Clone Consoles – Where to begin?
There are so many “Clone Consoles” (Or “Clone Hardware”) out there in the wild. Each one touting how well it can play classic Retro Games from the past while putting a neat modern spin on things. It can be a bit hard to pin down exactly which one is the best, so we here at FunstockRetro.co.uk have decided to compile a neat list to help point you in the right direction for the perfect Clone Console for you!
We Retro Gamers know the pain of dealing with old consoles. Perfect in their younger years, but prone to failure in the long run. Not to mention incompatibility with newer TVs! What was clear and crystal on a CRT will not translate to a 4K Flatscreen for some obvious time differences. So the addition of clone consoles is perfect because it gives us that ability to play our favourite systems in HD without shelling out tons of money for an upscaler. The added benefit for a lot of these as well is that you can normally play more than one system if you’d like! A bulk of older consoles could set you back a few hundred quick, and yet one unit could do it all for you! It’s a gift that only gets better as time goes on, improvements are made, and better clone consoles are released! Perfect for any Retro Gamer!
Interested in playing old games on new devices? Our clone console guide weighs up your hardware options.
NES/Famicom Clone Consoles
The Retron 5 is a great option for anyone with a NES or Famicom collection – it upscales NES/FC games to 720p HD, plays carts from any region, can be used with original NES/FC controllers, and also enhances gameplay through save states and scanline/filter/aspect ratio options.
The Super Retro TRIO is the obvious alternative to the Retron – it’s cheaper than the TRIO, and although it doesn’t offer HDMI out, anyone who wants to play a clone console on an older CRT TV can make use of the composite or S-Video connectors. The TRIO is also region free, but there isn’t a slot for Famicom games. The TRIO is also missing many of the additional features of the Retron, such as direct-to-console save states, wireless controller options, etc. More information on Retron 5 vs Super Retro TRIO is available here.
The Retro Duo is cheaper still, although it’s compatible with carts from fewer systems. It works with most NES games, but is optimised for NTSC NES carts – 100% PAL compatibility is not guaranteed.
The NES FC Mobile II PAL will play PAL NES carts, and it can also be used as either a portable device or played on a TV using composite cables. Controllers are wireless, too.
Another handheld option is the RDP – Portable Handheld Console V2.0, which is designed for SNES games but will
pay NES carts via an included adapter. The RDP also offers output on a TV via composite cables.
Super Nintendo (SNES)/Super Famicom (SFC) Clone Consoles
Both the Retron and the TRIO will play SNES and SFC games from all regions. The Duo is designed for NTSC SNES carts, and so PAL compatibility is not 100% guaranteed. The RDP will also play SNES games without an adapter.
With Super Nintendo carts you also have the option of the SNES SupaBoy Portable Pocket Console, which is region-free (so it’ll play SNES/SFC carts from any country), offers TV output, and has two ports for original SNES controllers for multiplayer games.
The Retron 5 plays Mega Drive and Genesis games from all regions, as does the Super Retro TRIO. An adapter is available for the RDP Portable Handheld, and we retail a Mega Drive-to-SNES adapter here.
Clone Consoles Using Emulation
Although some of the clone consoles listed above use elements of emulation, there are clone devices available that purely play game files – perfect if you’re not looking to begin a big cart collection.
The Sega Ultimate Mega Drive is a handheld device that includes 20 Mega Drive/Genesis classics and has an SD card slot to add more games – similarly, the Sega Arcade Gamer Portable comes with 30 built-in Master System and Game Gear games, but lacks an SD card slot for expansion. If you’re looking for a Master System clone console for use with physical carts, you’ll need to source a Power Base Converter for use with a Retron/TRIO/other compatible Mega Drive clone system. The same goes with Game Boy games – the Retron 5 will play Game Boy, Game Boy Colour, and Game Boy Advance games out of the box, but you’ll need an adapter to play carts on other clone systems (available here).
Otherwise, you’re probably looking at a JXD – a retro gaming Android tablet with dual-sticks and the capability of playing games from consoles as diverse as the Commodore 64, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, Amiga,
Playstation, MAME, NeoGeo, Game Boy, and more. The JXD also offers TV output via HDMI.
Thinking about a JXD Android retro gaming device? Or a Retron 5, to play all your old Nintendo and Sega carts in upscaled 720p HD? Or any of the other consoles mentioned above? Get 5% off all products on Funstock.co.uk using the code: NEWSFUN