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February 2017 Retro Gaming Article

February 12, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Retroblox will be introducing a modular retro gaming console via Kickstarter in April

Retroblox is introducing modular retro gaming
While some emulation consoles provide multiple cartridge slots, Retroblox allows additional console modules to be added anytime.
I love this modular approach to retro gaming emulation from Retroblox! It offers a new flexibility and longevity to our favorite cartridge and disc-based games. Other emulation consoles, like the Retron 5 and Retro Freak, offer playability for a great many different consoles, but they don't have much flexibility to play additional game libraries.

Retroblox console modules Nintendo has filed some recent patents on the N64 making it difficult to produce a commercial product to emulate it's game library. Retroblox is hoping to one day add N64 compatibility to it's console. When the time comes, it can be added via an N64 module similar to the others they will be selling for NES or SNES.

Retroblox uses what they are calling Hybrid Emulation which is the best of both worlds regarding hardware clones and software that works with them. This system is supposed to deliver a much more reliable emulation scenario than found on software emulators running on standard computers. Their website has some good info about Hybrid Emulation.

Want to play Atari 2600 games... or TurboGrafx-16? Pop in the appropriate module and you're on your way. This also allows you to buy modules based on your game collection. I don't have many Genesis games, so I don't need SEGA compatibility now. It's a great platform and if I begin to amass Genesis games, I can add the Genesis module later.

At launch, Retroblox will offer modules for:
  • NES
  • SNES & SFC
  • Genesis, Mega Drive (J), Mega Drive (E), 32x & SMS support via Power Base Converter
  • Atari 2600
  • PC-Engine, TurboGrafx-16 & SuperGrafx
  • PSX (PSOne) - all regions
  • Sega CD, 32X CD & Mega CD (J and E)
  • PC-Engine CD, Super CD-ROM, Arcade CD-ROM & TurboGrafx-CD
Retroblox console There is also compatibility for disc-based games. If I understand it correctly, the disc module is built into the base unit and can function for a variety of platforms like PSOne and Sega CD. Updates to firmware will provide the compatibility for additional disc-based consoles rather than additional modules. Game carts come in various sizes, whereas discs adhere to more singular standards, thus discs can be played using the same physical drive.

Regarding ROMs, Retroblox is aimed at playing physical games. They provide a solution for moving ROMs from your carts to the system (to preserve wear and tear on your physical media) but you won't be able to insert an SD card full of ROMs. While use of ROMs hovers in a gray-area of the law, a commercial product can't facilitate the illegal use of copyrighted materials without repercussions.

From the Retroblox website:
RetroBlox is neither a pure emulation box nor an FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) system. When developing the original version of this console back in 2015 (when it actually was an FPGA-based PC-Engine/TurboGrafx-16) - our team discovered a new method of emulation that provides the advantages of an emulation-based system with the broad compatibility of an FPGA-based system.

That new method is called Hybrid Emulation, and it was submitted to the USPTO as a provisional patent back in July 2016. Realizing its potential benefit to fans of all retro gaming consoles, we changed the direction of the console to be what you see today with a modular design.

Retroblox console retroblox console solution Keep an eye out for the Retroblox Kickstarter in April 2017!

Update: Retroblox has re-branded themselves with a name change to Polymega

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