Hardware Review: Everdrive
By Damien McFerran - 18 Jul, 2010
Emulation has been with us now for quite some time and for budding retro enthusiasts represents the ideal way of getting in touch the wide and varied history of the video game industry. However, there's simply no substitute for experience games on their original hardware, and even the best emulation in the world is rarely 100% accurate.
With that in mind, it's worth looking at the Everdrive, a device which grants access to the seedy world of ROMs whilst allowing you to use your original Mega Drive console to actually play them.
The Everdrive is essentially an interface which allows your ageing console to communicate with an SD card. Using software loaded directly onto the device, the Everdrive boasts a simple menu which allows you to navigate your way around your SD card and load one of hundreds of Mega Drive ROMs into its flash memory. This takes only a few seconds and once the process is complete it's as if you've slotted the original cartridge into your machine.
The Everdrive itself is manufactured in the Ukraine by a talented chap known as Krikzz. He only sends out the bare circuit board so you may want to cannibalize an existing cartridge to create a suitable case. We managed to find a faulty copy of Space Harrier II that has been stuck at the back of the cupboard for years and quickly stripped out the innards to make a nice new home for our Everdrive.
As well as allowing you to run Mega Drive games the Everdrive also supports Master System games, although these will not function on certain models of the Mega Drive. If you have a 32X you can even use the Everdrive to load up ROMs for that format.
Setting up the Everdrive is relatively straightforward; you simply format your SD card with the appropriate software (which can be found on Krikzz's site) and then drop your ROMs into organised files. One thing you have to note is that each folder cannot have more than 128 items in it, so it's a good idea to create a folder for each letter of the alphabet and then transfer the files into each. It's also worth bearing in mind that Everdrive only accepts ROMs in .BIN format, so if you have them all zipped up to save space then you'll have to unpack them. Thankfully Krikzz has an application on his site which will quickly convert other ROM types to .BIN format.
With the ground work done you really need never purchase another Mega Drive game again; the Everdrive allows you to store every single Mega Drive title ever produced on one SD card. Obviously collectors will miss out on the buzz of acquiring vintage software but if you're not particularly bothered about having a shelf full of classic games - or you find that you simply don't have the space to store them any more - then this little piece of tech is the ideal way to experience all the system has to offer.
The Everdrive can be ordered direct from its creator via his website or via resellers on various auction sites.
Otto - 21 Jul 2010, 01:33 GMT
Can it be used to flash a rom into a "blank" cartridge? So I can lend to somebody else, for example?
MCJeffsy - 17 Aug 2010, 16:46 GMT
This is an awesome bit of kit.
I have one myself, and it now supports Mega-CD Bios loading and 32x games! :)
azncambodianz - 13 Sep 2010, 01:33 GMT
its a bit awkward because the sd card just sticks out like a sore thumb, but i wouldnt mind having one. But id still by the games that i really like.
johney - 22 Dec 2010, 00:42 GMT
putting the everdrive on the sega nomad sounds absolutely awesome cuzz now you can play all genesis games everywhere in the world.