Despite this year’s challenges, 2020 has been a pretty impressive year in the gaming industry. Two brilliant and expensive new consoles were launched, with which many players seemed to be happy. For me, the biggest console launch was not the titans of the industry, but a new challenger who wants to bring back the love of retro at an affordable price. Last May, the new Evercade handheld console seized the opportunity to arouse interest in retro games, and the gamble seems to be bearing fruit.
Launch of the Wild Pocket PC
Being a retro fan myself, I bought a console with a few games at the beginning of the year. But as always, thanks to the professional commitment and the real fun, it took me some time to finally talk about this fascinating system. If you like retro-inspired or retro-inspired indie games, this is probably the system you want to check out.
Let’s start with the equipment. The system is a handheld computer of good size, with large buttons on the face, comfortable buttons on the shoulders and a smooth D-pad that feels good on the thumb. It feels incredibly light and comfortable in the hand. The sound quality of the speakers is quite good, but if you prefer headphones, the system has a slot at the bottom. The screen is backlit and has a good size to enjoy some retro glamour.
Size comparison with other popular portable devices
The most striking feature of the Evercade is that it accepts cartridges that slide into the rear slot. These cartridges come in nicely designed boxes, with a full colour manual containing both a game history and an order indication. It is certainly a good tribute to the time when textbooks were useful. When the system was introduced, some consumers reported that some cartridges were leaking. I am happy to report that I did not encounter this problem, although this may be due to the fact that I purchased the system later in the year. Each cartridge contains multiple games from the same game company, such as Namco, Atari, Interplay, etc. The system is capable of mimicking 8- and 16-bit consoles, but it looks like it will be able to run some games in 32-bit in the future.
The games come with a color manual, yes!
When you turn on the system, simply select a game and play immediately. No updates, no waiting in the middle of the action. The menu button can be used to create multiple save files and to switch between the original game view and the full screen. You can also customize the button display for certain games. This feature has been improved with a recent update, which I will discuss later.
Menus are easy to navigate and the games start immediately.
You can connect Evercade to a TV by purchasing a mini-Hdmi cable, which is not included. I decided to invest in one of them to get screenshots of the games and also to see what it would look like. It works well, and the games look great on TV, but the cable is a bit cumbersome at the back of Evercade. The system does not switch from manual mode to TV mode such as the Nintendo Switch. When the system is connected to a TV, it is completely reset before playing back on the TV. My cable was a bit tricky, so sometimes the connection was disconnected, which meant that the system had to be rebooted and returned to the PDA. I think I’ll just play it by hand for the time being.
Games look great on TV, but it’s not a smooth PDA transition
All Evercade games are currently available on a variety of console ports, from the NES to Sega Mega Drive. What immediately strikes me is that Evercade shows its love for niche systems and incredible game series like the Atari Lynx, a system I never had in person but which I’ve always wanted to dive into. Of course the carts have catchy Namco names like Pac Man and Dig – Dug, but it is important to remember that these versions are console ports, not arcade versions. Moreover, it is not possible to play a game with two game modes at the same time. Since the hardware is linked to the handheld, this feature is currently difficult to implement, but it makes many of the fighting games offered unattractive. If you’re investing in Evercade right now, you’re buying a solo experience.
Pac Attack is a fun puzzle title
It’s not just the retro side, but the fact that independent developers have started to show some love for Evercade. Xeno Crisis and Tanglewood, two newly developed games, have found their way to Evercade, and Mega Cat Studios has also released a basket of 10 independent games. All these games are certainly retro inspired, but it’s nice to see that the system doesn’t cling to the past. More cars are on the horizon for Evercade in 2021.
Xeno Crisis plays big on Evercade
The easiest thing to do when it comes to choosing games is probably that I can almost guarantee that every game won’t match every player. I think it’s great that the selection of games in many cartridges includes niche games that I’d never heard of and that I liked when I was younger. Keeping a small selection of games, rather than the absurd list of games often seen on some game consoles, gives many of these games a chance to breathe and be enjoyed by the player. It should be noted that these games essentially only rhymes. The quality of the emulation is good, but retro lovers will probably notice that it is not 100% like the original. They also play these old games in their authentic state, which means that all retro errors such as absurd difficulty and boring controls are intact on some titles in the collection. You will only see one console version per game. For example, Earth Worm Jim is a port of Mega Drive and the sequel is a port of Super Nintendo.
Foot Fight is one of my favorites.
A Good value
After all, for a good price, just, those niggers were no problem at all. I read an interview earlier this year with Evercade’s developers explaining that one of Evercade’s ideas was to make retro games accessible. On Ebay a copy of Earth Worm Jim on Mega Drive costs about 20 pounds. The earthworm Jim on Evercade, along with 5 other Interplay games, costs about £15. In addition, Evercade itself starts at around £60 and the console comes with a single cartridge. The system is also a good alternative for locating old and expensive equipment. It may seem less authentic, but it’s a cheaper alternative.
Evercade is a system for retro gamers, but if you’ve always been interested in the good old days of gaming, this is a nice little pocket PC that is worth looking at and will show you what it’s all about. For me it’s perfect if you only have a few minutes to enjoy a game on the road or during a coffee break. I love the fact that the games are launched immediately, and the whole physical cartridge thing reminds me of my nostalgic collection days.
In 2021 there will be a wide range of cars with extra functions.
Forward and up
2020 was a good year for Evercade. Since its launch, four more series have been broadcast and it has been announced that five more will be broadcast in 2021. They also updated the firmware, which you can do by following the handy guide on their website.
The future is bright for Evercade. If you like retro, this is definitely a console to stay on the radar. Evercade takes us back to a time when the game was much simpler, and as far as I’m concerned I like to dive into that nostalgia whenever I can.
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