Since its release in May 2020, the Evercade handheld games console has been a breath of fresh air for gamers with retro sensibilities. Gone were the cheap and nasty emulators that came pre loaded with 50,000 games, 10,000 of which are the same game under different names, replaced by authentic, licensed, and affordable machines with a genuine old school feel.
In little over 6 months, the cartridge-based console has revived such forgotten properties such as Boogerman, Earthworm Jim, Joe & Mac, and everyone’s favourite egg-man, Dizzy. But this got us thinking, who else could find a new lease of life on the Evercade? Which forgotten gaming heroes could carve out a whole new fanbase on Blaze Entertainments nifty new novelty? We decided to compile a list, and here it is.
GREENDOG – GREENDOG: THE BEACHED SURFER DUDE! (1992)
Name one video game hero who is as cool as Greendog. We’ll wait. Released in 1992, Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude! was a hip and happening spin on the single-player platformer genre, opting to give players the chance to control a sweet surfin’ beach bum instead of a blue hedgehog or dumpy plumber.
The bright colours of his backdrop and fun phrases made Greendog feel like a whole different breed of hero, and was an instant hit with Sega owners. But after riding a short wave of success, the character was swept out to sea never to be seen again.
In an era where wild and whacky games like Toejam & Earl are finding a new lease of life on Nintendo Switch, why can’t the same be true for a cool dude like Greendog, except this time as part of a ‘Forgotten Heroes’ pack on the Evercade handheld console?
COOL SPOT – COOL SPOT (1993)
The 1990s was an era overflowing with product placement video games, but perhaps none were as successful as 7 Up mascot Cool Spot.
Ranked in 88th place on Complex’s ‘100 Greatest Nintendo Games of All Time’ list, Cool Spot was a huge success, despite only really existing to increase sales of the famous soft drink. If the licence could be obtained without having to serve the characters original master too much then it could make for a welcomed and fun retro title for any upcoming ’90s Platformers’ collection. Unfortunately, this probably won’t ever happen.
ZOOL – ZOOL NINJA OF THE NTH DIMENSION (1992)
Gremlin Graphics were a staple of the 1980s and early 1990s video game scene. With unforgettable releases such as Monty on the Run (1985), H.A.T.E. (1989), and Jack the Nipper (1986), Gremlin ventured into the world of the next-gen console with its 1992 title Zool: Ninja of the Nth Dimension.
Those of us who didn’t have a Sega at the time looked on with envious eyes as our friends experienced the exciting adventures of the titular gremlin-ninja. Game developer George Allen’s intention to rival Sonic the Hedgehog seemed a sure thing as praise was heaped upon the game from all corners of the globe, and yet after only one outing Zool buggered off back to his own dimension. Maybe now, almost 30 years later, he’s ready for another visit to our world, and what better place to call home than the Evercade?
TAZ – TAZ-MANIA (1992)
If you know the Warner Bros. animated universe then you probably know Taz. But for kids in the 1990s, Taz was more than just a wild but comedic foil for Bugs Bunny, he was a misunderstood teenager trying to navigate life in the Outback with his overbearing family and his fat, lazy employer Bushwhacker Bob, continually getting in the way.
Following the success of the Taz-Mania TV show, a number of games were commissioned for both Sega and Nintendo, and were actually really successful platformers. The games looked just like the TV series did, featured all the key characters, and with Taz’s patented Tasmanian spin attack, gave players something fresh that stood up alongside rival genre games of the era.
To our knowledge, there hasn’t been any new titles in the series, or any legit modern-day ports (correct us if we’re wrong), and although there are tons of other successful 2D side-scrolling characters out there that Evercade might go to first, Taz would be a nice left-field choice to put a smile on a few faces.
TIKI – THE NEWZEALAND STORY (1988)
If you owned an Amstrad, a Spectrum or an Amiga back in the day then chances are you raved about how good The NewZealand Story was. Who needed some silly plumber when you could play as Tiki, the loveable Kiwi who had his very own UFO?
The lack of Tiki and this game on Evercade must be something to do with rights to the name, because we can’t see any other reason why this universally beloved platformer hasn’t been ported already.
HEADDY – DYNAMITE HEADDY (1994)
Hands up who remembers Headdy, Sega’s forgotten hero? Although many of you might be scratching your head at the name, Dynamite Headdy was one of the most critically acclaimed releases on any Sega console, even being described as the best Sega title ever released – even better than Sonic the Hedgehog.
In the game, puppet hero Headdy would plough through his little world, flinging his head around like a cheap rubber ball, flattening anyone that stands in his way en route to defeating the evil King Dark Demon, a tyrant intent on transforming all of Headdy’s friends into malevolent minions.
The game has appeared as part of the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Classics on Xbox One and PS4, but where better to port him next than Evercade, and who knows, perhaps an all-new adventure could become Evercade’s first exclusive release?
JAMES POND – UNDERWATER AGENT/ROBOCOD (1990/91)
James Pond has had a few re-releases over the years, most recently as part of the ‘Sega Ages’ series on the Nintendo Switch, but he’s never had quite the success as he had back in the glory days of the original console wars, either in his original 1990 effort or the equally great sequel Robocod.
James Pond feels criminally undervalued on the Switch, but gamers who have gone out of their way to pick up the Evercade might actually be the audience the Sega Ages release was hoping to attract in the first place. Imagine if the handheld console was able to score its own Sega range for a future cart release? JP would feel less like a fish out of water.
QUASIMODO – HUNCHBACK (1983)
Let’s throw things waaay back, and revive a long-forgotten franchise familiar to those cool cats out there that owned an Amstrad CPC, Acorn Electron, or ZX Spectrum. In fact, this was the first video game I ever played!
Developed by Century Electronics, the original Hunchback game was based loosely – and by loosely we mean not at all – on the Victo Hugo books. Players controlled the famous Quasimodo as he runs across various castle walls, jumping over holes, avoiding arrows and swinging in bells, all in search of his beloved Esmerelda.
Hunchback was a classic side-scrolling platformer that you just don’t see these days, but there’s no reason why it’s never seen life outside of the early 1980s, but would be perfect for a console like the Evercade either as a classic platformer collection or as part of an Amstrad/Spectrum compendium.
JULIO – PAPERBOY (1985)
If you’ve ever called yourself a retro gamer, but haven’t played Paperboy, then you’re doing the title a disservice. Developed by Atari back in 1985, the game consists of riding your bike through ever increasingly treacherous suburbs and delivering as many newspapers as you can without losing any customers. It sounds easy, but it was actually harder than your mum’s overcooked peas.
Not many people realise that the main character was actually called Julio, and it is Julio that we are championing as deserving a new lease of life as part of the Evercade catalogue. We can’t actually understand why he isn’t already featured, but perhaps it’s a licencing issue.
ZEKE AND JULIE – ZOMBIES ATE MY NEIGHBORS (1993)
No list of retro games will ever be complete without the inclusion of Zombies Ate My Neighbors, and how Zeke and Julie could have been overlooked by just about every new console since they first appeared in 1993 is mindboggling.
There was a time when we thought the characters might be ported to the Nintendo Switch, and with the upcoming release of spiritual sequel Demons Ate My Neighbors! perhaps they eventually will, but until then, there’s a hole in our lives that only Evercade can fill, so do the right thing guys and let’s get to saving those neighbors all over again.
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