Hyperkin RetroN 77 (Atari 2600)

Ron1973

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I've been looking at the Hyperkin RetroN 77 over on Amazon. I'm in a "that or nothing" situation since I'll be having to purchase from Amazon due to having Amazon gift cards. I have a box full of old Atari 2600 titles that I'd love to play again. I had considered buying a modded original console, and I might eventually do that, but I'd love to get up and going again. As y'all know I'm an empty nester now with time on my hands. I get bored with TV. I listen to music at night and play mobile games on my phone, but those get boring after a bit.

Do any of guys/gals have any experience with this particular unit? The reviews on Amazon seem to be pretty good. I know it apparently has issues with Activision carts, but it seems to play most anything else. I've hooked my original Atari to the 55" TV and love it, but the picture is crappy even with replacing the RF cable. I know part of it is the fact it's a low-def and it also needs to be re-capped, I'm sure.

Here's the link to the product:

Hyperkin RetroN 77
 
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LeoA

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I own one. It's a good system and doesn't feel like your typical clone system. I even liked the joystick enough to buy a spare joystick. But you're going to have to update it to get the most out of it.

The Stella emulation team has done a lot to enhance it (Their open source Atari 2600 emulator, which is one of the best emulators out there for any console, is the software that Hyperkin uses to power it).




And here's where the latest 6.2.1 build of Stella can be downloaded. Be sure you read up about imaging your SD card with the Stella file (You don't just unzip and copy or paste it to the SD card), since it's possible to brick your Retron '77.


There's a nice YouTube tutorial I saw recently that can help if you're like me and not confident. I believe this one was what I used (I was gifted a Retron '77 for Christmas last year).


The Stella build that Hyperkin has on it out of the box is very old and less than perfect (Although still quite solid). The Retron '77 also has restrictions out of the box on how many rom files you can have on your SD card, which is lifted with the community updates. It's a must since Hyperkin's cartridge dumping software is imperfect and not all physical games work with it.

And at least one, Pitfall 2, is impossible for the Retron '77 to dump since part of the rom is only accessible by the onboard DPC coprocessor contained inside the cartridge. And since the Retron '77 dumps cartridges and runs the resulting file (As do all emulation based clone consoles), it obviously isn't able to communicate with the DPC chip. So the only way to play Pitfall 2 is via a rom image on the SD card.
 
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LeoA

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By the way, some of those threads I linked you to are massive. Reading them aren't prerequisites to getting the most out of the Retron '77, so I hope you weren't scared off. But if you have any questions, chances are they've been answered before if you dig around in them.

It's an interesting little clone system that has been transformed into a very good one thanks to the dedication of the Stella team to get the latest version of this emulator onto it. Effort that Hyperkin themselves weren't willing to put into it.

I'd recommend it to any Atari 2600 fan that wants to be able to enjoy 2600 games on their modern HDTV while still using classic accessories and original cartridges.
 
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Ron1973

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Many thanks for the links! I pulled the plug last night and ordered it! I'd been debating for several days whether to go ahead or not, and then Amazon offered it to me on a limited time deal for $67.90. I just couldn't pass that up. I'm looking forward to it getting here and playing some of my games again!

Like I said, I enjoy my mobile games like Toon Blast/Toy Blast and Jewel Crush, but I dunno, they just get boring after awhile. I put an SD card in my phone, but it still is very finicky on what it will let me have memory wise.

My next thing I want is either a NES or SNES, if not both. I bought a combo unit several years ago to play both, and it was absolutely nothing but a piece of trash. I went through 2 or 3 of them. I might even be happy with one of the small repro's of the NES as I didn't play too much with it besides Dr. Mario and regular Mario, and Duck Hunt is out of the question with a modern TV.
 

LeoA

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They're expensive, but there are excellent FPGA based high-definition NES and SNES consoles that you may want to research. I guarantee that you won't be disappointed if you end up buying one of them.

Here's Retro USB's AVS, which is the only currently available fpga based NES console. I don't yet own one of these, but hoping to hit the buy button this year.


And here's Analogue's Super Nt (Analogue's non-infringing name for their Super Nintendo system). Currently out of stock due to an influx of buyers due to the Coronavirus keeping people stuck inside, but another run is said to be happening. They also have a Sega Genesis equivalent called the Mega Sg. I own both of these and love them.


By utilizing a FPGA board to power the system, they're able to do a 1:1 hardware recreation of the original system. That means no input lag like software emulation based solutions and a live cartridge bus just like the original systems have (So no dumping the contents of cartridges and then running the resulting file like emulation based systems do, which introduces compatibility problems).

But as you can see, high quality options like these come at a bit of a premium compared to the typical clone system like you've had disastrous experiences with in the past. The YouTube channel My Life in Gaming has well done reviews of all of these clone systems, explaining what all the fuss is about and going into all the details if you'd care to learn more.
 
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