Cooler Master shows off programmable, mini arcade machine that sits on your desk

Cooler Master Retro Display
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Cooler Master has a lot of intriguing prototypes and upcoming products at its Computex 2024 booth. But somewhere between the 57-inch curved monitor, the chassis that looks like a 1960s briefcase and the MasterHUB modular streaming console, a tiny device caught my eye. The Retro Screen looks like an old arcade machine was hit with shrink ray and then given a Cooler Master black and purple design aesthetic. 

The Retro Screen is a prototype so it's still very much under development and may never come to market.  But what a fascinating concept design it is! The device has a colorful full HD display, a tiny thumb stick, four purple game buttons and some menu buttons. It's about the size of a bobble-head doll.

On the screen, there's an app menu showing various icons, one of which is Spotify. In theory, you could not only play games on the Retro Screen, but also launch a music player or another function such as a clock or a photo viewer. 

Cooler Master reps didn't share the type of processor the Retro Screen uses, but they did say that it employs a proprietary operating system that they created. If it comes to market, programmers will be able to write apps for it to handle all kinds of tasks, including gaming. 

Despite what its name might imply, the Retro Screen will not come with an aracde emulator, a Cooler Master rep said. Instead, the company will have to have games that you can install which are legally licensed or made by the community.

The software on the demo unit at the booth didn't do much. After hitting one of the buttons, the look of the menu changed slightly, but I wasn't able to fire up any of the apps and try them. 

Cooler Master Retro Display

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

However, the buttons and joystick had a nice feel to them. And the screen seemed pretty bright and colorful.. The Retro Screen joystick and buttons aren't big, but they are large enough for an adult to use. The entire device is much larger and likely more usable than one of My Arcade's Micro Players, which do have officially-licensed arcade games on them but are so small that the joystick would fit in a Barbie's hand.

The Retro Screen also has Bluetooth connectivity. So we an imagine it being able to pair with an external peripheral or a speaker. Or perhaps it can be the speaker. 

In addition to the Retro Screen, Cooler Master had another prototype, the Vuenex Display Speaker, at its booth. This diminutive device has a similarly-sized HD display to the Retro Screen and it sports the same UI. However, it doesn't have the joystick or buttons needed to play games.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The Vuenex Display Speaker looks more like a smart speaker / clock that would live on your desk or your night stand than the Retro Screen. But either device seems like it could be a fun desktop companion.

We don't know whether either the Retro Screen or the Vuenex Display Speaker will come out in their current forms or ever. Given that they are prototypes, we'd expect to see some changes in a potential final product.

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch is Tom's Hardware's editor-in-chief. When he's not playing with the latest gadgets at work or putting on VR helmets at trade shows, you'll find him rooting his phone, taking apart his PC or coding plugins. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram developed many real-world benchmarks, including our laptop battery test.