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Hyperkin - Retron 77. HD Atari 2600?

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RECENT RETRON '77 NEWS - 

 

I am happy with this and definitely looking more forward to this than the "AtariBox  :pile: "

 

UPDATE ON RETRON 77 by the developer, Dr. Andrew Steel, at Hyperkin:

05/07/2018
 
"Hi Everyone!
 
First of all, our apologies for the delay and silence on our part. It's been a long wait, and we truly appreciate your support, as well as all the suggestions and ideas. The final hardware has been finally approved and submitted to mass-production, so it's not going to be a long wait from now on.
 
We hope for the Retron 77 to be a good product; now it's time to answer your questions, and to say clearly what it is (and what it's not).
 
Second of all, yes - we indeed licensed a very early version of Stella, but as many people here on this thread mentioned, re-inventing the wheel would be simply pointless, same as reaching out to every single contributor. That is why the R77 is going to be released as an open-source system with its source codes available for the community. Certainly, it comes with a stable and fully functional core that you won't need to tinker with, but if tinkering is your game, then we encourage you to do so. It comes with a nice yet simple GUI.
 
We heard your thoughts on the amount of money that thing should cost, and of course we understand that it cannot be too much. We aim for this system to be affordable, and while I cannot tell you the MSRP just yet (it will soon be officially announced), we are being realistic and community-friendly. We know how much the Harmony cartridge alone costs, and we hope for this system to be not very far from that. Also, we expect to open pre-orders soon.
 
As we promised, it comes with all the necessary switches. So if you want to toggle difficulty for both players, game mode, color and black-and-white picture, screen aspect ratio, quick-save and quick-load your game - all that is readily available. There is also a glitch switch that was added just for fun (you can change its purpose if you are familiar with coding).
 
The system will ship with our new joystick controller which those of you who came to E3 last year had liked a lot. There will be an interesting extra feature for the left-handed people (or the right-handed people who want a challenge) - another Fire button. Certainly, other standard joysticks (like our Cirka controller for example) are also supported, as well as Genesis/MD gamepads. Standard paddle controllers are supported as well. On the top of that, we have another interesting controller that we expect to release at the same time or shortly after the system: it's a combo gamepad that has a little paddle built into it. We went through a lot of prototypes, including a few things suggested in this thread, and decided to go with this option. It has a toggle switch to enable left-handed mode as well.
 
Certainly, there are many obscure controllers out there, but the system will not support any other types of peripherals out of the box. Again, in an equation where cost and development time (already long enough) are the main variables, we believe this to be a reasonable compromise...
 
The system takes standard cartridges (all those we tested with my guests at last year's E3 and a few more types). Since it's an open-source system, we thought it would be a good idea to equip it with an SD card slot to make it easier for homebrew developers to get on board. That SD card will also conveniently contain the operating system (and Stella) for easy testing. We decided to drop Harmony support in favor of the SD card because supporting it requires some higher-end hardware, and we believe its homebrew functionality is basically replicated with the SD card.
 
If you are a developer and you want your game to be included with the system (of course with proper credit given to you or your studio in the EULA file) - please reach out to our R&D team (developer@hyperkin.com) or me directly on Linkedin. Depending on how this goes, we might offer limited amount of devkits to a selected number of developers.
 
It supports hot-swapping cartridges (you won't have to power down the system to change your games). Save files are good for keeping high scores or getting to see just how crazy some games like Missile Command get past a seven-digit score.
 
So basically, we wanted this system to be a convenient way to play games off cartridges, with common controllers on an HD TV. It's homebrew- and community-friendly. It's not the ultimate all-in-one answer to just any request, yet it's a good way to put your games collection into some good use, and to preserve the legacy by introducing our kids to what we used to play back in the days.
 
With all that said, we at Hyperkin and me personally want to thank everyone on this thread. Your support has made this project possible.
 
Yours truly,
 
Dr. Andrew Steel
 
"Standard cartridges" means 4k/8k/16k games. There may be exceptions because our supply of cartridges is somewhat limited. 
"Homebrew support" means the system will play .bin files placed on the SD card.
 
The older version of Stella will not be used. We are fully aware of its limitations; that's basically why in spite of paying for that earlier version, we decided to go open-source with this project, and use a more recent version, and to share the source codes with the community."
 
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RECENT RETRON '77 NEWS - 

 

I am happy with this and definitely looking more forward to this than the "AtariBox  :pile: "

 

UPDATE ON RETRON 77 by the developer, Dr. Andrew Steel, at Hyperkin:

05/07/2018
 
"Hi Everyone!
 
First of all, our apologies for the delay and silence on our part. It's been a long wait, and we truly appreciate your support, as well as all the suggestions and ideas. The final hardware has been finally approved and submitted to mass-production, so it's not going to be a long wait from now on.
 
We hope for the Retron 77 to be a good product; now it's time to answer your questions, and to say clearly what it is (and what it's not).
 
Second of all, yes - we indeed licensed a very early version of Stella, but as many people here on this thread mentioned, re-inventing the wheel would be simply pointless, same as reaching out to every single contributor. That is why the R77 is going to be released as an open-source system with its source codes available for the community. Certainly, it comes with a stable and fully functional core that you won't need to tinker with, but if tinkering is your game, then we encourage you to do so. It comes with a nice yet simple GUI.
 
We heard your thoughts on the amount of money that thing should cost, and of course we understand that it cannot be too much. We aim for this system to be affordable, and while I cannot tell you the MSRP just yet (it will soon be officially announced), we are being realistic and community-friendly. We know how much the Harmony cartridge alone costs, and we hope for this system to be not very far from that. Also, we expect to open pre-orders soon.
 
As we promised, it comes with all the necessary switches. So if you want to toggle difficulty for both players, game mode, color and black-and-white picture, screen aspect ratio, quick-save and quick-load your game - all that is readily available. There is also a glitch switch that was added just for fun (you can change its purpose if you are familiar with coding).
 
The system will ship with our new joystick controller which those of you who came to E3 last year had liked a lot. There will be an interesting extra feature for the left-handed people (or the right-handed people who want a challenge) - another Fire button. Certainly, other standard joysticks (like our Cirka controller for example) are also supported, as well as Genesis/MD gamepads. Standard paddle controllers are supported as well. On the top of that, we have another interesting controller that we expect to release at the same time or shortly after the system: it's a combo gamepad that has a little paddle built into it. We went through a lot of prototypes, including a few things suggested in this thread, and decided to go with this option. It has a toggle switch to enable left-handed mode as well.
 
Certainly, there are many obscure controllers out there, but the system will not support any other types of peripherals out of the box. Again, in an equation where cost and development time (already long enough) are the main variables, we believe this to be a reasonable compromise...
 
The system takes standard cartridges (all those we tested with my guests at last year's E3 and a few more types). Since it's an open-source system, we thought it would be a good idea to equip it with an SD card slot to make it easier for homebrew developers to get on board. That SD card will also conveniently contain the operating system (and Stella) for easy testing. We decided to drop Harmony support in favor of the SD card because supporting it requires some higher-end hardware, and we believe its homebrew functionality is basically replicated with the SD card.
 
If you are a developer and you want your game to be included with the system (of course with proper credit given to you or your studio in the EULA file) - please reach out to our R&D team (developer@hyperkin.com) or me directly on Linkedin. Depending on how this goes, we might offer limited amount of devkits to a selected number of developers.
 
It supports hot-swapping cartridges (you won't have to power down the system to change your games). Save files are good for keeping high scores or getting to see just how crazy some games like Missile Command get past a seven-digit score.
 
So basically, we wanted this system to be a convenient way to play games off cartridges, with common controllers on an HD TV. It's homebrew- and community-friendly. It's not the ultimate all-in-one answer to just any request, yet it's a good way to put your games collection into some good use, and to preserve the legacy by introducing our kids to what we used to play back in the days.
 
With all that said, we at Hyperkin and me personally want to thank everyone on this thread. Your support has made this project possible.
 
Yours truly,
 
Dr. Andrew Steel
 
"Standard cartridges" means 4k/8k/16k games. There may be exceptions because our supply of cartridges is somewhat limited. 
"Homebrew support" means the system will play .bin files placed on the SD card.
 
The older version of Stella will not be used. We are fully aware of its limitations; that's basically why in spite of paying for that earlier version, we decided to go open-source with this project, and use a more recent version, and to share the source codes with the community."
 

 

NICE!

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So here is a very small nitpick, I wonder if driver controllers will work on it. Not a deal breaker either way at my end just a thought.

 

I thought it was mentioned that they would not, which is unfortunate if true. Indy 500 is a fantastic 2 player game.

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I just wish it would have released sooner, because I would have held off on asking for and getting a Flashback 8 Gold Activision Edition for Xmas... I wonder how many people will be trying to pawn their FB8 Golds when this thing is finally released?

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It's nice to see it coming together, my only beef is the aesthetically unbalanced front/rear distribution of the controls. If I were designing it I would have made all the controls visible, up-front. And the only two things on the back would be power & hdmi connectors.

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Yes, I know.  I've already downloaded to files to update the system.  I'll use it without the updates and then with to make a comparison.  The updates address the limitation of titles displayed when using an SD card and a few other issues.  Despite the problems I've read about, one good thing is that if something is related to software, it can be fixed by the community.  As for the hardware, I've seen all sorts of negative comments about the joystick.  I will try it out but I'm likely going to need a replacement.

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I don't think the joystick is a big deal.  It has real ports, so you can use any classic joystick (or paddles) you like.  And that part you mention about the software being upgradable sounds really good.  It's actually a really cool idea -- to pull the code from a cartridge and run Stella. 

 

A lot of times, I think the retro-gaming fan base is just way too negative.  It's only $70!  It isn't perfect, but it does what they promised it would.  I'm thinking of getting one.  Once I get your opinion, of course :) 

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John Hancock did a review of this system on YouTube.

 

As for Justin's response about the 7800's competition...it wasn't just those systems he mentioned the 7800 competed with. By the time the system reached my area it was up against the TG-16, Genesis, Game Boy, Game Gear, and the SNES was not far away. Who would want a 7800 when Sonic, Bonk, and Mario dominated the gaming industry? The 7800 simply couldn't compete because of poor timing as well as Atari seemed to neglect that releasing to many systems at once was creating competition for itself.

 

I'm surprised that no one has ever tried to make a 7800 clone yet. At least I've not seen or heard of one yet. Then again, it's a unique beast of a console. I've been studying it and have learned how to generate sprites on it. I've even pushed the hardware as much as I can by duplicating those sprites. I've managed to get 150 multi-colored sprites moving on the screen simultaneously before the system starts to slowdown and almost crash. Once I figure out the playfield and how to create scrolling backgrounds I will be doing some of my own development for the 7800.

 

As for the Retron 77, not to get of subject just now, it would be my choice over Atari VCS.

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So now that we have had time to play with our units I would like to know about any issues you may be having with yours.

 

Hyperkin had to replace my unit because a cart connector pin came loose. I have had my replacement unit for about a week and it too is having issues. The unit will not register left on ANY controllers I know work on other systems. (I tested as I went.) The joystick it came with no longer controls to the left or right in any system. Maybe it's just my bad luck that I keep getting faulty units. Sad that a brand new modern piece of tech cant hold it together but all my original consoles have ZERO issues.

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The bios on a friend's system somehow got corrupted and had to be reflashed.  I saw it working long enough to play 1 game.  It has a sharp video output, but beyond that, you're still using an emulator-based console, so it'll never be 100% identical to the real thing (of which there's still a million floating around).

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