Analogue Pocket Review: Why it’s Unique From Other Retro Consoles

Analogue Pocket Review | PCMag

Whether for nostalgia purposes or reliving old video games, gamers and non-gamers alike flock to stores such as Game-Stop and Pop-In Games in hopes of finding vintage gaming systems or video games. Analogue has been aiding such consumers in their search through their revival of older gaming systems such as the NES, Nintendo 64, and the Nintendo Gameboy. In August of 2020, Analogue had released their “Analogue Pocket” which allows users to play original video games on-the-go (portable gaming systems were uncommon back then). However, this is not the only unique feature it has to offer…

First, let us describe it’s physical appearance and form factor. The system is very small, representing the 148 x 50 dimensions of the original GameBoy and it’s packaging reflects as such. That being said, the Analogue Pocket appeared much thinner and  thus a bit easier to carry around. It also doesn’t require constant changing of batteries and is more reliant on electricity and iterate circuits programmed into the system. The pixels and frames appeared much more fluent than in the original counterparts and that’s because they were. According to GameStop employee and gamer Andrew Liszewski, the Analogue pocket has “a 3.5-inch LCD with a resolution of 1600 x 1440 pixels. The original Game Boy’s screen had just 23,040 pixels in total, but the Pocket pushes 2.304 million at 615 pixels per inch. For comparison, the iPhone 13 Pro’s screen tops out at 460 ppi.” This makes the quality of the games much clearer with crisp graphics.

In terms of gaming itself, the Analgue Pocket controls are very reliable, despite the lack of texture provided on the directional pad. Keep in mind that most retro consoles featured 2D games bar the Nintendo 64 and Gameboy, meaning that only two buttons on the directional pad would be used. The buttons, however, are not labeled (ex. “A” button, “B” button, etc.) which may result in some accidental mistakes during the video games. However, through trial-and-error, it is an easy gripe to overcome. There are also two green buttons towards the bottom of the device, one to power down the system and the other to pause or resume the game. Because of the device’s handling, these locations are convenient and don’t distract the user from the video game.

While the device has no Internet access, the link cable ports permit multiplayer gaming locally. Near this cable, the device also comes with a MicroCard SD slot which provides firmware upgrades as well as permits data on the SD card to be transferred to other compatible devices. It is the same hardware that saves game data with higher capacity storage than a typical save battery. The speaker grills also provide the volume of the game with similar audio to its original counterpart(s).

However, what distinguishes the Analgoue Pocket from other retro-gaming consoles is definitely it’s Field-Programmable Gate Array Chip (FPGAC). Each chip is programmed to function EXACTLY the same as the original electronic games. This means that the user can enter that duty old cartridge of Pokemon Yellow that they had back in 1999 into the system and the game will play with all of the previously saved data. There are no frame-right problems or audio issues and the system is very diverse being able to play NES, Sega Genesis, TurboGraFX, and Gameboy games. While other retro consoles still required a new cartridge, the Analogue Pocket can use direct older models of games enhancing the retro gaming experience. This factor alone is what sets the Analogue Pocket apart from other devices.  

 Currently, the Analogue Pocket has a retail price of $280 which is a respective price for such a diverse and retro gaming system. The Analogue Pocket may be the greatest retro gaming device currently on the market as its simplistic handling along with quality 2D video games allows for a gaming experience like no other. If you are looking for a device that lets you experience older video games in their original style while improving convenience, look no further than the Analogue Pocket.

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