RetroN Jr. Announced at CES 2020

RetroN Jr. Lets You Play Your Game Boy Games on Your Giant HDTV by Andrew Liszewski at Gizmodo

Now that ThinkGeek is no more, Hyperkin will be carrying the “April Fool’s Day prank turned real” torch and turning the RetroN Jr.—a gag product it originally introduced on April 1, 2017—into a legitimate way to enjoy classic Nintendo Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance titles on a big screen TV.

I’d use the word “legitimate” loosely in this context.

The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) was this week out in Las Vegas, NV. There was a tons of wacky, cool, and overly ambitious tech revealed this past week. I won’t be commenting on it all. I think John Voorhees at MacStories did a great job of summing the highlights up. I wanted to throw up a small post about the RetroN Jr.

It is the next emulation box from Hyperkin in a similar vain of the RetroN 5. These plug ’n play boxes come off cheap like what you’d find in a drug store toy aisle. Back in 2014, before I dove into the RGB rabbit hole, did think the RetroN 5 looked dope. When I look at the RetroN Jr., I see a nostalgia fueled cash grab, but I see why this type of product keeps happening.

The middle ground for bringing classic games to the modern era is still developing with first-party mini consoles like the SNES Classic or the Sega Genesis Mini. These often sell out quickly though and only play the games pre-installed by the company producing it. Portable games have not had that demand met yet by official console makers yet.

The higher fidelity end of the market is flourishing with scalers and the upcoming Analogue Pocket, put that’s a steep price of admission for the casual consumer with their copy of Tetris or Pokémon Blue lying around. Hyperkin has seen this gap in the market and is meeting that need, even if it involves cutting corners.

It’s a balancing act: features and price. Someone like myself knows the value of accurately running these games in higher visual quality, but until official consoles are produced and can stay in production or FPGAs become cheaper to make, companies like Hyperkin will prey on nostalgia of consumers.