Your Move: The Analogue Pocket
Retro gaming has been big lately, demonstrated by the popularity of systems like the NES Mini and the Super Nintendo Mini. These systems play old games by way of an emulator - a program that runs on the device translates the old game code into something that can be run on the modern processor the system has. This usually works pretty well, but isn’t perfect - the software doesn’t always precisely implement the system it’s emulating, and this additional layer causes some lag in the gameplay.
Boutique retro system manufacturer Analogue takes a different approach. They’ve made NES, SNES, and Genesis systems using a chip called an FPGA. That stands for Field Programmable Gate Array, and what it does seems like magic to me. An FPGA can virtually re-wire itself, so it can be programmed to completely implement the CPU and other chips on a system, such that it’s identical to running the system on the original hardware.
Analogue’s current systems are tempting to me, but they’re kind of expensive, costing more than twice as much as the official classic consoles. This week, though, Analogue announced its first portable system - the Analogue Pocket - and this lands into the “must buy” category for me.
The Analogue Pocket is an FPGA system that can play all Game Boy games, including Game Boy Color and Advance, plus games for the Sega Game Gear, Neo Geo Pocket Color, and Atari Lynx. The super-high-resolution backlit screen will play any of these games scaled up perfectly so they can look their best.
I’ve been tempted to pick up a Game Boy lately to replace my broken original, but now I’m waiting for the Analogue Pocket, which will probably be the best way ever to play these games.