The Super Everdrive - a library in SD card form

Although the Virtual Console caters for the vast majority of Wii-owning retro gamers out there, it would be churlish to deny the fact that many, many people still choose to indulge in a spot of emulation every now and then.

Modern personal computers (and some mobile phones) have gotten to the point where they can comfortably replicate the technological performance of 16-bit consoles like the SNES, so it’s hardly surprising that fans are firing up Super Mario World on their Nokias or blasting through Zelda on their Apple Macs.

However, you can’t beat the feeling of playing on original hardware; even the most robust emulation isn’t quite the same. With that in mind, we took at look at the Super Everdrive SNES flash cart, an unassuming piece of circuit board which allows you to play hundreds upon hundreds of classic games without having to get up to swap a single cartridge.

So many games, so little time

This custom-built device slots into your SNES just as a standard cartridge would and accepts SD cards of up to 2GB in size. When properly formatted, it can store hundreds of SNES games. Selecting a game is a matter of moving through the menu system, loading a ROM into the Super Everdrive’s internal memory and firing it up. This process only takes a few seconds.

The Super Everdrive is supplied as a plain board, with no casing. You’ll need to cannibalise one of your own carts to create a housing, so if you have any faulty carts lying around that you’ve been meaning to throw in the bin for years, then this could be a chance to put at least one of them to good use.

You’ll also need to cut a slot in the top of the cart so the SD card can be inserted and removed. Alternatively, you can just use the Super Everdrive in its naked form – it fits pretty firmly in the cartridge slot so there’s no danger of it wobbling or falling out during use.

If you’re the kind of gamer who has countless SNES cartridges lying about the house and is sick of having to dig through dusty cupboards just to enjoy a spot of whip-cracking in Super Castlevania IV, then the Super Everdrive is a complete and utter Godsend.

The Super Everdrive comes naked, but you can clothe it in a spare SNES cart casing if you wish

However, it does open up that despicable can of worms known as illegal ROM downloading, something we naturally don’t condone here at Nintendo Life. ROMs can (and should) be obtained legally wherever possible, with ROM dumps taken from cartridges you actually own.

No doubt many of you reading this will be wondering where you can obtain this mystical piece of electronics. The boards are manufactured by a fellow known as KRIKzz (who also produces a variant for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive) and can be purchased via RetroGate or Kitch-Bent.

At $87 these things don’t come cheap. Despite this, demand is off the scale at the moment, with the boards selling almost as soon as they arrive in stock.

Needless to say, this is a really awesome piece of kit that allows retro fans to have a wealth of retro goodness all in one place. However, we must reiterate what we said earlier about illegally downloading ROMs – at the end of the day, many of these games are still in copyright and can be obtained perfectly legally via services like the Virtual Console. When you have the opportunity to reward the publishers and developers of these titles, you should always take it.

Preaching aside, the Super Everdrive is a must-have piece of geek tech for this Christmas – assuming you can get your hands on one, that is.