The RetroN 5 is a beautiful thing. I say that as a collector, looking at a hybrid console that will allow me to keep every possible, classic system I love hooked up to my TV, or HDTV, at once. Normally, that would be impossible, due to compatibility issues or space constraints, but Hyperkin has decided to make it happen. Skipping directly from the RetroN 3 to the RetroN 5, it’s looking like this NES, Famicom, SNES, Super Famicom, Genesis, Mega Drive, Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance system will do it all.
I had to know more about the RetroN 5. So, I reached out to Hyperkin’s Marketing Director, David Yu, to learn more about this device. After all, it’s coming out soon, and it’s a good time to know everything we can about this potentially revolutionary device.
GamerTell: How long has the RetroN 5 been in development?
David Yu: The RetroN 5 has been in development for over 2 years.
GT: The RetroN 5 looks to be the most complicated of Hyperkin’s combination, retro consoles. Was it more difficult to assemble and create than previous systems?
Yu: With the RetroN 5, we started from a clean slate, and programmed the chipsets to allow for us to include features we felt would enhance the overall gaming experience. Our previous consoles relied heavily on recycled chipsets and parts similarly found in the original consoles, and as a result, had various technical limitations. To try to incorporate multiple systems into one console has been challenging, and we have encountered some unexpected issues, which we have overcome thus far. We have to credit our development and creative teams for putting a lot of hard work and effort, as they have worked tirelessly to ensure that the RetroN 5 is the console we all know it can be.
GT: What does the game compatibility look like for the RetroN 5? Will it play every game? Or are there a few titles that may have issues running?
Yu: Our goal is for 100% compatibility for the RetroN 5, and will make every effort to ensure that all games will work. That means that all PAL or NTSC games, as well as cartridges with a CIC lockout chip or a FX chip will work on the RetroN 5. That being said, there is a possibility that some games may not be compatible at launch. To remedy this, we will provide firmware updates that can be downloaded from our website, and via a flash drive, gamers can update the firmware through the USB port on the console. This update also affords us the ability to possibly add more features to the console in future updates.
GT: The information released about the RetroN 5 so far confirms that it will support save states and autosave upon shutdown. Will users also be able to backup or share their save states online?
Yu: Yes. We felt that the ability to save games at any point was one of the key features to the RetroN 5. I can’t tell you how awesome this feature is, as I have been able to play some of the most difficult games, like Battletoads, without fear of having to restart the entire third level sequence again when I die. The ability to load your games at the exact point where you last saved them is so convenient, and makes the overall gaming experience a lot more fun and less frustrating.
We will allow users to save up to 10 different slots for each game, with the ability to select whether the game autosaves during shutdown. You will be able to transfer or backup your saves and share the save states online with others who have a RetroN 5 via the USB port.
GT: The RetroN 5 will also support cheat codes. Will there be a database built into the system, for players to access? Or will they have to search online to find codes to use with their games? If it’s the later, can cheat codes be saved to the system?
Yu: The RetroN 5 will have cheats built in and available at any point during gameplay for most games. However, users will not be able to make their own custom codes. Although there is always the possibility that users may be able to create their own codes in future firmware updates, there are no plans to do so at this time.
GT: Of all the RetroN systems released so far, which model has proved most popular?
Yu: The most popular RetroN system thus far is the RetroN 3. We have had great success of the RetroN 3, our tri system compatible with NES, SNES, and Genesis, since we first released it more than 2 years ago. Even with the announcement of the RetroN 5, sales of the RetroN 3 still remain strong, and we expect sales to remain steady, even after the release of the RetroN 5.
GT: What has the initial response to the RetroN 5 been like, and how does it compare to people’s enthusiasm for prior RetroN systems?
Yu: We knew even during development, that with the RetroN 5, we had something special. I can tell you exactly the moment we first got the console to work, as myself and some other colleagues acted like little children at Christmas once we first fired up Street Fighter Alpha 2, and we knew that our lives would never be the same. We all had an idea as to what the response would be like, however, the response we have received thus far has far exceeded our wildest expectations. The biggest surprise has been the overwhelming response we have received globally, as gamers from various countries have been contacting us to see if we will have the RetroN 5 available in their respective regions.
To ensure that we can cater to various markets, each RetroN 5 will now include an AC Adapter with four variable head sockets so that voltage issues will no longer be an issue.
GT: Would Hyperkin ever consider attempting to make an “all-in-one” console combining other, retro
systems? Perhaps a handheld that would play Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Game Gear, Neo Geo Pocket and Wonderswan games?
Yu: There is always the possibility of creating more “all-in-one” consoles in the future, and we will not rule out any suggestions or ideas. At this moment, there are no definitive plans for making another system, as we are focusing our efforts on the RetroN 5. That being said, the possibility of a CD based console, or even another all-encompassing handheld is not farfetched, and could potentially be something that we may look into creating in the future.
RetroN 5 pre-orders are now open, if you like what you’ve read. The console will be $99.99 and come with the system, a Bluetooth controller, and the necessary cords and cables to get you all set up. It will be available in black and grey color schemes as well, in case color matters. Don’t get too excited by Amazon setting October 31, 2013 as the release date. I asked Yu, and he says that’s just a placeholder and the real launch date is coming soon.