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It’s a great time to be a retro gamer. The video game industry has reached a level of maturity that means there’re now decades worth of polished, legitimately enjoyable titles out there, often selling for just a fraction of the prices they commanded when new.

However, there’s one big hassle with working through an almost 30-year backlog of great games, and that’s having to hook up the half-dozen or so pieces of hardware that library is spread across. One Japanese company is proposing a solution, though, with a single console that’ll play just about any cartridge made in the 16-bit era.

CYBER Gadget Corporation, the company behind the recently announced retro freak, is a little fuzzy on the standard rules of capitalization. That’s OK, though, because the company’s real forte seems to be classic Japanese video gaming hardware.

▼ Do the understated all-lowercase “retro freak “ and the double exclamation points cancel each other out?

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Most of CYBER Gadget’s other offerings are hardware peripherals, such as protective films and carrying cases for handheld systems. The retro freak, though, is a video game system itself. Actually, it’s 11 different systems in one, according to CYBER Gadget, although the company is being a little lenient in its counting methodology.

In any case, let’s run through the lengthy list of cartridge types that can be played on the retro freak:

1. Famicom
2. Super Famicom
3. Super Nintendo Entertainment System
4. Game Boy
5. Game Boy Color
6. Game Boy Advance
7. Mega Drive
8. Genesis
9. PC Engine
10. TurboGrafx-16
11. PC Engine SuperGrafx

Quite a list, huh? If we’re being picky, though, there’s a bit of overlap between the 11 entries. The Super Famicom is simply the name used in Japan for what North America and Europe called the Super NES, so systems 2 and 3 are technically the same. Super Famicom games could even be played on Super NES systems, although gamers first had to grab a pair of pliers and snap off two plastic prongs designed to physically block Super Famicom cartridges from reaching the Super NES’ connector pins.

Likewise, the Genesis is simply the North American name for Sega’s Mega Drive, and Japan’s PC Engine is the system that was rebranded as the TurboGrafx-16 elsewhere in the world. Playing one reigon’s games on a different region’s console wasn’t as easy as with the Super Famicom/Super NES, though, generally requiring a converter.

While some Game Boy Color cartridges were playable, in a downgraded mode, on the original Game Boy hardware, not all were, and the Game Boy Advance was a completely different system, just as the PC Engine SuperGrafx was a separate (and extremely short-lived) beast from the PC Engine TurboGrafx-16.

Creative calculations aside, the retro freak should let you play just about every cartridge released for a Japanese system from the launch of the Famicom in 1983 up until just before the Nintendo 64 hit the market in 1996. CYBER Gadget even claims you’ll be able to plug in a Mark III Mega Adaptor to play Sega Master System games through the Mega Drive’s semi-backwards compatibility. Just about all that’s missing, really, is the ability to play Game Gear, Neo Geo, and Wonder Swan titles.

▼ I hate to be the one to break it to you, but if you’re still carrying a torch for Bandai’s long-forgotten handheld, video gaming has passed you by.

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Aside from the convenience of playing so many different libraries on one piece of hardware, CYBER gadget points out that the retro freak can be connected to your TV with an HDMI cable and will automatically upscale your classics to 720p resolution.

▼ It’s like getting new glasses (or sobering up after a night of heavy drinking).

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It should be pointed out, though, that the retro freak is not officially licensed by any of the companies responsible for the consoles it’s subbing for, and CYBER gadget says there’s a possibility that certain games may not run 100-percent correctly. Pricing for the retro freak has yet to be announced, but CYBER gadget is shooting for a launch date in spring of this year.

Related: retro freak website
Source: Hachima Kiko
Top image: retro freak website
Insert images: retro freak website, Wikipedia/Michael Schmalenstroer/JD