Rumors have been circulating that the system’s release date will be pushed back again due to firmware issues, seemingly based on a fan’s interaction with Hyperkin at Comic-Con (original story at N4G.com). They may not have a clear picture of the whole story, because @Hyperkin tweeted today that this is not the case, and they still plan on an April 2014 release.
The RetroN 5 multi-console is the latest in the series from Hyperkin. This version can play games from the NES, Famicom, SNES, Super Famicom, Genesis, Mega Drive, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance. The system will have HDMI output, and the game selector switch has been replaced by an on-screen menu system, navigated using the included wireless game pad. It will also be able to load and save game states at any time. It can playback “cleaner” sound using interpolation (like anti-aliasing for audio), but I want the experience to be as close to the original as possible, so I’m hoping it can be turned off in the menu. One of the nicest features is the set of 6 controller ports (2 each for SNES, NES, and Genesis) to give the original feel of OEM controllers. I’ll reserve judgement on the funky looking included controller with the analog nub-looking D-pad until I’ve tried it. Hopefully, it will have microswitches like the Neo Geo Pocket Color.
After a 9 year hiatus, Warner Bros. Interactive is reviving the Gauntlet franchise, with this new 4 player title for PC. The graphics are obviously much more modern in this version, but it retains some of the classic game mechanics. Each of the 4 characters will have different skills, and different health drain rates. It’s scheduled for a summer 2014 release, more info at gauntlet.com.
Now that you’ve built yourself a 3D printer, what else can you make with common RepRap parts and all Open Source software and hardware? Jose Julio (@jjdrones) wanted to find out, and what he came up with is the Air Hockey Robot. It uses OpenCV with a PlayStation Eye Camera to track the puck, custom Arduino firmware to control the NEMA 17 stepper motors, and a homemade air hockey table with a bunch of 3D printed parts.
Details on the build and links to the code, designs, and documentation can be found on his blog: English – Spanish
Steve Lin (@stevenplin) is so excited about this rare find that he couldn’t help but tweet some pictures he’s taken of the pre-release NES brochure right from the airport while he awaits his flight. Not that I can blame him, these images show a vision that Nintendo had for the NES that I’ve never seen or heard of before.
I can’t say I’m too disappointed that this hodgepodge of peripherals never came to be. I believe the fact that the NES focused solely on gaming and did that one thing very well is what set it apart from the all-in-one computer/gaming systems of the time like the Commodore 64, and made it a device worth buying even if you did already own a computer. I know I would have had a hard time convincing my parents to buy a system that was almost identical to the one we had, only less compact and organized.
Then again, the direction Apple has gone in with the Mac Pro having no internal expansion ports and all external peripherals shows that manufacturers still haven’t given up on that concept. Steve has assured that full, high quality scans of the entire brochure will be forthcoming.
UPDATE 2014/2/11: Now You’re Knitting With Power!
Since Nintendo‘s president Satoru Iwata recently announced that the company is assembling a small team to:
“focus on achieving greater ties with our consumers on smart devices and expanding our platform business”,
many gaming sites and reviewers have been quick to say what a horrible idea that is, some going so far as to predict that it could be the death knell for Nintendo. The main criticism seems to be that there’s just no way to port a game that was designed and tested to be played with one of Nintendo’s unique controllers to a device with only touchscreen and accelerometer inputs. To do so would only tarnish the memory of Nintendo’s great games, and would give newcomers the wrong impression about what they can expect from the company’s other products. I would agree, if that were the case, but it doesn’t appear so.
All we know for sure is that they haven’t specifically ruled out using some of their characters on mobile platforms, but there is no indication that they have any intention of rehashing older titles, or offering any kind of virtual console (cue involuntary shuddering at the thought of a virtual D-pad). The apps would be totally new projects, and I believe that Nintendo definitely has the brainpower and creativity to come up with games for that format that could stand on their own. Personally, I think there are a few franchises of theirs that would translate well… for example, a mobile version of Mario Party with a few well done mini games (preferably some multiplayer) might be just the thing to draw people to the Wii U.