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[Review] Game Gear Everdrive -English-

aleomark

Spirited Member

<div style="text-align: center"><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G04.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P04.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P04.JPG"/>
*Click to enlarge*​</div>
Hello friends, once again I’ve come to talk about a new “retro-scene†accessory, a brand new device for a classic console, it is a Sega Game Gear (GG) flashcart. As you may recall, the GG was the portable console launched by Sega to compete against the Nintendo Game Boy in the early 90’s, it has a back light color screen, very similar in shape to the Sega Master System (SMS). This console had some interesting accessories like a SMS cartridge converter to play the roms on the GG, a TV adapter, etc. Now, 21 years after its release, a new flascart has come to bring the excitement of playing those games in the very console back to our lives.

Introduction
The GG Everdrive is a flashcart same size of an official Sega GG game PCB, it was created by Krikzz who has already developed an interesting flashcarts catalog. This cart will allow you to play the roms that you usually play with GG emulators in the console itself and you can even save the game, for those that require batteries, in the SD so you don’t lose your progress. Also, you can use it to play the SMS games on the GG console without making any modification.


About the reviewer
<img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://img53.imageshack.us/img53/998/av1476pz2.gif" src="http://img53.imageshack.us/img53/998/av1476pz2.gif"/>

[FONT=&amp] <span style="font-size: 12px">My nickname is usually Aleomark, in some webpages of CR I am also known as Sousuke, but internationally and officially I prefer Aleomark, and I want to add in this section that I have already done several reviews in the past, both in English and in Spanish, about flashcarts for different companies and retro scene accessories, so you can take for sure that in my analysis you will find a broad perspective about comparison and, most importantly, neutrality when it comes to analyzing and writing my reviews, I thank those who sponsored my reviews sending me samples, but when doing the analysis I am as objective as possible, so that you, the readers, can make sure you are reading a good review which you may use to base a decision of acquiring the product.[/span] [/FONT] <span style="font-size: 12px">
[/span]
What is the GG Everdrive?
It’s a flashcart that allows you to play the Sega GG and SMS roms in the very GG as if you’re using the official game. You can save the progress of those games that require battery, play hack roms, translations and patches if they do not exceed the features of the console. The flashcart comes with microSD factory support, which does not protrude from the case -if you adapt one, of course- you have to pre-format the microSD and add the Sega GG roms, a large memory is not necessary for this task; for instance, I added all the roms without repeating versions or regions and that only took 75MB of the capacity.

How does the GG Everdrive look like?
This cart, just as the first everdrives, arrives completely “bareâ€, when you get the package, you will get a White envelope with bubble wrap for protection within a cardboard box wrapped in tape, when opening, you’ll see more bubble wrap and finally the GG Everdrive PCB standard size. You could take the case from any GG game and use it for protecting the GG Everdrive, as it’s shown below:


<div style="text-align: center"><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G01.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P01.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P01.JPG"/><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G02.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P02.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P02.JPG"/>​</div> <div style="text-align: center"><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G03.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P03.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P03.JPG"/><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G05.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P05.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P05.JPG"/>
*Click to enlarge*​</div>
To “dress up†the PCB you have to choose a case of an official game and replace the PCB with the GG Everdrive, in order to do that, you need: first, remove the label of the game, make sure not to left any glue residue, then with a 3.8mm gamebit screwdriver open the case and replace the PCB with the GG Everdrive (with the microSD previously inserted, formatted in FAT16 and with roms added). This time the cart doesn’t bring any tool to format the microSD, you’ll have to use your PC or other Everdrive (with the formatting tool included) to do so. In addition, I recommend to alphabetically classify the roms in folders or by genre, but never to have them all saved in one single directory, to easier the screen browsing.

<div style="text-align: center"><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G06.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P06.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P06.JPG"/><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G07.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P07.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P07.JPG"/>
*Click to enlarge*

​</div> Once we’ve completed this step, you have to design a label for the GG Everdrive or you can look for one in the <a class="externalLink" href="http://www.assemblergames.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=89" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Official Forum</a> and download it. It is not difficult to create a label, for example, take a look below at the ones I did, though I’m not a label design master:

<div style="text-align: center"><a class="externalLink" href="http://img863.imageshack.us/img863/9746/ggev.jpg" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://img819.imageshack.us/img819/2248/labelgg.jpg" src="http://img819.imageshack.us/img819/2248/labelgg.jpg"/>

<a class="externalLink" href="http://bo-anime.com/sousuke/CASEGG.jpg" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://img860.imageshack.us/img860/2830/13263376.jpg" src="http://img860.imageshack.us/img860/2830/13263376.jpg"/>
*Click to enlarge*

​</div> Print it in adhesive glossy paper, choose the correct paper configuration of your printer, cut and paste:


<div style="text-align: center"><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G24.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P24.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P24.JPG"/><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G25.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P25.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P25.JPG"/>
*Click to enlarge*​</div>
*there are resellers who sell the cart with case and label, but it’s more expensive.

What does the product include?
What you get is the GG Everdrive flashcart and that is it; however, all you need to play is the cart and a microSD, the case is something important for protection but not mandatory - your console is not going to explode if you insert the cart without a case. The SD should be 25GB or less because the cart doesn’t work with larger capacities; nevertheless, that capacity is more than enough to add all the GG and SMS roms. Written instruction manual is not included, a common problem with this kind of devices regardless of the company.

Manufacturer Specifications
+ maximum playing rom size: 8Mbit (1MByte)
+ 32kb FRAM to keep your saves
+ It plays GameGear and SMS
+ it plays Sega standard maps and Codemasters
+ USB port for Homebrew developers*
+OS can be updated from SD and/or USB
+save ram data can be saved and opened from microSD
+work with Micro SD
+work with FAT16. 2GB maximum size
+work with Micro SD. 2GB maximum size
+Flashed game keeps in the memory even after turning off, so there is no need of reflashing the game or resetting the console
+the cart comes without case
* USB port only available in version "Everdrive GG+USB"
* homebrew software can be used to connect to PC via virtual serial port interface. All USB operations are controlled by the GG Z80 CPU, so the USB port could not be used unless the cart is connected to the console.

Updates and Support
The current firmware version is 3 and OS version is 4, which seem to be quite stable; nevertheless, it is possible for new versions to come up in the future. The menu can be easily updated, just load the file from options as if loading a game; however, the firmware is more complicated due to you need a JTAG cable and an interpreter suite in the PC. Regarding support, I have witnessed in several forums that if you have MD Everdrive or Super Everdrive hardware problems, Krikzz takes the cart back for checking/repairing with no additional cost, the same will occur with the GG Everdrive.

Menu
The menu is pretty simple: black background, White letters, very functional. In the main menu you’ll find three options:

-Start Game: To play the last game flashed.
-Select Game: to browse the main or subdirectories with roms.
-Toolbox: for more options.
<div style="text-align: center"><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G13.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P13.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P13.JPG"/>
*Click to enlarge*​</div>
Toolbox:
-Save/load sram: for saving and Reading sram
-Device info: for cart information
-Update OS: for updating OS
-About: for credits
When loading a rom, you’ll see a message for erasing and writing, and a number that’s counting down corresponding to the Kbps remaining for writing, when this number gets to 0 the game will initialize.



<div style="text-align: center"><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G14.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P14.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P14.JPG"/><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G15.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P15.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P15.JPG"/>​</div> <div style="text-align: center"><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G16.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P16.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P16.JPG"/><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G19.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P19.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P19.JPG"/>
*Click to enlarge*​</div>
Compatibility
Compatibility is very high, I’ve not found any rom unable to be played yet, the same with SMS, there’re not incompatibilities reported. In short compatibility is 100%.

Screenshots:



<div style="text-align: center"><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G10.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P10.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P10.JPG"/><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G11.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P11.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P11.JPG"/>​</div> <div style="text-align: center"><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G17.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P17.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P17.JPG"/><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G18.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P18.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P18.JPG"/>​</div> <div style="text-align: center"><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G20.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P20.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P20.JPG"/><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G21.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P21.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P21.JPG"/>​</div> <div style="text-align: center"><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G22.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P22.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P22.JPG"/><a class="externalLink" href="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/G23.JPG" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="[​IMG]" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" data-url="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P23.JPG" src="http://www.bo-anime.com/sousuke/P23.JPG"/>
*Click to enlarge*​</div>
Conclusions
The new GG Everdrive has come to break the Sega GG monopoly due to unlike the only previous option (tototek), which is already outdated and it's horrible how the cartridge protruded the console, the GG Everdrive uses modern microSD as base, a simple but effective menu and doesn’t protrude. Furthermore, you can use the cart to play SMS roms, no need of a Master Gear and SMS cartridges; in other words, if you are a Sega GG fan, this new accessory is something you cannot miss; also, it seems that there are no intentions, from any other manufacturer, to develop a flashcart for this system and even if there would be the initiative, it would face a tough competition.

Pros
- Excellent compatibility, it is assumed that 100%
-updates and support.
- microSD factory support.
-No need of reflashing the game when turning off or resetting.
-Great price.
-No need to modify a case.

Cons
-Bare PCB, no case.
-Visually simple menu.

Where can I buy it?
<a class="externalLink" href="http://retrogate.com/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">retrogate.com</a>
<a class="externalLink" href="http://store.kitsch-bent.com/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">store.kitsch-bent.com</a>
<a class="externalLink" href="http://stoneagegamer.com/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">stoneagegamer.com</a>
<a class="externalLink" href="http://warnersretrocorner.co.uk/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">warnersretrocorner.co.uk</a>

demonstrative Video:

<a class="externalLink" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nb-erwZNVw8#noexternalembed&amp;feature=player_embedded" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nb-erwZNVw8#noexternalembed&amp;feature=player_embedded</a>

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
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segasonicfan

Robust Member


compatibility is definitely not 100%. Many PAL SMS games don't work as well as some GG games like Gunstar Heroes. You may want to edit your review after trying these games, because it did mislead me in my purchase.
 

aleomark

Spirited Member


Ok, but remember it says "it is assumed that 100%", but I didn't affirmed that, because in reviews people try several games for testing but not all, cause that would be a titanic work and you'll need a really big crew, so normally you pick up several random games and tested, eventually users report incompatibilities and then later you can say the exactly numbers.

You comment is appreciate and hope that you as other users report always (no matter what cart in their respective forum) if some game don't load, and some info like rom name, romset, region, version.

In order to later add updates and maybe a database in the new wiki everdrive when is ready
 

Lum

Officer at Arms

<div class="bbCodeBlock bbCodeQuote" data-author="segasonicfan">

<div class="attribution type">segasonicfan said:

<a class="AttributionLink" href="goto/post?id=565215#post-565215">↑
</div>
<blockquote class="quoteContainer">
compatibility is definitely not 100%. Many PAL SMS games don't work as well as some GG games like Gunstar Heroes. You may want to edit your review after trying these games, because it did mislead me in my purchase.[/quote]

</div> Doesn't GG run at 60hz? It may explain some of the PAL SMS games.
 

segasonicfan

Robust Member

<div class="bbCodeBlock bbCodeQuote" data-author="KRIKzz">

<div class="attribution type">KRIKzz said:

<a class="AttributionLink" href="goto/post?id=565528#post-565528">↑
</div>
<blockquote class="quoteContainer">
yep, all gamegears works in 60Hz mode</div><div class="quoteExpand">Click to expand...</div></blockquote>

</div> Any chance in a future revision there could be a option mode to change this? There must be some way to do it and it would greatly increase compatibility. I would be open to hacking a GG for it, but I don't think it is possible since everything is so integrated and there isn't an analog video decoder like the CXA chips the Genesis uses.
 

Lum

Officer at Arms

<div class="bbCodeBlock bbCodeQuote" data-author="segasonicfan">

<div class="attribution type">segasonicfan said:

<a class="AttributionLink" href="goto/post?id=567820#post-567820">↑
</div>
<blockquote class="quoteContainer">
Any chance in a future revision there could be a option mode to change this? There must be some way to do it and it would greatly increase compatibility. I would be open to hacking a GG for it, but I don't think it is possible since everything is so integrated and there isn't an analog video decoder like the CXA chips the Genesis uses.[/quote]

</div> 50hz means a different video signal, there's no guarantee the screen would accept it. Assuming GG contains hardware inside to draw 50hz at all. I don't believe either of these things have been confirmed.

BTW similar to Genesis, GG games can also detect English or Japanese system language. Even some of the same games are affected by this on both platforms. Namely Streets of Rage 1&2.
We haven't yet discovered inside the GG how this toggle actually occurs. Of course with Everdrive GG you could hack the roms instead somehow.
 

segasonicfan

Robust Member

<div class="bbCodeBlock bbCodeQuote" data-author="Lum">

<div class="attribution type">Lum said:

<a class="AttributionLink" href="goto/post?id=567848#post-567848">↑
</div>
<blockquote class="quoteContainer">
50hz means a different video signal, there's no guarantee the screen would accept it. Assuming GG contains hardware inside to draw 50hz at all. I don't believe either of these things have been confirmed.

BTW similar to Genesis, GG games can also detect English or Japanese system language. Even some of the same games are affected by this on both platforms. Namely Streets of Rage 1&amp;2.
We haven't yet discovered inside the GG how this toggle actually occurs. Of course with Everdrive GG you could hack the roms instead somehow.[/quote]

</div> The screen probably wouldn't accept it but I modded my GG for the TV out so I could run it externally. The ASIC outputs composite sync set at 60hz, the only hope then, aside from hacking roms individually, is that there is a 50/60hz select pin on one of the main processors.
 

segasonicfan

Robust Member


Update: the GG does in fact have a 50hz switch inside. It is pin 119 on a single ASIC (315-5535) model. Schematics also show a switch on a 2 ASIC model though I have yet to try it. But the single ASIC one works great for playing on the GG screen. And it makes PAL SMS games much more compatible. New Zealand Story and others now work without glitches on the GG Everdrive.

-Segasonicfan
 

Hekel

Rapidly Rising Member


I Taked my Time to test the Rom fullset on the Everdrive GG. I Tested all "good" dumps [!]. Most of the games worked but some had mapper Troubles, wrong Colors and other issues and they was not playable. Only 4 games havent worked completly. Hope it helps:

Asterix and the Great Rescue (Not even Boot)
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
Chase H.Q
Fantastic Dizzy
Gunstar Heroes (Not even Boot)
Jang Pung II
Majors Pro Baseball, The
Nazo Puyo
Olympic Gold - Barcelona '92
OutRun
Predator 2
Prince of Persia (Not even Boot)
R.C. Grand Prix
Rastan Saga
Rise of the Robots (Not even Boot)
Star Wars
Super Kick Off
Tale Spin
Terminator 2 - Judgment Day
Tesserae
World Series Baseball
WWF Steel Cage Challenge

regards.
 
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