Retrode gets an upgrade

We’ve been following the Retrode since it was an obscure video on YouTube that we swore was an elaborate hoax. Now, [Matthias] tell us it’s getting its third major upgrade, and it is really starting to resemble a commercial project. The video features the new prototype case for the Retrode II, which has been 3d printed. The fact that such advanced protyping facilities are availavble to the common hacker is just incredible.  The new Retrode II will have ports built in so SEGA and SNES controllers can be plugged in. Since its launch the community has been collaborating to build plug-in boards allowing people to play Virtual Boy, Atari 2600, GBx, Turbografix-16, Neo Geo Pocket, and even N-64 cartridges directly from the cartridge on their computers. Very Cool.

Comments

  1. Stevie says:

    “The new Retrode II will have ports built in so SEGA and SNES controllers can be plugged in. ” – Huh?

  2. hackersmith says:

    @Stevie,
    Look at the video or look at the site. They redesigned the board to have 2 SNES 7-pin connectors and 2 SEGA ports on the new Retrode so that you can just plug in an old controller and turn ‘em into USB joysticks.

    @anybody:
    This thing is getting to the point where I would love to see it in a retro gaming shop as a purchasable product. All you do is supply software.

    What I think would be neat would be the adapter board with a plug that chains straight up. The video shows the N64 cartridge sticking off at a 90. I think it would be cool to have a “snes cartridge” that plugs and has the connector and slight cartridge guide to make each adapter look cleaner.

  3. Stevie says:

    @hackersmith my quote was originally of an out of sequence group of words. I was trying to point out that as usual the posting was riddled with errors. The author updated the post to fix it and edited my comment.

  4. Josh says:

    @Stevie – watch the video

  5. Matthias_H says:

    @hackersmith:
    > This thing is getting to the point where I
    > would love to see it in a retro gaming shop

    If you have a particular one in mind, feel free to give them a hint. So far, I haven’t exactly received a lot of response from retailers, but then, they may just not be aware of the device. I’d love to collaborate with retro gaming shops, since it would give me more time to focus on the development.

    Cheers,
    Matthias

  6. s1500 says:

    I like this. It’s perfectly in the middle of running everything on the original hardware & all-emulation. Guess this is like the opposite of those Harmony carts, etc.

  7. Kris says:

    Colecovision? Pretty please?

  8. hackersmith says:

    @Stevie, Oh sorry. While the wording is a bit strange it’s understandable. I thought you were confused about the project not the writeup. No offense meant.

  9. hackersmith says:

    @Matthias_H My brother tells me there is a game shop somewhere in his town where the guy is deep into the old systems. I think the guy wont go beyond N64 systems in his shop.

    A product like this (with better tooled emulator software or good GUIs on existing emus) would let people get into games and play classics without needing to buy old dodgy hardware. Let me see if I can find the name of the place (or if it is just a wild fantasy in my mind) and let you know.

  10. strider_mt2k says:

    This looks very interesting.

    It makes me wonder if a poor man’s version could be cobbled together from a bunch of console-dedicated emulating handhelds stripped, bundled and run into the various interfaces via connectors.

    It would be way larger and clunkier than this elegant beast is though.

    Makes me want to get my SNES down from the attic.

  11. Matthias_H says:

    @strider_mt2k
    — The key is to have a huge number of available I/O lines, something not readily available in most embedded systems. This is essentially the main job of the Retrode’s brain (microcontroller): to convert the cartridge interface with its embarrassing lot of address and data lines into something manageable, such as the (four-wire) USB for which the interface exists.
    Your poor man, soldering skills provided, could still go and integrate hardware similar to the Retrode’s into an existing system. :)

  12. d_frost says:

    the designer should post this on kick starter, i think it would get a lot of backers, including myself.

  13. MrBishop says:

    I love it, but instead of having to have a ton of adapters could you make a “Ultra/Mega/MX/Super/ect edition” that has all those adapter built in. Basically every console thats pre-disc and maybe even a CD/DVD drive. I would pay $100 for something that can support all carts I throw at it. Also, how much is the Model 2 anyway? I skimmed around on the website but no luck.

  14. Matthias_H says:

    @d_frost –
    I’m not American, hence: bad luck with Kickstarter.

    @MrBishop –
    More like $200-300. The plug-in solution does have LOTS of benefits.
    First, anyone can customize the device as they desire, and doesn’t have to pay for stuff they’re not using.
    Second, development of plug-ins can proceed one-by-one, instead of delaying the entire project by years. Just imagine designing a monster device with 10 slots, and then one connector supplier hops off. Scary when you put a lot of cash into it.
    Third, no additional hardware is needed to negotiate between zillions of carts sharing the same bus.

    The projected price, by the way, is in the Q&A.

    Cheers,
    Matthias

  15. raith says:

    that is sweet. though I am wondering if any of the adapters will allow controllers from other systems. and the lid having a lock so it doesn’t get knocked open would be a good addition

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