What is the best Game Boy flash cart?
In this article, we shall be discussing the differences between the two major flash carts available for the Game Boy and Game Boy Color family of devices. The two cards we shall be comparing are the Everdrive GB X7 by Krikzz and the EZ Flash Junior.
With the Game Boy range being as old as it is, there are plenty of options for Game Boy flash carts and multi-carts, but these two are the only ones I would personally recommend. Both carts offer great functionality and as far as I can tell have pretty much a 100% compatibility rate with all Game Boy and Game Boy Color games
After having a lot of fun with the fantastic EZ Flash Omega for the GBA, I thought it would be fun to see how it’s Game Boy equivalent compares to the Everdrive GB. I dumped my Game Boy and Game Boy Color games using my GBxCart RW and got my MicroSD cards ready! Luckily, GB & GBC games are quite small and you will be able to fit the entire library onto a small MicroSD.
First, let’s go over the more premium option, the Everdrive GB X7. This model is basically identical to the slightly older Everdrive GB X5 but the X7 offers save state support as well as the all-important real-time clock so games like Pokémon Gold and Silver function properly.
Everdrive GB X7
Game Compatibility: The Everdrive GB X7 will play all Game Boy & Game Boy Color games as far as I can tell. Game titles that use special inbuilt hardware like the Game Boy Camera, Kirby Tilt n Tumble, Game Boy Radio or any of the GBC games that had a Rumble Pak features will load and play but lack the functionality of the missing hardware.
Build Quality: Like all Krikzz’s products, the Everdrive GB X7 is built to a very high standard. The cartridge feels premium and it even comes in attractive packaging. Opening the cart up you can tell the PCB is of high quality and well made.
Hardware Compatibility: The Everdrive GB works on Game Boy, Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Light, Game Boy Color, GBA, GBA SP, GameCube’s Game Boy Player, Super Game Boy and Super Game Boy 2 and should also work on FPGA solutions such as the Analogue Pocket. The Everdrive GB, however, will NOT work on Game Boy Micro, DS or DS Lite consoles as these do not have the ability to read original Game Boy or Game Boy color games. The EZ Flash Omega does a pretty good job emulating GB and GBC games if you really need to play them on your DS (Or Micro!)
Save State Support & Cheat: The Everdrive GB X7 has an inbuilt save state feature, which is something you do not usually get with this type of product, very impressive stuff. The X7 also features a Game Genie-Esq system allowing for cheats to be applied to games.
Battery Life: With the X7 Battery life seems somewhat improved. Like all flash carts, battery life will drop for sure, this is especially true if you keep flashing new games to the onboard memory. Battery seems to last for around 4 hours on my backlit GBC.
Real-Time Clock Support: The X7 has a real-time clock, meaning Harvest Moon and the Pokémon games will keep their correct time. The X7 allows for multiple ‘Isolated’ RTCs meaning you can have numerous games all with their own clocks at once. This is battery powered and can be easily removed with no need for soldering.
Loading Speed: Games load quite fast. Game Boy Games take a few seconds usually, but slightly bigger GBC games may take up to 20 seconds to load. This is still much quicker than finding the original cartridge, unboxing it and inserting it into your console.
GUI: Very basic, yet perfectly functional menu system. This menu is pretty much uniform between other Everdrive devices. One benefit of the X7 is it allows you to access an in-game menu meaning you don’t have to completely reset your game each time. This is accessible by pushing in the cartridge at the top, there’s actually a small button inside the shell which is activated this way.
Active Support: The developer Krikzz has a history of putting out firmware updates long after initially releasing his products. You can be assured that any problems will most likely be fixed and even new features may be added.
Customer Service: I have personally had no dealings with Krikzz myself, but I can see he is active in the community. Also, the Everdrive GB X7 mini seems to be sold by better-established retailers instead of just Amazon and eBay sellers like the EZ Flash Junior so if you have any problems there will be fewer headaches.
The Price: The Everdrive GB X7 is not cheap currently sitting at around 3 times the price of the EZ Flash Junior.
Battery Issues: Sometimes, if your battery is not fully charged the Everdrive GB X7 can have a habit of resetting itself. This is easily remedied by simply charging your batteries.
EZ Flash Junior
Price: EZ Flash Junior is about a third of the price of the Everdrive GB X7
Game Compatibility: Just like the Everdrive GB X7, the EZ Flash Junior has played every game I have thrown at it. No problems, everything seems to work fine including rom hacks.
Hardware Compatibility: The EZ Flash Junior also works on Game Boy, Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Light, Game Boy Color, GBA, GBA SP, GameCube’s Game Boy Player, Super Game Boy and Super Game Boy 2 and should also work on FPGA solutions such as the Analogue Pocket.
The Everdrive GB, however, will NOT work on Game Boy Micro, DS or DS Lite consoles as these do not have the ability to read original Game Boy or Game Boy color games. The EZ Flash Omega does a pretty good job emulating GB and GBC games if you really need to play them on your DS (Or Micro!)
Real-Time Clock: The EZ Flash Junior has real-time clock support and the battery inside is not soldered to the board allowing for easy switching if you ever need to replace it. This means time-based events will happen like normal in supported games like the Pokémon series. One thing to note is the RTC can only support one game at a time, unlike the Everdrive GB X7. This means if you Switch from Pokémon Silver to Harvest Moon and back, you’ll have to reset the RTC. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it is something to be aware of.
Speed: Game loading is quite quick and comparable to the Everdrive GB X7.
GUI: Nice simple menu system, which is not too over complicated.
Resetting Your Game: Just like the Everdrive, the EZ Flash Junior has a button inside the shell. This can be pressed at any time to return to the Junior’s menu without having to turn off the power to your console.
No Save State or Cheat Support: EZ Flash Junior is quite barebones in terms of features, It plays games, and it plays them well but there is no save states or options to input cheat codes.
Build quality: Overall, the built quality is quite good, and I am very happy with it, however, there are a couple of things that bug me very slightly. The label used on the cart is highly reflective and feels cheap, to make things worse, mine is slightly off centre which drives me mad. I would have much preferred for there to be no label at all like the EZ Flash Omega. The PCB itself is very nice, but the plastic used for the shell feels a little cheaper than the Everdrive.
Customer Service: Bad/non-existent customer service. I contacted the manufacture in March, asking a couple of questions and initially requesting a sample unit for review and they never replied to my emails. Later, I re-emailed them again in June asking where I can buy their product from, they once again ignored my email. When you try to give a company your money and they ignore you, you know you’re off to a bad start.
Luckily, their products are very good and I was able to find a good seller on Amazon.
So, What Game Boy flash cart should you buy? For me, the EZ Flash Junior is a must-have. It performs similarly to the Everdrive GB without save states but is almost a third of the cost. That said, if build quality really is a big issue for you, then perhaps consider the Everdrive GB X7. Both will play all Game Boy and Game Boy Color games in one handy cartridge, and that is itself is almost priceless.
I hope this helps!