Analog Pocket Review-Retro Handheld Marvel

introduce

As game industry publishers race to achieve shorter load times, ray tracing-based rendering and blockchain technology, retro hardware manufacturer Analogue continues to celebrate the history of video games. This boutique manufacturer has launched the latest version of Analogue Pocket, focusing on the basic pillar of retro games-handheld computers.

Analogue Pocket is a design marvel that sets a new standard for high-end video game handheld devices (retro or other). Most importantly, it is completely legal because it relies on genuine ink cartridges.

The device has a stunning 3.5-inch LCD screen, configurable zoom and display modes, HDMI docking station, a popular music creation kit called Nanoloop, and GB Studio game engine compatibility. Most importantly, it can play original Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance game cartridges with zero emulation. The handheld computer also plays Sega Game Gear cassettes through a proprietary adapter sold separately. Neo Geo Pocket, Atari Lynx and TurboGrafx-16 adapters are scheduled to be released in 2022 at a price of $29.99 each.

Screen

Pocket screen | Source: Alex Van Aken

Screen

In addition to the game library, the most important part of any handheld computer is the screenone. POcket’s 3.5-inch LCD has a resolution of 1600×1440, which is the clearest of its kind in handheld devices I have ever seen.Color exudes vitality and rich contrast, competing with beautiful things-if not outstanding performance IPS display It has become the standard for Game Boy modification scenes.thoriumThe device is also equipped with damage-resistant Gorilla Glass and a variable refresh rate display to help prevent screen tearing in games.

Pocket convincingly reproduces the well-known visual artifacts of Nintendo handhelds with its numerous picture modes, including backlit LCD effects and sub-pixel patterns. For example, you can cycle through DMG, Pocket, and Game Boy Light image profiles while playing the first-generation cassette, all of which faithfully replicate the iconic green tones and pixel grid layout of the original hardware. If you prefer clean images, you can use a simulated custom profile that defaults to gorgeous black and white images when not playing color-enabled titles. In addition, simulation allows you to adjust the color palette, frame blending, sharpness, desaturation, and size/position, but I mainly stick to the default settings.

Playing games on the simulated pocket is really a visual pleasure. I find myself changing the ink cartridges frequently to see how the advanced screen improves each heading.

Handheld experience

Analog Pocket PC

Analog Pocket | Source: Analog Company.

Handheld experience

Analogue Pocket looks familiar, similar to the classic appearance of the Gameboy, albeit with some updates. The four face buttons now accompany the D-pad, and a pair of shoulder buttons are located on either side of the rear game cassette slot. Between the start and the selection is a new simulation button that is used to call up the operating system menus and navigation options. You can remap all these buttons to your favorite functions, which is a great auxiliary function.

The soft green power button doubles as a sleep and wake option. With just one click, you can continue the game from where you left off last time — effectively acting as a floating save state — greatly improving the handheld gaming experience of the past. The rechargeable Li-ion 4300mAh battery can ensure six to ten hours of playing time. You can charge the battery by connecting the battery to the optional analog dock or the USB-C port of the Pocket, I use to connect to mine MacBook Pro is a convenient power source on the go.

Although Analogue Pocket provides an excellent experience, it is not without its flaws. After swapping games, despite using clean and properly installed ink cartridges, the recurring error still displays a white error screen. A simple power cycle can alleviate this problem, but I hope Analogue will resolve it in a future firmware update.

Considering its name, it is strange that the simulated pocket cannot be safely placed in a standard-sized trouser pocket. Instead, I recommend buying a Pocket Hard Case with a retail price of $29.99 and storing the handheld device safely in a backpack or work bag.This is a fairly simple accessory-the case is just two interlocking hard plastics-but it at least prevents the Pocket from being worn out during transportationsit. Unfortunately, hIf the Game Gear adapter is connected, andheld does not fit in the case, let me put the accessories loosely in the bag.

Dock It Like It’s Hot

Analog Pocket PC

Simulated terminal | Image source: Simulated Company.

Dock It Like It’s Hot

The success of Switch proves that handheld games are better when players have a choice, and Analogue is smart enough to follow suit. The optional analog dock ($99.99) allows users to put their Pocket on top to display the device’s image on an HDMI-compatible monitor, such as a TV or desktop game monitor. If you are a streamer or content creator, or even slightly interested in highlighting retro games, then Dock is a must buy because it can easily be used with capture cards and broadcasting software (such as OBS).

However, if you mainly play handheld games, in your hands and on the go, then I think you can skip this purchase for now.

Although playing Game Boy games on the big screen is novel, I am disappointed by the lack of features of the device. For example, display mode switching is only available in handheld mode, and the analog base is not paired with many controllers. This Official website Only five compatible gamepads are listed (see below). Unfortunately, I tried to connect to my Xbox Series X controller via the Xbox wireless adapter, but it didn’t work. Although I am lucky and have a Switch Pro controller in my desk drawer, I hope to see support for a wider list of controllers in the future.

GB Studio-Infinite Possibilities

Analog pocket

Gurb adventure running on a simulated operating system | Source: Alex Van Aken

GB Studio-Infinite Possibilities

One of the most exciting features of Analogue Pocket is its ability to play software created in GB Studio. This is a drag-and-drop retro game engine that unlocks a brand new game library that can be played from independent developmentUh. The developers have already supported Pocket on Itch.io, You can find it here. However, the highlights such as dead and Opossum It can’t run on Analogue Pocket yet, because their creator must publish a new file type (.pocket) before the game can run on the device.

If the game download contains a GB Studio project file (.gbsproj), there is another possible solution to create your own .pocket file, for example Gubu’s Adventure and Pushingo Provided, I have detailed the general usage instructions of GB Studio below. Please note that you may encounter errors with this workaround, but it will be interesting to explore the possibilities of handheld computers while we wait for official developer support.

Oh! I almost forgot. Since Analogue Pocket recognizes GB Studio games as the appropriate Game Boy release, you can switch between its display modes to see how these modern independent games performed on original hardware in the 90s. I like this thing very much.

Make music with Nanoloop

Make music with Nanoloop

Nanoloop is a popular music creation kit for game handheld devices. It has been widely used to produce chip music tracks since the early 2000s, and has a built-in analog pocket. At first glance, the software may seem intimidating; however, if you have experience with a digital audio workstation or a MIDI-based sequencer, its simple layout is easy to learn.Although the learning curve may be steep, I quickly passed the reference Digital manual And have a lot of fun. The sequencer has only four channels (which is a limit to foster creativity), and I like the process of determining which sounds should be prioritized in my track. The synthesizers, drums, and noise tracks produced by Nanoloop are pleasant while creating sounds. Suppose you are interested in the process of making music, even at a beginner level. In this case, Nanoloop is a good starting point, and the fact that Analogue Pocket contains it is incredible.

judgment

Analog pocket

Alex Van Aken Photography

Analog Pocket | Source: Alex Van Aken

Verdict: A

The analog pocket is a collector’s dream. Whether your collection is new or mature, handheld computers bring a new level of vitality to the beloved era of portable gaming. Despite some quirks, it provides unparalleled convenience for fans exploring the huge library of Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance and Game Gear cassettes.

release

December 13

price

Analog Pocket – $219.99

Dock station-$99.99