LAS VEGAS - Innex's retro gaming brand Retro-Bit has been making old-school gaming gear for years. It most recently released the the Retro-Bit Generations, an 8- and 16-bit game system reminiscent of the NES Classic Edition that had quirky potential but was bogged down by mushy controls and poor HDMI video output.
It was disappointing, but it was one stumble against a library of some great retro gaming boons, like USB versions of classic game controllers and cartridge game systems like the Super Retro Trio.
Innex is working on a new generation of retro devices, and it might have learned its lesson from the Generations and figured out how to improve upon the very good Super Retro Trio cartridge-based system. The company showed off several new retro game systems here at CES, including the Retro-Bit Generations Portable, the Super Retro Boy, and the Super Retro Trio HD.
The Retro-Bit Generations Portable is a handheld version of the Retro-Bit Generations. I tried out a prototype, and while I couldn't confirm if Innex fixed its rendering issues (splotchy graphics due to a terrible HD upconversion system), the direction stick and face buttons on the device felt much, much tighter than the Sega Genesis-like gamepad of the Generations. That alone could turn the device from a disappointment to a salvageable experience.
The Super Retro Boy is even more appealing, and it warms the cockles of my old-school gaming heart. It's a retro game system shaped like a Nintendo Game Boy, with a color, backlit LCD screen and the ability to play Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance cartridges. It features a rechargable battery with a micro USB port for charging, and Innex says it can run for up to 10 hours. That's at least 8 AAs worth of Game Boy gaming.
Finally, Innex is giving the Super Retro Trio a much-needed upgrade. While we liked the system when we first looked at it a few years ago, it's been eclipsed by HDMI-capable devices like the Hyperkin RetroN 5 and Retro Freak. But the Super Retro Trio will soon be able to output over HDMI at 1080p just like those other two devices via the Super Retro Trio HD. It seems very similar in concept to the RetroN 5, but any new game system that can play cartridges on modern TVs and make them look good are welcome. Of course, that will depend on whether Innex can fix or replace the HDMI output problems of the Retro-Bit Generations when it releases the Super Retro Trio HD.
Innex will also be releasing a coffee table that doubles as a retro game controller later this year, if you have $500 for that sort of thing.
If you want to play games on the Super Retro Boy or Super Retro Trio HD, you need cartridges. Innex has that covered as well, with three Retro-Bit x Jaleco carts. The 22-in-1 NES pack, the 10-in-1 SNES pack, and the 10-in-1 Game Boy pack feature multiple Jaleco games for their respective consoles. There are no HD tricks in these cartridges; they're old-fashioned physical releases that will work in your original NES, SNES, and Game Boy as well as Innex's systems.
The Super Retro Trio HD ships in May with a $79.99 retail price. The Retro-Bit Generations Portable and Super Retro Boy come out in July for $69.99 and August for $79.99, respectively. The Retro-Bit x Jaleco cartridges also ship in July for $19.99 each.