On my first day at E3, I had the wonderful privilege of getting to spend time with the lovely people over at Hyperkin: David Yu, Marketing Director, and Chris Gallizzi, Product Developer, to be precise. They gave me an up close and personal look at some of their new toys, most notably, the RetroN 5 and the Comrad.
Earlier this year, Hypkerin announced the next in their line of retro consoles, the RetroN 4. However, after realizing they could add a 5th slot to their console, they skipped four altogether and went straight into development on the RetroN 5. The RetroN 5 has five cartridge slots: Genesis, NES, SNES, Famicom, and Gameboy Advanced. It can also play Megadrive, Super Famicom, Gameboy Color, and Gameboy; giving it access to a total of nine systems!
The system has many exciting features. It comes with a Bluetooth wireless controller, but also lets you plug in your old controllers. When you first turn it on, it has a digital user interface, letting you customize game settings, auto-load last states, remap controllers, create in-game button combinations (access in game menu, overclocking), and more! In game, you even have the option to save at ANY time (which is the feature I was most impressed with).
As Yu was showing me their new console in action, the feature he was most excited about was definitely the HDMI capabilities that it brings to the table. They have even added filters to their console to make the older games look even better on an HDMI TV. In addition, there is an option to add scan lines to give it an old school TV feel. They didn’t stop at improving the visuals either, the console also uses Audio Interpolation to actively improve the sound files in old games.
About the HDMI output Yu said, “It gives your games new life. A lot of these games don’t translate well after 10, 12 years, but when you play it now, they look crystal clear, they look nice. It has all the amenities that current generation gamers have.”
One distinguishing feature of the RetroN 5 is its Microswitch Directional Pad. Yu said that in this they were trying to create an identity for their products for the future, to give it something that would make it automatically associated with them.
When asked if he had an answer for the purists who only want to play games on the consoles they were designed for Yu said, “Our goal is to convert those people… We have something to offer. We have the latest technology, it allows you to play all your games, you can save, and it conserves shelf space… To the purist, that’s fine, we can’t please everybody… But we have been keeping in touch with a lot of people in the retro gaming community and the majority of them are actually highly anticipating this console.”
Next up, Gallizzi let me get my hands on their new Comrad Gaming Audio Helmet. They are partnering with Oculus Rift to “create the total visual and audio experience that will blow your mind and senses.” Oculus Rift, in case you haven’t heard of it, is the Kickstarter wonder that “offers immersive virtual reality in HD and 3D.”
Oculus VR co-founder, Palmer Luckey, had actually done some consulting work for Hyperkin in the past, but they didn’t realize the connection until after their partnership was formed.
When you combine the Comrad helmet with their previous AK Striker, it looks like they’re trying to bring the game out of the screen and onto the player. When I asked if they had plans to create any sort of controller clothing, Gallizzi revealed that they are actually considering a smart controls body suit that lets you feel when you get shot. So keep your eye on Hyperkin, because before you know it, your friends won’t be able to tell the difference between you and your in-game character!
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About The Author
C.J. Lassiter is a Padawan of all trades. She loves Star Wars, food, puppies, and video games. C.J. writes and produces her own music, is the Junior High Worship Leader at Grace Fellowship Church, and is a gamer model and Contributing Magazine Editor for Charisma+2.