Retro-Bit has been slowly working its way into being a retro games power house! Over the last few years we have seen the company grow from accessories and clone consoles to now publisher. Holding the rights to classic game libraries from old school publishers like Data East and Jaleco, Retro-Bit has created a series of compilation cartridges for NES and SNES. These compilations are the DATA EAST ALL STAR COLLECTION (NES), DATA EAST CLASSIC COLLECTION (SNES), JOE & MAC ULTIMATE CAVEMAN COLLECTION (SNES) and the JALECO BRAWLERS PACK (SNES).
What’s in the Box
I am just going to come out right away and say I love the presentation of these carts! The boxes are inspired by the original 8 and 16-bit boxes of the NES and SNES, and they look exceptionally nice. Inside the box we have our cartridges with dust covers, instruction manuals, and bonus pins and stickers depending on the game. Retro-Bit went with their own design for the cartridges and the look matches the ridged look of the Super Retrocade. Each cartridge can be played on clone systems, like the Super Retro Trio Plus, as well as original hardware. The SNES cartridges are shaped differently to make them smaller than American SNES cartridges, meaning these compilations can fit in European or Japanese systems without modification!
Each cartridge features a huge front label that looks nice. I was slightly disappointed that a couple of the cartridges I was sent did have air bubbles, but I was able to work those out. I did find it odd that the top part of the label folded over the top of the cartridges right through the Retro-Bit logo. I also wonder why the back of the cartridges are completely blank, despite having an area laid out to accommodate some form of back label. Thankfully each cartridge has been built with sturdy plastic and the boards used are small and well designed.
Each cartridge has a compilation of 3-5 games from classic publishing studios Jaleco or Data East. When you boot up a cartridge you are greeted by a simple main menu that lists each game with a screenshot. Navigation is simple, up and down on the D-pad selects which game you want to play and pressing Start begins the selected game. To return to the menu to select another game, press the reset button on the console. Out of the 4 compilations, my personal favorite was the JOE & MAC ULTIMATE CAVEMAN COLLECTION. After a couple of levels I couldn’t tell you any differences between the compilation and my stand alone cartridge. While I am not the biggest Data East or Jaleco fan, I was happy to find games in each compilation that I could sink hours into. Seriously, who knew SIDE POCKET on NES could be so addictive?!
While these multi-cartridge compilations might be fairly niche, Retro-Bit has put in a fine effort to make them a good product. It is no secret that most games from Jaleco or Data East are not the big name titles most nostalgia seekers are looking for, but it is nice to see them getting a second life on their original platforms. The packaging, extras and cartridges themselves are all well designed and come at a reasonable asking price of $16.99-$29.99 (at time of writing). If you are looking to play even just one game on these carts, know you are going to have a good experience!