Welcome to, the community portal for the Retrode

The Retrode 2 in good company

Welcome to! On this website, we will collect all things useful and fun around the Retrode, the world’s bestest USB adapter for vintage video games. Expect the following and more to show up in the near future:

  • User Stories. We have a growing team of editors who will take care of user-provided content. Do you have a retro-gaming project that you want to share? Tutorials, other useful bits of information? We’ll do our best to feature them on this website. Just drop a line to, and make sure to include as much information as possible. If you have pictures and/or a video, don’t forget to include them!
  • Documentation Repository. We keep on extending our collection of documentation about the Retrode, including troubleshooting hints, how-tos and lots of useful information about your Retrode.
  • Community Forum. Once again, [lulemurfan] built us a nice forum. Meet your fellow Retrode enthusiasts in here!
  • Development Blog / General Announcements. As always, we will blog about the latest news and behind-the-scenes stuff.

If you have never heard of the Retrode, or are interested in buying one, make sure to check out the new product site, retrode.COM!

Note: As of December 2011, some information provided on this website still refers to the original Retrode and may no longer be valid for the current model. Please give us some time to get everything up to date.

The USB part of the Retrode firmware is based on the LUFA library by Dean Camera (license). Thanks Dean for this fine piece of code!

Retrode user develops NES plug-in

This just in: Regular contributor Wannado, over at the Retrode forums, just announced that he has been able to read NES cartridges through his self-built plug-in. We’re looking into ways for you to get your own NES plug-ins too, and to factor his firmware modifications into the next update.

That’s all, folks!

As of Summer 2013, we have stopped producing the Retrode and its accessories. If you want one, get one while our stock lasts – we still have a bunch of everything but no new ones will be made. Why? Because by “we” I really mean “I”, and I have taken on a full-time faculty position that is every bit as time-consuming as it is rewarding on a personal and professional level.
Of course, we’ll continue to provide user support through the usual channels, and the developer team will keep improving the features through occasional firmware updates.

Business folks – if you want to produce your own Retrodes (starts making sense at about 1000 units per batch), please let me know.

Thanks to all customers and contributors for your support!
Matthias Hullin


Simply put, Retrode fan [crazy2001] has been hard at work to bring support for the V.Smile series of learning consoles

(V.Smile, V.Smile Motion and V.Smile Baby) to the Retrode.

Wiring and notes about this plugin are available HERE

vsmile_front vsmile_back vsmile-kl

OUYA + Retrode + N64 plug-in = success!

This just in from our old friend Hunter Davis: a video demoing the Retrode with N64 plug-in on an OUYA running Mupen64 with minimum adjustments to the factory configuration. Read his blog post with detailed steps here… It seems that Mupen64’s sound is still a bit shaky, but experience tells us we can expect some massive performance improvements among available emulators very soon. Fun fun fun!

World’s Smallest Multi-Cartridge Console

Quite a while back, I set out to squeeze a Raspberry Pi into my Retrode, aiming to combine both into what I believe is the "World’s Smallest Multi-Cartridge Console"… (feel free to convince me otherwise)

Lots of things happened in the meantime, so it was only last week that I finally managed to wrap everything up. And, you know what? Assuming you are kind enough to ignore my non-existent Linux chops, everything worked out quite nicely. I will provide the exact wiring of the USB connection as soon as I find the time for it (which, as you know all too well by now, doesn’t mean that it is ever going to happen ;))

On the software side, I prepared an SD card with RetroPie/Emulation Station as detailed in this excellent tutorial. Note that I used my other, still intact RasPi for this task, since the hacked one lacks the ethernet connection and hence cannot connect to package managers etc. Once I had plugged the SD card over into my FrankenPi, I found the configuration files for RetroArch (for SNES emulation) and DGEN (for Mega Drive emulation) and filled in the controller axes and buttons as the retroarch-joyconfig tool told me to. I also had to remove some controller bindings that caused RetroArch to save and retrieve freeze states on button presses. As for SRAM (savegames) RetroArch apparently looks for an SRM file in the same directory as the ROM file (ideal for our purpose); DGEN expects a weird and undocumented completely extensionless file in ~/.dgen/ram or so (I’m writing this up from memory; will have to check). My current proof-of-concept solution is based on an udev rule that watches for Retrode connection activity, and a bash script containing an endless loop that watches out for news from udev, mounts the Retrode, does some SRAM-file copying if needed, and starts up either the SNES or Sega emulator.

Needless to say, the software side is no different if you connect the Retrode to a Raspberry Pi as an external device. However, I am convinced that anyone with the slightest bit of Linux knowledge will easily do a much better job at tying everything together.

And now, here is the video:

Important firmware update for SMS plug-in

After some users reported trouble accessing their SMS cartridges, I took the opportunity to update the firmware to the latest version of Dean Camera’s USB library LUFA, and get a few other long-overdue items off my todo list. I highly recommend all SMS plug-in users to update their Retrodes to firmware v0.18c-alpha3 or later, even if you have not experienced any problems so far. As always, please find the latest files and updating instructions on the firmware page.

A personal message

Update (March 22, 2013): We’re back! So the “a few weeks” turned out to be exactly 10 weeks and 2 days. Absolutely worth it — thank you for your patience. Matthias

Dear Retrode fans, German version / Deutsche Version

Not the kind of message you’d quite expect to hear from me these days: this is to inform you that I have decided to take “a few weeks” sabbatical from the Retrode. The reason is simply that I am overworked. My regular job in computer graphics research currently demands 80-90 hours per week (important project deadlines approaching until mid-February), and I feel that I really need to see my wife and my 2-month-old baby son for more than a few minutes each day. In addition, the coming weeks will also pave the way for the next five years of my work and family life, including another relocation to a different continent. So, at the moment, there is simply no way I could give the plug-ins the 100% of focus that they need to become really great, and you, my customers, the attention that you deserve. I have therefore decided to put all Retrode matters on hold until the storm is over, and I’m asking you for your understanding and a little more patience if you have a pending pre-order.

Please note that this probably sounds worse than it actually is. All open orders of Retrodes (not plug-ins) will be served in the next few days; I’m just closing the store for new orders until further notice. If you absolutely need a Retrode now, there are other places on the internet that still sell them. Plug-ins are not abandoned either: all things that are done by external partners (cases, electronics, assembly) and don’t involve me personally will move on even while I’m gone. Please understand that I won’t be more specific about the “a few weeks” until they’re over. If you can’t wait that long, please let me know (, and I will refund your order.

This message supersedes all previous estimates, including the now-infamous “week of January 14″ e-mail to plug-in pre-orderers. Don’t be sad; that stuff will still be great – just “a few weeks” later… :-)
For now, please accept my apologies and join myself and my family in looking forward to calmer times. Thank you for your ongoing support and patience!

Kind regards

German version / Deutsche Version:

Liebe Retrode-Fans,

aus aktuellem Anlass werde ich alle Retrode-Tätigkeiten für “einige Wochen” (bitte nicht nachfragen) aussetzen. In meinem Hauptberuf stehen in Januar und Februar einige extrem wichtige Projektfristen an, so dass ich derzeit 80-90 Stunden pro Woche arbeite. Es bleibt also auch ohne die Retrode schon kaum Zeit für meine Frau und mein 2 Monate altes Baby. Da ich der Plug-in-Fertigung und euch, meinen Kunden, in dieser Situation nicht meine volle Aufmerksamkeit schenken kann, sehe ich keine andere Möglichkeit, als den Laden dichtzumachen, bis sich die Wogen bald wieder geglättet haben. Insbesondere diejenigen von euch, die auf Plug-ins warten und bereits bestellt haben, bitte ich um Verständnis für meine Situation.

Zum Glück ist alles nicht so schlimm, wie es sich zunächst anhört: Alle bis dato bestellten Retroden (keine Plug-ins) werden diese Woche rausgehen, weitere gibt’s auch noch an anderen Stellen im Internet zu kaufen, und auch die Plug-in-Fertigung bei unseren Zulieferern läuft weiter. Nur solche Tätigkeiten, die meinen persönlichen Einsatz erfordern, bleiben eine Weile liegen. Wenn ihr nicht länger auf euere Plug-ins warten wollt, teilt es mir bitte mit ( und ich werde euch den Kaufpreis zurückerstatten.

Bitte seht mir nach, dass ich diese Entscheidung getroffen habe, um meine Arbeitslast ein wenig gleichmäßiger übers Jahr zu verteilen. Bald geht es weiter in alter Frische und mit 100%igem Einsatz! Bis dahin danke ich euch für euere Unterstützung und Geduld.

Liebe Grüße,