play but had some slow down that made just made the game annoying to play. It is worth noting that this was before I had updated the console to its latest firmware version, apparently the newer version (which can be simply upgraded via an SD card) supports a lot more games and fixes stability issues so I plan on trying this out sometime.
UPDATE: Since writing this article I have updated the RetroN 5 and still get the same amount of slowdown on Pinball on the Dead so this just must be one of them games that doesn’t play well. Looking around there does some to be some games like this that the RetroN 5 has troubles with but
As for how these games look the RetroN 5 does an amazing job at upscaling all of the games regardless of the console it was emulating. Even the RetroN 5 displaying a GameBoy Colour game like Pokemon Yellow on a 50 inch TV looks fantastic which was a huge surprise.
On top of all this the RetroN 5 can also do a number of things that can’t be done on the original consoles such as screenshots and also save states, which yeah may be cheating sometimes but are perfect for them long old games that just didn’t have saves back in the day!
With this all being said there are a few things wrong with this all star console, now i’ll say first that the biggest problem doesn’t apply to every console, some people have gotten a RetroN 5 and its been fine but its worth keeping in mind that if you do get one of the more temperamental consoles that the cartridge slots can be VERY stiff. Now luckily the one we got did not have tight slots but you still have to use a small bit of force. This breaks me a little each time I want to change games as the whole point of the console is that you spend a good bit of money on original cartridges and you want to keep them in as good condition as possible.
Overall the RetroN 5 is a brilliant console if you still indulge in retro gaming, the upscaling is fantastic. I do own every original console that the RetroN 5 emulates but I still like having the RetroN 5 around just to see how crisp these old games look. The fact you can use original controllers and the console doesn’t care what game you are playing with what ever controller means you can use which ever suits you best. At £120 it is a tiny bit pricey for what it actually does and the quality of the console but if you are am massive retro game collector like myself it is totally worth it!