In terms of console gaming, CES 2014 didn't offer much that was new, but if older games are your thing, then you're in luck. The Retron 5 is a console that can breathe new life into all those game cartridges from the '90s you’ve been hoarding, complete with optimization for HDTVs.
Although the Retron 5 did not debut at CES 2014, this is the first time that the finalized version of the console has been on display at a major trade show. The system has already suffered two major delays due to manufacturing woes, and is finally on target to ship in April 2014 for $100.
The device itself looks a little like a Super Nintendo Entertainment System, but with five slots for games instead of just one. The Retron 5 supports cartridges from the Famicom, Nintendo, Super Famicom, Super Nintendo, Sega Master System, Sega Mega Drive, Sega Genesis, Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance consoles.
The Retron 5 comes with its own controller, but will also support the original controllers from the systems whose games it plays.
Anyone who's attempted to hook up an old console to a new TV knows that the process can be a little cumbersome. In addition to tracking down the right cables (some new TVs lack A/V cable support, and some older consoles only came with R/F switches), the games tend to look pixelated and blotchy.
The Retron 5 connects via an HDMI cable, offers 1080p resolution and has a number of visual filters. Whether you want to see the game smoothed out in a full-screen mode, or would prefer it exactly the way it was originally presented, the system has you covered.
The days of remembering arduous passwords are also over, as the Retron 5 supports save states. This allows you to suspend your game, save your current position to the system's memory and then resume exactly where you left off the next time you load it up.
One downside of the Retron 5 is that in order to get the most out of it, you'll need to either dredge up your old collection of classic cartridges, or start trawling eBay for costly new ones. There's no easy, legal way to bring classic titles into the digital age.
If you want to relive gaming's glory days without getting 10 separate consoles hooked up to a modern TV, the Retron 5 is well worth a look. Start blowing into those old cartridges.