More Details on the RetroN 5
Before you get any further, no, I don't have any release date information.
That first sentence is unfortunately necessary, due to the myriad of delays the RetroN 5 has faced during production. While a promising console with a high potential for a bright future, this classic gaming console has been delayed so much that it needs to live up to it's high expectations or the developers at Hyperkin could suffer a black mark they may never recover from.
For those not in the know, the RetroN 5 is a new machine by Hyperkin that recreates the experiences offered by a Nintendo, Famicom, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and Game Boy through Game Boy Advance in glorious hi-definition. Due to some manufacturing issues, it has struggled to get out of the gate, which has put a stigma on the company. Oddly enough, though, the internet has plenty of people that are complaining, yet will still end up purchasing one. While several have abandoned ship, either to emulate their games on PC or just use the old systems, the RetroN 5 will offer a unique experience, with save states on old games, hi-def upscaling, and more, making it more than simply an emulation machine.
I was able to throw a line of questions at Chris Gallizzi product developer at Hyperkin, who answered a large chunk of them. So, without further ado...
-Hyperkin is really stepping out on this one. It seems the whole motivation changed: from clone emulation systems to a full-on experience. Skipping the 4 even shows this attitude. What happened at Hyperkin to get this motivation engaged?
When the RetroN 5 was imagined, we wanted to create not only a console, but an experience that would only be possible by the original developers of these games.
-Your company has seen a massive shift in how business has been done since inception. Today, consumers are more on the bandwagon thanks to social media. Dipping your foot in the water to talk directly with the consumers can have both positive and negative results. How do you feel Hyperkin has changed as social media grows?
We have learned hard through marketing... we have seen the benefit with some amazing fans and we have also heard the wrath from our 'passionate' fan base. All together, I love the enthusiasm and appreciate every comment negative or positive.
Hyperkin has changed entirely because of marketing. We are still experiencing growing pains as we move from not having a real marketing team to a fully fledged team that studies the traffic of our social media.
-Say I were some dude who has had a $99 reserve on the system for a long time, waiting patiently without watching social media, and suddenly I get an email saying that the system is now $139. What do you as a company tell me is the reason why I need to pay more now? What is new in the system?
Well depending on who has your pre-order, there are some stores honoring the initial $99.99. For the stores that aren't I would say, "We know no one likes to pay more for anything, however this increase is to guarantee the quality of the system, and create an experience like no other."
-Extra controllers. When? How much?
The extra controllers will be $39.99, and will be available the same day as the console.
-Will there be any sort of image "delay" option, seen in games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero, to allow for latency on HDMI TVs? Also, could something like that be used in light-gun games if you bought a third-party adapter and linked the system to a CRT?
For launch, there is no image delay option, but with the beauty of firmware updates we can add any feature in the future. Until we add an image delay, then I can make the recommendation for light guns.
-Can you factor in for the "soft reset" needed to finish X-Men on Genesis?
You can already do a soft reset of the games within the in-game menu.
-If the ROM is dumped to the system, is the game still powered? While not ideal, what about 'tilt' or 'vibration' aspects of Game Boy games?
To be clear on the 'Rom Dumping', only a small amount of data is dumped from the ROM... only audio and video data is dumped, the game data is still in the cart and necessary to play.
We actually have a video in the office of someone shaking the hell out of a beta unit while testing Pokemon Pinball. Yes, it works :)
-I'm really intrigued at the Game Boy aspect. How do GB games look on the system?
GB games look amazing... that slot alone is reason to have this system.
--Do "scanlines" make it look original, or is there a "dot matrix" filter or such to return those to glory?
The scanlines look original, we have several photos showing it off
--Are the original black-and-white games showing up in green like the original system or black?
Original black and white games have a variant... some are all black, some have a green tint, other have a red tint
--Is the screen any smaller for these games, given the original resolution and such, or do we get full screen original Game Boy games?
You can modify the screen size for GB games. I play my Pokemon Red on 720p 16:9 60fps. You can change it to 4:3 or even pixel perfect (which is a pretty tiny screen).
-Honestly, someone was watching the Facebook page while you were gone. There were a few posts during that time. We get a full video discussion of the issues when you return. People were raging on the Facebook page. Was there a rhyme or reason to why there was so much mystery during a time that information was coming from third parties?
- During the time I was in China, we were in the process of hiring a Marketing Director and sadly there wasn't much follow up from the few that were in the states. In terms of mystery... there really wasn't much, we talked about the console at MGC and PAX during the month of April.
-Certain gamers preordering from certain online portals are claiming a bonus extra controller for compensation. I personally would be concerned about the entitlement seen by others preordering from different locales. Are there any plans to add "bonus" content to other preorders at all? Is it true that some outlets are getting their units later than others?
Depending on who you preordered from, those 'bonus' controllers are entitled to any store that contacted us. So, if you aren't getting a bonus controller then that's up to the store you ordered from.
-Tell us more about the x86! How will it get games onto the system? USB drives? What if we have an old floppy?
- The RetroN x86 is my baby, I'm working on so many projects... between the x86, Oculus Rift stuff, N64 project and other unannounced stuff. Ironically, the x86 is already done from the development stage... just working on mass production. It will be playing DOS games and be an all-in-one unit (Computer built into the keyboard) it will have an HDMI out, so you can do all simple computing functions plus play dos games. We will have some pre-loaded games and the rest can be done via USB or SD card.
-How about the future N64 projects? Can anything be disclosed? The 64 controller is the first in my opinion where things really start to get weird, with extra controls, and that nutty c-stick, that won't really mesh with anything else. How is the controller going to be integrated into one that covers all systems with an authentic experience?
-I can't talk about the N64 projects, but we will be showing it off at E3 this year. For the controller, you'll have to wait... but I do have 10 molding samples on my desk, so we are being careful :)
Special thanks to Chris for taking the time to answer my questions. Have any more (outside of "when will it be released")? Drop them in the comments below, and I'll see if I can get a follow-up! Rest assured, The Gamers Lounge will be working hard to keep you up to date on this little machine with the big potential. Expect a full review as soon as we can get our hands on one!