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Analogue Pocket Review: History in your hands

How far would you go to recreate the feeling you got playing video games as a child? Based on the general love and admiration for Analogue, a company that makes sleek new consoles for playing old games, there are a lot of us who would pay handsomely for the chance. The company’s newest device, the Analogue Pocket, finally extends that deeply detailed love to the early portable consoles of the 1990s and 2000s. It plays Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance cartridges out of the box. An optional adapter allows it to play Game Gear carts and, in time, the Atari Lynx and Neo Geo Pocket Color.

Like Analogue’s Super NT and Mega SG, which play Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis games, respectively, the Analogue Pocket offers a masterful adaptation of old-school technology adapted with and, in many ways, enhanced by modern design sensibilities. The $220 retro console goes to great lengths to let you recreate the experience of playing Game Boy games on a Game Boy-like device. At the same time, it introduces new luxuries, including save states, modern display settings, and the ability to play on a modern TV using the optional dock. It’s an extremely impressive piece of equipment. It can also be used to make music—and is easily the best device way to play the portable games of generations past, whether you display your collection prominently or have it stashed in a basement or closet.

The Analogue Pocket evokes the original Game Boy, without trying to imitate it. Measuring 3.5 by 0.88 by 5.84 inches (WDH), it’s smaller than the actual Game Boy, closer to the size of the Game Boy Color, but the overall design is similar. The rectangular plastic console body has the same rounded bottom corners and sharp top corners as the original. Its 3.5-inch 1660 x 1440p LCD display has the same thick bezel. When you play it, you really feel like you’re holding a Game Boy from the ‘90s.

Between the fact that it supports a wide array of consoles and a host of new features, it isn’t actually identical. The Analogue Pocket has the full input set for the Game Boy Advance, including four face buttons, a four-way D-pad, and two triggers. The front also has a trio of system-level buttons, the classic start and select buttons, plus a logo-laden home button. On the side, you have a two-part rocker for controlling volume, plus a power button.

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