Unlike similar emulation-powered consoles like the Retron 5, the RetroBlox also supports legacy CD-ROMs, giving fans of the Sega CD, TurboDuo, and original PlayStation a new way to play their favorite games off those silver disc-thingys you used to buy so frequently.
RetroBlox pitches itself as an alternative to digital distribution and Nintendo’s own Virtual Console service, offering a way to play original cartridge media on modern televisions. The console reads data from 8-bit and 16-bit cartridges using connected cartridge interface modules, then outputs the results at 1080p to an HDMI display.
The RetroBlox console ships with a Hitachi LG Data Services-branded optical disc drive capable of reading legacy CD-ROM and DVD-ROM media, granting immediate access to complete software libraries for consoles like the Sega CD, TurboGrafx-CD, and the PSone. The console’s firmware is also upgradable via an included SD card reader, and RetroBlox suggests that support for additional CD-ROM consoles could arrive with future updates.
Gamers wanting to play original Sega Genesis or Super NES cartridges will need to buy corresponding “Element Modules,” which read data from specific cartridge types. All Element Modules also include controller ports for their designated consoles, ensuring compatibility with original Sega Genesis and Super NES controllers and accessories.
The RetroBlox console also gives players access to a personalized digital collection featuring all previously scanned cartridge media, along with Facebook and Twitter integration for sharing collection updates. The device additionally offers streaming support via Twitch and YouTube.
Pricing and release dates for the RetroBlox and its modules are not yet known. RetroBlox will seek funding for its console through a crowdfunding campaign launching in April.