Retrotink 5x

Bomberman 94 on the PC Engine, via the Retrotink 5x Ever since this device came out, I’ve wanted one, but the ordering times were always horrifically inconvenient for me (being based in the USA, the opening times were always around 3 or 4am in Australia), so I missed out on the first two batches. For the third batch, Mike decided to do times convenient for the southern pacific, which worked out perfectly, and I ordered one practically the minute they opened… in retrospect I needn’t have hurried, because between more stock and less demand, they took much longer to sell out this time.

It arrived yesterday, and I’m thoroughly impressed!

Why did I buy one when I have an OSSC already? A couple of reasons - first of all, as I understand it, the OSSC uses the FPGA as a general purpose microcontroller as well as the signal handler, the unfortunate side effect of which is that as far as features go, it won’t be getting any more. They’re already working on another one, but it will lack the main feature I wanted: the tink has composite and S-video support.

Simply put, if I weren’t so impatient, or if this thing had existed a three years sooner, I honestly wouldn’t have bothered RGB-modding my Nintendo 64. I just don’t play that console enough, it’s not my favourite console, and honestly nothing’s going to make it look good. Between that, and RGB modding an NES, and potentially things like the Atari 2600 (already decided not to, as I simply wouldn’t play it), and my recently-acquired Commodore 64 (as far as I’m aware no satisfactory RGB output exists for it), having composite and preferably S-video support is an absolute must for my use case.

Fuck, even right now, my main use case is the PC Engine. I could RGB mod it, but that’s more money, and the 5x does a pretty great job with composite video anyway.

The final bonus is the rapid switching of resolutions - this was really infuriating playing Chrono Cross, which switches between 240p in the gameplay, and 480i in the menus, and results in a rather large delay with a black screen at each time.

So what to do now? I’m on the fence about keeping my OSSC - I thought I could find a use for it with arcade boards, but I only have the Neo Geo at the moment and it works flawlessly through the tink as well. I’m leery of selling it, particularly if I have to ship it, because of the poor job I did audio-modding it. On the other hand it’s probably worth something locally.

The thought had crossed my mind to sell both it and my modded Nintendo 64, and then I could buy a US N64, have Shaina ship it here, and the difference would probably nearly pay for the ‘tink (and I could then spend those funds on something else!). But I’ve a feeling that inertia will be the driving force here and I will simply do nothing. I guess I can have it for a backup if something goes wrong with the 5x.

Update 2021-10-13: Mike released another new update, with new scanline options… the “Consumer-1” mode for instance is exactly what I remember CRTs looking like when I was a kid, and indeed is a very close match for the cheap tube that’s in my arcade cabinet. This thing’s great!

Horsham, VIC, Australia fwaggle

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Horsham, VIC, Australia

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