Retron 3 review – 8-bit and 16-bit games meet present technology

I grew up with the classic 8-bit and 16-bit consoles. At a young age, my parents bought me a NES (Nintendo Entertainment System). A few years later I was rewarded with a Super Nintendo as a Christmas gift for having good grades. I then saved up some money from doing chores and mowing lawns and bought the Sega Genesis.

These three consoles changed the face of the game industry, and while many of the classic games have been given another chance to shine thanks to ports and virtual consoles, it’s always a better experience playing the original games on a console. That nostalgic feeling of holding the Super Nintendo Dog Bone Controller will never go away.

Hyperkin knows that there are many fans of the SNES, NES and Genesis and has released different clone systems to please them, such as the FC and earlier versions of the Retro for each system and handheld versions. Hyperkin finally released the Retron 3 in 2010 and a newer version in 2011.

The design isn’t the greatest, but you do have a choice of two colors, Charcoal Grey and Vector Red. The Super Nintendo cartridge slot sits up in front, the Sega Genesis slot is in the middle, and the Nintendo slot is in the back. Each system comes complete with S-video and composite AV outputs, AC adapter and 2 wireless controllers that are compatible will all three consoles.

The wireless controllers look similar to the Sega Saturn controller, featuring 6 buttons, directional pad and a start and select buttons. When you use the controller on the NES, you only use 2 face buttons. For the Genesis you use 3 (A, B and C), and for the Super Nintendo you use all 6 buttons. You have to deal with using Z and C as shoulder buttons, though. Better yet, if you really wanted to, you can find yourself some of the original controllers and hook it up to the Retron 3. On the front and sides of the 3-in-1 console are controller ports for SNES, NES and Genesis controllers, so you can put away the wireless controllers for the full experience.

The Good

The pricing is pretty good with an MSRP of $69.99. If you buy it at Amazon, it’s $52 with free shipping. Imagine buying an SNES console separately now. That would cost you $40 or more for a used one. A used NES and Genesis system run about $20 dollars each.

Switching between games is easy. There’s a knob on the Retron 3 that easily lets you switch between systems without needing to restart it. It’s very convenient and makes playing different consoles less of a hassle.

The addition of original controllers is also a major bonus, since most of the time you are required to use whatever controller comes packaged.

As for the actual games, it feels just like playing on the original system with the graphics and audio still intact. With Chrono Trigger, if the intro had audio problems, that would be a deal breaker for me. Thank goodness the Retron 3 passed the test.

The Bad

The Retron 3 has some compatibility issues. There are quite a few games on the Nintendo and Super Nintendo that didn’t work. I’ve tested Dragon Warrior and it wouldn’t start, but everything else in my collection worked. For the Sega Genesis, my Phantasy Star collection all worked after a few hours of testing without a hitch. For the Super Nintendo, the only game that wouldn’t start for me was Super Mario RPG, one of my favorite games. The Super Gameboy and Game Genie worked without any problems. After doing a bit of research, I found out that there are certain games that won’t work on all systems, but luckily those numbers are low.

The wireless controllers also gave me some problems. The controller would de-sync from time to time, unless it was directly pointed at the system. It became a problem when I had friends over. It’s better to just use the wired classic controllers. The wireless are just a nice add-on to hold you over until you get some original controllers.


The Retron 3 is a good buy for those of you who love retro gaming. it’s also good If you lack area space and are getting tired of unplugging wires constantly to switch between consoles. I can play a lot of the games, and not being able to play certain games isn’t that big of a problem. It’s also better to buy compared to a used console, which usually has no warranty. The Retron 3 is one of the better clone systems available.

Hyperkin also offers stand alone and handheld versions for each console like the Superboy, which is a rechargeable handheld SNES with the ability to plug into your TV to play.

Grade: B+


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