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Good Product To Backup Old Video Game Console Cartridges
The Retrode2 (with all Plugins) comes in its own printed box with a manual and cables ready to be connected to a computer. I feel like the box is a tiny bit too small; once unpacked it is difficult to fit everything back inside again as the cable keeps untangling itself. The plugins came loose, each in its respective small plastic bag. All the products were packaged in a bigger box with adequate protection.
The main reason I chose to buy this product is to backup Nintendo 64 Game Paks (N64 cartridges), so I'll mainly talk about that. The ports have a very tight fit, especially the one that connects the game cartridge to the N64 plugin. It needs quite some force and the plastic creaks just from my tight grip to not slip off. I'd recommend to disconnect the plugin from the console before swapping game cartridges. It is a tiny oversight that the two identical looking buttons at the right of the slots are not labelled in any way, but at least it is mentioned in the manual.
Software-wise the setup works like a charm. Quick and automated. It connects without any problem, the laptop recognises the device most times - if not, a press on the reset button fixes this -, and I can copy the files and the saves if available. I still need to test out if the files actually work as I still need to acquire an Everdrive64. I never saw both products in stock at once, so at some point I decided to buy any on their own as soon as I found them available again.
Assuming that the files haven't been corrupted during the transfers, it usually works fine. I am glad to have copies of my games and their save files. Especially from games that are glitching out such as my most infamous example, Perfect Dark. It is at a point of not booting up 80% of times, otherwise freezing often a couple of minutes into the game, and the save files not being recognised at times. Cleaning did not help on that one.
All in all I backed up 29 N64 cartridges and I had two issues. For "FIFA 64" I had to force the Retrode to recognise the cartridge as N64 game. For a French version of "Mission: Impossible" the save file can't be copied, the software will throw an error after some minutes and the Retrode disconnects and reconnects with the computer. I don't know if the device just crashes or if it is a deliberate reboot.
Great tool for collectors and fans alike
I bought the Retrode2 along with the 3 currently available plugins.
The Retrode2 itself is of very good quality, and thicker than I expected. A clicky hinge, like on the GBA SP or Nintendo DS, that stays in place when opened would have been nice. I also prefer the matte finish used on the top of the lid to the shiny reflective finish on the bottom side of the device. Engraved button and LED labels would also have been interesting.
I've primarily tested the Game Boy plugin, and it fits a little bit tightly in the Mega Drive slot. The fact that it extracts an identifier from the cartridges means it's easy to create backup copies of a stack of cartridges.
Still, very useful to throw in a bag for testing cartridges when game hunting.
Full disclosure: Dragonbox offered a discount for integration work with GNOME.