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Hard EverDrivin'! Flash cartridges & ODEs

Mr. Sensible

Pitch and Putt Duffer
Continuing ShakeWell's thread from the Before Times, let's talk about stuff like Everdrives and optical drive emulators!

So I recently started playing GBC Mario Golf on my Everdrive-GB, and I found myself enjoying it so much that I sought out a real copy of the game to play instead. However, that introduced the minor dilemma of abandoning my EDGB save data (about 20 hours of playtime) and starting fresh on a real cart. Some quick searching led me to a Micro-64 article covering Libgbpak, an Everdrive-64 utility by Saturnus that allows dumping of GB/GBC ROMs, as well as reading from/writing to save RAM, by making use of the N64 Transfer Pak accessory. After recovering from the shock of a Transfer Pak actually being useful, I was able to transfer my EDGB save over to my real copy of Mario Golf. I suppose it's a lot of hardware just to move save data around, but I was nevertheless impressed that it's possible at all!
 

Falselogic

Techno-Threadcromancer
(they/them)
That is very cool!

I'm probably going to pick up a NES Everdrive next month! Start using my RetroUSB AVA more!
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
I've been using both a Krikzz Everdrive GBA x5 and a EZ Flash Jr., which I'd like to write about here for anyone who's interested:

Everdrive GBA x5 - you get what you pay for. This thing is $100 USD, but I have basically no complaints about it. Load times are fantastic - even romhacked Pokemon Emerald roms load nearly instantly, which is not the case with the EZ Flash Jr (which I'll get to), and apparently compared to the EZ Flash GBA counterpart, the console battery isn't drained as fast. Has RTC support that works well. The GB/GBC emulator, Goomba, works mostly okay, though struggles with a few games and Pokemon Crystal is unplayable on it, which is why I bought a

EZ Flash Jr - Goes for about $50 USD, this cart runs fairly well, but you can tell this isn't up to Everdrive standards, because load times are annoyingly long (nothing major, really, but like Pokemon Red takes a good ten seconds to boot initially, plus when you turn the system on, there's a 3-4 second load time to copy your saves to the SD cart off the battery). Still, once you're in whatever game you're playing, it runs pretty well, and has no issues running things like Pokemon Crystal or Pokemon Puzzle League, both of which the Goomba emulator can't handle. Even given I've been enjoying my time with it, I find myself wanting an Everdrive GB x7, even though it's more than twice the price (!).

I sold some stuff on eBay and have a GBA x5 mini on the way, which I'm excited about because I want the cart not to stick out of the GBA because I'm an idiot.

Does anyone have any experience with this? I want to get a flashcart for my (newly backlit!) Neo Geo Pocket Color, but I don't think it'd get the use the two carts above do, and just shy of $100 USD might be too steep if the user experience is poor...
 
So the new GBA everdrive is worth it? Last time I bought a GBA flash cart it was when it literally had to be flashed with a serial connection cable.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
So the new GBA everdrive is worth it? Last time I bought a GBA flash cart it was when it literally had to be flashed with a serial connection cable.

There's none of that, at least with the Krikzz GBA x5/x5 mini - you load up the games and a small firmware file on the micro sd card, plug it into the cartridge, and you're good to go. Couldn't be easier, imo. I have a 16gb card in mine with most, if not all, of the GB/GBC/GBA libraries.
 

muteKi

Women want fish fear meme
I still remain quite fond of my EZ Flash 3-in-1. It doesn't support everything the other newer cards do -- there's no RTC for Pokemon, no savestates (and certainly no rumble or tilt sensor). It also requires using my DS to flash to the cartridge, but it also has the advantage of allowing me to never have to swap out an SD card, and I can still write to its NOR memory to move the game to my GBA (i.e., for multiplayer purposes).

The only problem with one of the ones I have is that it's built for a DS Lite form factor, and I would much rather have it in a case that fits the older DS and GBA models because of that matter of versatility.
 

Mr. Sensible

Pitch and Putt Duffer
So the new GBA everdrive is worth it? Last time I bought a GBA flash cart it was when it literally had to be flashed with a serial connection cable.
Personally I feel like the Everdrive GBA X5 is an excellent value for the price. Not only is it great for GBA titles, but you can emulate GB/GBC, NES, Game Gear and Master System games with the same flash cart. No hoops to jump through, just drop your files onto a microSD card and go.
 
Just ended up ordering one from Stone Age Gamer, as well as the Neo-Geo Pocket Color cart. Only cartridge based consoles I've got left to pick up flash carts for at this point are NES and SNES, which I'd been putting off since they seem to keep improving them.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
A thread about ODEs, and just when I'm starting to need a whole bunch of them! First up is my PS2, which after many years of faithful service is starting to have trouble reading discs. I can still play games, but it takes a solid two minutes for system to boot up a game and I'm afraid that it's going to go downhill from here. Seems like there are a number of options for the PS2, ranging from the recently-discovered Free DVD Boot hack (sadly not an option for my old phat PS2 just yet) to stuff like loading directly from a hard drive. The latter sounds like the best option in my case, but I haven't looked into the details yet. It is a drag, though, as I've had that console for 17 years and it's always done right by me.

Also joining the failed drive club are my old Sega consoles, which I dug out for the first time in like 10 years last weekend. My Saturn and Dreamcast were both purchased used nearly twenty years ago, so I guess it shouldn't be too surprising that they are having issues, but the DC used to work perfectly and now it won't play games at all. The system boots up just fine with nothing in the drive, but it shuts down the second it tries to spin the disc. I looked into getting a GDEMU, but I seem to have a version 0 Dreamcast and as far as I know those will fry the GDEMU board with their higher voltage. Unfortunately, I don't have any other ideas what to do about the problem, so this may be the end of the line. The Saturn is also in poor shape, although this comes as less of a surprise. Games still boot up, although they drop back to the console menu at times and sometimes the CD audio won't play. This means that I can kind of play Daytona, but I don't get the music, so what is even the point? Shakewell will happily rattle off the various ODE options that are currently available for a Saturn, but they're all pretty expensive and I'm not ready to splash out that kind of cash on a possible fix. In the meantime, at least it still passably plays Street Fighter Alpha 2, which is honestly the main reason I keep the thing around.

The only other flash cards I have are for the GBA and DS. The GBA one is an ancient model like TheSL mentioned, it's a complete pain to update. But last time I put anything on it, I flashed it with Mother 3, so I might be content to just leave it like that forever. I have other options for playing GBA games now, like the MiSTer, and my GBA collection has most of the games that I really care about anyway. The DS flashcard is slightly more modern IIRC, but it only works on original DS Lite hardware and my Lite's shoulder buttons don't work any more. Again, I have most of the DS games that I really care about, so I haven't been tempted to use it very frequently. But once a year or so I find myself thinking about trying the English patches for Game Center CX2 or Ace Attorney Investigations 2...
 
The issues with my Dreamcast were never the drive itself, but more with whatever that monitors whether the lid is closed or not for some reason. Luckily I have 3 of them.

Have you seen the TerraOnion Mode Mike? That might be a good project for one or more of your failing systems. I have their Genesis flash cart that plays SegaCD games and they make good stuff. Personally I'm waiting for the production of the Satiator (that doesn't require physical modding) to use on my Saturn.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Just ended up ordering one from Stone Age Gamer, as well as the Neo-Geo Pocket Color cart. Only cartridge based consoles I've got left to pick up flash carts for at this point are NES and SNES, which I'd been putting off since they seem to keep improving them.

Omg please post about the Neo-Geo Pocket Color cart when you get it - I'm very close to picking one up myself, but if it doesn't work well or is a pain to use I might skip out on it.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I mean, that sounds cool, but it's 180 euros, which is TWO HUNDRED EIGHTY CANADIAN DOLLARS. I'm just not that invested in playing Dreamcast and/or Saturn games right now, unfortunately. If I had a good way to display them on my HDTV then I'd be more motivated, but an OSSC is like another $200 USD. Bear in mind that I literally didn't hook these consoles up for years, so it's not like I was champing at the bit to use them. I'm generally more interested in the older retro stuff and most of that is/will be covered by the MiSTer (which I love dearly).
 

Falselogic

Techno-Threadcromancer
(they/them)
I dont know what I'll do if my thin ps2 drive starts to conk out. But, then I also don't know what I'll do when all my Ps2 games plastic starts to deteriorate. Entropy sucks.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
Everyone is re-starting my threads for me. How kind of you all!

Anyways, ordered an XStation last week (and another PS1 to put it in, since the one I had has an incompatible motherboard). Prof. Abrasive has Satiatiors up for order to we, the Patrons, but only through the first 49 people to support him, and I am, alas, 104.
 

muteKi

Women want fish fear meme
Very easy to install but due to how it works cannot play, say, the MPEG Lunar release
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
Very easy to install but due to how it works cannot play, say, the MPEG Lunar release
It merits mentioning that only 12 games use it at all, and said Lunar release is, quite literally, the ONLY game that requires it.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
My XStation arrived last night. It goes in the mail with my PS1 to get installed tomorrow! VERY stoked!
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
I'd love to get a PS1 ODE. Very nice, indeed.

I've heard rumors that a 21-pin version of Fenrir, the Saturn ODE, is in the works. If so, I'm probably going to jump on that. It seems like the cheapest way to get on the ODE train for that system.
 

q 3

Posts: 4,731,901
(they/them)
Samsung has good deals on SD cards directly from their website, with the added bonus that there's probably way less risk of getting a fake card than with Amazon!
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
Bob has a review/overview up of the HyperFlash32 cart for Virtual Boy. I want more carts with eInk labels now.

 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
That's something I'd very much like, once I've fixed the vertical lines on my display.

I ordered a GBA Everdrive last week in the Good Friday sale. Having not heard anything for a week I e-mailed them and immediately my Everdrive has been shipped. Not hugely impressed so far (I appreciate there is a pandemic on)
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
That's something I'd very much like, once I've fixed the vertical lines on my display.

I ordered a GBA Everdrive last week in the Good Friday sale. Having not heard anything for a week I e-mailed them and immediately my Everdrive has been shipped. Not hugely impressed so far (I appreciate there is a pandemic on)
My mom bought me a GBA Everdrive on Black Friday in 2018 and didn't receive it until late January 2019, so it might be a while. The guy gets swamped, it seems.
 
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