There is an abundance of retro video game hardware available currently. For example, Sega and Nintendo have released official Mini consoles, while companies like Anbernic offer unofficial handheld devices that can play a large number of games. However, the legality of using homebrew emulators and downloading rom files may be questionable. Blaze Entertainment, a British company, has taken a unique approach with their Evercade series. They have created well-made gaming devices that run fully licensed versions of games from their original creators. The games are also conveniently stored on cartridges.
The Super Pocket is a compact gaming device from the company, smaller and lighter than their EXP device. It is specifically designed to easily fit into your pocket and features a 2.8-inch LED screen, a charming front-facing speaker with a headphone port, and strategically placed buttons on the back, including shoulder buttons. It is powered by a rechargeable battery and can be charged quickly with a USB-C cable, providing up to four hours of gameplay.
The construction is very sturdy, in my opinion even better than previous Evercade products. It has a substantial and compact feel, giving reassurance about its safety in your pocket. Additionally, there is evident attention to design details, such as the colorful plastic frame, smooth curved edges, and matching d-pad and button colors.
Currently, there are two authorized options offered – Taito and Capcom – both containing a selection of games from their respective creators. The Taito version includes 18 games, such as Space Invaders and Bubble Bobble, as well as lesser-known titles like The Legend of Kage and Volfied. The Capcom version offers 12 games, including iconic fighting game Street Fighter II and classic platformer Mega Man. It is worth noting that the cartridges provided can be removed and the Super Pocket device is compatible with all Evercade cartridges, providing access to a vast library of games from various home computers and arcade systems.
The most important aspect is the quality of the game emulation, and Blaze has executed it very well by ensuring that their selection of games all stay true to the original code. Each game offers display options for scanlines and scaling adjustments, allowing players to customize their nostalgic experience. In games like Street Fighter II and Rastan, there was minimal slowdown and button input lag. While it may not be as precise as the Analogue Pocket, it does a great job of presenting classic games in an easy-to-use format for only £50. Additionally, the game cartridges allow players to save their progress in each game, which is a crucial feature in the growing retro hardware market.
As a proud owner of a full room of original retro consoles, as well as newer versions and some emulator handhelds, I have been pleasantly surprised by the Super Pocket’s gameplay experience. It has joined me on numerous long trips in December, allowing me to revisit classic titles and discover new ones from Taito’s collection. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to try out games from lesser-known manufacturers like Gaelco, whose Evercade arcade compilation cartridges are enjoyable to play on the move.
As ever, the proviso with these things is that there are emulators available for your smartphone and PC that will give you access to thousands of games like this for free – if you know where and how to find and download them. What Blaze says is that it’s providing a curated experience with each cart using specific, tested emulations to ensure a smooth, agreeable experience. And look, for the cost of one PS5 or Xbox Series X title, you get at a lot of fun in a dinky little console that, to borrow an Apple phrase, just works. If that appeals to you, the Super Pocket will make a delightful purchase, and a dogged travel companion.