Got a Retro Bit Generations since the NES mini was sold out.
I had the same problem as many people when it came to the Nes Mini, I just could not seem to get my hands on one. Eventually, I decided it was time to give up for a while. The Retro Bit Generations had been advertised to come out around the same time. and I had followed this release for a while. I decided to give it a shot while I was waiting since it was quite the deal with 80-100 games being advertised (ultimately released at 100) for around $60. Since I picked it up, I thought now was a great time for a Retro Bit Generations review.
A multitude of systems are featured on the Generations. Nes, SNES, Genesis, Arcade, and even Gameboy games are featured. None of these are first party titles like Mario or Sonic obviously, but there are some stellar companies featured like Capcom, Jaleco, Irem and Data East. Well to be fair there is only one Data East game included, which is Ring King. I can only assume the deal fell through at the last moment because there are also some, what I can only call “Indie” titles that seem to pad the game list. My speculation would be that the Data East deal did not work out, and Retro Bit scrambled to fill the list.
The Hardware Seems to be Well Made
The console itself is small and well equipped. 2 USB ports on front for controllers, and on the back we have power, AV out, and HDMI out. That is one of the large benefits to the Retro Bit Generations. You can play in HD via the HDMI out, or use a CRT with the AV out for a classic experience. Obviously the AV can also hook up to an HDTV, but it will look quite rough.
Included with the console are 2 controllers, power adapter, and AV cables. If you want to use the HDMI, then an additional cable must be purchased. The 2 controllers are actually quite good quality, styled after the Genesis 6 button controller. Retro Bit actually makes replacement controllers for the original Genesis console, so I feel they just hacked the connector off and swapped it for USB. More than enough buttons are available for all games included, but it does feel a little odd for playing Super Nintendo games when looking for the shoulder buttons. Another flaw to note is the select button is mapped to the mode button by default when playing Gameboy games. This really caused a problem for me in one game in particular, Avenging Spirit. The problem here is the mode button is very easy to bump, causing your ghost to leave the possessed character. Since the character will die when leaving in this way, it can leave you in a jam. One last thing to note about controllers is that the included are the only ones that seem to work with the console. I tried a few different USB controllers that would not function at all. Just something to keep in mind.
Now let’s talk about some games.
There really are some gems on this little console. Some of these are games have never even had a US release until they were featured on the Retro Bit Generations. One of these would be Holy Diver, a NES game that actually has a large following even though it was never released here. Supposedly it is based on the song Holy Diver by the band Dio, and boy is it difficult! I made it about 2 levels in and gave up.
Plenty of other great game as are included and pretty much every genre is covered. For platformers, we have notable games like Ghost n’ Goblins, Bionic Command, and Astyanax. Shooters would be the largest genre with 1942, Super Earth Defense Force, and R-Type 3 to name a few. Of course, a lot of these are arcade games so the beat em’ up genre is well represented. There are even two fishing games on this unit! All is looking good here in this Retro Bit Generations review. For a full game list click here.
It’s not all good however…
No that image above is not an accident, this is actually the worst mistake on the unit. This is where our Retro Bit Generations review begins to go downhill. That is actually what comes up when the game Varth Operation Thunderstorm is chosen. I can only assume that the arcade game had the monitor flipped so it was taller than wide, like many older shooters were, and the Generations was not set to flip it during programming. Game is fully playable though.
Unfortunately there is more. With all of these included consoles, this is obviously an emulator box. That being said, some of the emulation is better than others. The NES is very good, and the Gameboy is nearly perfect, which is a great thing to hear in our review of the Retro Bit Generations. I actually played all the way through Avenging Spirit and it was great. Unfortunately the SNES emulation is a little rough. Sound is decent, just mainly some slow down issues. I noticed this the most when trying to play the Ignition Factor with some slowdown issues.
Lastly there are some games no one has ever heard of like the aforementioned Lawn Mower. Many of these are clones of other popular games like Donkey Kong, Flappy Bird, etc. One game that was notable is Mr. Bloopy. This is allegedly a game that was designed for the SNES in the 90’s and never released. (Learn more)
The Retro Bit Generations is a pretty decent package for the price. Yes there may be some short comings, and even some blatant oversights, but it really is a good value. Especially since some games can be quite pricey on their own. Knights of the Round (SNES Version) on its own runs around $100. (See on ebay). Even getting an import of Holy Diver sits around $100 (see on ebay). Those two themselves would cost more than triple this unit. After going fully through the Retro Bit Generations review would I recommend it to people? Yes, but mainly if you played some of these games back when they were popular. It may be hard for someone that had never really had experience with these games before to get into them. For those, I would say hold out for a NES Classic.