The Retro Freak: It’s Freakin Awesome

retrofreak_titleWhen we received the Retro Freak console from Play-Asia, we put our thinking cap on to try and find a way to review the unit objectively. Our thinking cap must’ve worked, as we came up with an ingenious idea – take the Retro Freak to the biggest gaming expo in the southern hemisphere, PAX Aus 2016!

By having the Retro Freak available to play at PAX Aus, it gave us the opportunity to observe attendees playing on the console and gauge their unfiltered and objective feedback. With thousands in attendance, we weren’t short of people having a go. There were youngsters and older players, families and couples all having a go. The overwhelming responses from players was, “What is this console?”, “Where can I get one?” and “How much is it?”.

Play your old school carts on the Retro Freak!
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For those that are not aware, this awesome console from Cyber Gadget allows you to play your original game cartridges/cards from your Famicom, SNES/Super Famicom, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, PC Engine, TurboGrafx-16, SuperGrafx, Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance. By supporting these legacy systems, the Retro Freak ensures that you only need the one console setup in your games room to play all of your favourite classic titles! Hooray, you can finally declutter!

Let’s put on scanlines!
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We love the clean and easy-to-use interface
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The Retro Freak pumps out its audio visuals via HDMI, supporting 720p upscaling, which makes your old school games look great on newer TVs – so no more needing that 20 year old CRT TV! Well, we would suggest that you still hold onto your CRT TV *winks*. The other cool features that will freak you out (in a good way) include; filters, backing up of games from cartridge onto the console (on MicroSD card), instant save states and cheat codes (for certain games).

For control, there is the pack-in SNES-style controller, which does the job well, or if you prefer, modern gamepads such as the DualShock 3 and DualShock 4 can also be used (via USB). The Retro Freak Premium pack ships with a controller adaptor that supports Famicom/NES, Super Famicom/SNES, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, and PC-Engine/TurboGrafx-16 controllers. If you prefer bluetooth control (perhaps you dislike wires!), you can procure the 8bitdo Retro Receiver, plug it into the controller adaptor and use any one of your PS3, PS4, WiiMote or Wii U controllers you may have lying around. Oh yeah, you can re-map controller buttons to suit your style! We love the flexibility that the Freak provides!

The pack-in controller does the job! At least the USB cable is 1.8M!
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One side of the Controller Adaptor – connect your fave gamepads!
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Other side of the Controller Adaptor reveals more classic controller ports!
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So how does it compare to playing on the real hardware? We threw all kinds of games at the Freak, and it ran them without a hitch. We didn’t encounter any incompatibility issues, which ensured we didn’t rage quit and turn off the console. The transferring of original game cartridge data to MicroSD is as easy as breathing, thanks to the user friendly interface. One niggle we did have was with Cyber Gadget’s support page being in Japanese – it made it difficult to ascertain the firmware and application updates required to ensure the Retro Freak was up to date. Google did came to the rescue here by pointing us to a forum that had the instructions in English on how to upgrade the firmware.

The elephant in the room is the obvious comparison to the RetroN5. With quality issues hampering the RetroN5, we know which system we would prefer to use – if only the Retro Freak was as good looking as the RetroN5! If you want to be able to archive your original game carts and declutter by only having one console to play your classic games on, then you can’t go wrong with the Retro Freak!

If you are keen to check out the Retro Freak console, then head to Play-Asia now.

Play Operation Wolf straight from the PC-Engine HuCard, OR…
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Backup the Operation Wolf HuCard to microSD! It’s the best of both worlds!
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The Retro Freak makes it to PAX Aus!
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Family gaming together!
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The Retro Freak was a hit at PAX Aus 2016! The Sega Mega Drive version of Aladdin was quite popular.
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Super Famicom F-Zero action aplenty!
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Time to SUPER SMASH (some) TV!
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Thanks to Play-Asia.com for supplying the Retro Freak used in this review.

 

Top 5 Games Charts: July 1996

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While the music charts were being rocked by the ‘Spice Girls’ and ‘Fugees’ in July 1996, on the video games front, we had a gorilla, a street fighter and a woody toy dominating the SNES, Sega’s Saturn and Mega Drive. This month also saw an Australian inspired rugby game make the charts on Sega’s 16-bit offering. What were you playing in July 1996?

 

SNES 1) Donkey Kong Country 2 (Nintendo)
2) Killer Instinct (Nintendo)
3) Yoshi’s Island (Nintendo)
4) FIFA Soccer ’96 (EA)
5) PGA Tour Golf ’96 (THQ)

 

MegaDriveGen 1) Toy Story (Sega)
2) FIFA Soccer ’96 (EA)
3) Sonic & Knuckles (Sega)
4) Australian Rugby League (EA)
5) Ecco the Dolphin 2: Tides of Time (Sega)

 

SONY DSC 1) Street Fighter Alpha (Virgin Games)
2) Panzer Dragoon Zwei (Sega)
3) Sega Rally (Sega)
4) Virtua Cop (Sega)
5) NFL: Quarterback Club (Sega)