There’s no shortage of ways to play vintage games. But with such a plethora of options, you also end up with a few that just plain suck. Getting it right is a bigger challenge than just getting it done. Evercade has taken on the challenge, and they undoubtedly got it right.
Part of their successful formula is in their approach. The Evercade console is an impressive piece of modern hardware. It comes with a 4.3-inch, 480 x 272 display, which is more than enough to handle most 16-bit systems. The battery grants 4.5 hours of life, so you can take your games with you wherever. Or if you’re more into playing at home, you can hook up the console to your TV using the mini HDMI port. Design-wise, you’ll recognize the looks as being from the PSP, though the Evercade console is slightly larger. So what does that have to do with the company’s approach to gaming? The hardware is definitely there—just like it is in your PC or Mac or even in a Raspberry Pi. You can download and play virtually any vintage game to any of those devices for free, though perhaps not entirely legally. Where Evercade is different is in how you get the games. You actually have to pay for them.
The games come in cartridges that, just like those old consoles, have to be inserted into the Evercade unit to be played. The cartridges are proprietary to Evercade and come loaded with a collection of games. The games are usually organised by publisher, so you can pick up a collection of games from Atari, Namco, and others. Individual game collections are selling for USD$20 each. The Evercade sells for USD$80 with one pack-in cartridge, or USD$100 for the premium pack that includes three cartridges.
So why is this a better approach? For starters, you have to actually think about which games you want to play. This isn’t a download, play for a few minutes, and then move on experience. You have to choose, so if you’re travelling, you’ll have to be more selective about what you bring with you. The added incentive of having to invest in the games means that you’re more likely to be committed to it, which will heighten your experience as well. It’s a new-old approach that might be the best one yet.