Which Retro Console Should I Buy
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This handheld. isfor those of you that want to a larger screen for older retro consoles, yes it can play Mario Kart 64, but anything heavier than that and the gaming experience gets a little unpleasant.
The standard Retro Freak console costs around $179.99 from Play Asia, whereas the NES cartridge adapter is currently sold separately and is available at Amazon Japan. There is also a premium release expected next year, which will include the classic pad and NES cartridge adapters. That ships in January and will cost $249.99 from Play-Asia.
Lock is, for want of a better term, a technological wizard. He has repaired countless machines over the past few years, many of which were seemingly destined for the scrapheap. He's got a fondness for Sega's '90s hardware, and has resurrected Famicom, Famicom Disk System, Twin Famicom, NEO-GEO AES, MVS, Master System, PC Engine Duo, Mega Drive, Multi-Mega, Saturn Mk1/Mk2, PlayStation, and PlayStation 2 consoles during his career.
Batteries found inside certain consoles can also cause problems if left unattended. "These also break down with their contents being highly volatile as time goes on," Lock continues. "Many systems have batteries mounted above or soldered directly onto the board which means when it fails, the contents will spill out onto the board. Some systems have internally housed batteries within integrated circuits for keeping time, save data or even decryption keys. Once these have failed, the system will either function incorrectly or not at all."
Lock clearly does an incredibly thorough job; you only need gaze at his Twitter feed and see all of the photos he posts to see the meticulous manner in which he restores these classic systems. But how much difference does all of this work actually make? How many more years does it add to a console's lifespan?
The sheer complexity of modern-day consoles is another issue; while Lock can open up a NES and easily locate problems, modern systems rely on scaled-down chipsets which cannot be replaced without the correct equipment. "Systems are experiencing complex IC internal failure that cannot be resolved without access to new direct-from-supplier business arrangements and industrial level equipment for component level repair," says Lock. "Smaller and more portable systems are giving rise to repairability issues with access to repair techniques creating a steeper learning curve as component assembly becomes increasingly smaller, more complex and with less human involvement during assembly. There is also the 'right to repair' issue upon which certain parts are made exclusive and cannot be sourced other than by the company building the system. Another is the refresh cycle on hardware is becoming sped up; new features introduced and shorter warranties are offered on launch systems. There is also an argument for 'planned obsolescence' and set product 'end of life' cycles in both hardware design and software functionality as we rely in more internet-based services on our modern devices."
I've said it before, but at least a fundamental understanding of electronics is almost required now for retro gaming. It's saved my neck I don't know how many times, and breathed new life into old consoles. It's also easy to pick up extremely cheap consoles in need of simple repairs if you're not afraid of a bit of small parts soldering.
If retro consoles are anything like pinball machines, I think it's safe to say that hobbyists will be able to keep them working for decades to come. There are pinball machines from the 40's that can still be played thanks to devoted hobbyists restoring them. In pinball, there are also tons of replacement parts being produced and sold, and I'm sure retro consoles will also start receiving more reproduction and replacement parts as the need for them increases. This article is pretty doom and gloom, but being a part of the pinball community has shown me that most things can be kept working far longer than they were ever meant to by anyone with the passion to do so.
I'm no Lock, but I do know how to handle some more basic level soldering and component swap/repair. I've had to self teach myself these things because I have like some kept their toys since the 80s and they fall apart, or I've picked up stuff since with an unknown history. I'm talking not just console and handheld, but also later 80s/early 90s arcade level stuff too. You have to just keep an eye on it now and again or well, that's the risk which may or may not be an acceptable one to you.
Some are worse than others but generally speaking all consoles pre CD seem to be much more reliable overall and much easier to fix if need be. I've replaced parts in my NES which I find to be the most unreliable of those of consoles mainly due to the pin connector and lockout chip causing issues. Everything else I have seems good but I do worry about my Saturn and its unique AV port and will at some point have to replace it with something more conventional.
The last paragraph is 101% valid for me. Last month I decided to replay Super Mario Galaxy. My Wii had been kept still and safe in a box for the last 4 years. Beautiful, clean, without any scratch. It worked fine for 2 hours, then it gave me the error message which probably points out to reading problems, which is quite common among Wii owners. And it has made me think about this false sensation of preservation and of having consoles to play when I want to. Now I know it's not true anymore.But like the author, my original Japanese MK1 Mega Drive still works normally.It would be so easy if copyright holders made their retro game libraries available instead of just taking legal action against rom websites. There are a lot people willing to pay for retro games, so why not make them available?
So, whenever possible, you should keep them somewhere in your home, not in an annex or storage room. Having dedicated storage bags/containers also helps a great deal, and will at the very least prevent spiders or bugs from turning your beloved retro console into their new home...
I think the retro consoles made in Japan will outlast current consoles made in China. Maybe one day Nintendo will re-release the actual retro consoles and some of the best selling games from back in the 80s and 90s.
As for retro consoles, you might be right that they may never experience a resurgence in popularity like pinball machines have. The analog nature of pinball makes it much harder to preserve digitally compared to video games. A lot of people will be content playing games via emulation as games play almost exactly the same as they did on the consoles, whereas pinball needs to be played on the real machines for the full experience. That's one big difference between the two hobbies. Still though, I have no doubt there will be a group of dedicated people keeping retro consoles up and running for a long time, even if that group never gets super big.
The game consoles that 100% died on me are: My original NES, my GBA, a used Game Gear I bought which died after 2 weeks, my used GCN, a FC Game Console I killed my plugging in the wrong AC Adaptor, my used Vita after 2 months, & a used 32X I bought which died as soon as I took it home so I returned it.
@PBandSmelly It will happen to the Switch a lot sooner than most of the classic consoles, due largely to it having a sealed-in battery which has a limited lifespan. Any new Switch really should allow us to easily replace the battery ourselves, as the Wii U did.
The good news is, aside from emulation, we have other retro gaming enthusiasts working to get more parts made, build better clone consoles, etc. Even if our consoles do eventually die off on us, we'll have alternatives.
My SEGA Mega Drive on the other hand, is working fine to this day, which was one of the first systems I ever had which used to be my older sister's who had it since 1990*and played it alot during the PS1 and PS2 eras *become a retro gamer at a young age, prefer getting old games over new ones
One other issue with storage I've recently become aware of through audio is Al electrolytic capacitors, in storage, only have a real shelf-life of about 2-years, particularly older ones. If in storage for too long, the caps can also dry out, but even if they don't they may need a slow shaping current over days to recharge them and bring them back up to normal. I've never been aware of that in the past, that you should take equipment out and power it on periodically. Though I've heard some say that's more of a thing in audio due to older tube driven equipment and the incredible voltages used, so it may or may not affect console caps. But caps from the golden ages of gaming were much lower quality than modern ones to begin with.
While it would be fun to start collection retro consoles and games the amount of work it takes to keep them up and running is way too effort. Plus I just refuse to deal with the 50HZ games that europe was plagued with for so long, it still annoys me so much that Nintendo stopped doing Virtual Console when they finally also removed the accursed region lock and allowed for multiple accounts.
The only consoles that broke on me was my original NES, a FC Game Console which I accidentally fried with the wrong AC Adapter, a 2nd FC Game Console, a refurbished GameCube, a used 32X that was broken from the start, a used Dreamcast that wouldn't boot, a used DC that randomly resets on me unless I play ROM games like NES games that never need to load more than once, my PS, my fat PS2, my Slim PS2, my GBA, my Vita whose battery died, my New 3DS XL after my brother spilled rubbing alcohol all over it, & 3 Xbox 360s all repaired my Microsoft. I never once had issues with any other my other game consoles which far outnumber the broken ones.
Just wanted to share my experiences, as for the last 10 years I use retrogame consoles for event entertainment (and have been loving videogames since Atari/Commodore). So they get a lot of use and a lot of dirty hands on them. 781b155fdc