Analogue Pocket

The Analogue Pocket has become one of my favorite gaming consoles (or handheld) of all time. Initially announced as a modern device that plays games from the family of GameBoys, it has grown to become exactly what I wanted and has yet to reach its full potential.


Analogue is a company that specializes in creating retro gaming consoles. They are most widely known for making a $200 Nintendo and a $200 Super Nintendo. You can plug your original cartridges from these systems into these new ones, and everything still works. There have been several other machines that have done this in recent years, but Analogue’s edge is its use of the FPGA.

Internally, Analogue has reversed engineered and replicated the original chipsets of the Nintendo and Super Nintendo and have them running on a chip called an FPGA. This means that the games aren’t running in emulation on a PC or on Linux or something. It’s running the original processors EXACTLY the same way the original hardware did.

By doing this, Analogue has replicated the exact original look and feel of the original console to near perfection.

Analogue Pocket Announcement

On October 16th, 2019, Analogue announced its newest hardware recreation, the Analogue Pocket. The Analogue Pocket would be their first handheld device, and it would play GameBoy, GameBoy Color, and GameBoy Advanced games. Sold separately, you could also buy a Dock that would charge the device and hook up to a TV.

However, the biggest hint at its potential was the inclusion of a second FPGA chipset. A primary FPGA was included that would run a Game cartridge, but the second FPGA would be open to developers to do whatever they wanted with. This meant that it may be possible for people to play their own Game roms on the device. And this also meant that people could write code for other consoles to be played, like a Game Gear, or a Sega Genesis, or a Super Nintendo.

Recently I had been able to rediscover many amazing retro games thanks to the Super Nintendo Mini. But, the Mini was cumbersome and could only play certain games. If the Pocket could play Super Nintendo and other stuff, too, it would be like the Nintendo Switch for retro games. I could play Super Nintendo portably, or plug it into the TV and play them there. It would be perfect.

Analogue Pocket Release

Almost a year later on August 1st, a date and time was announced when you could buy one. For me, it would be Midnight on August 4th 2020. Hype for the device began to buzz around the Internet with even Elijah Wood posting about it. Of course, this was the height of global lockdown from the Coronavirus, so any news on the Internet spread very quickly. I planned on staying up to secure my order.

Analogue’s Store page went live at Midnight, and I knew exactly what I wanted: Black Pocket, Dock, Case, Screen Protector, and Cable. Putting things into my cart was easy, but actually purchasing was a nightmare. The pages took a while to load, or didn’t load at all. I typed in all of my information and hit save, but international shipping took a while to appear. I kept hitting that Purchase button to conclude the sale, and eventually it went through. After waking up the next day, a purchase confirmation email was in my inbox. It was a success! My order was in the #54xxx range.

The Pocket was expected to release in early or mid-2021. That was pushed to October, and then it was pushed again. Finally, orders began shipping in December, and on December 24th, 2021, my Pocket arrived in the mail. Over 2 years after its announcement, and over 1 year after its purchase.

Analogue Pocket

Out of the box, the Analogue Pocket does exactly what it says it would do. You plug in a GameBoy game, it plays perfectly fine. You plug in a GameBoy Advance game, it plays perfectly fine. But that was all that it did. On release, the second FPGA chip was not yet available for other developers to use.

Fast forward to July 30th 2022 and the first firmware update was released. The second FPGA was now available and the first core was released which recreated Spacewar, the first interactive game ever created on a computer.

Neo Geo

A day later, something amazing showed up online. There was a core for the Neo Geo. The Neo Geo was a console released in the 90s which was identical to the company's Arcade hardware. It was the first time you could play perfect versions of Arcade games in your home. It was very expensive, so very few people actually bought it.

The Neo Geo is home to some of my favorite games of all time, now they were available on the Pocket. And they looked absolutely stunning.

Not all games played at first, but the ones that worked were perfect. They looked amazing, sounded amazing, and played amazing. As of today, September 19th, 2022 with its most recent update, all Neo Geo games are playable.

Super Nintendo

Also, today-ish the dream has finally come true with the first release of the Super Nintendo core for the Analogue Pocket. 3 years after its initial announcement, preorder, release, update, the Analogue Pocket had reached the potential that many of us initially saw in the device, and more.

[ photos ]

Actraiser looks and sounds absolutely stunning on the Pocket. Super Metroid looks and sounds amazing. It's all so beautiful.

A Dream Device

With both Neo Geo and Super Nintendo released, I'm able to play these games in the perfect environment without any of the problems of the Super Nintendo Mini. Adding and organizing games on the Pocket is FAR simpler than the Mini, and there is virtually no storage limit since everything is on an SD card. I'm able to play every game ever created on this device, and then organize the ones I want to play.

For me, there are still a few more consoles needed to make the Analogue Pocket the perfect device for me. Obviously, the Nintendo Entertainment System has an incredible number of classics, but I want to also play Sega Genesis with Sega CD, in order to play Snatcher, and Capcom CPS2 for arcade perfect Street Fighter Alpha, Super Puzzle Fighter II, and some other amazing Shooters and Fighters.

If all five of these consoles were available on the Pocket, my Retro dreams would completely come true.

Recent Posts
Recent Featured Posts