RetroArch – one of the leading retro gaming emulation solutions on the market right now – is creating a hardware solution that will allow you to run your N64 cartridges on your PC.
The 'RetroArch Open-Hardware' project will eventually include other systems, too, making it a rival to the Polymega platform, which is a similar proposition thanks to its modular nature and use of PC-like internal hardware. The key difference is that RetroArch is an 'open' platform.
In a new blog post, the team behind the project revealed that it has partnered with a hardware manufacturer for a commercial release, but maintains that it will still be a "free and open DIY route". Like Polymega, there will be a base unit and add-on modules, with the initial focus being the N64 (coincidentally, Polymega also has an N64 module arriving soon).
Production could begin as early as mid-2022, although the team is aware of the ongoing global chip shortage and notes that "there will be some nightmares down the road".
To help gauge interest and keep the community up-to-date, RetroArch has launched an Open-Hardware Newsletter and survey. If you'd like to shape the future of this very promising project, then be sure to take part in the latter.
Similar products like this already exist, such as the (now discontinued) Retrode 2 and the GB Operator.
This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Thu 13th January, 2022.
This has so much potential. It can finally make an emulation set up feel authentic
So, will this be an actual piece of hardware with a cartridge slot that you just plug into your PC (via a USB port or some such)?
So...what is it just going to dump the rom from the cart and run in Mupen? I feel like that's all it's going to do...I guess if saves write to the PC that would be nice. Getting real tired of my memory packs on my 64 telling me I have corrupted data every other time I go to play it.
Very good to hear. RetroArch being open source means this is a much more exciting prospect than all those start-ups.
They should work with Nintendo and make adapters like these (wireless) for the Switch.
Is this going to be any more user-friendly than their emulators? No? Okay then.
It is a great Value, i am glad that i could backup my old savegames with the Retrode2.
Also great to use those on other devices and port them back in the end.
Also use it to get Mew in an easier way, no cloning with another game or using trickery, just a action replay code on the emulator hehe
Look all I want is an FPGA system that runs all available cores, is a portable/console hybrid, lets you dump cartridges and load ROMS from an SD card, and offers save states, fast forwarding/rewinding, cheats and image enhancement. Is that too much to ask?
I'll be honest and say I don't get it, these days the games are the really expensive part of retrogaming and of its still emulation then what's the point? Let's be honest anyone using retroarch has all the roms they could ever want.
A bit like the Polymega in that it's a bit late in a world of Everdrives and ODE's to have that authentic experience on real hardware
These will not run the games as they ran on the systems. Emulation has already proven not to run games as they initially ran on their home systems and is exactly why I have the retro systems and even a tube tv as well as flat screens do not run them as intended either.
Dreamcast, I'd love to be able to play those GD Discs somehow.
Start were Retrode 2 left off with NES SNES Genesis and Gameboy options + CD games. I got one to rip and store the saves, in case of dry batteries or lost save data.
Omg why whats the point?? Just download a rom emulate it
Major concern is about the LCD output. Recalbox has done a magical job with their CRT adapter… but how retroarch will manage this issue ? Filters? Shaders ?
A real N64 with 2 controllers and the entire games library on an Everdrive will cost you $150-200.
At best, the Switch Online expansion pack will have 38 N64 games you can rent for $50 a year and go extinct in 2-3 years.
Nothing can emulate N64 games, not even Nintendo's official emulator. RetroArch is even worse at it, even though it does almost everything else really well. Read up on why it won't ever be possible instead of assuming it's already been done.
Rakuga Kids, Dragon Ball Z Kart, Bangai-O, Smash Remix, Ocarina of Time Redux, Mario64 Sonic Edition, Virtual Pro Wrestling 2 FreeM Edition just to name a few you won't see on Switch Online 😉
Not really sure I get the point of going to all this effort if you’re just playing your carts via emulation on your PC. By that point you may as well just play the ROMs and cut out the faff. But what do I know?
@Dirty0814 Actually mupen64 runs N64 games perfectly. Even the screen in MK64 works.
Very interested in this to back up my saves.
@Papichulo I have had lots of very good times emulating the N64 on PC. Mario 64, Banjo, the 2 Zeldas, Wave Race, Wayne Gretzky's Hockey, WWF... All of these I've fully completed multiple times on emulator, and loved every minute of it. Even with a playstation style controller where you have to get creative with the mapping of the C buttons (but not completely shuffle everything around like the **** NSO expansion pack) it works fine, and has been fine for about 15-20 years now.
If you can't stand a single pixel being out of place though then there's really not much point thinking about emulation at all.
I'm struggling to see how this would be more than just an expensive novelty. The weak point in accurately reproducing retro games isn't in the ROMs themselves, but in the emulation of the hardware. Surely loading the games from the original cartridge does not improve the quality of the emulation in any way? Yes it might enable you to rip the ROMs yourself, but are there any N64 games left to be ripped?
If you want a totally accurate, nostalgic experience, including the tactile experience of plugging the cartridge in, then why would you use anything other than the original console, maybe with the addition of an upscaler for a monitor or modern TV. If you don't mind it not being pixel perfect, why would you want a PC peripheral that runs N64 cartridges, unless it maybe contains something like a FPGA that does something your PC hardware can't?
@N64-ROX I wasn't talking about emulating a few games at 80-90% with frame drops, I'm talking about playing the entire N64 library glitch free on an actual N64 with an Everdrive. It's really the only way to play, especially with all the new Smash and Ocarina romhacks and mods you'll never see on Switch Online
I already have an N64 and the games I want. Until emulation can actually get the Stadium games right, I'll just play it like it is now.
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