RetroN 5: modern hardware emulator for classic consoles

2timer

Golden Member
Apr 20, 2012
1,803
1
0
This got me curious how long does a game cartridge last?

Good question. Well they could last indefinitely if stored properly, ie humidity and temperature control. The console itself wears out much faster, because you jar it and stress it every time you insert and remove a cartridge. That was my problem - the console was always going bad, starting with the cartridge port itself.

I figured, no point in keeping the cartridges since the console itself kept wonking out. Well, I guess that was a mistake.
 

mmntech

Lifer
Sep 20, 2007
17,504
12
0
This got me curious how long does a game cartridge last?

Assuming their well cared for, as long as any microchip will last. I've got Genesis carts that are 20 years old now and run flawlessly on the console they came with. Tons of Atari 2600 carts floating around that must be 35 years old now.

When it comes to any retro gaming rig, the controller is what really makes or breaks it. Anyone can build an emulator box. I find a lot of them have a rubbish D-Pad. A lot of people try but you can't control these games with an analogue stick, which this thing appears to have.
 

fatpat268

Diamond Member
Jan 14, 2006
5,853
0
71
Assuming their well cared for, as long as any microchip will last. I've got Genesis carts that are 20 years old now and run flawlessly on the console they came with. Tons of Atari 2600 carts floating around that must be 35 years old now.

When it comes to any retro gaming rig, the controller is what really makes or breaks it. Anyone can build an emulator box. I find a lot of them have a rubbish D-Pad. A lot of people try but you can't control these games with an analogue stick, which this thing appears to have.

It's not an analog. It looks like one, but it's not. It has microswitches, and functions similarly to the way an arcade joystick does.
 

007ELmO

Platinum Member
Dec 29, 2005
2,051
36
101
Emulated games (NES/SNES) with upscaling actually look very nice. It's fun to play mario with limited pixels.
 

purbeast0

No Lifer
Sep 13, 2001
52,843
5,716
126
wow i have to say i'm a little intrigued by this. i will wait to hear some reviews on it.

i recently wanted to hook up my SNES to my HT, but without an extension cord for my controllers, i can't actually use it. it would be nice to hook this up and be able to pop in super mario kart and use the bluetooth controller, although that is one thing i worry about too - how the controller feels and performs.
 

007ELmO

Platinum Member
Dec 29, 2005
2,051
36
101
Just connect your PC to your HT and use zsnes/snes9x video filter options (2xSAL or HQx4) with a wireless USB controller or modified NES/SNES controller with USB extension.

vectscale.png


kl-09-toad.png


kl-03.png


You will be amazed. This is the first and only time I ever beat Super Mario Brothers 2 Japanese, emulated on a projector.

I'm actually building out my basement theater room with USB ports on each side wall (for each player). You can get active USB extenders over 30ft long from monoprice. I still have access to the studs/framing so I can wire easily, little more fun if the room is already finished.
 
Last edited:

Anarchist420

Diamond Member
Feb 13, 2010
8,645
0
76
www.facebook.com
byuu did a perfect job with bsnes imo... the audio timing is pretty good, the opengl default filter is excellent, and every processor in the Super NES and every special co processor are replicated perfectly. there are some more apps that need to be made though particularly an app that replicates all genesis/32x/cd, dreamcast, and saturn processing with cycle accuracy and that also includes satisfactory av circuitry and optical drive emulation.

one good thing about the ps3 and xbox 360 is that they had digital outputs for both audio and video, so they could be replicated perfectly a few years from now (although it will probably be more like twenty years from now due to IP making CPUs slower and due to IP making it profitable to damage some GK110 dies so others can be sold at well above-market prices).
 
Last edited:

purbeast0

No Lifer
Sep 13, 2001
52,843
5,716
126
yeah i already have a usb extender that i use for my joysticks for 360/ps3/xbox1. didn't even think about getting a SNES to usb adapter though, then using the extension, thanks for the suggestion.

my pc is nowhere near my HT and i don't plan on putting one down there.
 

007ELmO

Platinum Member
Dec 29, 2005
2,051
36
101
You will regret it though, look at the pictures! The games truly look HD artwork on the move and seem like all new games.
 

juiio

Golden Member
Feb 28, 2000
1,433
4
81
Just connect your PC to your HT and use zsnes/snes9x video filter options (2xSAL or HQx4) with a wireless USB controller or modified NES/SNES controller with USB extension.

Zsnes shouldn't be used by anyone anymore, unless you're running it on a 10+ year old computer.

If you want the best emulation, have a good computer, and don't mind putting up with byuu's quirks, run Higan (bsnes).

If you want the most features, don't want to put up with byuu's quirks, or are running on relatively underpowered hardware, run snes9x.
 

SaurusX

Senior member
Nov 13, 2012
993
0
41
Zsnes shouldn't be used by anyone anymore, unless you're running it on a 10+ year old computer.

If you want the best emulation, have a good computer, and don't mind putting up with byuu's quirks, run Higan (bsnes).

If you want the most features, don't want to put up with byuu's quirks, or are running on relatively underpowered hardware, run snes9x.

Agreed.
 

mmntech

Lifer
Sep 20, 2007
17,504
12
0
Just connect your PC to your HT and use zsnes/snes9x video filter options (2xSAL or HQx4) with a wireless USB controller or modified NES/SNES controller with USB extension.

You will be amazed. This is the first and only time I ever beat Super Mario Brothers 2 Japanese, emulated on a projector.

This is what I do with my retro games. Really looks great in HD IMO. I use Snes9x.

Purists though (such as Exdeath) prefer to use original hardware whenever possible, on CRT, without filters. I guess the RetroN 5 appeals to the middle sort who likes the console experience and has the old games, but not the hardware.
 

exdeath

Lifer
Jan 29, 2004
13,679
10
81
I don't just use a crappy Wal-Mart television tube with RF or composite though, I run native RGBS to a Sony PVM studio reference monitor and run audio through a Klipsch 2.1 setup.

It basically looks perfect like an arcade machine.

The first time you see Super Mario World's title screen and its vibrant red block letters and black outlines on a CRT its jaw dropping.
 
Last edited:

exdeath

Lifer
Jan 29, 2004
13,679
10
81
This got me curious how long does a game cartridge last?

Pretty much indefinitely.

Silcon and metal layer mask ROM surrounded in epoxy. They will be around beyond the end of times.

Only concern would be electrolytic capacitors in the console itself. Even the ones in the carts are for the CMOS SRAM, and wouldn't keep the game from booting. The PCBs would corrode and dissolve before the ICs over perhaps hundreds of years depending on the urethane quality and soil acid content.
 
Last edited:

Sonikku

Lifer
Jun 23, 2005
15,749
4,558
136
The battery backed saves won't last forever. Though admittedly, Link to the past still had my saves from 20 years ago intact when I booted it up a year ago.
 

SaurusX

Senior member
Nov 13, 2012
993
0
41
The battery backed saves won't last forever. Though admittedly, Link to the past still had my saves from 20 years ago intact when I booted it up a year ago.

The saves won't last forever, but those batteries are easily replaceable.
 

effowe

Diamond Member
Nov 1, 2004
6,021
18
81
wow i have to say i'm a little intrigued by this. i will wait to hear some reviews on it.

i recently wanted to hook up my SNES to my HT, but without an extension cord for my controllers, i can't actually use it. it would be nice to hook this up and be able to pop in super mario kart and use the bluetooth controller, although that is one thing i worry about too - how the controller feels and performs.

Just do this

http://imgur.com/a/8H3Ci

Or this for the original controller on a computer.

http://www.xodustech.com/projects/wireless-snes-controller
 
Last edited:

zebrax2

Senior member
Nov 18, 2007
972
62
91
From the replies basically cartridges last a very very long time. How about data retention? Is this not a problem on ROM cartridges?
 
Last edited:

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,736
1,377
126
From the replies basically cartridges last a very very long time. How about data retention? Is this not a problem on ROM cartridges?

I'm assuming you're speaking of EEPROMs? Those are typically only in prototypes (as far as the game goes).

Most games in the NES/SNES era didn't have any reprogrammable aspects whatsoever, just a mask rom. And those, the data is not rewritable or volatile in the least.

Retail carts with batterys for the saves are slightly less robust, but typically easy to fix by opening and replacing the batteries (good to go for another XX years hah)

Prototypes on EEPROMs, well there you have something that has a finite lifespan unless it's copied to a fresh EEPROM and replaced into the PCB. I've got some protos from the early 90s that still work to this day, all original, but I have no idea how much longer they will survive.
 

exdeath

Lifer
Jan 29, 2004
13,679
10
81
Mask ROM = using UV masks containing the prepared ROM data to etch the photoresist for the metal interconnects of the chip permanently at integrated circuit manufacturing time to represent the data pattern desired. There is nothing to wear out or degrade. They literally last forever.

Applying a specific address will always route through the ROM matrix the exact same way and produce the same results on the data lines every time. It's literally as hard wired as an ASIC can get.

Imagine you have a prefabbed but unfinished IC chip designed, all it does is take an address and look up a data cell from an array. You have it wired so all the rows and columns of every cell are identical are permanently "1". These are pre manufactured and set aside.

Now your customer Nintendo comes along with the data they want in the form of a lithographic mask containing holes on it that represent binary data. You apply a final layer of photoresist to your wafer, expose it to UV through that mask, then etch away the non "fixed" photo resist and exposed metal layer. Any place that had a hole stays a "1", any place without a hole becomes a "0" because the photomask wasn't exposed to UV and "fixed". It allows the interconnect at that location in the grid to be exposed and broken by the acid etching. There are millions of the "holes" and "non holes" on the masks. The entire 4, 8, 16, 32, 4096, whatever megabit ROM is all completed at once.

Now your IC is finished and can be sent off to be broken apart from the wafers and sent to final testing and assembly and packaging as a familiar black epoxy chip with legs.
 
Last edited: