With all of the different methods of emulation around today, there’s a nearly endless amount of ways to play retro games. As someone who grew up with classic consoles and still owns them, I’ve never been too interested in vague attempts to recreate the experience. It’s because of this opinion that I was surprised at just how much fun I had with Retro-Bit’s RES Plus console.
The RES Plus is an NES cartridge-based retro console. This modern top loader is easily the closest I’ve ever seen to the original NES. At its low price of $39.99, the RES Plus is capable of playing any NES cartridge with the added feature of being able to output them over HDMI at 720p.
While it’s clear that Retro Bit wanted to put their all into a console that emulated the NES experience, mimicking the design of Nintendo’s first home console was not a priority. The RES Plus is a little black and red box, measuring at 1.7 by 5.4 by 5.2 inches. It’s extremely light too, barely weighing a pound. Two big red buttons are featured on top, one for resetting the console and the other is a sliding power switch. An HDMI port is located on the back of the console, along with a composite video output, and a micro USB connector for use with the included cable and wall adapter to power it.
The front of the RES Plus has two classic seven-pin NES controller ports, allowing for support from original NES controllers. While the console does come with its own controllers, I’d recommend using the original if you can get your hands on one. The included controllers are a passable substitute though, copying the rectangular design of the NES controller but with slightly moved buttons. It takes a bit of breaking in for the D-Pad but controls are tight and responsive.
One of the most important things to take note of with the RES Plus is that it’s not an emulator. It doesn’t play an assortment of roms like the NES Classic but instead functions like an actual NES. This means that aside from upconverting games to 720p, you won’t find any of the modern-day emulation functions like save states or remapping control layouts. What you will get is a near flawless NES experience. The cartridge slot for the RES Plus is completely snug, meaning you won’t find yourself blowing on cartridges anytime soon. The tight fit for cartridges can create a bit of difficulty when it comes to removing them however, causing some inconvenience.
The RES Plus is a simple but effective product. It doesn’t do anything fancy like other retro consoles on the market but it’s the closest thing you’ll get to an NES with HDMI support. It’s easy to undervalue classic games nowadays with emulation allowing you to have every game created for a console. Nothing brings about such a true sense of nostalgia as popping in a cartridge and immediately being greeted by the game. At such a low price, Retro Bit’s RES Plus is the ideal console to play NES games on if you’re looking for the truest experience.
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