Retro Freak/Amazon delivery

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VideoGameCritic
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Retro Freak/Amazon delivery

Postby VideoGameCritic » September 22nd, 2017, 5:48 pm

Got my Retrofreak today on my front step today, but get this - it wasn't in a box!
It was just the Retrofreak box with an address label slapped on it!
I know Amazon has been slacking off with their packaging, but C'MON now!

Fortunately I was able to remove the sticker by SLOWLY removing it.
Not sure what I would have done if that didn't work out!

Anyway, I'm documenting the unpackaging and set-up so I'll be able to write a review soon.

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Re: Retro Freak/Amazon delivery

Postby VideoGameCritic » September 22nd, 2017, 6:31 pm

An update already!

After the headache of setting up my Retro 5, setting up the RetroFreak was a DREAM. Very few prompts and good user interface.
At one point it said an "update" was available for my included controller adapter, which gave me pause. I'm glad I said yes because it instantly installed without me having to download anything (thank goodness).

Tried Space Harrier (Turbografx) first and it played wonderfully. No lag or anything. Like the Retro5, there are many filters you can apply to smooth out the graphics, but those pixels are half the fun, right? Audio was crisp.

Next I tried Ghouls and Ghosts - a SuperGrafx game! I actually picked this one up over a year ago not knowing at the time it wouldn't play on any of my Turbo systems. This was probably the #1 reason I wanted to get the RetroFreak. It started up with no problem and plays great! It's really no more advanced than the Genesis game (aside from some minor details) but it's still one heck of a fun game. Guess I'll have to fit that review in the Turbografx section, with a note it's not really compatible.

I like the controller adapter because it's wired, giving you extra reach in addition to the normal controller cord. But what if I want to play 2P? I guess I need to buy another one.

How does it compare to the Retron5? Well, if there were a beauty contest the Retron5 would win hands down. But for pure functionality I like the RetroFreak.

It's important to note the RetroFreak requires an adapter to play NES games. Then again, the RetroFreak supports Turbografx/Supergrafx games, which is kind of a big deal to me.

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scotland
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Re: Retro Freak/Amazon delivery

Postby scotland » September 22nd, 2017, 9:24 pm

You have me glued! Thanks, and looking forward to the review. Could I ask about prices?

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Re: Retro Freak/Amazon delivery

Postby VideoGameCritic » September 24th, 2017, 4:48 pm

The Retro Freak runs about $180, and the Retron 5 around $140.

I looked for a second controller adapter and they are crazy expensive. So I guess I'll have to keep it one player until the prices come down.

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Re: Retro Freak/Amazon delivery

Postby Atariboy » September 25th, 2017, 2:15 pm

The Retron 5 scared me off. Expensive, unreliable, and prone to bricking itself when updating. But your enthusiasm for the Retro Freak seems promising. I look forward to reading your review of it and likely will order one next year if you don't uncover any fatal flaws while reviewing your unit.

Does anyone know of the current state of Sega CD, Turbo CD, and 32X support on this (Disc images and roms off SD card, obviously)? Also curious about Super Game Boy support. The actual accessory won't work of course since the Retro Freak dumps cartridges rather than continually interacting with them, but can I still fire up a game like Donkey Kong on the Retro Freak and enjoy it with all the usual Super Game Boy enhancements like enhanced color, audio, and the nice arcade border?

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Re: Retro Freak/Amazon delivery

Postby VideoGameCritic » September 25th, 2017, 6:09 pm

My Retro Freak just froze up while playing Demons Crest for the SNES. It was a little hot on the bottom.
I'm a little concerned about the reliability of this thing!

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Re: Retro Freak/Amazon delivery

Postby JWK » September 25th, 2017, 7:59 pm

What a coincidence! I just barely purchased a Retro Freak from eBay about two weeks ago and I've been playing it pretty much non-stop. I *love* this thing. The most important distinction of the RF console and the Retron 5 is the Retro Freak can load ROMs on a micro SD card and the R5 cannot. That was the difference maker for me. I tried a few US and JP import cartridges but you really only need to use them once. If you have an SD card inserted, you can immediately rip the ROM from the cart and then you don't have to put it in the console again, unless you want to. Load the ROM from the SD card, no cartridge, and you're done. I think the novelty of putting the carts in the slots of the Retro Freak has passed for me, so now I just have a bunch of ROMs on a micro SD card. And yes, you can download ROMS from the internet onto the SD card and play them, which again, was an important factor for me in deciding this thing vs the Retron 5. I've been playing Chrono Trigger and it looks and plays great. 720p, 60 fps, I always turn filters off and scan lines on, no *noticeable* lag-- my understanding is there is always some inherent lag with both emulation and running retro games through HDMI, but I haven't noticed it and I am VERY picky on emulation quality and lag. The games look, sound and play very accurate; more so than my homebrew soft-modded Wii, which had pretty accurate emulation itself, minus some intermittent sound issues (popping) on some SNES games. This is just better and more convenient, since I use a CRT for the Wii and this can be played on modern sets and look "right."

Another difference between R5 & RF is the controller. The stock $40 controller for the Retron 5 is terrible (in my opinion). The controller that comes with the Retro Freak is a much better, classic style controller (it's basically a SNES pad), though the d-pad and buttons have a certain "mushiness" to them. In short, I use the Retro Freak controller to play RPGs and the actual SNES/Genesis 6 button controller/etc to play platformers and action games. At first I thought there was lag when playing Super Mario World, Castlevania, Shinobi III, etc, but nope. It was just the Retro Freak controller being an inferior option to the real thing. If I use the real controllers, the games play perfectly.

I'm sorry to hear the Critic has had a problem with the console freezing. That sucks. I'm lucky it hasn't happened to me (yet) and like I said, I've been playing his thing for at least a couple hours a day for two weeks. My suggestion, assuming that it is a heating issue, is to have the game you want loaded onto an SD card and then remove the part of the system that has the cart slots from the base unit, which is actually quite small. Pulling the two pieces apart from each other took some effort the first time I did it; just FYI. The "base unit" is just a small rectangular box with ports for the HDMI cable and power supply on one side and the USB ports for the controller adapter on the other. That's it. Having less mass may help with heating issues; worth a shot, especially if it keeps happening.

I'm open to answering questions if people have them. Obviously, I'm pretty high on this thing, but of course there are going to be drawbacks compared to real hardware. Compared to other Hd emulators, however, I think it's about the best and most affordable option there is, minus consoles like the $200 AVS retroUSB and the $500 Analogue NT mini which *only* emulate NES/Famicom. I outlined above why I think it's superior to the Retron 5, but the emulation is supposedly more or less the same between the systems, including filter and scanline options, so keep that in mind.

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Re: Retro Freak/Amazon delivery

Postby Atariboy » September 25th, 2017, 9:21 pm

I don't know if it's of any help, but I vaguely recall some AtariAge discussion from a year or more ago about the Retro Freak tending to overheat if you rely on some of the fancier graphical filters and such (More processor intensive, I presume?).

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Atariboy
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Re: Retro Freak/Amazon delivery

Postby Atariboy » September 25th, 2017, 9:58 pm

There was an update that supposedly helped the overheating issue.

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/247050 ... try3432761

If there's a way to check your current firmware version and it's older than this, it might be worth going through the updating process to see if it alleviates the system sometimes running hot.

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Re: Retro Freak/Amazon delivery

Postby noah98 » September 26th, 2017, 10:42 am

VideoGameCritic wrote:My Retro Freak just froze up while playing Demons Crest for the SNES. It was a little hot on the bottom.
I'm a little concerned about the reliability of this thing!


I meant to post about this when you first got it. You must do the update to avoid the overheating problem. I put off buying one until they addressed this issue in a firmware update. I know it sucks having to manually update the firmware, but it should solve this problem. I updated mine on day one, have used it constantly and for long stretches, and haven't had it lock up or overheat once. Not sure what they did with the firmware, but it worked for me.

Like you, I bought it for the Turbografx-16/Pc-Engine/Supergrafx support. I absolutely love that aspect of the machine. It won't win any beauty contests, and doesn't feel super durable, but it does function well. Like others have suggested, I would just insert your carts once and install them to the SD card. That should limit the wear and tear.


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