Erika Szabo recently contacted David Yu of Hyperkin to find out more about their new console the RetroN 5!
RetroN 5 Interview with
Hyperkin Marketing Director, David Yu
There’s been a lot of buzz for the RetroN 5 and for good reason. Less than a month away from launch, this new console is bringing a lot to the table, namely compatibility with ten classic gaming system cartridges including the NES, Famicom, SNES, Super Famicom, Sega Master System, Genesis and Mega Drive and Game Boy, Color and Advance.
So who better to interview than the creators of this much-anticipated new console, Hyperkin? I got to speak with Marketing Director David Yu about the company’s beginnngs, RetroN 5’s anticipated features and much more.
The RetroN 5 is scheduled for release on December 10 and will be priced at $99. Stay tuned and let us know what you think about this new system!
Can you tell us about Hyperkin’s inception?
Believe it or not, Hyperkin initially started off as a company that manufactured Dance Pads for Dance Dance Revolution games during the height of its popularity. As time progressed, many of our retail partners started to ask us if we could create other accessories and peripherals for other systems, and during the course of looking for a market to cater to, we felt that the retro gaming market was grossly underserved. It was then that Hyperkin was formed.
How have you changed as a company from past to present?
The company has obviously grown with significant increases in production ability, design, and social outreach. It is fair to say that the company now, when compared to five years ago, is completely unrecognizable. We have learned from our mistakes and tuned our winning formulas to become the market leader of retro gaming. We still have a lot of room to grow, but thus far, we are very happy with how far we’ve come.
What are some of the key features the RetroN 5 will have to offer and how it will differentiate itself from the past RetroN models?
The biggest difference between the RetroN 5 and all other clone systems is the way in which the system is made. Powering the RetroN 5 is a chipset solution that has been built from the ground up, the benefits will become immediately apparent when you try the system and notice all the newfangled features such as instant saving, increased audio bitrate, wireless controllers, graphic filters, etc. The number of features would be almost too long to list and the majority would not be possible if the system was developed any other way.
Of all the features, the HDMI output with the HD upconversion gets the most buzz. Many folks use the original consoles from the 80’s and 90’s but are unsatisfied with the graphical distortions when paired with modern televisions. This mix of old and new technology causes the overall gameplay and retro-joy to suffer. The RetroN 5 will provide an amazing graphic quality for retro games on modern televisions.
Why did you decide to skip releasing the RetroN 4? Was this model ever in development? Why wasn’t it simply replaced by this new model?
The project did start out as the RetroN 4, however, during the early stages of development, we found that we could add the Famicom slot without hindering production time or adding any additional cost. We felt that adding this slot would allow gamers access to the Famicom library, as a good number of these games were never released in the US and other countries. As a result, a decision was made to forego the RetroN 4, and instead, go directly into the development of the RetroN 5.
Can you tell us a bit about your new Pixel Art Controller line?
The idea of the Pixel Art Controller line was birthed from one of our designers who thought it would be an interesting, yet cool way to create a controller that stood out from the other controllers out in the market. The controller itself is shaped like a pixelated, 8-bit controller with the familiar button layout found in SNES controllers, and is compatible with the PC and Mac.
Does the team at Hyperkin plan on releasing consoles for platforms like the N64, PS1, Dreamcast and beyond?
For the most part, we won’t say no, as there are always possibilities of us releasing consoles with other platforms. We all dream of eventually getting to that point, but for now, our sole focus is the RetroN 5. As this is one of the most ambitious endeavors we have ever embarked on, our success with this product could determine the future of this company, and so far, judging from the response we’ve gotten, it looks very encouraging. Needless to say, after working here, I can honestly say that anything is possible, and because of that fact, I have been diligently adding my favorite games from the past to my collection in anticipation of what may come in the future.
Do you have any retro game favourites? What were some of your best memories?
There are many iconic titles that I can list, but without a doubt, my favorite NES title is Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! Growing up, I remember beating Mike Tyson only once with my friend. I remember thumbing through the Nintendo Player’s Guide, where it instructed us to look at Mike Tyson’s eyes, which would determine when he would throw a punch in the second round. For two days and nights, it felt like Mike Tyson was constantly teasing us, winking and blinking at us, and when he knocked us out, we felt his toothless grin was mocking us directly.
The type of things we said to our TV set I cannot repeat; let’s just say that we managed to combine many four letter words in new, and interesting combinations, and came up with numerous ways to insult someone’s mother. When we finally beat Iron Mike, we felt a sense of accomplishment and relief at the same time, as we had not slept properly for two days. Definitely some good times.
Written by: Erika Szabo