RetroN 5 System Review


Unboxing & Overview:

Testing & Final Thoughts:

I review the new RetroN 5 by Hyperkin.  I do an unboxing, overview, test the system and share my final thoughts.

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RetroN 5

Will you be buying a RetroN 5?
I don’t know yet.

About Gamester81

John “Gamester81” Lester started playing video games at a very young age. His first ever console that he played was a Colecovision, quickly followed by an Atari 2600, and his passion for video games hasn’t stopped. In 2008 John decided to start a video game review show on YouTube called Gamester81 by reviewing rare and retro video game systems and games. His show quickly grew in popularity, and he became friends with many other gamers in the YouTube community.

He is also one of the hosts of the All Gen Gamers Podcast which is a bimonthly podcast for people and video games of all generations.

Some of John’s other hobbies includes collecting Star Wars memorabilia (YouTube channel Starwarsnut77), playing classic arcade games (YouTube channel Gamester81Arcade), watching sports, and listening to music. John is a big fan of the 80’s and 90’s and in 2009 started a YouTube channel called NEStalgiaholic where he talks about nostalgic items and memories from his childhood.

To see some of John’s video’s in 3D visit his YouTube channel Gamester81in3D.

Favorite Systems: Colecovision, Commodore 64, NES, & SNES.

Favorite Games: Donkey Kong Arcade, Atari Star Wars Arcade, Super Mario 3, Final Fantasy II, & Goldeneye 007

  • Interested in getting the Retron 5, but not sure if it’s worth it owning an NES, SNES, and Gensis that all work fine.

  • Joe Goes Retro

    I’ve had my pre-order (with Stone Age Gamer) for months. Looking forward to getting my hands on one.

  • Vaughan MacDonald

    “Feels gewd” hehe

  • Vaughan MacDonald

    I hope being able to have multiple carts in the system at once and the ‘unknown cart’ thing are the first things Hyperkin patch with those firmware updates.

    • Barry Kelly

      It’ll be checking the header image for a checksum of some kind, then looking it up in an internal database for emulator settings and the name. It’s stuff that can be patched in with later firmware (I’ve heard they’ve already dropped out an update that adds support for a load of homebrews)

    • Mr. Derp

      The multiple cart thing may be a hardware issue. It may not be possible to address it via software.

      Basically, the system has to have a data bus connected up to each cartridge slot in order to read the cartridge. But if you’re only using one cartridge slot at a time, there’s no reason it can’t be the same data bus on each cart slot. So instead of having 40+ I/O lines for each slot, you have 40+ I/O lines for *all* the slots.
      Of course, this means if there’s two carts hooked up at once, you can’t read one without affecting the other one.

  • Vaughan MacDonald

    I’d totally consider getting one so I can play my retro games in my bedroom where I have my sound system and HD tv, instead of having to set up my NES and SNES up in my living room

  • Erek Ladd

    Almost thought this was going to be the next Pandora… Glad you got one, and super glad to see a review of this from you, I really highly value your thoughts on consoles. It really looks a lot better than I thought, thanks to the comparisons you provided. I will for sure be picking one of these up.

  • analfuckingyourmotherasstonigh

    its a good emulator

  • Simon Valentine

    Great review Gamester, considering down here in Australia NES, SNES, and mega drive/genesis consoles are starting to reach 100+ dollars each, sounds like the Retron 5 is a worthwhile purchase.

  • Ryan Backlin

    Will game genies, pro action replays, game sharks and code breakers work with the system??

    • Ryan Backlin

      I know it has built in features, but I’m still curious.

      • Barry Kelly

        No, it’ll basically just dump the game genie/action replay etc internal ROM when it’s plugged in. (same reason Flash carts won’t work)

        You’ll have to use the internal cheat funtionality for that

        • Edison Carter

          Gonna make a wild guess here. Since the system just dumps the rom of the cartridge itself into system memory and plays it from there, when you pop a ram cart into the thing, it would just be dumping the initial cart programming itself, and not whatever is saved on the memory card. So even if it did work, you would be running the flashcart as a rom, with nothing in system memory for it to play. It’s the same reason the disk system won’t work. It would be dumping the rom from the cart, and running it from system memory, and wouldn’t see the drive itself because of that.

          • Barry Kelly

            Exactly, it just copies the ROM image across during loading. The carts themselves aren’t used at all after the first few seconds. There’s no logic involved in the dumping process, it just steps through the memory addresses and dumps them out (same as the Retrode if you’re familiar with it)

    • John Gamester

      No, unfortunately not.

  • lancep2014

    I had issues with the 2nd video so I didn’t to much out of but do mostly to the audio I can say No flashcarts bad; in fact I heard reports before it came out form sites like that thier Development tools, Reproductions, and homebrews wil not work. SInce they were put out before the system was released I would love to someone test it with something like an NWC 1990 Reproduction Cartridge. As cooL as it seems now think I’ll wait until Retron 6 or 7. The lst of systems I would add is way too long to list but an CD-ROM drive that could read GD-ROM disks would add 90% of them.

    • Barry Kelly

      Reproduction carts should work. If the ROM has been messed with (not a 1:1 copy) it might not be recognised, but it should still run. Flash carts won’t work because it just dumps the ROM as soon as it’s powered up so at best you’ll just get a copy of the flash carts menu.

      Homebrews should work as well, again they might not get recognised until a few firmware updates down the line, but they should work.

      • lancep2014

        You missed undersound. I hate it when people don’t read 1st.

  • The bit on the second video about original controllers only working on games for that system is wrong. In the settings menu, you go to controller mapping to select a different controller for that system if you want. You can even map the other systems’ controllers to be controller 3, 4, or 5 for multitap games

    • John Gamester

      I seriously tried mapping and going to setting to get the Genesis controller to work with a SNES game, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure it out.

      • Settings -> Controllers -> Controller to Player Mapping

        Select SNES as “System Playing”, scroll down to Player 1 and hit A on the Genesis controller.

  • Scott Zientek

    I can’t wait until mine arrives 🙂

  • Sage_Owl

    Well you are the only one to point out, at least in a video, that flashcarts do not work. Good to know before I go jump the shark and drop 140 into a piece of chinese hardware (beats dropping 400 into a certain piece of microsoft chinese hardware though).

    I was purchasing normal carts for a while, but I am not 100% purist when it comes to gaming. Thus, flashcarts are great for what I care to do with my retro gaming. The fact that this thing operates the way that it does is pretty disappointing to me. I was hoping simply for hd native resolution via hdmi cable with just a shit load of practicality. Instead, we get a box with the big E thrown in. Great one Hyperkin.
    Someone will hack the firmware and customize it, but until then I’m not going to bother.

  • Alex Gerhard

    Please tell me you had the bass boost up on Contra? That sounded HORRIBLE!

    • Sirynx77

      All the Retron5 audio had way too much bass boost. I do hope that John had it on when he captured the footage. If not, then Hyperkin needs to release a firmware update to fix it. Also the Sonic Retron5 audio had issues on the Genesis emulator.

      • John Gamester

        You know I do think the bass enhancement was turned up when I recorded that.

    • tetsujin

      Based on other Retron 5 videos I’ve seen… Yeah, pretty sure he had audio “enhancement” turned on. I think the system doesn’t sound like garbage when the audio isn’t being “enhanced”.

  • Awesome I want one. Even though I have all the systems separately or I should say the official systems. Would be cool to see rhe old games in HD.

  • Adam Fox

    I never really cared for the Retron systems, but this does does get my attention…..however, i hate that you can’t use Flash Carts with it…..that is a huge draw back for me as I was planning on getting a Mega EverDrive…but I do have a Genesis…so I could use my Genesis for the Mega Everdrive…but who knows, i may still get a retron 5 down the line

  • Kevin Thompson

    Hyperkin needs to make a system that plays Sega CDs, PC Engine Cds, Neo Geo CDs & Sega Saturn CDs .