Very few modern tech companies have executed on their mission as consistently, and at such a high level of quality as Analogue. Analogue’s obsessively engineered modern consoles for old-school physical cartridge video games are museum-quality hardware design, housing specially tuned processors that offer pitch- and pixel-perfect play of all NES, Sega Genesis, SNES and other retro console games on modern HD TVs – and their new $199 Analogue Pocket aims to provide the best way to play classic portable console titles in similar high fidelity.
The Analogue Pocket is a portable gaming console that can play the entire library of Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance games out of the box – natively, without emulation, so that the gaming experience is exactly as you remember it (or as it was intended, if this is your first experience with these classic titles). That’s not all, though: Using cartridge adapters, the Analogue Pocket can support Game Gear, Neo Geo Pocket Color, Atari Lynx and other games, too.
It uses two FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays) which are processors that have been programmed specifically to play these games back as they were originally intended, mimicking the the operation of the original silicon found in the consoles that these games were designed for with the faithfulness of true restoration hardware. The result is a great gaming experience that will feel like the original – but played on the Analogue Pocket’s much more impressive hardware, which offers a 3.5-inch, 1600×1440 LCD display that provides a very high-resolution 615 ppi. For those keeping tracks that’s ten times the resolution of the original Game Boy display. And it’s color tuned for amazing color rendering and brightness – it could actually be the best display on a dedicated gaming device, period, let alone for a retro console.
The Analogue Pocket also works with an accessory called the Analogue Dock (sold separately, pricing TBD), which adds HDMI out and Bluetooth/wired controller support, to turn the Pocket into a home console for your big screen TV, too. The dock offers two standard USB ports for wired controllers, and its Bluetooth support works with any of 8Bitdo’s excellent gamepads. It’s basically a Switch but for all your favorite Game Boy series games, and with what looks like much better quality hardware.
That would be plenty to offer in a portable console, but the Analogue Pocket is designed to do still more. It has a built-in synthesizer and sequencer for making digital music, and the second FPGA it’s packing is designed to be used specifically for development. It allows the development community to bring their own cores to the platform, which means it could potentially support a whole host of classic and ported games in future.
Analogue Pocket is set to release some time in 2020, with a more specific date to be announced later on. It’s a natural next step for the company that delivered excellent gaming experiences via the Nt Mini, the Super Nt and the Mega Sg, but it’s still a nice, exciting surprise to find out that they’re tackling the rich history of mobile gaming next.