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Analogue Pocket: Handheld for Retro Gamers and Music Makers

If you’re a fan of old school handheld gaming, make sure to mark down May 2021 in your calendars and dust off your Game Boy cartridges because Analogue’s latest console — Pocket — is here to bring back retro portable gaming.

What is Analogue Pocket?

The Analogue Pocket presents itself as Analogue’s ultimate tribute to handheld gaming, as the Seattle-based company promises fans that this console will run all Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games — straight out of the box. But what if you’re the proud owner of some pretty rad Atari Lynx, Game Gear, or Neo GEO Pocket Color games? Don’t worry, Analogue’s given this handheld system some serious thought, as the Pocket will also be able to run those game cartridges. However, fans will  have to purchase the designated cartridge adapter from Analogue for $30 each. This powerhouse gaming console, which will be available in both black and white, is determined to provide old-time fans with an authentic gaming experience that is said to be incredibly similar, if not better than the original handhelds.

The Analogue Pocket plays original Game Boy Cartridges

Unfortunately, due to the current state of the world, the Pocket’s release date has been postponed to May 2021. However, this delay has not made anyone less interested in the Pocket, as these handheld devices sold out immediately as soon as their pre-orders were announced. Some people may be confused about the hype surrounding this product, after all, there are many different ways for fans to revisit their favorite retro games. However, Analogue’s Pocket proves to be one of the truest ways for fans to relive classic games, as the device will actually run the original game cartridges, not merely provide players with an emulation.

About Analogue the company

If you haven’t already heard, Analogue is a video game company that retails its own original gaming hardware. It was founded in 2011 by Christopher Taber and — apart from the upcoming Pocket — exists as the proud creator of the Mega Sg, Super Nt, Nt mini, and Nt. This epic company primarily focuses on preserving the retro video gaming experience in the most genuine way possible, as Analogue products allow players to enjoy old school video games as they were intended.

8-Nanoloop + OP-1 + macbook

Better than the originals?

One of the possible negatives about retro gaming would definitely include the less than great visual experience. Unfortunately, we’ve all been absolutely spoiled by the modern gaming experience — everything’s bigger, clearer, and all-around superior — however, the $199.99 Pocket is said to feature a 3.5 inch Gorilla Glass LTPS LCD display with a not-so-retro resolution of 1,600 x 1,400 pixels — which is definitely better than the original Game Boy’s 160 x 144 pixels. Analogue states that this 615 ppi display will be approximately 10 times better than the original Game Boy, which will also provide for better color accuracy, thus delivering a great visual retro gaming experience. Since the Pocket’s larger screen doesn’t exactly correlate with the initial handhelds, players are also provided with the option to view the games in their original ratios. Analogue promises that this handheld system will display the original pixel patterns very accurately.

Analogue Pocket Multiplayer Handheld Console

While the universal love for the original Game Boy is undeniable, it’s obvious that we’re more than happy to leave behind the days of AA batteries and bulky wall chargers. Luckily, Analogue has also taken this into consideration, and the Pocket possesses a built-in 4300 mAH battery — as well as a usb-c charging port — so fans can look forward to squeezing out a solid six to eight hours of gameplay. With that being said, the Pocket will easily last for over 10 hours when it’s set in low power sleep mode. Fans will be pleased to discover that their days of losing saved game data, as soon as their Game Boys powered down, are long gone. With the Pocket’s ‘Sleep & Wake’ feature, players need to simply press the power button once to save their progress, and the Pocket will immediately enter sleep mode.

Fans who love handheld systems, as well as home video game consoles, will be happy to learn that Analogue has taken a few notes from Nintendo’s Switch and has specifically created a dock for the Pocket. The Analogue Dock is sold separately — and costs $100 — however, it provides a 1080p HDMI output and has built-in Bluetooth; which allows for 2.4GHz support for wireless controllers. In total, this dock will support up to four players via Bluetooth, or players can decide to go old school and simply connect two wired controllers directly into the dock’s USB ports.

The Analogue Pocket Dock

Staying true to the originals

Even though the Pocket presents itself as a modern-day Game Boy, it still does a wonderful job of staying true to the original handheld systems. For starters, fans will be pleased to learn that Analogue has retained the use of a 3.5mm headphone jack, as well as an original style link port. With an additional $15.99 link cable, fans can look forward to linking their Pocket with others for multiplayer gaming, trading items, and much more — just like in the 90s!

Analogue Pocket Original Link Port and Cable

More than just gaming

If you thought that the Pocket was just a simple handheld gaming system, think again. Analogue doesn’t purely want to preserve the history of gaming, as they’re just as passionate about contributing to it too. With that in mind, Analogue has teamed up with GB Studio and the Pocket is specifically designed to support the GB Studio games development suite. GB Studio is a seamless game creating software that allows users to quickly and easily create their own unique games. While the process of creating a game is often daunting and complicated, this software can be used successfully by everyone, as no prior programming knowledge is required. Using GB Studio, players and game development enthusiasts can easily save their own creations as ‘.pocket’ files, transfer them onto a micro SD card, insert it into their Pocket and play away! Lastly, the Pocket even features remappable buttons, and includes an additional FPGA, so that game developers can feel free to access and reprogram the system as they see fit.

Analogue Pocket Game Development GB Studio

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However, the Pocket’s potential doesn’t stop there. This handheld system also allows you to create your own music, as Analogue looks to branch out from strictly gaming. The Pocket has a built-in music synthesizer and sequencer program — known as Nanoloop — which allows users to morph, shape and stretch sounds. Pocket owners can also record music, play it and even modify it all live.

Analogue Pocket Nanoloop Make Music

Highly anticipated for a reason

There’s really nothing similar to the Analogue Pocket available on the market right now, which makes this modern-day Game Boy even more desirable. While it’s already entirely remarkable that this handheld system has the capability to run such an extensive array of the most beloved games, the Pocket’s functionalities are almost endless, as it even allows game developers and music makers to create their own masterpieces. It’s needless to say that the Analogue Pocket presents itself as one of the most highly anticipated handheld gaming systems of 2021.


YouTube: Nanoloop on Analogue Pocket – Explore #1

 

Photo credit: All images have been provided to us by Analogue as part of a press kit.

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Shalinn Yeap
Shalinn Yeap
Hello there! I'm Shalinn, a technology journalist, and occasional film reviewer. Thank you so much for reading my article, and please feel free to message me on Twitter!