The Retron 5 has been a long time coming to the UK. Initially planned to be released in early 2014 the clone console was delayed, when the initial shipment was produced the machines went to America to fulfill orders there, unsettling those in the UK. And so we arrive, a year later than expected... But was it worth the wait?
First the preliminaries, the Retron 5 is a clone console which means it plays original hardware using emulation.
The machine has HDMI output and it is excellent, the picture clarity is superb and whilst it wont match the costlier upscalers it does a darned fine job making your old game gleam like they have never gleamed before.
The extensive menus also allow you to tinker with the visuals and add filters which significantly change the look of the game and you can screen capture images.
However its trump card is that it has 6 pad ports for SNES, Mega drive and NES controllers, for many this is the main attraction of the machine. This is just as well as the machine looks like a hideous toaster and comes packed in with a horrible controller which is best used to just navigate the menus.
Remapping joypad buttons is a treat for the games that had the jump button not keyed on for optimum ease and it also lets you save your progress at any time. For the Gameboy games you can change the screen colours and save your progress from cartridges with batteries (brilliant for saving your Pokemon progress from the mid 90s whose battery packs are dying, however this doesn't work at the moment but has been promised as a firmware update).
The machine has an SD card slot and it will only be a matter of time before some hackers figure out a way of allowing you to play the ROMs you want but may not have hard copies of.
So would I recommend the machine? In a word yes! Even though it is quite costly (£129.99) the Retron 5 is a space saving smart solution to playing your old games in the high fidelity you remember from your childhood but even better.
I have started a Retro Games Club in my school and we have been playing a different game each week. We started off with Street Fighter 2 on the SNES, then moved onto Golden Axe on the Megadrive and both games looked stunning on the HD 52 inch screen (for the article on this click here). This is what the machine is best for, not to replace your old original systems but to offer a way to play the games you loved in your youth in the simplest possible way, As a soon to be father I want to make sure my child has access to the games of my youth to appreciate modern gaming. I look forward to sharing my passion for retro games without it taking over my living room and life.