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My review of the Retron 77


swlovinist
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Here is my review of the Retron 77. I am posting this here to add info to additional things that were not clarified in the video. I tried to test the things that people would care about. Some things worked and others did not. Looking forward to adding additional things to this post when I have time to test.

 

 

1. Sega Genesis controllers(3 button and 6 button) at this time did not work. Controllers were tested on Sega Genesis and double checked. I got a black screen when trying to select a game without a cart inserted.

2. Sega Master System controllers work, as do 7800 control pads and joysticks.

3. Most Third party joysticks that I had did work, Wico bat, flashback joystick, retrobit joystick and many more.

4. Spy Hunter controller holder and Track N Field Controller work.

5. Star Raiders and Kids Controller do not work.

6. PAL carts do not work.

7. Trak-ball does not work.

 

Will test more when I can, as I have a 7 day training out of town. If you have anything that you want me to test, I will do my best and will. Just comment below. I appreciate being part of this forum!

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It has to do with the fact that this is a software emulator based console. And the software is not written to interact/read the cartridge in realtime like an FPGA. The software dumps the cartridge one time and then goes from there. So no "advanced" games will work.

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It has to do with the fact that this is a software emulator based console. And the software is not written to interact/read the cartridge in realtime like an FPGA. The software dumps the cartridge one time and then goes from there. So no "advanced" games will work.

Once the software is dumped, it makes no difference for the emulation if the ROM came from a cartridge or an SD cart.

 

I suppose they simply cannot dump the contents of the cartridges. An FPGA would make no difference here.

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Dumb question, but why wouldn't homebrew carts work but the roms will? Does it have to do with the size of the games , many of which are over 4K?

 

 

Dumping a ROM reliably without knowing the banking scheme in advance is challenging. I am pretty sure they have a lot of heuristics in their code, and for some bankswitch types, I guess they couldn't make it work reliably. That aside, DPC+ and CDF cartridges cannot be dumped at all, as not all of the ROM is accessible from the 6507 bus.

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Here is my review of the Retron 77. I am posting this here to add info to additional things that were not clarified in the video. I tried to test the things that people would care about. Some things worked and others did not. Looking forward to adding additional things to this post when I have time to test.

 

 

1. Sega Genesis controllers(3 button and 6 button) at this time did not work. Controllers were tested on Sega Genesis and double checked. I got a black screen when trying to select a game without a cart inserted.

2. Sega Master System controllers work, as do 7800 control pads and joysticks.

3. Most Third party joysticks that I had did work, Wico bat, flashback joystick, retrobit joystick and many more.

4. Spy Hunter controller holder and Track N Field Controller work.

5. Star Raiders and Kids Controller do not work.

6. PAL carts do not work.

7. Trak-ball does not work.

 

Will test more when I can, as I have a 7 day training out of town. If you have anything that you want me to test, I will do my best and will. Just comment below. I appreciate being part of this forum!

 

PAL carts do work, at least some do.

 

My test unit arrived today and I've been doing some testing, mostly on my PAL carts (I'm in the UK so most of my collection is PAL).

 

Around 70% of what I've tested cart wise works.

 

For example, I have three copies of PAL Pole Position. All work on my PAL Jr, only 1 works on the Retron 77.

 

I have an NTSC Copy of Time Pilot. Works fine on the Jr (with the NTSC palette of course), Retron 77 won't read the cart. Same for Star Wars Arcade game.

 

Tried 3 versions of PAL Space Invaders, all worked, Pal Mario Bros worked.

 

I'll update more when I've had the chance to test more tonight and might even make a little video too.

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Have you tried the non-working carts multiple times? For games larger 4K, the initial bank may be random. And then the heuristics may or may not fail, depending on the bank which can be read first.

 

Yes, in one or two cases that turned a fail to a success, mostly no.

 

I also gave the contacts a clean on any failed cart just to be sure.

Edited by Muddyfunster
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Have you tried the non-working carts multiple times? For games larger 4K, the initial bank may be random. And then the heuristics may or may not fail, depending on the bank which can be read first.

 

I did test the carts many times. Is there a setting on my TV set that I need to adjust to test PAL carts to make them work?

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I did test the carts many times. Is there a setting on my TV set that I need to adjust to test PAL carts to make them work?

 

Not that I can think of, the Retron should be reading the cart image in then running it through Stella and then outputting via HDMI. My guess is that it's the "read" part of the process that's breaking down (similar to what I'm seeing across the board).

 

I'm wondering if rather than the problem being PAL or NTSC, it's something to do with the bank switching scheme used (sorry I'm not an Atari techie beyond the basics).

 

How many PAL's did you test and do you have a PAL console to cross check ?

Edited by Muddyfunster
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Once the software is dumped, it makes no difference for the emulation if the ROM came from a cartridge or an SD cart.

 

I suppose they simply cannot dump the contents of the cartridges. An FPGA would make no difference here.

 

I get the first part.

 

But if they used an FPGA to emulate the whole VCS console, and it was done with care and attention to detail, all carts should work in realtime without dumping. Right?

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I get the first part.

 

But if they used an FPGA to emulate the whole VCS console, and it was done with care and attention to detail, all carts should work in realtime without dumping. Right?

Yes, that would work. Same for software emulating the whole VCS console.

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Not that I can think of, the Retron should be reading the cart image in then running it through Stella and then outputting via HDMI. My guess is that it's the "read" part of the process that's breaking down (similar to what I'm seeing across the board).

 

I'm wondering if rather than the problem being PAL or NTSC, it's something to do with the bank switching scheme used (sorry I'm not an Atari techie beyond the basics).

 

How many PAL's did you test and do you have a PAL console to cross check ?

 

I tested about 5 carts. All might be bankswitched games. I do not have a PAL system

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So it seems only the ROMS on homebrews will work and not the cartridges but it is my understanding that the ROM is only made available several years after the cartridge release. If you have Super Cobra Arcade or Draconian for example, you will still only be able to play them on original hardware for now until a ROM is available some time in the future. Am I right or mistaken?

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My Harmony cart holds and plays way more than 18 ROMs. Retron 77 has a limitation of 18 ROMS. What a joke.

I get that but how many of those on the Harmony are never touched either? It sucks but it would make me focus on which ones I'm really wanting to play right now.

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