A new system for retrogaming hobbyists to consider.
This July, the Nintendo Entertainment System will be celebrating the 35 year anniversary of its release in Japan. Technology has monumentally changed since its initial release, but our love for the system has stayed the same. This love is the reason retrogaming has such a loyal following, but as time moves on original components continue to increase in cost as hardware wears down and becomes scarce. It’s this niche market that the newest piece of hardware from Retro-bit could satisfy. The Super RetroTRIO Plus 3-in-1 System is designed to play not only games from the NES, but also the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis as well. So if you’ve worn down the connectors on your favorite hardware but still have a collection of games you enjoy playing, this may be a product for you.
The Super RetroTRIO Plus 3-in-1 System is pretty straightforward proposition. If you have a game from one of the aforementioned systems it will play it on either an HDTV or on your old tube television. Three slots adorn the top of the machine for each of the three systems and the power button is used to select the system. On the back, an HDMI port provides the connection for new TVs while RCA connections will output to your old television. The picture quality on the HDTV is terrific but with one caveat, if you want to avoid aspect ratio stretching your TV will need to be able to play in 4:3 mode. In my case, I have a Samsung plasma TV that had the option to play in its original aspect ratio however my Vizio 4K television has no such option built in. The picture on ]tube televisions was the same old graphics I was accustomed to growing up.
The front of the RetroTRIO houses the controller ports. Each system can use up to two controllers, whether it’s your original controller hardware or one that comes with the system. The RetroTRIO comes with 2 controllers that resemble the SNES in style and feel perfectly fine but personally I prefer the feel of the original. The system also allows region switching so if you happen to have games that are NTSC, PAL, or from Japan and they will all work.
All of the games I own work perfectly well on the RetroTRIO, including SNES games with the Super FX chip. My collection of games is likely not as extensive as some serious collectors so I did some additional investigating and from what I found other users found no issues with incompatibility. The games feel and look the same as they do on the original hardware. After ensuring my HDTV was in game mode, I can confirm there is no input lag and the audio is synced properly as well. Where the RetroTRIO falls short is in its production quality. The system itself isn’t the prettiest to look at and feels like it’s made with low quality materials. Connecting and ejecting games felt a little awkward because of the flimsiness of the system, however it’s possible that after more use the connectors will loosen up and make the process of changing games a little easier.
Whether this is a product worth purchasing is going to come down to one of two things. Do I have a bunch of cartridges that I really want to be able to play on my HDTV, or have I worn down my original system to the point where it no longer plays the games. I haven’t had the problem of playingold hardware on my HDTV since my TV has RCA connectors available, however I do have the issue of having worn out my original NES. It typically took 10 to 15 tries before I could get a few of my old games to work, so to be able to put the cartridge in once and turn the game on was a revelation. While I can say that the RetroTRIO does accomplish what it advertises, the ultimate decision on whether it's worth purchasing will come down your individual situation.
A review copy of the system was provided by Retro-bit