Category Archives: Reviews

RetroN 77 REVIEW – Pros & Cons + Gameplay

The first in-depth review of Hyperkin’s RetroN 77 Atari 2600 HD clone system. The things I love about it…and things that need a bit more work!

PROS:
Runs real 2600 cartridges (approx 99% compatibility)
720P HD output
Supports original Atari joysticks and paddles
Toggle 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio
Super long controller cable
Looks nice

CONS:
Joystick may break during heavy use
Doesn’t support more than 18 ROMS
Slight video/audio lag because of software emulation

More info: http://www.hyperkin.com

Video Transcription:

– Hey guys, Metal Jesus here. Now today, I’m very excited to bring you an in-depth review of a brand new con system by Hyperkin called the RetroN 77. This is a modern take on the classic Atari 2600 but it supports physical cartridges and it has HD output. Now, full disclosure, Hyperkin did give me this unit for review but they’re not paying for this video and no one is reviewing this content before it goes live. As a matter of fact, there’s many things I love about this, and there’s a couple of things that could use some tweaks. Let’s take a look. Alright, so first we’re going to start with an unboxing so you can see what comes with it. And right off the bat, you have the console but first let’s take a look at the joystick. Some interesting little features about this. First difference you’re gonna notice is that they original Atari joystick only had one button. This one has two. That is because this is designed to be used either left or right handed. Very, very handy. Also, the cable on this thing is super long and about 10 feet, very nice. Also the original Atari joystick was notoriously painful because it would dig into your palms and Hyperkin has shaved off the corners here to make this more comfortable. And that’s a slight difference but it makes a big deal. Here’s a small instruction manual. Not really needed unless you’re gonna dig into home brews, which we will later on. Here is the console itself and before we get started, I do want to show you how the size compares to an old Atari 2600 so here is an original and here is the RetroN 77. So they’ve shrunk it down quite a bit. I really like the design of the system. It looks modern yet it pays homage to the original classic that, of course, we all love, with those black fins right there on the top and then of course, you have to have the wood grain. Zooming in on the front of it here, they’re basically duplicating parts of the original console which is important for compatibility so you have reset and mode, skill, you also have one and two players, on off switch, but you’ll notice you also have a save and load buttons. Basically those are just quicksave and quickload which is pretty cool and we’re gonna get into that as well. I know some people are curious about the build quality of the buttons and I have to say that after using this for a while, they feel fine. They’re springy, they’re solid. I don’t anticipate any problems with them. Moving to the back of the unit, I know a lot of people were wondering if it has an SD slot and yes it does. So it uses micro SD and on that SD card, there is a ROMs directory but there are some limitations as to what you can use that for out of the box. But we’re going to get into that in a little bit. This console supports 720P HD output via HDMI, which you see right there. And look at this, this is kind of curious. There is a button labeled fry. Well, I remember this vividly as a kid that back in the day, you would try to tilt or glitch or fry your cartridges to get them to tweak to do really weird stuff and this actually has it built in. It does it via emulation. Next to that, you can toggle the aspect ratio of the display so you see three by four or 16 by nine and you can do that in real time. And then next to that is color or black and white and that’s primarily used for games that utilized that button on the original, you’re not really gonna be switching between color and black and white anytime today but it’s there if you happen to play a game that uses it. As for accessories in the box, it also comes with the USB cable and power adapter and then also a HDMI cable if you need it. Alright, time to start playing some games. What better choice than my favorite, Hero. Now when I first popped this in, I was like oh, that looks weird, it’s all stretched. That’s because by default, when you turn on the console, it will be in 16 by nine but as you see here, you can toggle it back and forth in real time. Not a huge deal, I think they just did that because most people with HD television would probably assume it will take up the entire screen but be aware when you first turn it on, it will default to 16 by nine. Another reason why I picked this game is because I know it so well, I’ve been playing it my entire life. So that means it’s a good test for me to see if a clone system is introducing lag or if there’s some sort of graphic anomaly or something like that. And I gotta say, I didn’t really feel any lag. Now I did swap back and forth between a real Atari and this and I did sense slight, minuscule lag, maybe, but honestly, the average gamer is probably not gonna notice at all. Now speaking of lag, a game that is often used to test lag is called Kaboom by Activision. Because the original game is so hard and so tough and it uses these paddles, that if there’s any lag, it will definitely show up with this game. So I take my original paddles here, I plug them in, and then fire up the game. Now I am by no means an expert at this game, there are certainly people that are way better than me but it felt very similar to using a real Atari 2600. I even noticed that my paddles were just a little bit dirty, at little bit glitchy, they probably need to be cleaned and that’s very common when it comes to these old paddles, but, yeah, you can see I’m doing okay. Oops, spoke too soon. The next feature I was really curious to check out was the quicksave and quickload options because the Atari did not have a built in save. This is something that is very cool to be added here. Especially since right here, this is a notoriously tough part for me so I pushed the save button on the front of the console. See down at the bottom it says state zero saved. Died, which I always die there. Push the load button and it immediately jumps you right back with very little delay. So yeah, it works as you would expect. Let’s go ahead and check out some other games. Running on the RetroN 77 so you can see how they look and play. We’re gonna start here with Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. I both loved and hated this game as a kid because it was so annoying. But at least the sprites kind of look like real Star Wars vehicles. Here’s the original pitfall running on the RetroN 77 in 16 by nine. Notice that the screen is slightly stretched, but again, you don’t have to run it that way. It’s just an option. Now is probably a good time to talk about what is going on inside this clone system. Hyperkin has fully licensed this stella Atari emulator. Now, this is a rock solid emulator that’s been around for years and years. The version that’s running on the RetroN 77, however, is about a year old but they’ve applied some specific hot fixes. And now I’m going to pop in my copy of Turmoil. This is a shooter that not a lot of people talk about but it’s super fun on the Atari 2600. However, it was during the capture of this gameplay that I got into a little bit of trouble. See, this game gets very hectic, it’s a shooter, obviously. And while I was capturing this footage, I heard a snap on the controller. Now, it technically didn’t break it, but its not right. So I reached out to Hyperkin, I was like do you guys know what’s going on with this? And they’re already aware of the issue. They’re working on a stronger version of it. So they’re gonna replace my controller and if you have the issue, they’ll replace yours as well. Also, new orders will automatically have that version, which is great. Again, the weird thing was, it didn’t actually break it, it still works, it just clicks. It’s here I want to mention you can still use an original Atari 2600 joystick if you happen to have one. The good news is, these things are well built and super cheap so while it sucks that the RetroN 77 one is having some problems, I’m waiting for a replacement, I can still keep playing with this. Moving on, let’s check out some Dig Dug. Now I think Dig Dug, correct me if I’m wrong, actually has expanded RAM built into the cartridge. Not that it matters, but that’s the reason why it looks a little bit more faithful to the original arcade version and it plays really well. Speaking of arcade versions, the version of Joust on Atari 2600, while not very pretty, is a surprisingly fun version of the game. I was kind of curious of the Atari 7800 version would also play on this. The cartridges are the same size but, sadly, it doesn’t fit into the cartridge slot. Alright, this next one’s kind of tricky. Pitfall Two has an extra sound chip built onto the board inside the cartridge so, be curious to see if this works. Hmmm. Nope. Alright, now might be a good time to talk about loading your own ROMs. Remember how I mentioned there’s an SD slot on the back and an SD card has a ROMs directory. You can dump as many as you’d like in there, however, on the main menu, you’re only ever going to see less than 20 of them. How disappointing. When I reached out to Hyperkin to find out why, they said it’s an anti-piracy limitation that they built into the system. They felt that it’s wrong to ship a system that allows you to load an entire library of existing games and that this is primarily just for the few people who would want to load a couple home brew games. Okay, I get that. I may not like it but I understand and honestly, I think somebody will probably figure out a way to hack it because as you can see here, it will run Pitfall Two as a ROM even though you can’t run it as a cartridge. So it’s useful for those games that may not be able to be dumped by a cartridge. And speaking of home brew games, I have a bunch of them here, I actually love collecting home brew games for the Atari 2600 so I thought I’d throw in a copy of Space Rocks. And again, it doesn’t run the cartridge but if you load the ROM, it’ll work just fine. Also included in my copy of the console were four home brew games built into it, including Baby, Muncher 77, a game called Astronomer 2018, and then Nexion 3D, I know nothing about these. I tried to play a couple of them and I thought they were okay, you know, they’re included so that’s cool. So do I recommend that you buy this? Well, it’s 70 dollars. I do think it’s a good value for, say, the beginning Atari 2600 collector. Remember, this plays probably 99 percent of the games that you would ever want to collect for that system. And, also keep in mind, most Atari 2600 games are frankly five dollars or less. So for the cost of the system, plus maybe a hundred dollars more you can actually have a pretty decent Atari 2600 collection which is pretty cool. I think for me, personally, I was looking for something a little bit more hardcore. I was looking for something kind of similar to what Analog has done with the NES and the Super NES, something that would support all of the cartridges, all of the variations, all of the peripherals. But, to be fair, that might not be realistic at this price point. I’m also happy to learn that they’re aware of the controller issues and they’re going to be replacing the ones that are broken and they’re going to be shipping out the stronger controller in future orders. That’s very good news because I really, really do love this thing, it’s actually really comfortable. Way more comfortable than the original. So I wanna use it more, as long as it works, right. Love to know what you guys thought about this down in the comments below. Are you interested in the RetroN 77? Do you even collect for the Atari 2600? Is this console even on your radar? I’d love to know. Alright guys, thank you very much for watching. Thank you for subscribing. Take care. You know what I’d love to see Hyperkin or some other company do is take the idea of the RetroN 5 or its one clone system with multiple slots supporting multiple systems, but do it for the Atari, the Intellivision, the ColecoVision, you know, all in one unit like that. I think that’d be really cool. Or, better yet, even do it for like the classic home computers like the Commodore 64 or the Vic 20, the Atari 800XL, I think that’d be pretty cool.

Dreamcast HDMI Cable Review – 100% Plug & Play – No mod needed!

Buy the Dreamcast HDMI cable: http://amzn.to/2JcvHG1 (Affiliate Link)

GAMES TESTED:
Shenmue
Soul Calibur
Sega GT
Mars Matrix
Gunbird 2
Hydro Thunder
Power Stone
Guilty Gear X
Jet Grind Radio
Speed Devils

VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION:

– Hey guys, Metal Jesus here, now one of the goals of my game room is to try to connect as many of my old, retro gaming systems using HDMI as possible. Well recently, the company Pound Technology released an HDMI cable for the Dreamcast. Now that if that company sounds familiar, it’s because they are the same company that released the HDMI cable for the Xbox, and that was very well received. So in this video, I’m going to review the HDMI cable for the Dreamcast, as well as talk about some of the gotchas that you need to know about. Let’s take a look. Alright guys, we’re going to start with a quick unboxing. And you’re gonna notice that this was purchased from Amazon. So they sell exclusively from Amazon, which is really nice, if you have any problems and you need to return it. And you’ll notice that it’s a fairly simple cable. One side connects to the Dreamcast through the AV port, and the other goes into your HD television. So let’s go ahead and try out some games. We’re gonna start with the big one – we’re gonna start with Shenmue. And like the other videos that I’ve done, where I review these types of cables, we’re gonna start with what is arguably the most common way of connecting, which is composite. That’s where you have one yellow video cable and it typically looks something like this. Now this is captured through the Elgato, so it looks a little bit worse that it would if you were connecting to an old school CRT, but let’s go ahead and switch over to the HDMI cable. And you’ll notice that it is noticeably sharper. Yeah, it looks definitely better. And then let’s go ahead and go back and forth between composite and the HDMI cable, and as you see here composite is definitely softer, more blurry, where the HDMI cable is pretty much the same colors, maybe a little more contrast, but definitely sharper. It’s at this point I want to mention that I also have one of these dedicated VGA boxes, from a company called Retro-Bit and so what we’re going to do is compare all three of them and I think you’re going to be very surprised in the results. So getting back to composite again, this is the single, yellow cable. Now, here is the Pound HDMI cable – definitely sharper. But check this out, this is the dedicated VGA Box from Retro-Bit, and I gotta say, this looks fantastic. This is definitely the best video quality that I can get from my Dreamcast. And again, keep in mind, this is the same Dreamcast, the same game, I’m just swapping out the cables. Alright, let’s go ahead and check out some other games, including Soul Calibur, this is a fighting game, that’s fantastic on the Dreamcast. Let’s go and see how it looks with composite. Okay, yeah, soft, not impressive. Here is the Pound HDMI cable, definitely better. And then we’re going to switch over to the Retro-Bit VGA. And again, it just looks that much sharper. Now, if you’re not seeing the difference on your screen make sure that you’re not looking at this on a small phone. You’re gonna want to look at this on your television, because the differences can be subtle between the Pound HDMI and also the VGA Box. Now I know what some of you are thinking, “Well why don’t I just go out and buy this dedicated VGA Box?” And you definitely can do that, although, there are some caveats with this. I just want to mention, the biggest one being, is that, well, if you bought an HDMI television like I have, in the past year or so, it may not have a VGA input. Mine definitely doesn’t and so, that provides it’s own challenges. So what I end up having to do, like with this video, is that I actually had to convert the VGA over to HDMI to be able to capture that footage, using it’s own dedicated box, so again, the solution here, while very impressive, definitely has it’s own challenges as well. But it was important for me to mention it because, you are trading a little bit of quality for convenience. But let’s go ahead and move on, and test some more games here. Here is Sega GT and like before we’re gonna show the crappy composite video here, just for, kinda, dramatic effect I guess. And then here is the Pound HDMI cable, definitely better. And then we’re gonna switch over to the Retro-Bit VGA. Now again, look how sharp that is. Notice how when we go back and forth between the HDMI cable and the VGA Box, you can definitely see a difference in contrast and also in colors. Again, not a huge difference, I guess but, just be aware it’s doing that. It’s definitely there and I think it’s kinda noticeable. Now let’s play something a little bit different. This is Mars Matrix which is a really awesome shoot ’em up and this is only using 2D sprites. We’re starting with composite, which of course, is the crappiest way to play it. And then let’s go ahead and move on to the HDMI cable. Definitely an improvement, but then, here is the VGA and again, notice that the number and the text at the top is just really sharp. So this is definitely the best way to play it, but the Pound isn’t bad. Moving on, let’s go ahead a check out one of my favorite shoot ’em ups on the Dreamcast, Gunbird 2. But check it out, when you pop the disk in, it throws up an error message saying it will not work with a VGA cable and there’s nothing you can do about it. Now this is very important because there are a small number of Dreamcast games that just won’t work with this type of cable, no matter what brand it is. Now I was curious if I could get around it, because you can go on the Internet and burn these Dreamcast Boot Discs that will try to trick the system into booting it anyways. And, yeah, sure enough it actually launched the game. So again, here is the original composite video for Gunbird. And then here is the HDMI cable version, again using that third party funky boot disc thing. So I was actually pretty pleased, I was like, “Oh okay well this is awesome!” However, when I got to level two it was struggling. It was actually getting massive amounts of slow down. It was very disappointing because I thought I was gonna be able to trick the system. I even tried my copy of Hydro Thunder. Now, Hydro Thunder there are a couple different release versions on the Dreamcast and this one won’t display anything. It boots up, it acts like it’s gonna play but nothing showed up on the screen. So again, you just need to be aware that this is something that collectors of the Dreamcast have to kinda deal with. Next I was kind of curious if it was going to work with a Japanese Dreamcast. And here, of course, is my Hello Kitty Dreamcast. And let’s go ahead and pop in the Japanese version of Power Stone. We’re gonna start with composite which of course is our base and then move on to the Pound HDMI cable. And yes, it looks great, definitely an improvement. Also I didn’t notice any lag, it played just fine. Actually I was finally starting to kick some butt in this round, and I was feeling pretty good about it, love this game. Let’s go ahead and move on to a 2D fighter. And again, I’m trying to mix up the genres here and the style of games to give people a good idea of what it looks like when you buy this thing. Here is the composite and then we’re gonna move over to of course the HDMI cable. Yeah, looks and feels fantastic. So again, I’m not feeling any lag and I wouldn’t really expect to because this is not upscaling, it’s simply just converting the VGA signal over to the HDMI, so it works as expected. Let’s go ahead and check out a couple more Dreamcast games. This is Jet Grind Radio and it’s really funny because doing these videos I just have a stack of games and I just get sucked into playing all these again. I absolutely love this game, so much fun. And so, this of course is the Pound HDMI cable. Again running and looking as you would expect. And because the Dreamcast has so many awesome racing games and you guys know that I do love my racing games, so I had to check out Speed Devils. So I’m playing that here, again using the Pound HDMI cable. Looking for any noticeable lag or slow down, or anything like that and I definitely didn’t feel it, very fun game. As I mentioned in the video overall I’m pretty happy with this cable. I mean it’s very convenient and it only costs 30 bucks. But there are a couple caveats, and the first one being not every game supports VGA. And that’s a real bummer but if you know that going into it, you won’t be surprised and it’s certainly not the fault of this cable. The second one being, of course, as I mentioned that, it’s just not quite as sharp as the Retro-Bit adaptor which is a little bit of a bummer. But again, because it’s so convenient I’ll let that slide. And the third caveat being that something I actually ran into myself with an older HD television. See a couple years ago when I first took my Dreamcast and tried to connect it via VGA, using this Retro-Bit right here to an older HD television the TV itself didn’t know what to do with that signal and actually skewed the display way over to the right. And there was nothing that I could do about it. So, it’s something that you need to be familiar with or at least aware of, if you have an HD television that is older because again, you are sending a VGA signal to a TV that may not know what to do with that. And it may just skew it way over to the right. So if you read reviews of either the Retro-Bit, or this Pound technology, HDMI cable, and they’re claiming that, it’s not the fault of the cable itself, it’s actually the HD television. And as you can see my newer HD television right here, and also the one I have upstairs, had no problems whatsoever. Again you just need to be aware of it. Now if your interested in checking out this cable, I’ll put a link down in the video description below to Amazon. The nice thing about Amazon is, is that if you buy it and you happen to have that problem, or really any other, well you can always return it. That’s very, very nice. Love to know what you guys think about this, please let me know down in the comments below. As always I want to thank you for watching my channel. Thank you for subscribing, take care. Thanks for joining me on my endless quest to get all of my consols upgraded to HDMI. Although I have to be honest, I would like to see these cables also include upscaling, if posisble. Now I know that adds a level of complexity, also lag and expense but I do feel like the Dreamcast kind of needs it and it would be cool to see. So maybe in the future, I don’t know. I don’t know how complicated that is.

Gaming System with BEST RELEASES after it was considered DEAD

Which system had the best after life releases? (Games released after the system was no longer manufactured or supported)

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Kinsey: https://www.youtube.com/kinseyburke
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Reggie: https://www.youtube.com/icon770

Ultimate GameCube Combo & Setup

If $$$ was no object, what would be the ultimate GameCube setup?

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EON GCHD HDMI adapter: http://amzn.to/2CCwpnz
Game Boy Player: http://amzn.to/2GynHcB
Hori Game Boy Controller: http://amzn.to/2onOTmU
Nintendo Wavebird controller: http://amzn.to/2Gz2RcQ

There is a way to get a better home-brew Game Boy Player software, but the solution is a bit involved. You either need to use the Action Replay w/ a SD card or burn a special bootable DVDr. Instructions are here: http://www.retrorgb.com/gameboyinterface.html

Analogue Super Nt – A SNES clone worth $190?!?

The SNES is one of the greatest consoles of all time and the Analogue Super Nt attempts to be the next evolution of the hardware engineered with an FPGA, no emulation and a goal for total accuracy. But does it live up to the hype? Here is my review!

MORE INFO: https://www.analogue.co

** DISCLOSURE: I was sent two units for review, but this video was NOT sponsored and no one reviewed the video before release. The opinions are my own **