The newest product from game preservation company Analogue is the Analogue Pocket, which plays games for Game Boy, amongst other handhelds.
As we enter an age for video games increasingly focused on digital software, the need to preserve old, physical games grows even more. Analogue has long been a company focused on preserving not just gaming hardware, but gaming history. After their Mega Sg made such an effort with Genesis and Mega Drive games, their next product is sure to intrigue. The Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and a number of handheld consoles you wouldn’t expect will get the same treatment from the Analogue Pocket.
According to their website, Analogue’s product is a tribute to portable gaming as a whole. It has “a digital audio workstation with a built-in synthesizer and sequencer,” and it can play any Game Boy (Color and Advance included) cartridge natively. Additionally, an adapter will allow users to make use of their game cartridges for the Game Gear, Neo Geo Pocket Color, Atari Lynx, “& more.” This is all achieved through the Pocket’s hardware and does not use emulation.
The Pocket has a 3.5”, 615 pixels per inch (ppi), LCD screen with a resolution of 1600×1440; that’s ten times the resolution of an original Game Boy, so you bet that your old games will look nice on this thing. The device has a lithium-ion rechargeable battery, mappable buttons, stereo speakers, microSD support, USB-C charging, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, and an “original-style” link plug. I had no clue that they could make the original Game Boy so sexy.
Interestingly enough, the Analogue Pocket also a music-making “digital audio workstation” called Nanoloop. It’s a synthesizer and a sequencer that is “designed for music creation and live performance,” so I’m hoping to see DJs with Pockets at the club. The announcement also touts that the handheld is designed for FPGA (field-programmable gate array) development, with the handheld having a second dedicated FPGA “just for developers to develop & port their own cores.” It’s all part of Analogue’s mission of game preservation.
And man, the features just keep coming—you’ll not only be able to play your handheld games as they were originally played but on your TV as well. Harkening back to the Super Game Boy and the Game Boy Player, and taking a page from the Nintendo Switch, the Analogue Dock will allow users to play their old games on an HDTV. The Dock will support “any wireless 8BitDo Bluetooth controller” or wired USB controllers, with the Dock having two USB ports. It’s hard to not feel spoiled by all of this.
It’s a cool new approach to modern handheld gaming, one that is more of a blatant throwback than something like Panic’s Playdate handheld console, which plays new games and has, uh, a crank. And seeing how many independent developers and hobbyists out there tinkering with handheld games and hardware, I’d assume that the Pocket will be another interesting toy to play with.
This all comes at an unspecified time in 2020, but the Analogue Pocket will go for $199 USD. The Analogue Dock price is TBA. Check out a full gallery for the hardware below.