Everdrive 64 Review

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Nintendo-64-wController-L-1The Nintendo 64 had some of the best multiplayer/party games of all time, Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart 64, Goldeneye, just to name a few, but some of these games can be a lot harder to come by lately and the prices are going up. Nintendo’s Virtual Console have been a great way to play these classics, but there are still many games that simply won’t be re-release any time soon. As far as emulation goes, while there has been great progress (with many games now playable) they’re not accurate by any means, and I still haven’t seen a controller that would fit the place of the original N64 controller. Now there is an excellent solution…

What is the Everdrive 64?

everdrive64-frontThe Everdrive 64 is a flash cart developed by Krikzz for the Nintendo 64 which allows you to load all of your N64 roms (.n64 files) onto an SD card, which is then placed into the Everdrive 64 board. The board fits inside of a standard Nintendo 64 cartridge and inserts into the top of your N64 as would any standard N64 cartridge. Once you boot it up, you’ll have access to play any of those games you loaded earlier running on the real Nintendo 64 hardware. You get to experience the game exactly as you were meant to.

Not only can it run all those original Nintendo 64 games, but you can also run homebrew, prototypes and translated games as well. Although there aren’t nearly as many as on Nintendo’s previous consoles it’s still great to have that option.

Getting Started

First, you need to format your SD card (I recommend using the official SD Card format software instead of your OS’ built in disk manager.) Then, copy the OS files (which you can freely download from Krikzz’s website) to the root directory of the card. After that you can copy your rom files (.n64 format) to the card and organize them into directories. I recommend grouping them alphabetically just to make them easier to find when paging through the list.

everdrive64-board-backIf you purchased a the Everdrive 64 with a case then you should be ready to play at this point. If you didn’t, then you’ll need to find an N64 game that you can take the cart from for the Everdrive 64. In order to open the N64 case you’ll need a 4.5mm security bit (you can find easily on Amazon or eBay). They’re a great investment if you’ve got a sizable game collection. For this review I’m using the board-only version that I’ve placed inside of an old WrestleMania 2000 cart (the label looks good on a black cartridge.)

Normally, you would also need to cut a slot into the top of the cartridge in order to make room for the SD card, but I used a low-profile micro SD card adapter, which gives me just enough clearance not to cut the case at all (here is the SD card adapter I am using.)

The Cosmetics

everdrive64-board-frontThe board itself is of the same high build quality as Krikzz’s other products. As I mentioned on my review of the Everdrive N8, the label isn’t of the same quality as an original N64 cartridge label. It appears to have been printed on a standard ink-jet printer, but it get’s the job done.

When installing the board into a cartridge shell, I found that the original metal shielding wouldn’t fit around the Everdrive 64 inside of the shell, so I left the metal shielding off. I’m not sure if it makes any difference, but wanted to mention it.

Using the Everdrive 64

Once you start up the Everdrive 64 it will dispaly a list of the directories you created on the SD card. You can use the control pad or stick to move through the list, press the A button to choose the directory/rom, or press the B button to go back. Unofrtunately, this version of the Everdrive (2.5) doesn’t have a battery, so you need to make sure you reset the Nintendo 64 first before finally powering it down in order to avoid losing your saved games.

Once you select the game from the list, it boots in a couple seconds or less; significantly faster than some other flash carts. Every official game I’ve tried with it ran without any issues, except for the few noted on Krikzz’s website (such as Pokémon Stadium 2 which requires a larger amount of memory than is available with the Everdrive 64 2.5, but it is supported on the new 3.0 version.) Some of the homebrew games were designed to run on emulators and will not work on the Everdrive 64, so be sure to double check on the appropriate forums before trying to run them.

Conclusion

While the Everdrive 64 isn’t the only Nintendo 64 flash cart available, it is arguably the best one, and definitely the best for the price. If you find yourself switching out Nintendo 64 games on a regular rotation, and want to protect your physical copies, then this is the flash cart for you. If you’ve been disappointed by Nintendo 64 emulators and you’re ready for the real thing, the Everdrive 64 is an excellent starting point.