Way back in the December of 2017, Retro-Bit signed a deal with Sega of America to manufacture officially licenced accessories for consoles such as the Genesis, Saturn and Dreamcast. We didn’t hear much about this arrangement until last August, where prototypes for reproduction Saturn and Genesis controllers were shown off at Gamescom. Finally, the fruits of their labour are finally being exhibited at CES 2019 in the form of retail-ready, final versions.
The Saturn and Genesis controllers come in three variants; one with an original plug, one with USB, and a third that utilises Bluetooth. The Bluetooth receivers are being touted as separate products too, so no word yet on if Retro-Bit will be selling bundles. Also of note is that the USB Genesis gamepad will include 8-buttons (compared to six on the original) and both will sell in snazzy clear blue cases. It’s undisputed that clear-plastic housings for electronics were by far the coolest aspect of ’90s and 2000’s electronics – I’m glad Retro-Bit are bringing it back. The release date is the 28th of February.
The most exciting item on show, however, (and the most unexpected) is a handheld that has a striking resemblance to the Sega Nomad. Originally released in 1995, the Nomad was a portable system capable of playing Genesis games. It suffered from a high price point and crappy battery life, and oddly, didn’t include a reset button. While not vital for the vast majority of Genesis games, there were a select few that were unplayable thanks to the lacking button. One example is the game X-Men (1993) where the fourth wall is broken when the game asks you to reset the “computer” (in this case the Genesis) to continue the game.
Well, it seems Retro-Bit’s rendition of the Nomad will be addressing all three of these issues. While not a lot is not known yet, we do know it’s being called the “Genesis Portable System with HDMI” and in the photos, you can clearly see a reset button. It’s rumoured to be sold for just $80, and we can assume the battery life will exceed more than two hours thanks to modern technology. As an added bonus, it also appears to have a PAL/NTSC switch and, as the name would infer, a HDMI-out.
More details are expected in the coming months. Watch this space.
Lastly, for Sega, Retro-Bit are demonstrating a new HDMI converter for the Dreamcast. This seems to be the trendy item for after-market developers to sell at the moment, so it’s no surprise it’s at CES. It’s been touted for a Spring 2019 release, and the price will either be $16 or $29.99, depending on branding it seems. No hard details are given, but if the above image indicates anything, it looks like you may have to pay double for the benefit of Sega branding. Hmm.
On the Nintendo front, we have the announcement of new controllers, plus a new game.
Dubbed, the “Platinum Collection”, Retro-Bit are kicking things off with a Hori Pad Mini-like N64 controller. Here called the Tribute 64, they also include a memory card slot as well as an in-built Rumble Pak. It looks like Retro-Bit has plans for NES, SNES and SNES-Turbo Platinum Collection controllers, with more information forthcoming.
Lastly for Nintendo, Retro-Bit is publishing a reprint of Metal Storm on the NES. Originally released in 1991, Metal Storm is an action-platformer originally developed by Tamtex. It didn’t sell well at the time thanks to less than stellar marketing but has since developed a cult following thanks to its advanced parallax scrolling and animation that pushed the NES to its limits back in the day. The gameplay is interesting too, featuring a “reverse gravity” mechanic that adds a whole new layer to the gameplay. Metal Storm is to be sold online exclusively at Castlemania Games as well as Limited Run Games.