I’m a little flummoxed by Retrode – I mean, if you’re going to spend this much on a special hoojum to play SNES and Megadrive/Genesis cartridges on PC, why not just pick up one of the original consoles second-hand? It’ll probably be cheaper, and you’ll have a big lump of retro plastic to show off and tell relatives boring stories about. Then again, this thing uses third-party emulation software (as reverse engineering Nintendo and SEGA’s hardware would be illegal and stuff, I believe) so it in theory does fun stuff like resolution upscaling and third-party controller support and save states and NASTY EVIL CHEATS and all those kinds of deviously modern things.
So, there are twin purposes to Retrode. Number one, Just Because. That’s the main reason I’d like to try it – the glee of sticking a vintage oblong of silicon and plastic and a dusty controller into my throbbing quad-core 21st century PC.
The second purpose is that, in theory, it gets around all arguments of piracy. No downloading of ROMs from strange sites with Zs in the URL and a thousand pop-up ads every time you click, but instead the original storage mediums. As far as I can tell, it basically turns a cartridge into a removable USB drive which your emulator of choice can read the ROM from.
Whether Nintendo and Sega are legally required to tolerate a third-party device for reading the cartridges, I don’t know. But presuming this thing isn’t burned with the fire of a thousand lawyer-based suns, it’s due to release on Jan 23 for EUR 65 / USD 85. You can preorder here.