When I was a child, my father bought me a Super Nintendo for my birthday (I'm sure I spent at least a full three months pestering him for one before that, since playing my first video game at my grandparent's). I was ecstatic - the console opened up a whole new world for me, one of sixteen-bit glory and wonder. I'm not even entirely certain how many hours I clocked in on that console. All I remember is that it was, to me, the best thing in the world.
Then one day, it overheated. I was absolutely crushed. Unfortunately (though I cannot recall why) purchasing a new system was out of the question. Eventually, I moved on, and all my old games sat forgotten in the storage room collecting dust. Last month, I came across the games while visiting my father to help him clear out some space for renovations.
Though it likely sounds stupid, I realized that I was still a little regretful that my SNES had failed on me all those years ago.
But that's just how things are if you're into old-school gaming, isn't it? No console is immortal, after all. It's a sad reality of being a retro enthusiast: unless you want to conscribe yourself to ROMs (which honestly don't offer anything close to the same experience), your gaming hardware will eventually fail, and as the march of years continues, replacing it will become more and more difficult.
Slowly but surely, the history of gaming is trickling away.
That's where the RetroN series of consoles comes in. Designed by Hyperkin, they act as all-in-one video game hubs for a bunch of consoles from gaming's yesteryear. The current model is the RetroN 3. Although this little gadget is ugly as sin - it somewhat looks like the result of a drunken liason between a Sega Genesis, a Super Nintendo, and a toaster oven - it definitely works wonders as a panacea for the slow death of old-school gaming (although the controllers packaged with it are patently useless).
A face only a mother could love.
The RetroN 3 runs Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and Super Nintendo cartridges; features working controller slots for the three consoles as well as its own retro-styled controllers, and allows for either S-Video or composite AV outputs.Even better, the whole package costs less than $60.
You may want to hold off on buying one for the time being, though. Hyperkin reportedly has a fourth console in the works, with a bunch of new bells and whistles. For one, it's compatible with both PAL and NTSC format games, and features the added capability to play Game Boy games. It's also got an HDMI port, an all-new UI, and a complete redesign of the old Bluetooth controllers. It's slated to be unveiled at the Midwest Gaming Classic on March 23, 2013. As of yet, we still don't know exactly what it'll look like.
Keep your eyes peeled.