Monday, 15 January 2018

Retro Bits and Pieces

image from Game Tyrants
One month after its cryptic announcement that it would be making Sega-licensed products, Retro-Bit finally revealed what those products would be at this year's Winter CES show. First, the bad news... those plug 'n play game systems I was hoping to see didn't materialize, including a replacement for AtGames' tone-deaf Sega Genesis consoles and handhelds. The good news is that there will be joypads based on the stock controllers for the Sega Genesis, Sega Saturn, and Sega Dreamcast.

The controller for each of these systems will come in three flavors. The first will plug directly into the console, letting you replace controllers you've lost or shattered in a fit of Bust-A-Move 2-fueled rage. (What? Don't laugh until you've tried to beat Woolen yourself.) The second uses Bluetooth technology to bridge the gap between 20th and 21st century gaming. You can either sync it with your home computer or insert an adapter into a spare controller port on your system, letting you play without the hassle of cables.

The last and possibly most exciting joypad has a USB cable, letting you connect it to a home computer. I fail to understand why anyone would want to use a Dreamcast controller in 2018 when I spent most of the early 2000s using adapters to avoid it. However, the Genesis and Saturn USB pads will be a boon for the hundreds of fighting games and arcade classics currently available on Steam. Before Retro-Bit and Sega teamed up, your only options for Saturn-quality control on a PC were buying an adapter or finding the joypad that was briefly manufactured by Sega Logistics Service. If Retro-Bit's replica controllers are as good as the real thing, you'll be able to get the quality control of a Saturn pad without breaking the bank or hunting for elusive peripherals.

As an aside, these new controllers may also work with the Mayflash Universal Adapter Ultimate, a handy accessory for the Xbox One which I recently reviewed on my own blog. I'm mentioning this here not only as a shameless plug, but because the Xbox One has a handful of Saturn games in its library (Virtua Fighter 2, Fighting Vipers, Radiant Silvergun, Guardian Heroes, et al) without a proper way to play them. The Mayflash adapter doesn't work with every controller, but with a high rate of compatibility, you're sure to find something that's better suited to the previously mentioned games than the stock Xbox One pad.

(Special thanks to Game Tyrants for the recent news on Retro-Bit's Sega controller line.)


NebachadnezzaR said...

These really look awesome, as long as the price is right I'll have to consider replacing my Play Sega with one.

I kind of agree with the Dreamcast controller. I never had a problem with it, but nowadays it doesn't offer anything that other controllers can't do better. I could use one for Demul, to recreate the original experience, but that's it.

Simon Early said...

Great article. Thanks for the update. I'm after the Bluetooth wireless controller for both Saturn and Dreamcast. For years I never had a problem with the Dreamcast controller. Nowadays, after using a Saturn pad a lot more, I'm beginning to see it's flaws. Maybe the fact that it housed my beloved VMUs made it special in my eyes for so long..