Nintendo Co., Ltd.’s Game Boy was a pioneer in video game handhelds. As the first portable system to allow interchangeable cartridges, it paved the way for a number of competitors which, to this day, have not been able to crush the company’s dominance in the space.
The Analogue Pocket preserves that video game history beautifully. It can play original Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance cartridges natively on a super sharp LCD display without emulation. And with cartridge adapters, the hardware can even play Game Boy competitor cartridge games from Sega Corp.’s Game Gear to SNK Corp.’s Neo Geo Pocket.
The hardware itself is stellar. The Analogue Pocket sports a 3.5-inch LCD display at 1600 x 1440 with 615 ppi that’s made from sturdy Gorilla Glass. Pop an old Game Boy cartridge in and it comes back to life gloriously. Users can choose from an old Dot Matrix-like green display or a clean black and white shade to replay their favorite classics. Game Boy Advance games look even better with rich color and razor sharp resolution. Sound quality is excellent with built-in stereo speakers that blare out pure audio nostalgia.
The first cartridge adapter for Game Gear works flawlessly. I popped in an old copy of Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine and suddenly the game was brought back to life with vibrant beans cascading down the screen at 60FPS. Future adapters to be sold include the Neo Geo Pocket, Atari Lynx, and TurboGrafx-16.
Because the design the Analogue Pocket is an homage to the original Game Boy, the feel is not only familiar but entirely comfortable. The d-pad and buttons are superb. The left flanked power button and volume controls are flat and easy to press. A new Analogue button sits between the select and start buttons for instant system settings. The back even features horizontal ridges found on the original Game Boy battery chamber. New are left and right triggers that flank the cartridge bay. Both are comfortable to use, even in heavy action titles like Metroid Fusion.
The bottom of the device includes an original Game Link port used for multiplayer games, a USB-C port for charging, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The built-in 4300mAh rechargeable battery lasts between six to ten hours, which is serviceable considering the high-resolution display.
The Analogue Pocket is portable preservation at its peak. It can deftly play a large library of original cartridges with a sturdy chassis and stunning display. While many physical games have faded into the past, this handheld keeps them firmly in the present.