Hardware manufacturer Blaze Entertainment has announced the Evercade EXP handheld console, the latest in its line-up of Evercade products that offer an affordable solution to playing arcade games both legally and on the go.
Pre-orders for the Evercade EXP Limited Edition – a sleek black variant of the handheld – are now live, giving you access to some of the best Arcade games (thanks, Gamespot (opens in new tab) ). Currently, it looks like the only retailer accepting pre-orders for the limited edition console is the UK-based Funstock (opens in new tab), and is charging £180 (around $227 / AU$315).
Fear not if you're outside of the UK, though, as Funstock ships worldwide. The Evercade EXP's standard edition will be up for pre-order this coming September, and will cost $150 / £130 (around AU$228). The standard edition trades the black finish for white, and doesn't come with the extra goodies bundled with the limited edition.
Put your quarters away
We're already pretty impressed by the Evercade EXP's specs, too. It features a 4.3-inch 800 x 480 IPS display, packs in 4GB of RAM, and even has a micro-HDMI port which lets you hook the handheld up to your TV or monitor if you want to play your games at a boosted 720p resolution.
Glancing at the handheld, you might notice a couple of additional A and B buttons sitting underneath the large d-pad. These are for the console's TATE mode, which allows you to flip it 90-degrees to play with a vertical display. That's extra handy if you're looking to play vertical shooters, for example, at the correct orientation and resolution.
Like the Evercade and Evercade VS before it, the Evercade EXP supports bespoke cartridges, each of which is packed with arcade games from various publishers and developers.
These cartridges also work on the new handheld, and Evercade's library will include around 300 games by the time the Evercade EXP launches. We should note, however, that Evercade cartridges are sold separately, so you'll have to dip into your wallet if you're looking to expand your library of arcade games.
As for the Limited Edition bundle, we'd say it's well worth checking out. It includes a healthy amount of fun, physical goodies, including an A3-sized poster, a keyring and a hard carrycase to keep the console safe from wear and tear.
Best of all, though, is the two included game cartridges. Together, these cartridges offer a total of 14 games from renowned arcade developers Irem and Toaplan. Out of the box, then, you'll be able to play classic arcade hits like R-Type, In The Hunt and Zero Wing (the semi-obscure shoot-em-up that birthed the infamous "all your base are belong to us (opens in new tab)" meme.
The future of the arcade?
We're looking forward to the Evercade EXP for a number of reasons. Perhaps chief among them is that – outside of emulation – arcade games aren't exactly the most accessible titles out there.
Certainly, bespoke hardware like Arcade1Up cabinets exist, but these are arguably for more serious buyers who want to emulate both the look and feel of a true arcade experience.
By comparison, Evercade looks to be offering a means to play hundreds of classic and potentially obscure arcade titles at a relatively affordable price point. We're also big fans of the attention to detail provided for collectors here, as each cartridge comes in its own box, complete with a manual.
We're all for projects like the Evercade EXP, then. Not only does it offer a legal and accessible way to play tons of arcade games, it's also a win for game preservation in general. So long as ports to Evercade are as close to arcade perfect as possible, of course.