Piepacker takes multiplayer retrogaming online – and PieReader brings your carts along for the ride

All the Pies
26 April 2021 / 13:02BST

With Antstream bringing streaming retro games to your PC and Evercade VS using carts to send retro goodies to your telly, you might wonder if there’s room for more old-school gaming services and hardware. Piepacker (premium from $40; free version also available) has found a gap – in online multiplayer. The browser-based service has you battle friends in over 60 titles, including Sensible Soccer and Worms Blast. Built-in video chat lets you grin wildly and see your opponent’s pain as you win at the last second (even if you’re both sporting 3D face filters). But what if your favourite titles aren’t available? There are two bring your own game (BYOG) systems for that. One requires a “legally acquired ROM”, but the second is much more fun. With the Kickstarter-exclusive PieReader (from $100), you can plug in real NES, SNES and Mega Drive carts and play your games online with friends, wherever they happen to be. The console connects to your PC, includes four controller ports for local gaming and has an optional glass dome – ideal for pretending you’re living in an episode of The Jetsons.