It’s no surprise that collecting vintage consoles and games has blown up in popularity over the last three years.
I even found myself scouring the dark corners of local classifieds and eBay listings the last few months to build up a small collection of all the consoles I experienced when I was growing up in the 90s, starting with the best Nintendo 64 games.
For many retro gaming enthusiasts, the Nintendo 64 holds a special place in their hearts. From classic titles like Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time to fan favorites like Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Perfect Dark, the N64 boasts a library of mid-90s treasures that can’t go ignored.
My girlfriend loves playing Mario 64 so much that she got a Princess Peach Tattoo to immortalize it on her body!
That said, collecting these games can be a challenge, both in terms of finding them and being able to shell out some of the crazy prices people are looking for on Ebay.
The good news is that we have another alternative—a flash cart called the EverDrive 64 X5.
We will be going through the EverDrive in detail, including what it is and what model we recommend to get out of the few available.
Lastly, we’ll run you through how to load your ROMs to the cart, so you can fire up Mario and start collecting those stars in no time.
Table of Contents
What Is A Flash Cart?
A flash cart is the best way to play retro games for those that still want to use their original hardware.
The cartridge itself looks like a standard cart for the system but with a tiny little slot for a micro SD card. On that card is where you load your ROMs, and with how cheap storage is, you can easily fit entire ROM sets!
So, What’s An EverDrive?
Krizz, a talented engineer from Ukraine, had a vision of creating a top-notch flash cart for gaming enthusiasts worldwide, and boy, did he ever nail it.
He hasn’t stopped on his journey to design a series of revolutionary cartridges for various classic consoles such as NES, SNES, Genesis, and N64 (among many more).
The outcome of his hard work and dedication is the EverDrive – a product that meets the high bar for quality and performance.
With custom cases and multiple models catering to various gaming needs, the EverDrive is the perfect choice for any retro gaming enthusiast looking to enhance their gaming experience.
What are the differences between the models?
When searching for the perfect EverDrive 64 to suit my particular needs, I was a bit overwhelmed by the two options available – the X5 and the X7.
While both EverDrives allow you to play most games without any hassle, I was unsure which one would be the best fit for me, and whether it was worth to shell out some extra money for the premium X7.
After some research, I found the X7 offers a few extra features that might be worth it depending on your needs.
RTC stands for “Real time clock” and is needed for games that use an in-game clock for core functionality.
As it turns out, Animal Crossing is the only game that needs RTC support on the N64.
The X5 doesn’t support RTC, so if Animal Crossing is high up on your “to play” list, you’ll need to get the X7 to enjoy it in all its glory.
This is the one thing that threw me for the biggest loop. Depending on what model EverDrive you get will dictate how you save your game on the N64.
That’s because one of the biggest differences between the EverDrive X5 and X7 is the inclusion of a battery in the cartridge that your game data gets saved to.
On the X5, when you’re done playing and want to make sure your in-game save is synced with the cart, you’ll need to hit the reset button on the console before turning it off.
On the X7, you can just turn the console off as usual. Since it has an internal battery, it stores your save game when you turn the system off, and writes it to the cart when you turn it on the next time.
While this kind of sounds like a pain to deal with on the X5, I didn’t find it to be much of an issue since I’m getting up to turn the console off anyways; I might as just take an extra second or two to hit the reset switch while I’m up.
The X7 also has a USB port on the side of the cartridge that will allow you to plug in directly into your PC.
This feature is mainly geared toward developers who need quick access to the cart while writing code, but it can also be used with a tool called gb64-x7 to back up your Game Boy save games.
I can’t imagine the amount of work that had to go into developing these EverDrive products, so I would always recommend buying directly from Krizz to keep him profitable and active in the space.
There are some Chinese clones available if you’re on a budget, but you lose access to what makes Everdive products great, like software updates, and quality control (not to mention pretty sweet-looking display cases).
How to set up the EverDrive 64
How to Format your Micro SD Card to Fat32
First, you want to get yourself an SD card and get it ready to house all of your N64 ROMs.
- Plug your SD card into your PC
- Navigate to “My Computer”
- Right click on the card and select “Format”
- Make sure “FAT32” is selected under “File System”
- Make sure “Quick format” is selected
- Click start
Download the EverDrive firmware
The EverDrive firmware is going to act as your new operating system on your N64, showing all the games available on your card when you turn on the system.
- Go to the support section on krizz.com
- Navigate to the EverDrive 64 folder
- Download the zip file (in the main directory)
Add firmware to SD card
- Unzip firmware to the SD card root directory
Add ROM files to the SD card
- Create a “Games” folder in the root directory (not inside of the firmware folder!)
- (Optional) If you have a lot of games, I recommend creating subfolders with letters of the alphabet to keep things a bit more organized. For example, my folders look like “ABC” “DEF” “GHI” etc.
Plug and play
- Safely eject your SD card by right-clicking on the card in My Computer and clicking “eject.”
- Insert the cart into your N64, turn on the cartridge, and you should have a “Games” folder including everything you’ve added.
Where can I get support?
If you have any questions about setting up or troubleshooting problems with the EverDrive series, Krikzz has provided a support forum on his site with sections for each product.
I had a question about another product of theirs, and the response time from the community was quick, I had an answer back within a few hours.
Think twice about 32GB Sandisk cards
The one thing I have to warn everyone about is that 32GB Sandisk cards tend to work poorly with EverDrive products.
I picked up a few on Amazon to use with my EverDrives, but I was getting a “C4: SD card not found” error on my SNES and Genesis.
After asking around, it turned out this was a common issue, and the only fix was swapping out the Sandisk cards with another brand.
I returned my SD cards and ordered a pair of Gigastone 16GB SD cards instead, and they ended up working perfectly.
I’m so happy I picked up the EverDrive, 64 because it’s allowed me to play all of my favorite games on my original console without going down the neverending collector route (plus my partner doesn’t have to deal with an entire wall of games).
In fact, I’ve enjoyed the product so much that I ended up getting one for my NES, Genesis, and SNES!
You should have an idea of what version of the EverDrive for the Nintendo 64 would suit you best based on the features outlined above.
For the vast majority of people, I think the X5 version will make the most sense.
If you want to play Animal Crossing and not have to worry about hitting the reset button on the console to save, then go with the X7 instead.
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A 31 year old British fella that’s had a Gameboy ever since he was a child. Brandon is the founder of RetroDodo and has created a YouTube channel with 260,000 subscribers dedicated to retro gaming products. He now wants to create the No.1 site to showcase the latest retro products from around the globe.