The Analogue Pocket is closer than ever and yet still so far away. The company confirmed today that Analogue Pocket preorders start at 8 a.m. Pacific time (11 a.m. Eastern) on August 3 . But Analogue will not begin shipping the modern Game Boy revival until May 2021. It blames supply-chain challenges due to the “global state of affairs” for delaying the handheld.
You can preorder the Pocket itself for $200 and its separate TV dock for $100. Now, that makes the package as expensive as the Nintendo Switch (or a Switch Light without the dock). But Analogue is doing everything it can to justify its price.
The Pocket plays all Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games. And it does so on a sharp 1600-by-1440 resolution. That is 10-times the resolution of the original Game Boy screen. The idea is to scale Game Boy games to this screen so that they can look sharper than ever. The display is also capable of a variable refresh rate, which should minimize tearing and other artifacts.
Analogue also did the work to ensure that the Pocket’s FPGA chip is a compatible hardware emulation of the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance. This should ensure that games run as originally intended. This is crucial because so many software emulators settle for good-enough re-creations of classic handheld games. And that is unacceptable in games that require reliable sound rendering, for example.
Analogue Pocket’s extra features and support
Analogue is also including features like the “Original Display Mode.” This enables you to click a button to mimic the screens of the GB, GBC, or GBA.
The company is also planning to release cartridge adapters for Game Gear, Neo Geo Pocket Color, and Atari Lynx. Those systems will even get their own Original Display Mode option.
The Pocket’s battery should last six or more hours, and you can extend that by putting it into sleep mode.
Analogue is including the Nanoloop music-creation software with the Pocket out of the box. This could turn it into a popular tool among DJs. But if you’re more interested in game creation, the handheld has built-in support for GB Studio. You can create games in that simple software, export them as .pocket files to an SD card, and then run them natively.
And finally, Analogue is dedicated to ensuring support for the Pocket’s open FPGA chip. Developers can create new cores by visiting Analogue’s developer program site. This could potentially unlock support for even more consoles in the future.