A new contender has joined the swelling ranks of retro consoles flooding the market in recent years – the handheld Analogue Pocket.
Designed by retro hardware sorcerers, Analogue, the Pocket is a part re-imagining, part homage to Nintendo’s iconic Game Boy, and does so with a design flair that shines by its sleek minimalist aesthetic. The familiar vertical landscape layout remains, as does the button layout, but it ‘s rendered with all the savoir-faire from the intervening three decades.
While the Pocket unabashedly taps into the nostalgia felt by gamers over a certain age, it does so by paying tribute rather than profiteering. While much of the gaming world’s attention turns to next year’s generational transition to the PlayStation 5, as well as next month’s Google Stadia launch, there’s something to be said about looking back fondly on simpler times.
The main appeal of the Analogue Pocket is that it reads and plays from the teeming library of over 2,780 legacy Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance cartridges, alongside adapters (sold separately) that open up the console to countless Sega Game Gear, SNK Neo Geo Pocket Color, and Atari Lynx titles.
Analogue is an interesting company in that it boasts an enviable line of vintage gaming products, including stylish retro takes on the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis consoles. These forego modern software emulation ROM files for purist ground-up, cartridge-based engineering that has produced some stunning results, and Analogue has seemingly carried over that ethos to the new Analogue Pocket.
Instead of relying on expired patents and copyright to land a quick buck with an uninspired copy of the Game Boy, the Pocket takes its legendary framework and positively catapults it into the twenty-first century.
The Analogue Pocket features a 3.5” 615 ppi LCD display, and a 1600×1440 resolution that dwarfs the original Game Boy’s by a magnitude of ten. In Analogue’s own words, the results are staggering:
“Pro level color accuracy, dynamic range, and brightness. There has never been a display this advanced in a video game system.”
Alongside those updates, the Analogue Pocket boasts a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, fully mappable buttons, stereo speakers, USB-C charging, a microSD port, a headphone input, and HDMI output so you can project your retro feats on an even larger screen should you be inclined.
There’s also a synthesizer and sequencer packaged in as a digital audio workstation interface coined Nanoloop, which is rather fitting given the low-fi sonic tropes of that era’s chip-tune legacy.
The Analogue Pocket is slated for release in 2020 and will be priced at $199. Now to dig out those old Game Boy cartridges in preparation.