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May 2017 Retro Gaming Article


May 10, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Hyperkin's RetroN HD is an upcoming NES clone outputting HDMI for $39, without emulation

Hyperkin RetroN HD
This NES clone goes HD with 720p HDMI output from Hyperkin.
Old School CRT televisions can still be readily found, but their bounty decreases as time marches forward. With retro lust going full steam ahead, an inexpensive HD NES clone sounds great. Hyperkin is releasing the RetroN HD (aka: RetroN 1 HD) on May 25.

Hyperkin RetroN HD box I'm hoping this device will be a robust clone and not one of those flimsy emulation boxes. There is currently a pre-order page for the RetroN HD on Amazon and it has a few interesting stats.

It outputs HD audio and video at 720p and can switch between 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios via a switch. At the bottom of Amazon's product page, the questions section has an answer from the "manufacturer" where they state this product is all hardware - no emulation.

Does it use an FPGA (Field Programable Gate Array)? Can that tech be feasible at this price point? In all likelihood it's using a NOAC (Nintendo On A Chip) which is indeed a hardware solution.

Like an FPGA, a NOAC relies on the fortitude of it's code to properly run the games on your NES cartridges. There are an assortment of clones out there that louse up the sound or color-schemes in certain titles. While a hardware solution is thought to be the preferable solution to game console clones, they too must properly replicate the original console's operations. Some are better than others, but you can't tell until you pop in your favorite cart and se the results for yourself.

Hyperkin RetroN HD box Hyperkin's RetroN HD wil be out in a few weeks, so I'm curious to read more about it and see what sort of tech lies beneath it's case. I've read the Analogue Mini NES clone uses an FPGA and it sells for $450, albiet it caters to a more artistic edge and commands a very high price. I'm excited by this because I would love to see a retro revolution in which decades-old consoles could be re-imagined via an FPGA.

Although flawed and poorly conceived, this was the principal behind the failed Coleco Chameleon project. It was a brilliant idea, but ran into problems that were magnified through numerous poor decisions. Maybe Hyperkin is onto the future of retro gaming preservation - I hope so!

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