The RetroBit Super RetroCade Delivers Big Arcade Games on a Tiny Console

first_img2016 saw the release of the Retro-Bit Generations system. This miniature console contained over 100 arcade and console games from Capcom, Data East, and others. Unfortunately, the experience suffered from poor emulation, a clunky user interface, and the inclusion of shovelware. Thankfully, Retro-bit learned from this experience and released the superior Super Retro-Cade. Though not flawless, the console does an admirable job of delivering some truly great arcade titles.Like the NES and SNES minis, the Super Retro-cade is a small system you plug into your television via HDMI or composite cables. You can even hook it up to an old-school CRT TV. It has a selection of 90 titles originally released on the NES, SNES, and arcades. It also comes with two, 6-button USB controllers. The controllers look like a cross between the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo controllers. Each of the solidly designed and comfortable controllers has a lengthy cable, which makes it possible to play while on your couch or sofa. The red and white console also has an SD card slot for transferring save data. The overall design is admittedly dull, but it won’t offend the eyes either.If you mainly played console games back in the day, you may find the selection of titles on the Super Retro-Cade lackluster. However, serious arcade-heads will be more than happy with the system’s offerings. Capcom, Data East, Technos, and Irem produced many arcade titles, and some of their best are on the system. There is a distinct lack of Konami and Midway arcade titles, but we don’t need to get into that here. You’ll even find a few console games as well. These are either sequels to arcade games or are themselves very arcade-ish by design. Whether originally released in arcades or on consoles, each game brings something unique to the table.In addition to recognizable titles like Final Fight, Strider, R-Type III, and Super Burgertime, there are some games you may not have heard of. These include Capcom’s Armored Warriors and Data East’s Boogie Wings — both of which make their official (i.e. legal) North American debut. While most may not care about obscure arcade games they’ve never heard of, the fact they’re on the system is laudable.The console also has both arcade and home versions of some titles. This may seem redundant, but it actually makes sense. After all, Strider for the arcade and Strider for NES are radically different experiences. Most will naturally prefer playing the arcade versions, but the console ports shouldn’t be ignored either. Yes, they may not look as pretty as their arcade counterparts, but they’re still worth checking out.If you’re looking for robust graphical options, you’re going to be disappointed. You can’t adjust filters or change the resolution like you can with other emulator consoles. The only thing you can do is change the image from Full Screen to Normal Size. As you would expect, Full Screen stretches the 720p image to fit an HDTV’s 16:9 aspect ratio. This makes games with a vertical orientation like Varth look absolutely horrible. You’re going to want to stick with Normal Size (4:3) to spare yourself from the agony.The biggest complaint I have is that each game’s default video setting is Full Screen. If you want to change it to Normal Size, you’ll have to enter that game’s options and save it. Having to do this for every game can get rather tedious. Thankfully, you can save a game’s picture size so you won’t have to do so again the next time you play. All of this could have been avoided by having an option to change the screen size of every game from the main menu. Perhaps there was a technical issue preventing this. Either way, it’s frustrating to go through and certainly makes sampling games a chore.I didn’t find any notable issues with the emulation. As noted by others, Double Dragon and Midnight Resistance suffer from choppiness. Boogie Wings also reportedly slows down at certain points. I didn’t see anything glaring with the games I played, which is a testament to how well the emulation is on the system. The games tend to have that somewhat washed-out quality found in most emulated titles, though. For the most part, the games look and run exactly like their original counterparts.The interface is best described as functional. It shows games in rows of five, enabling you to scroll to whichever title you desire. You can sort titles by alphabetical order, by genre, or by which system they’re on. If you want to play fighting games, select fighting. If you want to see Genesis games, select Genesis. Each title has a brief description, and you’re able to load and save them as well. Again, the interface isn’t flashy, but it gets the job done.I wasn’t a big fan of Retro-Bit’s Generations system, but I am more than impressed with the Super Retro-Cade. While it doesn’t feature games from other arcade-era juggernauts like Konami, Midway, and even Sega, it does have an admirable amount of classics. This mini emulator is great for those who frequented arcades back in the day and for younger audiences who want to experience titles that influenced modern gaming. Given the jump in quality from the Generations machine to the Retro-Cade, I’m personally looking forward to seeing what Retro-Bit does next. You can’t have enough retro games in your life, I say. For $60, you really can’t go wrong with this tiny console. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img