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This Device Can Read SNES, Genesis Carts via USB

Want to play your favorite 16-bit classic games but don't want to take the illegal route by downloading the old ROMs from the internet? Electronista points to a cool USB-based gadget that actually allows users to plug in a Sega Genesis or Super Nintendo (SNES) cartridge and read the game ROM straight from the source. The only software users will need to download and install is their preferred emulator.

Unfortunately, the device -- called the Retrode 2 -- doesn't come cheap, costing a hefty $84.99 USD. But it provides a port for Super NES carts, a slot for Sega Genesis carts, and two controller inputs for each supported console. It also doesn't require additional drivers, allowing users to access the ROM and SRAM for playing and backing up simply by connecting to a PC.

According to the developer, the Retrode 2 operates on any USB host, under any OS, using any emulator. It's also expandable using plug-in adapters, but the company said it will reveal more on that aspect at a later date. The current version comes packed with a USB cable, a coupon code for 15-percent off used SNES and Genesis games, and free priority shipping to the United States.

The Retrode 2 will be available starting January 23, 2012. Interested gamers can pre-order the gadget now by heading here.