Welcome to retrode.org! 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
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.
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 (email@example.com), 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!
German version / Deutsche Version:
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
Earlier this year, we celebrated the Retrode’s third anniversary with a big competition. A long time has passed since then, so for those of you who haven’t forgotten about this, here is finally the long overdue announcement of the outcome. (Even with a ton of work, a newborn baby and lots of sleepless nights, I have even managed to send everybody their prizes at long last… Hooray for the winners!)
Again, on behalf of the entire team: Congratulations to our winners, and thanks to everyone for joining the party, it was such fun!
The Retrode is turning 3. Happy Birthday, Retrode.
This is my entry into the Retrode 3rd birthday competition (Aimed at the hacker award).
Put this together in an afternoon, using an arduino with firmata uploaded to the board and a bunch of Light Dependant Resistors to detect the lack of light when a hand is placed over it. This gave me the idea of naming this project the arduino birthday card, as it acts in a similar (but not completely the same) way to the musical birthday cards available.
For the "Happy Birthday" tune, I used jFugue which makes for easier music programming in Java: http://www.jfugue.org/
The visuals are all processing (processing.org for more information), except the animated flames. Those are .gif images located somewhere on the internet. (No idea who they belong to, and am happy to credit them if they see fit).
This could have been made a lot more portable using a raspberry pi, and could potentially help with other projects I’m working on for university (Such as a scary Doom mod that uses live data from the human body to change the game play).
Thanks for giving us back our good times, and hope you have another excellent 3 years.
Frustrated with the way that Mac OS X handles Plug and Play devices, specifically his Retrode, [cyco] decided to do something about it. He has developed Retrode Utility, an extremely useful tool that allows OSX users to edit their Retrode’s config and install firmware updates without having to use the terminal. Read more and download the utility over on the Community Forums.
February 2012 plug-in prototypes (final N64 version will have different print and two controller connectors)
Finally, some news on the plug-in front! We’ve found a supplier for cartridge shells, and we’ve got some estimates from people who can equip them with the proper cutouts. The electronic side had been finalized a while ago, so we can now go ahead and push production forward.
New: if you want to test Muzer’s latest improvements on VCS2600 and TG16/PCE support, please try Firmware v0.18b alpha for Retrode 1 and Retrode 2. Please find updating instructions on this page.
My (incredibly messy) workspace for Retrode development
Many design and development decisions that turned the Retrode into its current form originate from community input. Today, I’m delighted to introduce one of our most prolific forum members, Muzer. He’s been following the project for quite some time now, during which he has done a great job starting and maintaining the feature suggestion thread where ideas for future features are collected and structured in an easily accessible way. The plug-in adapter thread follows a similar idea, serving all those users who are getting tired of constantly having to ask me about plug-in adapter news. Besides, he keeps on providing all other sorts of constructive input which we’re incredibly grateful for. It is also plug-ins that he is going to write about here, especially the ones I haven’t been able to give my full attention lately. In the past few days, he has been investigating issues with the Atari 2600 plug-in, and made some important improvements to the firmware that will greatly benefit auto-detection of the different bank-switching mechanisms, and compatibility in general. His changes will be merged into the next official firmware update for all of us to enjoy. Next on his agenda is better plug-in support for TG16 and PC Engine. Please join me in welcoming him to the Retrode blog! Matthias
This is quite a long and technical write-up of the changes I made to the Atari 2600 code and how I came up with them. The firmware version that implements them isn’t (at the time of writing this!) released yet, but it should probably be soon. Feel free to skip this post if you’re not interested in the technical side of things.
* Some product names used on this website are trademarks of their respective owners, with which I am in no way associated or affiliated. These trademarks of other manufacturers are used solely to identify said products. "Retrode" is a registered trademark of Matthias Hullin.
Disclaimer: I do not have any control over the content of the linked pages. Last time I checked, everything seemed okay :-)