Tuesday, April 20, 2021
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The RetroArch Team Is Developing a Cartridge Adapter

The team behind RetroArch is working on a cartridge adapter, making it easier than ever to play retro games.

RetroArch physical console

You already know RetroArch as the emulation frontend that lets you play your favorite retro games on newer platforms. Now, the team behind RetroArch is working on a cartridge adapter, which will make it possible to plug-and-play original old-school games.

Changing Retro Gaming for the Better

In a post on the Libretro blog, the RetroArch team outlined the RetroArch Open Hardware project, a cartridge adapter that works with the RetroArch software. You can simply plug a cartridge into the adapter, connect it to the device of your choice, and then boot up the game—it will act just like a typical console.

Of course, similar products exist (like the Retrode), but even the RetroArch team acknowledged that these products are either no longer in production, are constantly out of stock, or are extremely expensive. Plus, the products’ developers typically don’t release its specs either, making it difficult for anyone to make their own.

N64 cartridge reader RetroArch

Image Credit: RetroArch

That said, there’s really no easy way to dump ROMs from the games you legally own right now, which is more than enough to discourage users from trying. However, the RetroArch Open Hardware project hopes to change this.

Not only is the RetroArch team making the adapter’s model simple enough for someone to replicate, but making this an open hardware project will allow other storefronts to sell the same (or a similar) product. Anyone will be able to get their hands on it, bringing a massive improvement to the retro gaming scene.

Related: Revive Classic Nintendo DS Games on Linux With Emulation

How the Cartridge Reader Will Work

You can plug the adapter into a PC (or another device) using a USB-C cable. The device’s operating system will then recognize the adapter as a USB Mass Storage Device. You simply have to plug a cartridge into the adapter to start playing.

RetroArch cartridge reader

Image Credit: RetroArch

While the RetroArch team presented a prototype for an N64 cartridge reader, we can likely expect it to support other cartridges in the future.

When Can We Expect the RetroArch Adapter?

The RetroArch team hasn’t mentioned any official release date for the project, but it’s definitely something to look forward to.

In the end, the RetroArch team just wants users to be able to “interface with the games media they’ve bought for all these decades and just being able to make it work with the software they’re already using.”

It’s a goal that will help everyone play old games on new devices, whether they’re technically-savvy or not.

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