RetroN Sq Game Boy Review – the Good & the Bad by MetalJesusRocks on YouTube
Surprised I didn’t follow up on this sooner. The RetroN Sq was one of the first things I wrote about here on Max Frequency in January 2020. It was originally called the RetroN Jr., but the product is one and the same. You can tell I wasn’t hot on the product then:
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 Sq is not great based off reviews I’ve watched. The GBA support is in “beta” and has terrible performance. The Game Boy and Color games are forced into a 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio with some sloppy emulation. It does seem that Hyperkin has built their own engine this time, instead of violating licenses for other emulators. Props to them for going about it the legal way this time, but it does look like their emulator needs serious work.
Circling back to my original point back in January, this is a balance of costs and features for Hyperkin. The resources to make decent to incredibly accurate emulators is high and has clearly been a price Hyperkin does not want to pay. They are aiming for an accessible price point for nostalgic consumers. And lately, I’ve realized more and more how content average consumers are with lower quality video output and emulation just to play their games on modern televisions.
I recently was given some old duplicate consoles and games a friend had lying around. They had not touched their retro games in what appeared to be years. Digging all their stuff out, they decided to hooked up their NES to a small HDTV and they seemed incredibly giddy to just play Rampage over composite. Another friend of mine happily plays GBA games blown up on a big TV with a RetroN 5. Folks want to play their old games as conveniently as possible. Hyperkin is filling a hole in the market that Nintendo, Sega, and more are not actively filling. Does it bug me that the accuracy is out of whack or that there are truly better options out there for just a little more money (or a lot more)? Yes. But The average consumer is not me. That’s been humbling to realize again lately and has broadened my approach to sharing with friends how they can play their old games. Ultimately, it is up to the consumer how far down the rabbit hole they want to go.
But please, for me, don’t buy this Sq system. It looks rough.