That's because their graphical splendor does not really shine on high-resolution full-HD and 4K displays. Gamers who want to replay the classics on their old consoles have two options: buy an old analogue TV set that's technically equipped for these consoles, or purchase another device called a scaler that can process consoles' image signals for modern TVs.
Still , scalers are “not without problems” for every console, says Andreas Lange, an expert in new and vintage video games at the Computer Games Museum Berlin. Instead, Lange recommends casual gamers turn to the so-called “retro consoles” that reissue modernized editions of old games for new hardware.
The NES Classic Mini, for example, is the new edition of the Nintendo Entertainment System from the 1980s. This retro console is compatible with modern televisions. Still, only 30 games like Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda and Donkey Kong are installed, and it's not possible to retrofit other titles. It is currently sold out and is traded at high prices on the web, but Nintendo has said it will replenish supplies in 2018.
The Super Nintendo, the successor to the NES, likewise has its own retro console with 21 pre-installed titles including Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, Zelda: A Link to the Past and F-Zero. The SNES Classic Mini comes with two controllers and a longer cable and retails for about US $ 100 (RM389).
There is also a mini-version of the Sega Mega Drive, while the Commodore 64 is set to receive its own reissue in early 2018. The 1980s, the crowd pleaser will return with an HDMI cable, two USB ports, a replica of the original joystick and retail for about US $ 80 (RM311).
And so-called “retro-multi consoles” like the RetroEngine Sigma by California-based firm Doyodo promise to combine multiple console models and thousands of games in one device.
Distributed by the crowdfunding portal Indiegogo, the RetroEngine Sigma can play games from 28 different consoles like the Atari 2600, NES, N64, Sega Master System or Game Boy. There are 15 games pre-installed for up to two players, and every title released for these consoles is theoretically playable with this device. Additional games can be added via the console's desktop menu, smartphone app or with an SD card. New devices should be made available this year for US $ 79 (RM307).
Gamers who are a bit more tech savvy can build their own versions of the classic consoles with the Raspberry Pi mini-computer and RetroPie, a free console emulator kit . The Raspberry Pi Zero W Essentials Kit for roughly US $ 30 (RM117), an active USB hub, an SD card with 4 GB of memory and a Bluetooth or USB controller would suffice to start. RetroPie's website provides instructions for the installation.
Finally, emulators are a final path to gaming joy. These programs simulate the hardware of old consoles on computers running Windows, macOS or Linux. Games can be downloaded as so-called ROM discs, digital copies of the original gaming cartridges, from various websites.
But emulators are a legal gray zone, said Henry Krasemann, an attorney and expert in data protection and internet law in Kiel , Germany. Nintendo, for example, has explicitly banned the creation of ROM discs in its terms and conditions. – dpa