Retron 5_SNES_Console

The E3 gaming show is usually about showing off the latest and greatest in gaming, but Hyperkin is sticking to the classics. This company has been working on the mother of all classic consoles, and a playable prototype version is on the floor at E3. Whereas most retro game consoles use hardware to imitate the original system, the Hyperkin Retron 5 is doing it with software emulation based on Android.


It's called the Retron 5 because it has five slots. There are four slots on top (some of which perform double duty) to support original NES, SNES, Genesis, Famicom, Super Famicom, and Mega Drive cartridges. The fifth slot is on the front of the console with support for Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, and Game Boy color cartridges. The sides have all the controller ports you could ever need, too. It also includes a wireless Bluetooth controller for some games.

Pic-2 hyperkin00021 Pic-7


At this pre-production stage the Hyperkin Retron 5 is reportedly a solid experience. The menus are a little hard to operate with classic game controllers, but games play well over HDMI on larger TVs thanks to post-processing. Hyperkin has also hinted it might make the console an open source device. The Hyperkin people are saying the final device is expected to retail for under $100, which would be awesome. No release date has been announced.


[Engadget, Hyperkin]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play.

  • jayray78

    Under $100! Sold. Maybe two.

  • cy_n_ic

    Nice concept. But if you own the physical cartridges, one most likely has the console to use them with. Make it compatible with game roms and this would be the mother of all consoles

    • Lou

      Considering that it has the Android OS running it I am sure its more than capable of emulation with all game roms 16bit and below.

      You have to remember there is the legality of pirating games, and they are probably covering their asses when not mentioning what it is truly capable of doing. Look at this with the high possibility of game rom loading, but do not look at it as something they will officially advertise. Wait for someone to take 5 minutes with the OS to make it so!

      • Pyrotek85

        Yeah it looks like there is a USB port on the left side in the first pic. I'd be surprised if this couldn't be hacked.

      • Sven Joy

        Where could anyone get that games if they aren't released on Android officially? Really stupid that they aren't selling Retro game roms online...

        • Pyrotek85

          Because it would be copyright infringement? Sure Nintendo or whoever owned the rights could, but why would they? They want you to buy from the virtual console or remakes or whatever.

          • Sven Joy

            Of course i mean the company that holds the right. Wouldn't it be cheaper for them to just release the roms without any modifications?

          • Pyrotek85

            Of course, but that means less profit. It's not that I don't agree with you, but that's not how businesses run.

        • cy_n_ic

          If you are truly into retro games then you know where to get them. Their is a local small business here called game traders that deals in such things. If this takes off then these kind of stores could pop up more abundantly as well as more online retailers

      • cy_n_ic

        I agree with you about covering their own ass. But if you have purchased the cartridge you are allowed to create a backup. Question is, is that a usb port i see? If not an adapter would be needed to go from usb/sdcard to a cartridge kinda like how gameboy did with snes

        • Lou

          More than likely that is a USB. And knowing how things are they will advertise it as the means to use USB controllers and "system updates" knowing full well that it is basically the door for homebrew/rom images to be used.

          I am more than sure that once its released backups and roms will be capable to be played on. If not already in the system a small app/software mod will allow it to happen. Nothing too difficult.

          What I want to see is a makeshift mod that will allow these systems to do online play with multiplayer games (Such as ZSNES had).

        • RvLeshrac

          No, you are not. It is illegal to dump cartridges, as you are bypassing the DRM.

          You're going to respond to this with the usual blah blah rights bullshit bullshit bullshit backup blah blah blah "that would be stupid" blah blah bullshit bullshit blah.

          The fact is, it is illegal, in every single Western country which observes any reciprocal copyright agreement, to do this. You can disagree with the law, but that doesn't make it vanish.

          • Steve Green

            These carts have no DRM preventing dumping.

            Dumping might be illegal as you are making a copy, but to play the game in an emulator you have too so that is probably legal. Copying needed for interoperability is usually protected.

          • RvLeshrac

            10NES == copy protection. SNES region/size checks == copy protection. Sega TMSS == copy protection.

          • Steve Green

            Incorrect again. 10NES is a lockout system to prevent unauthorized cartridges and does not have to be messed with to dump a cartridge.

            The SNES stuff is the same as the above. These were never intended nor do they do anything to preventing dumping roms and do not need to be bypassed to do so.

          • blast0id

            what the eff is your point?

          • Cody Curry

            You can disagree with the way people act, but people violate this all the time and nobody can or will enforce it. Which means it's de facto totally okay.

            More importantly, there are rights to back-up content you own.

          • cy_n_ic

            Im offended by your assumption of my reaction. Maybe my understanding is outdated but afaik it WAS legal. Step off your high horse son.

          • RvLeshrac

            No, it has never been legal. Nintendo covered this more than a decade ago. You have the legal right to produce a copy, but only if that copy is non-functional.

          • cy_n_ic

            Thanks for proving my point and discrediting your previous statement

          • Ryan

            Actually, it is legal. Making a non-functional backup defeats the purpose of said backup. It has been stated, by US law, that we are entitled to one backup of our media by copyright law. Of course, MPAA and RIAA and the liking do not like this and want to fork copyright to their liking (and are succeeding) which is why there is a ton of DRM.

            The problem is, we'd have to circumvent DRM to make our legal backups that we're entitled to. All these companies are just saying crap just to prosecute people later on the premise that it was illegal, when in fact, its perfectly fine. If you're sharing the backup, then that's another matter entirely.

            Point is, DVD's, carts, CD's, etc.. they don't last forever. VHS tapes didn't either, hence having that one backup would be nice to have.

          • RvLeshrac

            The DMCA made it illegal to circumvent any copy protection or rights management system, whether hardware or software, for any reason other than educational, technical, or scientific research.

          • blast0id

            Just because the DMCA is a "law" and just because some assholes "signed" it... that doesn't mean we should abide by it. that's the problem with this country. people are too effing scared to stand up for their rights, and think that voting "the right guy" into office will solve all their problems... sorry that's not how it works, voting just means you are validating their existence, which in my opinion is completely invalid. government is the antithesis of freedom, unless it is by self and self alone.

          • John O’Connor

            I almost forgot about that line of ridiculousness. Thanks for the outdated laugh!! You can have a copy, so long as it doesn't work! Another thing I don't miss about the 80's

          • p0z1tr0n

            You are right that it is illegal to dump ROM cartridges but your reasoning is incorrect.
            The actual reason is that it is illegal to have a backup that is not in the same physical format as the original. So you can copy a music CD as a backup but you can't format shift it into MP3s. Same goes with DVD movies you can't rip it onto your computer as an mpeg video but you can make a 1 to 1 copy as long as it is the same as the original (including DRM).
            So if you were to dump the ROM of a NES game onto a repro cartridge it would still be a legal backup, as long as it could be played as if it were the original (so you would need to include the 10NES chip).
            Hope this helps clear things up.

    • Jose Torres

      True dat. Especially if they'll let you hook up their respective controllers.

    • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

      The original consoles don't have HDMI out. This could be better than the originals.

    • Joe Hammer

      this is true HOWEVER the old consoles dont work well with new tvs SNES tested and doesnt look right or good, with this, this uses HDMI output up to 780p and you can use emulation filters to smoothen it out, which you cannot on a actual console.

      • look

        Retron 3 works pretty good with new tvs.

  • Tony Byatt

    If there was a N64 slot I'd be in heaven...

    • ProductFRED



  • barefootbandit8

    The firth slot?

    • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

      What? Firf, thecond, fird, fourth, firth!

  • Frank Castle

    Talk about a space saver best part you can save games instead of turning the system off and starting all over again

  • Taywee

    I'm sorry, what's the point?

    It's the inefficiency of a virtual OS running the inaccuracy of emulators that cut corners on a shitty single-purpose piece of hardware with the inconvenience of physical cartridges.
    It takes emulation, an embedded OS, and physical hardware and literally sheds all of the
    advantages of each and combines their inadequacies.
    The ONLY advantage it has is that you can connect native controllers to it. You'd actually just be better off with a Raspberry Pi, a bluetooth adapter for it, and a bluetooth controller.

    • look

      They have the chips. This isn't run on homebrew emulators. The emulators used are pricessing through the oldee chips. As far as android, that is an assumption based on what the front end looks like (owners of those mp5 players can confirm that just because it looks like an os doesn't mean it is). The company NEVER states it was android.

  • Me

    Almost everything in my house emulates consoles. Why would I buy something to fulfill a function I already have redundantly filled 4 times over? Sorry, I just don't see the reason for this to exist.

    • enomele

      Because the selling point here is that your playing a physical copy, using the real controller (or the BT one).

  • HopelesslyFaithful

    totally going to buy this but i question the controller :/

    am i seeing on the side inputs for classic controllers?

    • Joe Hammer

      yes there are two ports for snes, NES and Gen

  • Jan

    Aaaargh...when? when? when? can't wait to get it!

  • bprichard

    The product design really takes it to the eyes. I just woke up and was shocked awake by the aesthetic horror.

    On the bright side, I won't need coffee today.

  • master94

    The nerd in me wants this, the adult in me says emulators just aren't as good as the real thing. Still going to get it. Hope it doesn't get sued or anything.

  • Hairee Pothead

    You can expect corrupt sound effects and bad sound quality on all games as it difficult to emulate the SNES Sony SPC700 and Sega Yamaha FM Chip and GBA ARM7TDMI at 100% without a very fast CPU and hard coded Emulator.

  • yodalica

    I don't understand their comparison regarding the SNES picture. How can the Retron 5 get a better picture than a RGB SNES ?
    Even the Wii and Wii U emulator got it wrong.
    If someone could explain that to me, I might consider changing my mind.

    • look

      Its the scaling. Wii got it right but tvs now have such a high resolution you'll never get the look intended without a tube tv or faking scanlines and scaling it up at a lossless rate.

  • Lime Blake

    What would be really awesome, if translation patches could be loaded via USB, so that physical copies of SFC games could be read and fully enjoyed.
    ...Not sure if that's actually possible, but it's a nice idea.

  • John O’Connor

    God built this hooker right! Wait, what?

  • Angel AR

    This is pure genius! Can't wait for release!

  • Johnny

    Unfortunately, this is the same thing than a computer emulator. Just plug your notbook on a TV, put a gamepad on the USB and play your roms. They fail in the point that what any decent retro gamer want, is originality. We want to play our cartridges on a real hardware, or at least one that simulates a real hardware, not one that emulates it. I dont know if you gays can get the point. Today, there was many ways for Hiperkin to redone those hardwares without the use of emulators. They could use upscalers or even better, they could use some new PPUs (video chips) that could receive the old signal, transform then and send a upscaled signal, like many other chips in the market. But its cheaper to put a **** emulator inside. Shame on Hiperkin. They will make money from the human stupidity.

  • Vernon Castle Tyler III

    I really dont give a squat if its legal or illegal for them to do it, but it woulda been Nice if they had a slot where you could load a rom from your usb device, maybe thats what the sd slot for i dunno, but any rom from ps1 /gamecube down, and it work, that would have been amazing, the 140 doller price tag woulda been Welllll worth it. not being able to play sega cd, 32x, game cube, nin 64, playstation one. that woulda made it alot better and the saveing of games is kinda horrible on it, they shoulda made it like almost Perfect before they released it.