Friday, January 20, 2023

System Review: Evercade

The original portable Evercade was released on May 20, 2020. It was just discontinued last year in favor of the new, as of 2022, portable Evercade EXP. This system can run all of the games that the EXP can, with the exception of the games that are built-in to the EXP. The original Evercade can also run some games that can't be run on the home Evercade VS system due to contract technicalities. It's not as big or as sophisticated as its sister, but it still packs a punch for retro game enthusiasts.

The Evercade systems are video game consoles that run cartridges filled with classic games on retro systems, as well as modern games on retro systems through emulation. In addition, a few of the games are classic-style games ported directly to the Evercade platform. Unlike its emulation-based peers, the games for the console are compilations stored on cartridges.

There are three tiers of cartridges. The first is the red collection titles that contain games meant to run on classic consoles or directly on the Evercade. The second is the purple arcade titles that contain arcade games in their native arcade forms. The third is the blue computer titles that contain games for retro computers. At the time of this writing, there are twenty-eight red collection cartridges, eight purple arcade collection cartridges, and one blue computer collection cartridge.

There are also eighteen Capcom games and five secret unlockable games built into the Evercade EXP as well as fourteen secret unlockable games (including the five from the EXP) built into the Evercade VS. These games, for obvious reasons, aren't compatible with the original Evercade. However, all of the cartridges from all three cartridge categories can be used with the Evercade. That includes Namco Museum Collection 1 and 2, both of which are only accessible, out of the box, on portable systems due to contract technicalities.

There are two drawbacks of the original Evercade when compared to the EXP. The first is that vertically oriented arcade titles can't be played in their native TATE configuration. If you prefer playing your TATE titles vertically rather than centered in the middle of a horizontal screen, the EXP is your best bet as the game can be rotated to play these games in a vertical orientation. The second drawback is the lack of WiFi. This means that, in order to update your system to the latest firmware, you need to download it on a computer and upload it on a USB drive which is then inserted into the Evercade and installed. The VS and EXP do have WiFi support, so these systems can be updated directly on the console.

The Evercade systems are well worth playing as they run classic game compilations on cartridge for reasonable prices. Blaze Entertainment, the creator of the Evercade systems, curates the games so each cartridge has quite a few gems. A few of my favorites, including the Gaelco Arcade collections, contain games from developers of which I hadn't heard about prior to their inclusion on the Evercade.

As the original portable Evercade has been discontinued, the price-conscious might prefer this console as it currently, as of the time of writing, can be picked up for a low price. If you are a Capcom fan or a fan of vertically aligned TATE mode games, the Evercade EXP would be the better choice. For couch potatoes, the home Evercade VS system might be the better choice. The handhelds can be hooked up to television sets through HDMI, but the VS is designed specifically for that purpose with two game cartridge inputs, four USB ports, and two included USB controllers. No matter which console you pick, however, there is a lot of fun to be had.

Final Verdict:
4 out of 5

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