10 Retro Gaming Consoles That Aren’t Classic Minis
2022 is an amazing year for retro gamers. Although the original hardware may be up to forty years old by the fourth generation and is beginning to falter, gamers still play and praise classic games. The simplicity of the classic lineups from old rivals Nintendo and Sega endures to this day.
The classic mini boom of 2017-2019 was preceded by a growing wave of new retro consoles looking to emulate the experiences of those classic machines. Each had its own charm and each retro experience was unique. The variety of retro consoles, both plug and play and cartridge based, soon filled the need for retro gaming.
11 Evercade shines with a rapidly growing library
Launched in early 2020, the Blaze Evercade is a single-player handheld console that emulates the shape of a handheld console from the late 1990s. Its screen is an older-style LCD, making it harder to play faster games.
Evercade’s proprietary flash cartridges are similar in size and shape to Sega Game Gear cartridges and are licensed by companies such as Atari, Bandai Namco and Jaleco. They also offer amazing retro themed indie collections. The cartridge is future-proof because both the Evercade VS and upcoming Evercade EXP systems use the same media form factor and are compatible with their software.
10 Hyperkins RetroN 77 asks: Did you play Atari today?
The wood grain of the Hyperkin RetroN 77 leaves no question as to which console to emulate. The RetroN 77 mimics the Atari 2600’s signature wood grain veneer and offers a satisfying user experience as soon as it is placed on the shelf.
The RetroN 77’s test is how well it mimics the experience of playing its legacy games, and that’s where the console shines. Rather than playing games directly from fifty-year-old cartridges, the RetroN 77 scans a game into a live save state and emulates from that scan. It’s a functional solution to a tricky problem in retro gaming.
9 Polymega shows promise in CD-ROM retro gaming
For a growing number of gamers, the label “retro” includes the fifth and even sixth generation of consoles. The last console generation of cartridge games is the N64 and the first two generations of PlayStation. The modular Polymega console allows gamers to play the games they grew up with without the fragility of 20-year-old consoles.
Polymega combines retro functionality for fifth and sixth generation consoles. With a custom controller that combines the best of the Saturn, N64 and PlayStation controllers into one unit, PolyMega is quickly outgrowing its birth pangs and becoming a powerhouse.
8th Super Retro-Cade’s cheesy name belies its emulation capability
Most retro consoles focus on recreating the gaming console experience from the 1980s and 1990s. RetroBit’s Super Retro-Cade takes a different approach. Super Retro-Cade uses its powerful processor to emulate arcade machines of the era and focuses on arcade ports from titans like Irem, Capcom, Konami and Technos.
Super Retro-Cade is a bit older than most dedicated emulation engines, but its licensed games and stable front-end make it an easy system to love. Additionally, the USB controller ports make it easy to find a fun controller that works well with it.
7 RetroPie is as good as your patience makes it
RetroPie is an operating system designed to work with the Raspberry Pi computer. RetroPie and its front-end, EmulationStation, make playing video games as easy as finding the game in a menu, but its positioning as a retro console comes with some limitations.
Since RetroPie is a computer front end and not a “real” console, it will take some time and willingness to learn the software to make it work the way the owner wants it to. But for someone with patience, it can be one of the most rewarding gaming experiences out there.
6 Evercade VS brings the Evercade experience to the TV
In 2021, Evercade expanded its offering with the standalone Evercade VS console. While it runs on a similar operating system to the Evercade handheld and uses the same cartridges, the VS has a faster processor. Equipped with 1080p video, it adds two more shoulder buttons to the controller.
The Evercade VS introduced a line of arcade cartridges with distinctive purple box dress. The controllers are crisp, responsive digital models. The selection of arcade games – consisting of early hits from Data East, Technos, Atari and Jaleco – offers something for every fan of the 80’s arcade scene. Evercade VS is a fantastic option for collectors.
5 Analogue’s Nintendo offerings showcase a trifecta of classic game consoles
Field-programmable gate array technology allows gamers to experience classic gaming consoles exactly as they were originally intended. By precisely emulating the hardware in a custom chip, hardware manufacturer Analogue has created what are arguably the greatest modern versions of the NES, Super NES, and Game Boy hardware.
The Analogue Super Nt, one of the three, is widely acclaimed for its excellent fidelity to Super Nintendo/Super Famicom hardware. If the owner can afford the price of expensive analog hardware, their Nintendo offerings represent the best replica Nintendo hardware available.
4 Analogue Mega Sg provides a reference point for Sega’s first 15 years of consoles
Analogue has produced superb FPGA-based reproductions of Nintendo’s hardware and offers archival-perfect replicas of the Super NES, NES and Game Boy. They’re also creating an all-in-one replica of Sega’s early Zilog Z80 and Motorola 68000 gaming platforms, the Mega Sg.
The Analogue Mega Sg and its line of pickup adapters offer incredible fidelity to the Genesis and Mega Drive. It also offers backwards compatibility with Sega’s three 8-bit gaming consoles: SG-1000, Mark III/Master System, and Game Gear. The Analogue Mega Sg is the pinnacle of Sega emulation fidelity.
3 Hyperkin offers authentic experiences at a fraction of the cost
For those who find the money for FPGAs too much, system-on-chip renderings of Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis hardware offer an option to replace ailing old machines. The Hyperkin SupaRetroN HD and MegaRetroN HD represent budget hardware well and are excellent options.
The Hyperkin Mega and Supa RetroNs are high-fidelity system-on-a-chip reproductions of the original Genesis and Super NES hardware. The systems are faithful to the original and can run several specialty chip titles, such as those from Sega Virtual Racing with its specialized SVP hardware.
1 The originals can still be the best
Many fans would argue that nothing compares to the feeling of plugging a cartridge into an original Nintendo entertainment system. Despite the fragility of aging hardware, there’s no retro console quite like an original console.
The original “Toaster” NES is a delicate beast with many parts that can be bent or otherwise damaged. A bent pin or two can prevent the notoriously finicky 10NES program from working and prevent legitimate cartridges from playing. However, despite its flaws and problems, there is no place like home.