Analogue’s engineers are a little crazy and completely obsessive, and their latest obsession has the look of a 21st-century Game Boy version.
When the world of retrogaming is driven by emulation, i.e., the “almost” reproduction of the behavior of old machines on the current processors of our PCs and other Raspberry Pis, analog engineers develop real FPGA-based consoles. Programmable chips that behave (almost) exactly like the original chips.
Beyond Game Boy
In addition to Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance cartridges, Pocket also manages more exotic console cartridges such as the Sega Game Gear, Neo Geo Pocket Color, and Atari Lynx. To enjoy these non-Nintendo cartridges, you will need to purchase a special adapter sold by Analogue.
The Analogue Pocket will have, as an optional accessory, a dock to connect the console to a TV in the same way as the Switch. You can play with physical controllers by connecting them to the two USB ports of the TV dock or via Bluetooth with any controller (Analogue recommends 8bitdo pads). You may never have imagined you could play your original “Super Mario Land 2” cartridge on your 4K screen, but you can soon.
In addition to the console aspect, the system integrates its audio creation software (DAW, digital audio workstation) called “Nanoloop.” An application like the Impulse Tracker that allows you to compose and play music live. Teamtendo’s nostalgic fans will appreciate it.
Not quite your average GameBoy
The latest Analogue console is called Pocket and does not use any of the design codes of the original console, which saves a lot of trouble with Nintendo, which is very straddling its intellectual property. Although 100% compatible with the Game Boy (and other consoles as we will see), its electronics are much more powerful and more modern. The display has nothing to envy smartphones since with its 1600 x 1440 dot resolution on an 8.9 cm diagonal. It offers an image resolution of 615 PPI. The device includes its li-ion battery that charges in USB-C, as well as a 3.5 mm headphone output and the famous link plug that allowed you to connect two consoles to play Tetris as a duo.
On the button side, the console doubles the initial controls – an equivalent A,B,X,Y instead of the two buttons A and B of the original machine – plus a directional cross, and three buttons, two of which are assumed to serve as Start and Select and the third as the main menu call button.
No ROMS (in theory)
The console also includes a Micro SD slot but probably more for saving music than for video games. Because the Pocket “is not compatible with ROMS” and all other accessories of the kind, we learn on the Analogue website. If it is not unimaginable that this ROMS’ management function can be activated/hacked afterward, it is not the will of the creators of Pocket. And we believe them, these hardware freaks.
The Pocket Analogue will be available in 2020 (without further details) for $199. The price of the dock and adapters will be announced in 2020.