Funstock has announced a range of (legally dubious) retro games cartridges that work with original console hardware.
It offers products for Sega’s Mega Drive, GameGear and Master System as well as Nintendo’s N64, SNES and NES, and the PC Engine. It works by allowing users to download ROMs onto a memory card, insert them into a compatible cartridge and then run them directly through the original hardware.
Much like the R4DS. And that ended well.
The advertising trick here is that the titles aren’t being emulated – they are genuine ROMs running on genuine hardware, thus bettering the sometimes patchy compatibility of PC or handheld emulators.
However, that’s unlikely to bypass potential legal trouble. Theoretically, users would still be in the clear were they running ROMs of games they already own – and the idea of condensing your retro game collection for a particular format onto a single cartridge has obvious appeal.
However, the moment users download and use ROMs for games that they don’t legally own they’re entering murky territory. Let’s not even start on discussing whether there’s a legal entitlement to download a ROM of a game that you have bought on a separate format.
Nintendo and Sega are unlikely to be best pleased with the news as both actively work on monetising their back catalogue retro titles through digital releases on current platforms.
And let’s not forget Nintendo’s history or going legal on the sellers of very similar products.
“As soon as I was made aware of the range I reached out to the creators,” Funstock GM Andy Pearson stated. “We strive to offer retro gamers every possible opportunity to enjoy the games they loved and the authenticity of the experience that Everdrive delivers is a landmark in retro gaming. We are honoured to welcome this glorious range of products to our store.”
Funstock is the official UK supplier of the troubled Neo Geo X which, incidentally, is currently available for just £150 on the site.