Evercade VS console plays vintage video games on modern cartridges

La console Evercade VS joue à des jeux vidéo vintage sur des cartouches modernes

There are plenty of ways to play retro video games right now. Some have become smartphone apps and emulation software can install them on your PC. Plus, most cartridges still work, so you can always go out and buy a physical copy if you really want to. But now a UK company called Blaze has announced its upcoming Evercade VS console, which relies on proprietary cartridges to hold game code.

It’s not designed to play cartridges from other manufacturers, so don’t expect to play your old NES games. Instead, the company releases collections of officially licensed titles you might remember from retro consoles like Atari.

A new home cartridge console

Une nouvelle console à cartouche domestique

Blaze released a portable version of the Evercade console in 2020. It’s a decidedly modern gadget with an HDMI port, a rechargeable battery, and a built-in 4.3-inch screen. But, it relies on cartridges to play games. The company offered games in collections, and players actually had to put the cartridge in the machine if they wanted to play.

The portable version had its limitations, however. A big downside was the lack of support for multiplayer games. That changed with the Evercade VS.

The $99 Evercade VS is available for pre-order now and is expected to start shipping in November this year. Of course, pre-orders are always a gamble, but Blaze successfully released the original handheld version, which is a point in its favor.

While the Evercade VS has plenty of modern features, don’t expect it to act as a do-it-all gaming machine. It sports 1080p graphics, which still pushes the boundaries of retro gaming in many cases. It has built-in storage to save your game states, which are transportable to the handheld console. The VS has built-in Wi-Fi, but don’t expect to use it to play online or download games. For now, it’s only about downloading updates. However, since it is a wearable device, Blaze may add new features in the future.

Each console comes with a pair of familiar controllers, which are slightly more complex than older NES controllers. There are four play buttons, two more for ‘start’ and ‘select’, and a directional pad. Bumper buttons on the top of each controller help mimic the control layouts of the 90s when things started to get more advanced. The controllers connect via USB to the front of the console. If you buy additional controllers, it supports up to four players at a time.

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What games can the Evercade VS play?

À quels jeux l'Evercade VS peut-il jouer?

Unlike retro consoles, which became very popular a few years ago, the Evercade VS doesn’t come with any built-in games. Instead, you will need to purchase cartridges. Carts usually contain collections of games from specific developers. Right now, the company has over 250 games spread over around 20 cartridges.

Cartridges purchased for the original Evercade will work in the dual slots of the VS, so if you’re already purchased on the platform, this will be a natural expansion.

The company says it plans to expand its offerings in the future. You obviously shouldn’t expect games owned by Nintendo or other top developers to come to the platform. But that’s not necessarily the goal of retro gaming in the first place.

It is tempting to immediately qualify the concept of novelty. And to a certain extent, it is. However, it does give gamers a way to play officially licensed versions of older games rather than getting them from the web as sketchy ROMs. So while you have to pay for each title, you can rest assured that the blocky graphics and soundtracks you remember from long ago are true to the source material.