RETRO VGS – a new cartridge based console

So the guys behind the RETRO Video Game Magazine have decided to make a console. It’s been announced a long time and it will be founded via Kickstarter starting mid September.

When is the Kickstarter Happening?

We are launching the RETRO VGS Kickstarter campaign the week of September 14, 2015.

It sure looks retro.

The technical specs are more modern

System Specifications

Disclaimer: We reserve right to make improvements and appropriate adjustments as necessitated by forces outside of our control.


Unprecedented massive parallel processing at bit level via FPGA (field-programmable gate array) with 49,000 logic elements (LEs), programmable via cartridge and/or media processor—the ultimate game enhancement chip!

Fast sequential processing through media processor with 32-bit ARM Cortex-A8 @ 1.2 GHz, 3-D processor, blitter, and more


1 GiB high-bandwidth dual-channel 32-bit DDR3-1600 DRAM (102.4 Gbps) via media processor
384 MiB fast 24-bit DDR DRAM and 32 MiB SDR DRAM via FPGA
1 MiB shared DMA buffer

Cartridge Interface

Durable USA-made application-appropriate edge connector with thick gold on contacts
Media independent, supporting multiple data bus widths and switching voltage levels
Bus transfer speed: variable, up to 1.6 Gbps

Game Controller Interface

4 USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports (standard A) for included game controllers, etc.
2 plastic DE-9P (male) connectors with variable pinout for any classic game controller with mating connector, or similar player-built game controllers

Host Connector

1 USB port (standard B) to host PC or other Retro VGS console for synchronized play

Audio/Video Output

Simultaneous video output via digital HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) and analog intermediate frequency (IF) NTSC (PAL support under consideration), so game sessions may easy be captured or recorded
HDMI CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) support planned

Power output for Sony RFU modules, for connection to televisions without line in

Resolution: up to 1920 × 1080 from media processor and/or FPGA; media processor may overlay, upscale, and otherwise process video from FPGA

Frame rate (maximum):

From media processor: 30 Hz and 60 Hz (up to 1080p/60)
From FPGA: 1080p up to 30 Hz (1080p/30) and 720 up to 60 Hz (720p/60), may be upscaled by media processor to 1080p/60

Color palette: up to 24-bit true color (>16.7 million colors) from media processor and/or FPGA

High-resolution audio output, with bi-directional audio interface between media processor and FPGA enabling flexible audio processing


9-pin mini DIN: RGB or component using Sega Genesis MK II/Nomad/32X cables
4-pin mini DIN: S-Video (Y/C)
RCA (yellow): composite CVBS (color, video, blanking, and sync)
RCA (white): left channel audio or mono audio (if right channel not connected)
RCA (red): right channel audio


External global power adapter with cable/plug included for destination country


Convection-cooled, no noisy fan to wear out

Regulatory Certifications

Global: CSA, EU CE, US FCC, US UL, etc.

That all being said no price has been announced as of today. On their facebook page is a discussion and they hav thrown in a hypothetical price tag reaching from $299 to $399.

IF we decide to have two systems, and it’s still a big „If“ we would have a non-FPGA enabled version at $299 and a full blown FPGA version at $399.

Let’s assume they manage to drop the price to $300 per unit. Add $50 for shipping and handlig. Since it comes from the US I (as an european) will have to add VAT. That’s 19% in Germany. bringing it close to $420. ($540 when it’s closer to the $400 launch mark) For a console currently having 6 games as launch library. That’s a hefty price. [Edit: they will be selling through which should help avoid the VAT if I recall correctly]

So the Kickstarter will likely end in the later part of October. And when will you get your new toy?

Finished consoles will be delivering in the order purchased beginning mid 2016.

So I’m guessing: sometime in the 2nd half of 2016. Maybe this thing will be something for Christmas 2016. I’ll wait and see.

[Quotes are taken from their website and facebook page.]