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This tiny handheld plays 100s of retro games and won't break the bank

Enter Blaze Enterainment's Evercade, a retro handheld console that is surprisingly well built, performs solidly and uses adorable little mini-cartridges.

evercade-spread
Blaze Entertainment

The Evercade handheld retro console isn't trying to be something it's not, and that's what I like most about it.

Its unassuming presentation leaves room for surprises, but overall it's a very capable portable that houses a 4-5 hour rechargeable battery, mini HDMI-out and a 4.3-inch screen. 

Now playing: Watch this: Evercade plays 100s of retro games and it doesn't suck
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For a starting price of $80, the value is definitely there. That price gets you the Evercade console and an Atari Collection cartridge packed with 20 games. An even better value comes with the $100 premium package that includes three cartridge collections from Interplay and Data East as well. Extra carts sell for $20 and there are 13 available at launch with more on the way.

But why cartridges? That was also my first hesitation with the console, but the reasons do make a bit of sense. In addition to the game software loaded on each cartridge, there is also the specific game emulators needed to run the software. Essentially, the Evercade is just a sort of "vessel platform" that runs everything off the carts. In fact, the console's OS is pretty much out of sight, except when you need to save or load, and a simple shell overlay takes over the screen.

Performance-wise there's little to complain about. Evercade's emulation is very impressive. And there's plenty of licensed nostalgia to dig through among the game collections that are offered. Between the NES classics featured in the Technos Collection (Double Dragon I and II, Renegade) and Sega Genesis standouts from the Interplay collection (Earthworm Jim, Boogerman), odds are you'll have a handful of flashback moments that will bring you back to a simpler time in home console gaming.

For a deeper dive into Evercade, check out the video above.