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#1 omnispiro OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 4:59 AM

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This is their press release:

UNLEASH YOUR NOSTALGIA WITH THE RETROBLOX MODULAR RETRO GAME CONSOLE

RETROBLOX Elevates Retro Games to a New Level Combining Innovative Cartridge-Compatible Element Modules, Disc Game-Compatible Optical Disc Drive, and Online Connectivity features to Create the Ultimate Living-Room Worthy Retro Game Console.

Los Angeles, California, January 31, 2017RetroBlox Inc. (RBXI) today introduced RETROBLOX, the next generation modular retro game console. With Element Modules compatible with real retro game cartridges for systems like NES, optical disc drive compatible with CD games for systems like PSX, and connectivity that rivals current gen consoles the one console future is just around the corner.

AN INDUSTRY WITH A PROBLEM

If youre like us, you take your games seriously. You strive for perfection in competition against other players, in your collection, and in conquering the challenge of the titles that originally influenced your gaming passion. Needless to say, playing classic games on anything less than original hardware is fraught with limitations and soon enough, most of us find the need to revert back to a decades-old old game console in order to play without compromises.
As such, gaming enthusiasts are faced with a difficult choice when it comes to retro games: experience only a subset of popular re-released games made for current generation platforms such as the Virtual Console or NES Classic, use original game hardware and displays from decades ago to play in a specialized game room, or resort to illegitimate means of experiencing gaming history through use of copied roms and emulators.
RETROBLOX solves this problem decisively by providing a modern, unified platform for digital retro gaming thats also committed to unprecedented modular support for original console game media and hardware peripherals.

RETROBLOX IS THE WORLDS FIRST MODULAR AND FULLY-MODERNIZED RETRO GAME CONSOLE

Whether youre a retro games enthusiast, or a more casual gamer wanting to try out the genuine article, RetroBlox is the #1 way to enjoy a deep and satisfying retro gaming experience in your living room without the mess of wires and clutter.
An industry first, RETROBLOX ships with an on-board CD/DVD optical drive, custom produced by partner Hitachi LG Data Services (HLDS) to support the needs and features of retro game consoles. It allows you to experience the full lineup of disc games for never-before supported systems such as PSX, Sega CD, TurboGrafx-CD, and more.
Another key innovation introduced by RETROBLOX are modular interfaces, called Element Modules ¹, which allow for play using original video game cartridges and controllers from older game systems. Once a game cartridge is inserted into an Element Module, players can add the game to their digital collection, share their new addition on Facebook or Twitter, or play and stream via Twitch and YouTube. Changing games and systems is as easy as ejecting the current module and inserting another.

1080P FULL HD RESOLUTION RETRO GAMING

RETROBLOX natively upscales retro games from their original resolution to full HD 1080p, perfect for your living room. While crystal clear pixels are a joy to view for some players, those who prefer the older look of older TVs from the 70s, 80s and 90s will appreciate a suite of virtual displays which model the look, feel, geometry and tone of these classic displays from gamings past.

HYBRID EMULATION TAKES RETRO GAMING FURTHER

RETROBLOX features new patent-pending technology called Hybrid Emulation, which allows for the direct hardware reading of specialized chips and mappers contained within historically difficult-to-emulate retro game cartridges. This means gamers get full hardware compatibility with every game in their classic games library, and unparalleled performance to boot.
If controller lag is your enemy, Hybrid Emulation technology also allows for the highest speed possible while using classic retro game controllers connected directly to RETROBLOX Element Modules. In this mode you can obtain near lag-free speeds² for controller input, allowing casual and competitive players to push their skills to new heights.

THERES MORE TO COME

RETROBLOX will announce new details and specs of the console and its strong line up of support for classic systems as well as further enhancements and details of the entire RETROBLOX platform between now and its anticipated crowdfunding campaign launch in April 2017.

ABOUT RETROBLOX, INC.

RetroBlox, Inc. is a California-based specialty developer, producer, and manufacturer of next-generation video game related products for new and retro game consoles. The company was founded by video game development veterans and passionate retro gamers, Bryan Bernal and Eric Christensen. The RetroBlox team at large has a diverse background and has shipped games like Ratchet & Clank and Titanfall, digital storefronts like the Google Chrome Store, and consumer electronics like the Vizio M-Series TVs and Roku 2, 3, and 4k.

http://retroblox.com

Discuss?

#2 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 5:49 AM

1st thing that came to mind was the Retro VGS / Coleco Chameleon.

 

I'm also wary of "industry veterans" Gets me thinking of the RVGS, or the Pitfall Remake, or those Re-imagined Intellivision games.

 

I see a lot of connectivity and interchangeability between parts going on here. That's going to be rather complex. And for me to want one of these it'll have to be independent of any kind of server that can be shut-down.

 

I dislike a lot of the unfamiliar terminology that seems to be in fashion for anything new. WTF is an element module? Or hybrid emulation? Can't we like kinda-sorta use more down-to-earth "retro oriented" descriptions like cartridges, adapters, wires, things like that.

 

They're starting a kickstarter soon so I hope there is a working prototype available. And exactly what systems will it support?

 

Currently a box of emulators seems more appealing, versatile, convenient, and reliable, but, we shall see. Maybe this will fare better? It'd be cool if it did.


Edited by Keatah, Wed Feb 1, 2017 6:04 AM.


#3 omnispiro OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 5:55 AM

1st thing that came to mind was the Retro VGS / Coleco Chameleon. Maybe this will fare better?


I thought exactly the same. They stated the are having a kickstarter campaign on April, let's see what it's going to happen with the prototype. As always, we should keep an eye on this, you never know....

Edited by omnispiro, Wed Feb 1, 2017 6:20 AM.


#4 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 6:14 AM

It'll be nice if they come here and read this thread, because, AA is pretty good at sizing up exactly what the gamer wants. We've got people here that had Kim-1s and people whose first console was a PS4!

 

I just hope "industry veterans" doesn't mean they're burned out, stuck in their ways, and are oblivious to what seasoned gamers actually want.



#5 omnispiro OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 6:32 AM

It'll be nice if they come here and read this thread, because, AA is pretty good at sizing up exactly what the gamer wants. We've got people here that had Kim-1s and people whose first console was a PS4!
 
I just hope "industry veterans" doesn't mean they're burned out, stuck in their ways, and are oblivious to what seasoned gamers actually want.


I think every single person or company willing to do something gaming related should come here, read, ask, analyze and understand before doing anything.

If this project comes to life at some point and works, I will be more than happy to get one.

#6 CatPix OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 8:22 AM

Seeign this wall of text filled with technical terms make me immediately think of this :

 

"Whatever is well conceived is clearly said,
And the words to say it flow with ease."

Nicolas Boileau

 

Which isn't really the case here :D

 

"An industry first, RETROBLOX ships with an on-board CD/DVD optical drive, custom produced by partner Hitachi LG Data Services (HLDS) to support the needs and features of retro game consoles. It allows you to experience the full lineup of disc games for never-before supported systems such as PSX, Sega CD, TurboGrafx-CD"

 

OK, I can sum it up with 4 words : "Feature a CD drive". And we have a lie, several other emulation system emulate CD. I'm pretty sure that emulators on the Xbox can read real CD, or that if it doesn't exit, the emulators could be modified to do so. Emulators on PC can do it too.

 

That's a lot of red flags here.



#7 save2600 ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 8:24 AM

Another Kickstarter. Another retro gaming station based on some kind of franken-emulation. This time, with *near* lag-free response when legacy controllers are directly connected. Near lag-free? At least they're being honest with *that* aspect of the machine.  
 
And the Element Modules remind me of what they had with the Pioneer LaserActive:
 
Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 8.32.36 AM.png  laseractivePacks.jpg
 
BTW: the logo Retroblox with the 'x' being all colored up... at first glance, makes it look as if the name is really Retroblo. Coming soon to a years long Kickstarter campaign near you... it's The RetroBlo!    :lol:

#8 CatPix OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 8:30 AM

Well the element module is probably more passive adapters more akin to the Game Base Adapter to play SMS games on the Megadrive : a passive adapter that connect the data lines of a generic cart connector to the cart. The idea is pretty neat as this meat that unlike the Retron, you don't have a bazillion cheap connectors and you wo'nt be limited to only system X and Y.

 

Tho that system would only get my interest if they offer the option to add any emulator to it, pretty much is the system is open enough like a Dingoo system.



#9 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 8:59 AM

I haven't been following very closely lately, but isn't this essentially the same concept as Kevtris' FPGA project?

But hey, if they can actually come out with a prototype (a real one, not a Chameleon one), this could be exciting. However, without a prototype, I don't see any crowdfunding effort being successful. Not after the RVGS/Chameleon debacle. Catch-22 situation.



#10 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 9:05 AM

No real hardware, just renders
Crowdfunding before prototype?
No real specs
Doesn't sound cheap

Best case, in my opinion: locked down PC derivative with a CD drive and a Retrode type connector, running off the shelf emulators.

None of this is particularly unique or interesting to me, and emulating CD systems is better done with ISO files from solid state media. Is there a market for people who really really want to play 20yo Sega CD games, but haven't found a way to do that yet?



#11 dj_convoy OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 9:06 AM

Disc based emulation (that reads your actual discs) is interesting; sadly, your Sega CDs and TurboDuos are ticking timebombs. Dunno how necessary PSX is, as there are several ways to play PlayStation One games. Crowdfunding? I dunno. We'd better see a whole helluva lot before I back anything. I'd be more excited without the whole crowdfunding thing.  

 

I might keep an eye on it, but it's awful hard not to think RVGS/Chameleon, here. 



#12 roland p OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 9:27 AM

I really don't care if it accepts original discs/cartridges... It's a lot of clutter, and doesn't necessarily improve emulation.



#13 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 9:30 AM

I might keep an eye on it, but it's awful hard not to think RVGS/Chameleon, here. 

 

They have nicer renders than RVGS ever did, mainly because they aren't married to that godawful Jaguar shell. There's nothing in their pitch that strikes me as real, though. 

 

The forums are amusingly dead. 

 

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#14 dj_convoy OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 9:33 AM

I half thought of registering to PLEAD they don't simply rely on renders and the like, but I don't know that I want to expend the effort. 

 

Seriously, an all-in-one solution to play Sega CD, Sega Saturn and Turbo Duo games on my living room tv would be useful to me... but if they had that strong of a unit, they would just go to market like Retron 5 or the Retro Freak or whatever. The crowdfunding thing instantly raises my hackles. 



#15 roland p OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 9:55 AM

Backwards approach again. First ask for money, then deliver prototypes / specs etc.

 

Since the Chameleon we all developed a 6th sense for when something is 'off'   :D


Edited by roland p, Wed Feb 1, 2017 9:57 AM.


#16 omnispiro OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 10:01 AM

Backwards approach again. First ask for money, then deliver prototypes / specs etc.
 
Since the Chameleon we all developed a 6th sense for when something is 'off'   :D


That's why as soon as I read about this project I created this topic right away!

#17 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 10:07 AM

I half thought of registering to PLEAD they don't simply rely on renders and the like, but I don't know that I want to expend the effort. 

 

Same here. Without having spectacular ineptitude to push against like with RVGS, what with that spokesdork ruining podcasts right and left with his illogic and lack of details, or pissing on the corpse of COLECO, there's not enough here to care about.

 

It's no fun to watch a car just sputter and die, I demand flips, flames and explosions. 



#18 Tanooki OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 10:59 AM

In hype print press release style at a rough face value looks interesting, but if you read between the lines it looks like a multiple level nightmare.

 

Module this, module that.  So you get a base system with a sketchy wireless controller (or 2?) say like the Retron5.  It's also an emulation box, like the R5 or the RetroFreak perhaps more closely.  Throw a game in there, it reads it, stores it, then you don't have to use it again if you don't want to.  Like the RetroFreak it can look at stuff on the fly and determine the best way to work it.  Also like the RetroFreak it's got modules, lots and lots of ADDED COST modules.  Want to use a real controller?  Pay another what?  $20, $40?  Want to get a Nintendo or Sega cartridge module to use their games, there's another fee.  Want to run all the carts for whatever it'll do...more fees.

 

Sounds like a pie in the sky money pit.



#19 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 12:05 PM

I'll say the same thing I said years ago about the Chameleon:

"Wake me up when there's a prototype."



#20 save2600 ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 12:11 PM

I'll say the same thing I said years ago about the Chameleon:

"Wake me up when there's a prototype."

 

Yeah, or wake me up when I can purchase on Amazon or wherever. I'm done with Kickstarters.



#21 xiaNaix OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 12:41 PM

There's an earlier version of the "Say Hello to RetroBlox" blog post in Google's cache that contains a bit different wording.  

 

http://webcache.goog...n&ct=clnk&gl=us

 

Notably, it mentions a second founder "Eric" who is not mentioned in the published article.  Also mentions support for "even the slightly less popular but equally enjoyable systems from NEC, SNK, and more."  Another notable omission is the sentence mentioning that their patent pending "Hybrid Emulation" system "achieves analogue hardware levels of game compatibility via emulation without the connectivity limitations of FPGA or salvage-hardware based systems."

 

There is also an entire paragraph missing in the final edit.

 

"You, the community have put out inspirational works in the form of new games, mods, and translations, often times with little to no support from official sources or otherwise. Also, we’ve at times been witness to seeing this work compromised by those that would use it commercially without due credit to its creators. It’s our opinion that the lack of a secure, unified digital marketplace for new retro game projects is a key contributing factor to this “retro-gaming ghetto” where those doing it for the love get burned – and where other talented people who would do it for the money won’t venture for largely the same reasons. So, we believe its time for another option. With RetroBlox, you’ll be able to securely distribute new games and content on our digital storefront. We also plan to provide new tools for you to use to accomplish these goals which we’ll have announcements about in the future. Our goal is to work with you, the community, as well as major publishers to create a balanced ecosystem of new and original retro games that appeal to all tastes."

 

Make of it what you will.



#22 omnispiro OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 12:49 PM

Found this on youtube:



#23 CatPix OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 12:49 PM

That missing part kinda confirm the vibe I got from the wall of text posted first : this system have great idea, but is gonna be ruined by a closed system that will be updated or not, and will probably not allow to use a SD card reader or maybe even refuse to read burned CD. At least if they plan to have a digital game shop, they can't allow peopel to play ROM files and ISO not read unotharized CD, at least for the systems that had anti piracy detection (mostly the PS1 and Saturn - the 3DO, Pc-Engine and MegaCD cannot make the difference between original or burned CD)



#24 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 12:51 PM

Make of it what you will.

 

Holey shirt!

 

connectivity related limitations of FPGA

I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean, but dumping on FPGA is not how you endear yourself to classic gamers. 

 

salvage-based hardware systems

This is a dig on the Analogue NT, I presume, but if so, why not talk about the competitor's high price, too?

 

secure, unified digital marketplace

Ha ha! As if the classic gamers want more digital purchases? There's so much talk here about preferring physical media, it beggars belief that someone would use this as a selling point. 

 

a balanced ecosystem of new and original retro games that appeal to all tastes

OUYA 2: Electric Boogaloo

Simple as that.

 

I see that the "will shill for free crap" Gamester81 wannabes are getting in on the action. Will you guys never learn?

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#25 dj_convoy OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 1, 2017 12:55 PM

Found this on youtube:

Man, people really just buy into ideas, huh? Execution of said ideas doesn't matter... just as long as the idea is cool. 

 

Why would you be so psyched before there are any concrete details? I don't get it. I, too, like the IDEA of this, but there is ZERO to get excited about at this point. 






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