Retron 77 an Atari 2600 with HDMI

At E3 this year Hyperkin, manufacturer of the Retron 5 as well as many other retro emulators and peripherals, showed the Retron 77 (R77).  The R77 plays original Atari cartridges and outputs via HDMI, solving one of the greatest first-world challenges of our time.

The Hyperkin Retron 77. All images courtesy of cnet.com, please visit their hands-on with the Retron 77.

The Hyperkin Retron 77. All images courtesy of cnet.com, please visit their hands-on with the Retron 77.

When I recently re-configured my gaming rig, one of the biggest problems was how to accommodate consoles made in the radio frequency (RF) days. The best solution, short of modding, is to run them through a VCR, all of which still have RF inputs, but output in composite.  These days, even finding a TV with composite inputs is difficult, but there are adapters that are readily available.

Note the similar shell case. More of a nod to their internal aesthetic, then re-using molds.

Note the similar shell case. More of a nod to their internal aesthetic, then re-using molds.

What the Retron 77 will allow is plugging your old carts into the unit, plugging the unit into your HDMI TV and then riding the Activision rainbow all night long.

A fine package. Image courtesy of CNET.

A fine package. Image courtesy of CNET.

I suspect the US price will be $77, and on E-bay through re-sellers here in Australia about $139 to $159, a fairly low price -- given the high barrier to entry being the small market limited to owners of original Atari games.

So the question is, for that price, are there enough good Atari 2600 games worth playing?  Well, if this was an all out Atari Retron 3, covering Atari 2600, 5200 and 7800, I'd say that for anyone this is a no-brainer. But, since it is covering 2600, only you'd only want to pick one up if you had direct prior experience.

For me, it's worth it. For games such as River Raid, Chopper Command, Pac-Mac, Fishing Derby, Freeway, Space Invaders, Pinball and Ice Hockey alone I'd gladly invest in the 77.

- Phil Fogg