The Evercade handheld that released in 2020 can connect to your TV through its Mini HDMI port, but its 4.3-inch screen proves it was designed more for retro gaming on the go. Now, there’s a version of the Evercade just for your TV. It’s called the Evercade VS, and it can output retro games at 1080p, delivering “top-of-the-line emulation,” with support for up to four wired USB controllers for multiplayer in games. It’ll cost $99.99 when it launches on November 3rd, 2021, and preorders start on May 28th, 2021.
Crucially, the Evercade VS will be able to play games from the same kind of proprietary cartridges used by the handheld, and this home console can store two at a time under the NES-style flap that opens at its top. Each cartridge allows for save and load states in its updated user interface, and you can pick up where you left off by swapping them between the Evercade VS and the Evercade handheld if you own both. In terms of visual options, it will support 4:3, “pixel perfect,” or full-screen modes as well as the option for scan line filters. The company says the handheld will receive these interface features in an update by the end of 2021.
Evercade will release its own controller, but you can use other USB controllers, including the Xbox Adaptive Controller, 8BitDo’s wireless controllers that have USB wireless receivers, and likely many others. Even the Evercade handheld can serve as a controller if you purchase a link cable. The console will include a Micro USB power cable but not a wall adapter. It also won’t include an HDMI cable.
This cross-device approach to the Evercade platform seems well-thought-out. Letting you take the games out of your handheld and pop them in the VS to play on TV is a power play for any kind of proprietary format, especially from a small company that’s paying IP holders a licensing fee for games that it writes to cartridge. That’s notable (and even commendable), but this approach has hit its first major snag in the jump to the home console: some of the Evercade’s most popular retro titles won’t work on the VS. Specifically, the two cartridges featuring Namco Museum collections are licensed exclusively for use on handheld, so the VS simply cannot play Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Galaga, and the other games built into those cartridges.
Blaze Entertainment expects to have over 280 games available to play on its Evercade ecosystem by the end of 2021, and barring other licensing conflicts ahead of the VS’s launch, all games outside of the Namco Museum cartridges will be playable on the TV-based console. Also, the company is committing to all future cartridges supporting both the VS and the handheld.