A little over a year ago, we announced the release of a third party retro console, the Retro Freak. Yes, we know that Classic Minis are all the rage, but as we shared in a previous article in relation to them, they have their respective limits. If you still have your old Genesis, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and/or Game Boy cartridges lying around, then the Retro Freak can play them all! So, if you prefer having retro cartridges, then we’d like to share why we recommend (or don’t recommend) the Retro Freak.
1. It’s a 5-in-1 Console
If you happen to have games for the Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Genesis, Turbo Grafx-16, and the original Game Boy in your possession, then if you get the super package version to this unique retro console, you can play all of these games on the Retro Freak! Yes, there are some versions to the Retro Freak that exclusively play Nintendo and/or Super Nintendo games, etc, but the Retro Freak we’re recommending has a slot for a good majority of the major consoles between the eighties and nineties. Plus, the console has HDMI ports for you to enjoy these games on present day monitors!
2. It’s Region Free (except for the NES cartridges)!
In the 90’s, consoles were region locked and if you wanted to play, let’s say, Dragon Ball Z Hyper Dimension or Dragon Quest VI on a North American Super Nintendo, you would have to modify your Super NES console, or buy a converter. Or what if you wanted to get Yuu Yuu Hakusho on the Mega Drive but you have a US Genesis? Same situation. As for the Turbo Grafx-16, it’s a forgotten footnote in gaming in the US, but it went toe-to-toe against the Super Famicom in Japan as the PC Engine. While finding Turbo Grafx-16 games are like finding a needle in a haystack, PC Engine games are easy to find in Akihabara. What’s unique about that console is that it uses a format called HU cards, and thankfully, there’s a slot on the Retro Freak for you to finally enjoy certain games that were exclusive to Japan such as Wonder Momo and many games based on popular anime at the time such as Maison Ikkoku, and a great port of Street Fighter II.
3. Excellent Save Features
For younger gamers (or even old school gamers) that may be turned off from a lack of save features on retro games, thankfully, the Retro Freak allows you to save whatever game you have on its console hard drive, or on a micro SD card. If you have ROMs of certain games saved onto an external drive that is compatible with the Retro Freak, you can actually play them as well. If your copies of Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, or Pokémon have a save battery that no longer works, it’s ok, you can just use the console’s save feature to save data!
1. Requires separate peripherals for Master System/Mark III, Game Gear, and PAL/NTSC NES
Though the console itself (at a retail price of around ¥25,000) can let you play games from the various platforms previously mentioned, you still need separate peripherals in order to play not only North American and European NES cartridges, but for Sega Master System/Mark III and Game Gear cartridges as well. Considering that the Retro Freak’s relatively high retail price in Japanese stores, you’re going to have to pay another ¥2,200 for the NES cartridge adapter, and another ¥6,400 yen to play Game Gear and Sega Mark III/Master System cartridge adapter (according to Yodobashi Camera’s website). Altogether, it ups the price of the console to over ¥30,000!
2. Does not play Famicom Disk games
In case some of you didn’t know, the Famicom (the name of the NES in Japan), actually had an add-on that used floppy disks. A lot of games in Japan debuted on the floppy disk like The Legend of Zelda and Doki Doki Panic, which was the basis for the international release of Super Mario Bros 2. Considering that the Famicom Disk’s history in gaming in context to Japanese gaming, it’s rather surprising that the Retro Freak not only doesn’t support the Famicom Disk system, it doesn’t have add-on features in order to do so. We understand that this isn’t a big deal to gamers who aren’t into the import scene, but considering the multi-regional support of the Retro Freak, it seems rather unusual.
3. Does not play Atari games
We understand to many gamers, the original Atari 2600 also has a strong place in retro gaming. Unfortunately, the actual Retro Freak does not support Atari software nor does it presently (upon uploading of this article) have any additional peripherals in order to do so. You want to play ET, Yars’ Revenge, and Raiders of the Lost Ark? Unfortunately, you can’t. The only logical assumption as to why is probably because of Atari’s (possible) lack of presence in Japan.
While some non-licensed retro consoles come with pre-installed games, the Retro Freak does not. So, if you have a collection of retro games, then the Retro Freak is exactly what you’re looking for. Considering how many games it can support on its default settings, it should keep you busy. Since it supports Turbo Grafx-16/PC Engine, it can hopefully encourage international gamers to become interested in it. On the downside, if you want more than just the default, you’re going to have to pay more to get more if you want to enjoy your old NES, Master System, and Game Gear cartridges. Other than the typical classic mini console, the Retro Freak is probably the best you can get to enjoy retro gaming.