Retron 5 Plays Video Games from 10 Classic Consoles

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.

MORE: 10 Classic Gaming Consoles You Should (and Can) Still Play

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.

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Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi. 

  • Candy Cab
    Things like this are always interesting but for $100.00 I will stick to my OUYA since it does all that and more very well.
  • Robert Poole
    In the text you mentioned Sega Master System but I didn't see that anywhere in the video review. Can you explain how SMS games can be played on this system?
  • Justin Brandau
    Robert- to play Master System Games you'll need the old Power Base Converter that came out for the Genesis back in the day. That's why the controller holder on the back is shaped the way it is to accommodate the adapter.
  • Michael Johns
    There's no easy, legal way to bring classic titles into the digital age....except for a flash media cartridge. I do not know if the Retron 5 supports these, but if it does it would be awesome.
  • Michael Johns
    And as far as "legal" goes, there are few risks of a lawsuit for violating copyright law on a vintage/outdated console system....but collectors often have a significant amount of the titles already on the shelf. This avoids having to keep pulling them out to play them.
  • bloodroses75
    So, does this console emulate these other consoles or does it contain all the same chips the originals did, crammed in one case. Also, how is good is the compatibility as some of these other multi-consoles don't run every game properly. Finally, does this system contain all the expansion ports so that devices like the Sega CD can be hooked up to it?
  • BenJammin79
    Well now, maybe I’m being greedy, but confused as to why we got no direct Master System slot. An Atari 2600 and 5200 slot would be great too. ,ay wait for a system with N64 compat (Patents up next year right?). Would love to know whether the 32X and the Mega CD are compatible. Also, do we know if this one works with all of the special chip sets like the Super FX chip, the Sega DSP/SVP, or even the oddball one from NES Castlevania III (My FX Twin won’t play it)?