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When you think of the classic days of gaming, you automatically think of RF outputs or TV/Game switch boxes, and the requirement to have a buddy within talking distance to play a two player game. When you think of the current days of gaming, you automatically think of HDMI outputs in full high definition, and the ability to play with friends and strangers from all over the world. Wouldn’t it be great if some of these modern concepts could have been imported to our favorite retro consoles? While online playing may not be possible just yet, we learned of an exciting upcoming ability to have some excellent modern concepts done to our beloved NES console.

Retrozone, an online store which focuses on mixing the past with the present, as well as a publisher of new software for classic consoles, is as we speak in the works on creating a brand new customized board called the “Scoreboard” for the original NES console, which will permit an HDMI output, as well as another modern standard, the online leaderboard, to everyones favorite 80s video game system. In conjunction with the operators of the internet website NintendoAge, the new device has been in the works recently to bring the great concepts of modern gaming to the past system.

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The new board is specifically designed to work with the Nintendo Model NES-101, which we all know better as the “top loader” model, which was created during the final days of the NES system itself. The new item will be held from within the console itself, and will be able to provide a digital output at 480p. What’s interesting about the model being used for the modification, is the fact that while the original NES Model 001 (which we know as the “toaster” model) had A/V outputs to the television set for a clearer picture back in the day, the top loader model featured strictly an RF connection to make the system more cost effective. So having a top loader be able to have HDMI is certainly something to be had.

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In addition to the HDMI output port, you will also find another very interesting goodie: A mini USB port. While already a curiosity, this addition to the upcoming board will automatically upload and high score obtained by the player to an upcoming service to the NintendoAge website. This in itself will finally allow your favorite NES games to be upgraded for the online leaderboard generation. This service is still yet to be launched and is currently still in development, but who ever would have thought that such a concept would ever be possible?

Being a gamer that vastly prefers playing the original cartridges, using original hardware on an actual television set (as opposed to emulation methods), this new creation is a dream come true. I spent a lot of money on my 50 inch LED television set just a few months ago, and while using the A/V input for some of my 1980s video game consoles certainly gets the job done, anyone will tell you that watching a non-HDMI signal on an HDTV is just horrid in comparison. Even playing my Nintendo Wii with the A/V outputs looks a lot fuzzier than it should with some game applications. Can you imagine playing games like Final Fantasy, Super Mario Brothers, or Castlevania on a high definition television, and actually have it look as crisp and clear as it could possibly be? I know I for one am very excited, and will be looking forward to giving everyone out there updates. (Now if there could only be a modification of some sort that would allow Zapper games to work on the HDTV. I would love to be able to play games like Duck Hunt or Barker Bill’s Trick Shooting on my modern set someday!)

NES consoles that have been pre-modified are scheduled to be available for sale sometime around April of this year. Special thanks to our friends at RetroCollect out of the UK, who are the ones that brought this story to our attention!

RetroZone: http://www.retrousb.com/

NintendoAge: http://www.nintendoage.com/

Official Forum Thread: http://www.nintendoage.com/forum/messageview.cfm?StartRow=1&catid=7&threadid=92557