Analogue Pocket is a gorgeous-ass retro Game Boy console for sale next year

Want a new, gorgeous-ass way to play your classic Game Boy titles? Boy, does Analogue Pocket have you fucking covered.


It might be time to dig out those old Game Boy cartridges you still have in the attic. Retro console maker Analogue announced today it will release its first handheld device, the Analogue Pocket. The not-a-Game-Boy-but-kind-of-a-Game-Boy device will play cartridges from every generation of Nintendo Game Boy, including the Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and original Game Boy. It will cost $200 when it launches sometime in 2020.

The system looks like an old Game Boy Pocket but packs stereo speakers and a much nicer display, with a 3.5-inch 1,600 x 1,440 pixel LCD with “pro-level color accuracy,” according to Analogue. It has two extra shoulder buttons for Game Boy Advance games, and a couple of extra face buttons, too. And if you want to play on your TV, there will be a Switch-like TV dock you can purchase separately.

All 2,780 of the classic handhelds’ games will be compatible with the Analogue Pocket. It’s not limited to Game Boy, either. The company plans to support Game Gear, Neo Geo Pocket Color, and Atari Lynx games—but you’ll need to buy cartridge adapters that are planned to come out sometime after launch.

The Pocket joins Analogue’s growing number of console revivals that faithfully play original cartridges. The Mega SG plays Sega Genesis games and the Super NT will boot up any Super Nintendo game.

Usually, systems like these use software to emulate, or imitate, the original hardware of a classic console. Analogue systems re-create gaming systems’ innards in a different way. They use custom-made internal field-programmable gate array (FPGA) processors, which are programmed to behave exactly like the processing units in the original Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, and Game Boy systems. That’s why they can play original cartridges without any additional software, tweaking, or hacking. They play old games as they were originally played. You don’t need to search for ROMs in the back alleys of the internet. Just hop on eBay and pick up all those cartridges you never got the chance to try.

Until now, Analogue has stuck to re-creating consoles, but the Analogue Pocket will have a few hidden talents. It will have an extra FPGA chip inside it. The first is for playing games—set up to run the extended library of Game Boy games. The other is for developing and porting games. Analogue hopes the included developer kit will make Pocket into a platform for indie developers to code their own FPGA-compatible games for Pocket or port over their existing games from other systems for preservation. We don’t yet know how original games might be loaded and played.

Its other trick is music. The Analogue Pocket comes with an on-device digital audio app dubbed Nanoloop, for synthesizing and sequencing digital music. It might seem like an unusual inclusion in a handheld gaming device, but retro consoles have always shared a close relationship with the chiptune digital music scene. Nanoloop is designed as much for live performance as it is for music production.