Retro gaming had a resurgence between 2016 and 2019. But, of course, I’m referring to another time. The biggest names in gaming all developed “mini” versions of their most famous consoles. NEWS? Yep. SNES? Sure. Genesis? Yes, and Sony, SNK, Konami, and even Commodore (kind of) joined in on the trend.
Then, in 2020, there came Evercade, a novel spin on the new-but-old console concept. It was a new handheld that took cartridges rather than a “mini” replica of antique gear. Each cartridge included a mix of famous games from various studios. When I reviewed it, I had a lot of fun with it.
The concept of potentially infinite games via cartridges was ingenious and bold (retro gamers aren’t renowned for paying for titles, especially the lesser-known “gems” that Evercade could license). In any case, the concept must have struck a chord because the company quickly announced plans for a more standard home console version. So it’s finally here, and it comes with a few unique advantages over its portable counterpart.
You won’t have to buy anything new because the Evercade VS (as the $99 system is known) uses the same cartridge format as the handheld. So, in reality, you can play on one, save your game, and resume playing on the other (just as you’d hope). It’s worth noting that two titles (both Namco collections) are only compatible with the handheld because of licensing concerns.
Evercare vs. Evercade
There are a few extra benefits to having a console at home. The highlights support multiplayer (up to four players in titles that support it), WiFi for over-the-air upgrades, and a snazzy new UI. Oh, and the VS can carry two cartridges at once, so you can work on one game and keep it there.
At the same time, you play another or have more titles to choose from on your home screen at any one time, which is helpful considering that Evercade’s whole cartridge line is multicart. The carts are even hot-swappable, so you don’t have to restart the system; pop in a new one and go.
The VS is compact and light, as is customary with this current wave of retro home consoles. Because it’s so soft, you’ll want to leave some slack in your HDMI cable; otherwise, it’ll raise the VS off the ground or pull it back behind your TV. Evercare has attempted to achieve a mix between new features and authentic retro design. One current concession is saved states, but most other features, such as cheat codes or in-game recording, are missing.
Overall, the Evercade VS is a delightful surprise. The cartridge-based concept will always be alluring for some, while for others, it will be a hindrance. On the other hand, the Evercare ecosystem is growing up to be more than simply a gimmick for individuals who enjoy rarities and a healthy dose of nostalgia. With the current influx of new indie games on the platform, it may soon become a thriving platform for new games. One in which indie game developers can not only enjoy seeing their games get a physical release but also reach out to new audiences, which is always a good thing.