Topic: Retron 5 found to have used emulator software without licenses

We've had a number of discussions in the past about the Retron consoles, and whether or not they should be considered emulators, or some form of dedicated hardware (like the TV Plug-N-Play systems).

I ran across some interesting stuff today about the Retron 5, specifically. Apparently, this hardware is running software emulation that is available on other platforms. This has made some news because they apparently did not acquire the licensing rights to use these emulators.

You can read the article in Joystiq or you can watch this video that discusses the topic.

The question I'm interested in hearing your opinions on is how score achieved on the Retron consoles should be classified?

Given that the issue above has highlighted that at least the Retron 5 console is just a hardware platform for running emulators that were created for other platforms, is there any significant difference from this console and a PC running the same emulators?

I don't own a Retron, and I do not know much about them, so any informed input would be very appreciated.



Posted by on 2014-12-14 13:14:19

A friend of mine has a Retron 3. I've played on it numerous times. As a console, I don't find it any different than playing on a legitimate NES/SNES/Genesis. My opinion, and some may or may not agree with me on this, is if you have the authentic cart/disc for the game and using that to play on, I see don't see why it can't be used under the non-emulated category. The game is coming from the actual cart, rather than a ROM file.
Posted by on 2014-12-15 12:46:38


Posted by on 2015-01-09 09:44:09


that's true.  however, the thing that can alter the actual gameplay is the difference in hardware.  if you're running the original rom file onto an original system with, say, a flash drive, you have the exact same code running on the original machine.  so there is nothing to alter the way the game plays.  even though you don't have the original cart or disc.

if you use an emulator, but play the game off an original cart, it may play a little differently because the machine has a different way of running the software.

Posted by on 2015-02-02 22:45:14


agree with Sixx, just call it "emulated."

same with any of the Retrons or FC Twin, etc.  if it ain't original hardware it's emulation.

otherwise, wouldn't we need to have a separate set of charts for each and every different emulator out there?

Posted by on 2015-02-02 22:51:20


p.s. -- i wouldn't think of Retron consoles as dedicated hardware.  They play original cartridges.

the plug-n-play systems which use re-written "ports" of the built-in games:  ok, dedicated.

if it's a plug-n-play with built-in games which are actually original rom files:  emulation.

still being a bit of a newbie to these distinctions, this is just my current point of view, subject to change!   ^_^

Posted by on 2015-02-02 22:56:06

A retro console, even one that runs the ROM files directly off of a cartridge, is still using emulation software.  

I'm heavily intro Homebrews. I buy releases from the pulblishers, such as Atari Age, RetroZone, Redspotgames, etc. Super Fighter Team releases are all Aftermarket. They have in some cases licensed the game, or have purchased it outright. Unless the ROM files for these Homebrew and Aftermarket games are dumped into the system, such as a Retron 5, they won't play on those consoles.

What I'm trying to say is that Retrons and such are emulators.

Posted by on 2015-02-17 03:19:47


Oh, and gameplay videos using a Retron, for example, should be submitted as having been played on an emulator (my opinion).

I don't count the Japanese Sega Master System as an SG-1000, SC-3000, or Mark III emulator though. They are all considered part of the Master System family. Oh, and they were all made by Sega. :yes

Posted by on 2015-02-17 03:27:08

As far as i know it doesnt run roms, it runs only original cartridges.

As long as games runs as inteded it should be considerered the real thing.

Posted by on 2015-04-21 11:02:03


I disagree.  if I were to build an Atari 2600 Cartridge port, attach it to my laptop and play original carts through the Stella Emulator, that would still be considered emulation, IMO.

That's basically what the Retron 5 does.  I would call Retron 5 emulation because the hardware is being emulated.  The fact that the software is real is irrelevant because even real cartridges may suffer from glitches and incompatibilty issues due to emulated hardware.

Posted by on 2015-04-28 09:27:43

what I've found out by hanging around here:

an original cartridge is a storage device for storing a rom file.

it's the same rom as would play in emulators.

so the original system does just that.  it accesses & runs the roms. 

it can run them off an original cartridge, or from whatever device the rom happens to be stored on.  (as long as it's connected correctly)   either way, it runs the game just as it did back in the day.

clone machines & emulation programs can play the roms but with varying degrees of accuracy.

Posted by on 2015-05-03 04:21:04