News Article

Hyperkin: Nintendo Hasn't Contacted Us About the RetroN 5

Posted by Damien McFerran

Flying under the legal radar

In case you hadn't noticed, we're quite excited about Hyperkin's forthcoming RetroN 5 console. It plays practically every retro format under the sun, comes with a wireless pad and connects to HD televisions via HDMI — in short, it's shaping up to be the ultimate retro gamer's system.

Interestingly, Hyperkin's marketing director David Yu has revealed to Red Bull UK that Nintendo has so far ignored the company's efforts:

We have never had any issues with Nintendo or Sega, nor have we ever had any contact with them.

Another illuminating piece of information is that Hyperkin has used pre-existing components in many of its previous systems:

We have two ways of producing these retro consoles. The first is to use chips that are very similar to what was found in the original consoles, the majority of which are still manufactured today. The challenge here is sourcing the other chips that are no longer in production. We find ourselves cannibalizing old electronics from the 90s. This method of manufacturing will eventually be impossible.

Yu explains that the RetroN 5 is a little different:

The new way of producing these retro consoles is what the RetroN 5 will have. Although I hesitate to use the word for fear of misinterpretation - we are using hardware emulation, not software emulation.

Hyperkin hasn't moved totally away from using off-the-shelf parts — for example, the RetroN 5's Bluetooth pad is powered by a Nintendo 3DS rechargeable battery — but the company is clearly striving to take things to the next level with its latest product.

Yu is actually quite honest about Hyperkin's previous efforts, admitting that they could have been better:

Having been in this market for some time, we have a chip on our shoulder that we have yet to bring anything to the market that truly surpasses the original. Besides portability, we are still no better than what was manufactured two decades ago. This is the reason why we wanted to take this bold step with the RetroN 5.

We'll be giving the RetroN 5 the review treatment as soon as we can get our hands on a console, but are you excited in this all-in-one solution? Post a comment to tell us.

[via redbull.com]

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User Comments (48)

cbkummer

#1

cbkummer said:

WHAT IS UP WITH THAT CONTROLLER?!?! I can't imagine playing anything on that!!!

Einherjar

#4

Einherjar said:

The button layout is quite clever. A good setup for both, SNES and Segas 6 Button controll schemes. I dont thinkt that i like that stick very much. Nothing beats a good D-Pad.
Also, why should it be illegal to release such a console ? The original consoles are way outdated and no company makes money with them anymore. furthermore, its a console to play original cartridges on, not borderline illegal ROMs.

MrGawain

#5

MrGawain said:

@cbkummer

It's retro, harking back to the NES brick controller. It's why a lot of Men of an age over 30 can no longer make a fist anymore. Those NES controllers deformed the sinews in our hands whilst we were growing up- none of these namby pamby contours for us!

Of course to be truly retro, the controller would need to be connected to the machine via a wire 3 foot long, which ensures you get retina burn from the TV just like in the 80's.

rodoubleb

#6

rodoubleb said:

The controller doesn't look that bad. Seriously needs a D pad over the analog stick though. Otherwise looks like a slightly larger NES controller with more contour for grip.

Shiryu

#8

Shiryu said:

Ugly has hell, but I do see one in my future. But why won't Hyperkin put it in a... "prettier" box. Also that joypad won't do for me, good thing it has the original Megadrive/NES/SNES joypad support.

TrueWiiMaster

#11

TrueWiiMaster said:

Do you have to use the wireless remote, or can you plug in the original remotes like the RetroN3? I've never used one of these types of consoles before, but I've read a lot of reviews that say the remotes that come with them are pretty low quality (though obviously nobody knows about the RetroN5's remotes yet). Besides, I have no desire to play NES, SNES, Genesis, and GBA games without a d-pad.

ouroborous

#12

ouroborous said:

yea i know thats just a mock-up of the unit but it sure could look alot prettier/sleeker.

StarDust4Ever

#13

StarDust4Ever said:

I'm all for it. I've got Famicom, NES, SNES, Genesis, and GB/GBA games (and all the original systems to play them on on a TV including the Game Cube/GB player). The RetroN5 will truly be a space saver for sure, and I have an awesome 1600x1200 DVI monitor collecting dust, which will make the perfect low-latency HD 4x3 retro display.

All in all, I'm looking foreward to it. Nintendo doesn't give a crap about old systems/games as long as you're not pirating copyrighted software. And there's no reason why the Retron should draw any flags since it utilizes only original carts. That said, nothing's stopping a serious retro nerd like me from plugging five Powerpaks/Everdrives into it! :D

baba_944

#14

baba_944 said:

Do you guys know that you don't have to use that controller? You can you SNES, NES, and SEGA controllers. I don't know about GBA though.

Yamagushi

#15

Yamagushi said:

The patents on these systems ran out. That's why this and aftermarket NES systems can sell retail. It's not illegal.

link_hatchet

#16

link_hatchet said:

Nice, can't wait to get this. Even though all my original systems work, with the exception of the original NES with the dreaded infamous flickering an white noise, this will give a rest on my original systems with the wear an tear.

Luigifan141

#19

Luigifan141 said:

Not only can you use NES, SNES, and Genesis controllers along with the pack-in ones, you can also use any controller for any other console. For example, Genesis controller for Famicom games, NES controller for Gameboy Color games, SNES controller for Gameboy Advance games, etc.

Also, there have been people who have tried the new wireless controller and said that it was way more comfy than they thought it would be, so ugly design doesn't equal an ugly feel.

I have the RetroN 3, and I still use it every now and then, so I'll definitely upgrade to the RetroN 5! It looks very promising. :D

@baba_944 You can't use any Gameboy model for GBA games, so that's a no go.

Gregor

#21

Gregor said:

@StarDust "Nintendo doesn't give a crap about old consoles or games" Then explain to me why they have the Virtual Console service, literally the greatest thing on the eShop? They even went so far as to risk putting Earthbound on there.

tanookisuit

#22

tanookisuit said:

Wow I have to say I've lost a little respect for these guys. Cannibalizing existing limited (out of production) hardware to strip them for usable parts to make your past systems is not good.

hydeks

#23

hydeks said:

I would have to say it's a definite must buy, but I'll wait for the NintendoLife review, just to make sure ;)

ToastyYogurt

#27

ToastyYogurt said:

Guys, that's not an analogue stick. It's a mini joystick that uses microswitches like joysticks in arcades. That means it has no more fuction than a d-pad (8 directions, no sensitivity on how far you push the thing in one direction), but has a nice little joystick feel to it. If they can make it feel more like a clicky joystick than a sloppy joystick, that might actually be a decent controller. If not, you can always plug in some original controllers if you have them. And if you want a wireless controller with a proper d-pad, you can always grab these wireless SNES controllers.

9th_Sage

#28

9th_Sage said:

Ooooh, wait, that thing's a joystick that uses MICROSWITCHES? This might be pretty amazing then, that controller. If you aren't going to have a D-Pad Nintendo style, next best thing is something like that.

CapnPancakes

#29

CapnPancakes said:

I'm actually really excited for this console! There's a store near me that sells NES, SNES, and Genesis games so I can't wait for the release.

StarDust4Ever

#32

StarDust4Ever said:

Microswitches are awesome btw. Now all we need is an extension to that thumbpad with a shiny black knob on top. B-) I've built several arcade controllers for vintage systems (basically jumbo sized controllers modeled after the originals with real arcade parts). The clicky feel gives you a more tactile feedback than a mushy d-pad, so you can feel exactly when you make a connection under the button. Some people may not like it though; to each their own. Frankly, I'm more concerned about the ergonomic shape of the controller as those corners do not look comfortable, but looks can be deceiving.

@Fusion14 I was referring to the fact that Nintendo no longer supports these old systems, so they don't care what people do with vintage games. VC is an excellent service, and I have bought many titles twice, once on cartridge as well as digital download, to support the service.

WaveWarlock

#33

WaveWarlock said:

No thanks, I'll stick with the original consoles. RetroN5 and it's controller look absolutely awful, it will destroy a big chunk of that retro nostalgia for that reason alone, there's no D-pad for some mind boggling reason which would typically be a deal breaker for retro fanatics across the globey(Good thing they have controller ports for the original controllers!), and why in the heck would i personally want to play my retro games on an HDTV when i have a lag free SD Tube TV as my secondary display? Actually, i use my 27" CRT tube TV far more than my HDTV haha) Besides i for one can't stand playing Nes & Snes games on any HDTV.

Still seems, like a more convient & less expensive solution for people who don't own the original consoles, and the added HDMI input is a bonus.

RADencker

#35

RADencker said:

For those wondering about the legality of these consoles, I think it's more down to them using the names NES, SNES, etc in packaging and advertisements. Even though Nintendo's and SEGA's patents may have run out, their copyrights on the names haven't, and never will.

One thing that they note in the article is they are doing hardware emulation for some of it, that's one way to get around a patent on the physical components. But the use of the copyrighted names might be the issue here.

Capt_N

#36

Capt_N said:

I own an Nes top loader I got for Christmas in, I believe 1998/9/2000, as I recall, '99 though. Anyway, I still play it, & am intending to buy a SNes, like I once had. I will still have to look into this console anyway.

retro_player_22

#37

retro_player_22 said:

Cool but knowing any Famiclone system, it'll probably have minor problems or incompatibility with some games.

JebbyDeringer

#38

JebbyDeringer said:

Ummm I can do this on my Wii, PC, iPad or pretty much anything with a CPU and memory. Stop reinventing the wheel. I actually like the silly styling.

GumbyX84

#40

GumbyX84 said:

@Einherjar Agreed. I hope the decide against using the analog stick. It does not work well with games that were made with the D-Pad in mind. Looking at you MegaMan series.

mingzu

#43

mingzu said:

If you ask me it's stupid not to at least ask Sega and Nintendo before you produce a console that uses the Games. What if they have the right to start legal actions against you and you produced 10k Consoles that can't be sold anymore.

apowes

#44

apowes said:

He talks about how his past RetroN consoles are no better than the originals..... the truth is that they're not even AS GOOD as the originals.

There are tons of reports of incorrect audio and video with these knockoffs. And the company claims not to reverse engineer the older consoles.... but without the original schematics, how else are they going to produce an accurate copy?

Plus, they need to replicate these console cheaply enough to turn a profit. So we end up getting "good enough" instead of "completely accurate." No, thank you.

ogo79

#45

ogo79 said:

retron 3s work fine, use it to save wear and tear on my original systems. i will be getting the retron 5

MrMario02

#46

MrMario02 said:

Guys, if you don't like the controller, You can plug in an SNES, Genesis or NES controller.

ShinChuck

#47

ShinChuck said:

@WaveBoy I get what you're saying. I've had experience with the previous RetroNs, and they were poor man's consoles.

However, I'm reserving judgement. I've looked up some of the RetroN 5 previews, and the issues you brought up are allegedly being addressed. Yeah, NES & SNES look like crap on a 1080p TV, but Hyperkin is specifically trying to address concerns with the audio and with the old graphics translating better to HD TVs. They've put up some audio tests, as well as some graphic comparisons, and it looks promising.

As well, each game is supposed to have ten save-state slots. While ripe for abuse, it'll be awfully nice to have for old password-based or entirely saveless old NES games.

We'll see. I'm cautiously optimistic, but I won't be sold on it until I've had a chance to really give it a testing.

SOLGarion

#48

SOLGarion said:

@RADencker Copyrights do run out, just last for a freaking long time. And you do not copyright a name, you trademark it. And they have all the original patents that tell exactly how to make a nintendo or sega because the entire point of a patent is to detail your invention. The patent HAS to detail everything but in exchange you get a 20 year limited monopoly on what is in the patent. When that 20 years runs out, you can do whatever you want with the info in the patent without retaliation. The games (software) are copyrighted, the system is patented and the names nintendo and such are trademarks. You are right, trademarks are forever, but you are allowed to put compatible with a system or brand as long as you do not make it prominent and there is not confusion to the public as to the source of the product, as that is the entire point of trademarks. Breyers is allowed to use oreo's in their ice cream and can put it on their packaging without any permission as long as it isn't implied the ice cream is made by oreo, or nabisco or whoever.

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