Polymega and its intriguing spin on retro consoles

The last few years have been great for retro gamers with a vast assortment of hardware available to scratch that classic gaming itch. If you loved old games there was likely something available to let you keep playing them.

Initially the direction to go in reliving he past was exclusively with emulation but more recently there’s been a shift to allow collectors the ability to plug their cartridges into new hardware that will work happily with modern televisions.

Two well known products that might be considered extreme examples are Hyperkin’s Retron5 with its support of ten Sega and Nintendo systems and the Analogue’s NT/Super NT which were designed to provide an unparalleled experience for the particular systems they are designed for (NES and SNES respectively).

The Polymega and its standard controller.

The Polymega appears to be trying to straddle the two by providing a premium package that supports multiple systems but also has its own little tricks too, such as natively supporting CD based consoles. Out of the box (it has an optical drive) it can play games from PlayStation, Turbografx-CD, Neo-Geo CD, Sega CD and Sega Saturn.

For earlier consoles that used cartridges, optional plug in “Element Modules” will be sold that provide cartridge and controller ports. At launch there will be modules for NES, SNES, Genesis/Megadrive, Turbografx16/PC Engine. Each one is also bundled with a platform specific controller but you can still use your original ones too.

If I could get a module supporting the Atari 2600 and Lynx I think I could be all in on something like this. At the moment a 2600/7800 module will be produced if the crowdfunding goal reaches two million dollars so there’s hope.

Once a game is inserted it is transferred to the system’s internal storage and will then run from there. For early CD titles this a boon and guarantees your games will have much faster load times while also ensuring that wear and tear on your precious games is kept to a minimum.

Playing your SNES games is as easy as attaching the Element Module to the system.

If you are short a choice game or two a marketplace will be provided to let you buy digital versions of titles which might be one of the first legitimate way to buy classic game ROMs by themselves. There’s bound to be a few gaps in what could be purchased this way (anything from Nintendo & Sony) but there’s potential if it catches on.

For the keen collectors wanting to keep the experience “pure” they’re still likely to stick with their original systems. But for everyone else who has a good stack of retro games and limited space under the TV this could be a very nice option to look into.

Their website was initially having issues but is back up now for anyone looking to find out a little more about the system. It’s hard to know just how much the system will deliver on its promises (we’ve seen stuff like this before) but impressions so far from various outlets suggest it might be heading in the right direction. Costs will vary depending on the breadth of your library and the number of modules you are willing to purchase but it does ensure a consistent experience for everyone regardless of the games you choose to play.

Categories: Gaming, News

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