Things We Love: Hyperkin RetroN 77

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In the hazy fog of ancient history, yours truly was among the millions of kids who rode their bikes to pizzerias and arcades to play video games. Yes, physically travelling to wait your turn and maybe play a handful of games. So, when the 2nd-gen consoles hit, you can imagine the shock that came with realizing we could now play games at home whenever we wanted, and for as long as we wanted. That’s a lot of saved quarters. Of the pack, Nolan Bushnell’s Atari 2600 was the king so, of course, my parents bought me an Intellivision. Sigh.

Fast forward to the present day, where I fixed that mistake with the purchase of a RetroN 77, HYPERKIN’s Atari 2600 clone. Now I can finally play 2600 games on my HDMI-only 4K TV, because the RetroN 77 outputs an upscaled 720p signal. These old pixels never looked so good, and the RetroN 77 isn’t half bad either. HYPERKIN paid homage to the original with black fins and a woodgrain decal. It’s significantly smaller, but does feature all the same functionality.

HYPERKIN RetroN 77 Gaming Console
HYPERKIN RetroN 77 Gaming Console

You’ve got two controller ports and buttons to mimic game reset, mode selection, difficulty, and more. HYPERKIN even included a save/load feature, which I use to practice Kaboom!’s at its fastest speed. The RetroN 77 plays all the original cartridges I own, although I only own about 30. The whole thing works by reading each cartridge, downloading the game, and running it through an emulator. While my memory of afternoons at my friend’s house might not be 100%, every game I tried so far ran as I remembered, including Kaboom!, Stampede, and Keystone Kapers.

When it comes to game control, the two ports you get are of the same design as the original. I picked up an original joystick and set of paddles, which worked great, but I tend to reach for HYPERKIN’s controller often. They included a joystick that’s full of cool upgrades. The cable is nearly 10' long and a second fire button accommodates left-handed players. My favorite upgrade, though, are the two corners that are cut at an angle, so it doesn’t dig into your palm the way the old ones do. It doesn’t hurt that they added a woodgrain decal to it, either. You can never have enough woodgrain.

In addition to original 2600 games, the RetroN 77 also plays homebrew games, which are new fan-created games for the system. Some homebrews offer the digital ROM image of the game for free, which you can load up on the RetroN 77 via the included microSD. Turning on the system with no cartridge brings up a menu that will display up to 18 games at a time, and the system comes with four to try for free.

A lot of retro gaming surrounds the NES, SNES, and Genesis, and for good reason, but it’s nice to have a modern device that goes farther back to where it all began. If you want to play some true classics, you can grab a RetroN 77 right now from B&H.

The “Things We Love” series articles are written by B&H Photo Video Pro Audio staff to talk about products and items that we love. Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the writers and do not represent product endorsements from B&H Photo Video Pro Audio.

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