Want to revisit your favorite retro games? There are plenty of ways to play old school video games. Whether it’s through emulators, cartridges, or discs, these are the best consoles for retro gaming that you can buy in 2017. We’ll explore everything from streaming devices capable of retro gaming to retro game console clones.
While the Nvidia Shield TV isn’t specifically a retro game console, it’s a beast of a device capable of running loads of emulators. As such, the Nvidia Shield TV ranks as one of the best consoles for retro gaming. Among the many retro gaming emulators for the Nvidia Shield TV RetroArch is an excellent all-in-one emulator option. RetroArch sports PlayStation1, SNES, NES, and even Virtual Boy support.
Because of its fabulous hardware and versatility, the Nvidia Shield TV is a top pick for retro gaming. It’s got 4K HDR support and is one of the best Plex client devices available. Furthermore, the Nvidia Shield TV is capable of acting as a Plex server. The Shield TV comes with a candy bar remote and gamepad, both with voice search. But the Shield TV is compatible with a bevy of third-party wireless controllers as well. I use my Shield TV as my daily driver for streaming video, retro gaming, and game streaming for playing PC games on my living room TV.
- 4K HDR compatible
- Versatile for streaming video, retro gaming, and modern gaming
- Powerful Tegra X1 processor
Although many retro gaming console clones like the NES Mini run digital copies of games, the Retron 5 takes a different approach. This whopping 9 in 1 retro gaming console instead plays original cartridges.
Onboard, you’ll find NES, SNES, Famicom, Super Famicom, Genesis, Mega Drive, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance support. For video, there’s an HDMI output with HD upscaling and a USB port for charging. There’s also an SD card slot for game ROMs. While there’s a wireless controller, you can use any controller you like. This includes controllers for the NES, SNES, and Mega Drive. SInce it’s a comprehensive console that allows for original cartridge-based gaming as well as ROMs, the Retron 5 is a top pick as one of the best retro gaming consoles for 2017.
- Plays original NES, SNES, Famicom, Super Famicom, Mega Drive, Genesis, Game Boy, Game Boy Colour and Game Boy Advance cartridges
- Includes HDMI output (with HD upscaling!), a USB port for charging the included wireless controller, SD card, and an AC Adapter
- Use any controller you desire for any system
- Save / Load your game at any point
- Select the aspect ratio between 4:3 to 16:9 and select from a whole host of graphic filters
- Controller Slots: NES, SNES, Mega Drive/Genesis
The Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis Mini HD is an awesome console for those seeking to replay their old Genesis games. Notably, the Mega Drive Mini HD or Sega Genesis Flashback does boast cartridge support. Additionally, there’s an HDMI output, two wireless controllers, and 720p video output.
Aside from cartridge support, you’ll also find a list of built-in games. These range from “Mortal Kombat” to “Golden Axe” and “Alien Storm.” However, it’s best to snag a Mega Drive Mini HD fully aware of how the console actually operates. Instead of true native Genesis playback, it’s an emulated experience. Kotaku has a full run down of the pros and cons of the console. If you’re keen to revisit Genesis games, a Sega Mega Drive Flashback is one of the best consoles for retro gaming you can buy.
- Includes two 2.4GHz wireless controllers
- HDMI port
- HD 720P Output
- Design of the original version
Want to take your Genesis games on the go? Check out the Segal Ultimate Portable Game Player. This handheld Genesis player features a 3.2-inch LCD screen and comes loaded with Genesis games. But it’s also outfitted with an SD card slot for downloaded ROMs. There’s a rechargeable battery included. But the best feature is arguably its AV cable which allows you to hook the Sega Ultimate Portable Game Player to a TV. This is a particularly neat feature. Thus, it’s one of the best consoles for retro gaming available in 2017.
- A 3.2” LCD Player;
- Fully Equipped with all Your Favorite SONIC Games; Includes Mortal
- Kombat I, II, III;
- SD Card Slot for Downloadable Games;
- Comes with Rechargeable Battery;
- Can Plug Into TV & Play via AV Cable (not included);
- A Travel-friendly Must-Have for the Avid Gamer.
Oh, the Atari. It’s the grandfather of gaming, and the Atari FlashBack 8 Gold is the eighth iteration of Atari’s FlachBack line. Because it’s packed with Atari 2600 games, the Atari FlashBack 8 Gold HD is one of the best retro gaming console clones.
Onboard, you’ll find a massive 120 classic Atari 2600 games including “Space Invaders,” “Millipede,” and “Pitfall!” There’s an HDMI output and full 1080p video support. Additionally, you get two 2.4G wireless controllers. If you’re a do-it-yourself (DIY) capable gamer, snag the Atari FlashBack 2 and hack yourself a console with a cartridge port.
- 120 classic games including the best console hits
- Atari 2600 and Activision titles
- Includes two 2.4G wireless controllers
- HDMI port
- Full HD output
The Supaboy S is another Hyperkin offering like the Retron 5. It’s a SNES/Super Famicom console clone with a portable twist. There’s support for PAL and NTSC, a 4.3-inch screen, and even dual controller ports. Plus, you’ll find a 10-hour rechargeable battery. For retro SNES gaming on the go, the Supaboy S is one of the best retro console clone options available.
- New larger 4.3″screen
- PAL + NTSC Switch
- Play your SNES and Super Famicom games
- 2 player – use your original SNES controllers
- Crystal clear speaker audio, including a 3.5 mm headphone jack
- Adjustable brightness button
- Rechargeable Li-Ion battery with 10 hours of battery life
- Micro USB charge cable for computer USB port/AC adapter
The Raspberry Pi is one of my favorite devices. I’ve created everything from a low-power home theatre PC (HTPC) to a wall-mounted dashboard. But one of my favorite projects remains a retro gaming machine. It’s packed with emulators for a smorgasbord of consoles. Plus, options like RetroPie or RecalBox also include Kodi for retro gaming with an HTPC twist. [Read: Hands-on with Recalbox]
Get in the game: Best consoles for retro gaming in 2017
There are tons when it comes to consoles for retro gaming. Notably, the NES Classic Mini and SNES Classic Mini are fantastic choices. But these retro game console clones are pretty limited in supply. If you can find one for a reasonable price, it’s a solid pick up. But otherwise, stick with a different choice. If you’re comfortable with soft modding and a bit of DIY work, Sony’s PlayStation Portable is capable of retro gaming with emulators as well. Plus, many modern consoles like the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch offer downloadable retro games.
Your turn: which consoles for retro gaming do you recommend?