View Full Version : Opinions on Yobo fc3 vs Hyperkin Retron 3

June 1st, 2011, 07:15 PM
So I just recently saw a new 3-system console in the store which wasn't the fc3. The Hyperkin Retron 3. From reading it sounds almost identical to the fc3. I'm under the impression one of the improvements the fc3 made over the fc2 was wireless controllers unless I'm remembering that incorrectly (I have an fc twin but not any of the 3 system units). The Retron3 has wireless also, from what I hear they're IR so line of site matters as well as a probable battery drain but that I think is the same for both systems.

I guess only the fc3 has the light gun but one catch is that only works on a CRT not any modern TV. I think both systems are missing the tabs that restrict foreign games so they're international which is cool (I know I read this about the Retron3 and I think i saw the fc3 referenced).

The big feature of the Retron3 is that on the 3 sides of the system it has two ports for all of the systems to plug in the real joypads from the original systems. The fc twin uses a standard SNES connector but the fc3 was proprietary so that was a step backwards for those who wanted to get the right feel back.

I haven't found a good incompatibility list for the fc3 vs retron3 though. Most links I've found have been pretty happy with the Retron3.

Anyway, anyone play with either or have references to what the fc3 or retron3 can't play? Oddly they're both consistently $70 here in stores and both consistently around $56 (after shipping) online so price wise they're really the same it's just features I'm curious about.

I also recall the fc twin had emulated sound bank and not true sound emulation but I'm not sure about the fc3 or retron3.

June 1st, 2011, 07:47 PM
Looks nice, I might have to get one. Are there hacks so you can run games from flash based carts?

June 2nd, 2011, 04:29 AM
Having seen most of these systems in the flesh, I can tell you one word that describes them adequetely: cheap junk. OK, that was two words...

They work OK, but nowhere near as well as the real thing. The Retro Duo (the one I've played with the most) is a joke at best. It plays SNES games OK, but the NES emulation is atrocious. The sound is harsh and buzzy, it doesn't handle all the games (Castlevania 3, for one), and the cartridge slot is terribly cheap and overly tight. So tight that removing the game will sometimes rip the contact pins up and out of the slot. The Yobo FC thing - the NES-Only console is so cheaply made that the original NES cartridges are heavier than the console.

But... some people don't notice these defects. Americans have been conditioned to simply accept cheap, poorly made products, and just don't notice or don't care. Also, a lot of unfamiliar gamers will simply attribute the harsh, distorted, slightly off-key sound from the NES emulation as "how it used to sound". It's not. It sounds like garbage compared to the original console. For me, the biggest and most obvious example is at the end of a level in Super Mario Bros. When you complete the level, you get that nice ringing as it counts down the time. On the Retro Duo it sounds like a fire buzzer.

I've also seen other weird glitches - random graphic burps, and the like. I've even seen one lock up mid-game (SNES side).

I've not had much experience with the Genesis compatible ones... althougth the little portable Genesis handheld was done quite well. The case is cheap and light, the speaker is kind of tinny... but the screen is really bright and it works very well. The emulation seems quite good. Although, again, the cartridge slot is overly tight, and the whole thing feels cheap. But, fortunately, it *is* cheap, so you don't feel quite so ripped off.

So, if you actually like these old games, and intend to play them, get the real consoles.


June 2nd, 2011, 08:51 AM
Basically everything that Ian said.

I'll add to his statements a bit, however. The NES functions on Mappers. Most of these are proprietary, and have never been released. Many have been reverse-engineered over the years by emulation authors. Some of the most widely-used mappers are emulated nearly perfectly. However the games that most of us wish to play and re-experience often use mappers that have incomplete emulation (Mike Tyson's Punchout), or worse yet, no emulation at all.

Sound is often tinny and incorrect regardless of the console being emulated. Why? In some cases, such as the Yamaha chip used in the Sega systems, they haven't managed to reverse-engineer it, so they substituted a chip in the same family that has been reverse engineered - the result? Sound that is close but not quite right.

Another thing I didn't like about these systems - the pads. They don't "feel" right, nor do they react correctly. Period. Even a worn-out original pad feels and works better for me (and NOS pads are generally under $10 in my area, though most of my old pads still work great - especially after I clean the contacts).

My $0.02? Hunt the yard sales and second-hand shops around your area and pick one up second-hand. Often these can be found for under $20 a system. If you can't find 'em for that price, hit up Atari Age and look around. Watch the ebay auctions patiently - there is always ones that slip though the cracks if you look around and are willing to do the cleaning yourself.

June 26th, 2011, 02:59 AM
I own a Retron 3, and I can honestly say that I'm quite happy with it. I'll give you a quick review of it:

I'm mostly an SNES player, and everything I've thrown at it so far has played beautifully. Both my American and Japanese NTSC carts play, and the FX chip games that I own, Starfox and Super Mario RPG (US NTSC), operate with no problems. It should be noted that the first release of the Retron 3 had problems playing these, but the second revision, with "Tri-System" printed on the package, corrected this issue. From what I've read, the Yobo is not reliable with SNES games with special chips, so the Retron V.2 wins there. I have yet to find an incompatible SNES game, but keep in mind that my collection is fairly modest. The SNES board's weak point is that the audio distorts. I initially thought that this was only in the extreme registers, but I played Super Mario Land 2 (via the Super Gameboy) today, and it's pretty apparent that the audio quality is poor, particularly for 8-bit games. Video, on the other hand, is flawless.

The Genesis board is actually really nice. No audio issues, and the video is great. I did find an incompatible title, though. I'm just borrowing a few games from a friend to test the Sega slot, so this isn't exactly a representative sample, but the 6-Pak (This one: http://www.amazon.com/6-Pak-sega-genesis/dp/B00005043U) doesn't work. It seems the game thinks the console isn't an NTSC system. I wish I could review this part more, but I don't have many Sega games at my disposal.

I haven't tested the NES slot yet, simply because I sold all of my NES stuff a few years back. I have some NES and Famicom carts coming in soon, though, so I'll have some input then. I don't have Castlevania 3 yet, but I've heard that the Retron 3 is compatible (Source: http://www.digitpress.com/forum/showpost.php?p=1795675&postcount=2). Historically, famiclones have poor sound emulation, so I'm expecting that here, as well.

Overall, I like the construction of the Retron 3. Yeah, it's cheap, but it is more than functional. The cartridge slots are firm, but never too tight (unlike the replacement pins I got for my toaster NES - talk about death grip!), and the controller ports are about the same. The console is pretty light, so you can't be careless when you insert or remove cartridges and cables, but I'm generally very careful with my games from the get-go, anyway.

I have a friend that owns a Yobo FC3. The next time I see him, I'll give it a test run and see how it stacks up to the Retron.

Edit: I forgot to mention the wireless gamepads. They don't feel as atrocious as other third party controllers, but having to be in line with the infrared sensor sucks. Most people will find that the IR's limitations render the packaged controllers useless.

June 28th, 2011, 02:18 PM
I just got a few NES games, and the Retron 3's sound emulation is actually pretty good.

June 29th, 2011, 08:39 AM
I do like the fact that the Retron3 has 6 ports (2 for each console) to allow you to connect your original gamepad if you want. I know some friends didn't like my FCTwin's SNES style controllers even though I thought they were fine other than one of my r1 buttons sticking due to the hole not being cut quite right (had to file and cut it a bit myself to fix). I've still heard mostly the same thing which is Retron3 is more compatible than the FC, I think folks are saying it's actually some sort of nintendo on a chip (FPGA actual emulation) which makes it better than the emulated units with presaved sounds, etc. That's a bit of speculation though. I asked one store manager about it but he obviously talks more than he plays so he wasn't familiar with the system at all unfortunately. I just wish local stores would be better prices. Here they're all $79 which sucks when like I said, I can pretty much find several sources online for $59 including the shipping price.

Yes the real deal is the best (except for foreign/region coded carts) but for me I sometimes don't like having a party with drunks or kids playing on my "collectible" hardware vs something that I can replace easier. Actually I'm really thinking of getting one as a gift for my brother in the military. Not that they have a huge amount of time for R&R but if I could get him one console (space saver) that plays anyones games and is replaceable I consider it a good idea. I'll grab myself one probably, I really wanted the FC3 but this one does sound better. I do have all the original consoles but the wife doesn't like them all out even though I thought it was pretty cool and fancy conversation piece (I mean who doesn't smile seeing an NES light gun).

June 29th, 2011, 05:46 PM
I might have to look into the Retcon 3. IF it works for the games I play, it might be easier/more convenient than using my collectible hardware - changing things all the time, etc.

So far as SNES emulation, I seem to remember reading something about one of the special chips being available to use in an FPGA-style SNES-on-a-Chip. Probably on Retrousb.com. If they've implemented such a thing on the Retcon, that's really cool - but I'd be curious if htey found a source for the proprietary chips, or if they're pulling apart systems to source them. Has anyone seen the inside of them?

June 30th, 2011, 03:33 PM
I tried opening my Retron up, and it seems like I'm missing some screws somewhere because it doesn't want to give up the goods. I think I saw a picture of the insides somewhere on the net, but I can't remember where.

Now that I've played it a bit, I have a better idea of how it handles. My only complaints are that the SNES's sound emulation is not that great (really noticeable when using the Super Gameboy as you're dealing with 8 bit at that point), you need to guide the carts into the slots a little (but it's nothing ridiculous), and the console is a little flimsy. Once again, if you're not being rough with your games, it shouldn't be a problem.

I actually fixed the problem I was having with the Genesis port. There is a region switch on the back (marked O/J), and clicking that over allowed me to play the 6-Pak with no problems. I also got a Game Genie for the SNES, and the Retron takes it perfectly. I also managed to get a Famicom to NES converter and tested out some Fami games, which work splendidly. No word on PAL yet, but it's probably the same as if you tried to play any PAL games on the original NTSC systems.