Playing retro games on clone hardware isn't anything new, but California-based RetroBlox - founded by industry veterans Bryan Bernal and Eric Christensen - is aiming to blow systems like the Retron 5 and Retro Freak out of the water with its new system, also called RetroBlox.
This modular console is unique in that it has an optical disc drive opening up the world of disc-based retro gaming which includes Mega CD, PC Engine CD-ROM and PlayStation. Furthermore, RetroBlox offers plug-in "Element Modules" which contain cartridge slots for various vintage consoles, as well as controller inputs.
The concept is simple - you buy the module you want and slot it into your main RetroBlox unit, granting access to your existing collection of titles. You only need to insert the game once and it is added to your digital collection. Games are upscaled to 1080p, but the unit will also offer "virtual displays" which attempt to replicate the look of old CRT screens. There's even online connectivity, so you can post info to social networks and stream your gameplay to Twitch or YouTube.
Of course, these systems succeed or fail on the quality of their emulation, but it would seem that RetroBlox will set a new standard. It uses special "Hybrid emulation" to achieve unprecedented performance, peerless compatibility and lag-free control.
A crowdfunding campaign for RetroBlox is expected to launch in April, when more details will be revealed.
Here's the official PR:
UNLEASH YOUR NOSTALGIA WITH THE RETROBLOX™ MODULAR RETRO GAME CONSOLE
Elevates Retro Games to a New Level Combining Innovative Cartridge-Compatible Element Modules, Disc Game-Compatible Optical Disc Drive, and Online Connectivity features to Create the Ultimate Living-Room Worthy Retro Game Console.
Los Angeles, California, January 31, 2017–RetroBlox Inc. (RBXI) today introduced RETROBLOX™, the next generation modular retro game console. With Element Modules compatible with real retro game cartridges for systems like NES, optical disc drive compatible with CD games for systems like PSX, and connectivity that rivals current gen consoles – the one console future is just around the corner.
AN INDUSTRY WITH A PROBLEM
If you're like us, you take your games seriously. You strive for perfection in competition against other players, in your collection, and in conquering the challenge of the titles that originally influenced your gaming passion. Needless to say, playing classic games on anything less than original hardware is fraught with limitations and soon enough, most of us find the need to revert back to a decades-old old game console in order to play without compromises.
As such, gaming enthusiasts are faced with a difficult choice when it comes to retro games: experience only a subset of popular re-released games made for current generation platforms such as the Virtual Console or NES Classic, use original game hardware and displays from decades ago to play in a specialized game room, or resort to illegitimate means of experiencing gaming history through use of copied roms and emulators.
RETROBLOX™ solves this problem decisively by providing a modern, unified platform for digital retro gaming that's also committed to unprecedented modular support for original console game media and hardware peripherals.
RETROBLOX™ IS THE WORLD'S FIRST MODULAR AND FULLY-MODERNIZED RETRO GAME CONSOLE
Whether you're a retro games enthusiast, or a more casual gamer wanting to try out the genuine article, RetroBlox is the #1 way to enjoy a deep and satisfying retro gaming experience in your living room without the mess of wires and clutter.
An industry first, RETROBLOX™ ships with an on-board CD/DVD optical drive, custom produced by partner Hitachi LG Data Services (HLDS) to support the needs and features of retro game consoles. It allows you to experience the full lineup of disc games for never-before supported systems such as PSX, Sega CD, TurboGrafx-CD, and more.
Another key innovation introduced by RETROBLOX™ are modular interfaces, called "Element Modules" ¹, which allow for play using original video game cartridges and controllers from older game systems. Once a game cartridge is inserted into an Element Module, players can add the game to their digital collection, share their new addition on Facebook or Twitter, or play and stream via Twitch and YouTube. Changing games and systems is as easy as ejecting the current module and inserting another.
1080P FULL HD RESOLUTION RETRO GAMING
RETROBLOX™ natively upscales retro games from their original resolution to full HD 1080p, perfect for your living room. While crystal clear pixels are a joy to view for some players, those who prefer the older look of older TV's from the 70's, 80's and 90's will appreciate a suite of virtual displays which model the look, feel, geometry and tone of these classic displays from gaming's past.
HYBRID EMULATION TAKES RETRO GAMING FURTHER
RETROBLOX™ features new patent-pending technology called Hybrid Emulation, which allows for the direct hardware reading of specialized chips and mappers contained within historically difficult-to-emulate retro game cartridges. This means gamers get full hardware compatibility with every game in their classic games library, and unparalleled performance to boot.
If controller lag is your enemy, Hybrid Emulation technology also allows for the highest speed possible while using classic retro game controllers connected directly to RETROBLOX™ Element Modules. In this mode you can obtain near lag-free speeds² for controller input, allowing casual and competitive players to push their skills to new heights.
THERE'S MORE TO COME
RETROBLOX™ will announce new details and specs of the console and its strong line up of support for classic systems as well as further enhancements and details of the entire RETROBLOX™ platform between now and its anticipated crowdfunding campaign launch in April 2017.
ABOUT RETROBLOX, INC.
RetroBlox, Inc. is a California-based specialty developer, producer, and manufacturer of next-generation video game related products for new and retro game consoles. The company was founded by video game development veterans and passionate retro gamers, Bryan Bernal and Eric Christensen. The RetroBlox team at large has a diverse background and has shipped games like Ratchet & Clank and Titanfall, digital storefronts like the Google Chrome Store, and consumer electronics like the Vizio M-Series TVs and Roku 2, 3, and 4k.
What do you make of this venture? Do you think these guys are on the right track? Let us know with a comment.