In 2020, after many delays, Blaze introduced a new portable, the Evercade, this is a new portable (that you can connect to the TV through a mini HDMI, the same output that the NeoGeo Mini) with a very focused objective, 8 and 16 bits retro collectors that instead of digital downloads they (and I) want their games in cartridges with beautiful cases and instruction manual, just like in the good old days… and that’s becoming more and more expensive by the day if you want to get the original games.
The Evercade is not exactly a powerhouse with its Cortex A7 CPU, but more than enough for what it tries to do and it’s reflected in the affordable price. The name Evercade might make you think (and anyone) of the arcade cabinets, but oddly enough that’s not the case, the Evercade is a emulator machine but so far only of consoles (a pity not matter how you look at it), of which there are a large variety, you have most of the Atari consoles (from 2600 to Atari Lynx), NES, SNES and MegaDrive. I haven’t compared games side by side or anything like that but i haven’t seem or heard anything weird in the games i have (the 2 Namco collections, with games of NES, SNES and MD) so the emulation looks pretty good to me. The resolution of the screen is 480 x 272 (just like the PSP) and looks pretty good in the small screen, it’s a somewhat weird resolution that might not be ideal for some games, but it’s impossible to make a screen that is pixel perfect for such a variety of systems; It’s worth mentioning than while the Evercade doesn’t have any kind of wireless connection, you can upgrade the firmware to add some features and fix glitches like they already have done with the sound in the MD emulator.
The console is pretty comfortable in my hands, and the Dpad works great as the buttos do too… a problem you might have realized by looking at the pictures is the name of the buttons… so you are emulating NES, SNES, Atari and MD games and instead of following the name assignation of ANY of those systems you go and follow the Xbox which is different and this, of course, cause problems because when a game tells you to push button A, you actually have to press X if it’s a MD game or B if it’s a NES/SNES game… it’s not exactly a deal breaking problem (most games use 1 or 2 buttons so it’s not really a problem) but it’s mindblowing that they did it this way… just like i mentioned with the screen resolution, there is no button configuration that’s perfect for every system, but somehow Blaze managed to arrange the buttons in a way that they don’t match any system. I guess they are somewhat aware of this and after an update the possibility to remap some buttons (in a very limited way) has been added. Once again, i find beyond stupid this problem, but at the time of playing you quickly realize what each button does.
I would say that pretty much the main point of the Evercade is the way the games are presented (obviously the games are important too!, but most of them can be purchased digitally elsewhere). As stated before, the games come in white cartridges of a similar size of a Game Gear game, while the hard plastic case is similar to the NeoGeo Pocket ones. A good old full color instruction manual is included, which is nice touch, but as most cartridges come with a bunch of games, each game has 1 or 2 dedicated pages so they don’t exactly go into a lot of details.
And that’s pretty much all there is to it, a cool portable system for retro games. It’s worth mentioning that even if it doesn’t look too likely that the Evercade will get any exclusive game, aside of classic console games there are also some new indie games in the style of 8 and 16 bits games or even actually released for those systems.