After a year and a half, my Analogue Pocket finally arrived. I am stoked to have yet another way to play Game Boy games at high-fidelity, a pursuit I have been on for over 15 years. It’s not the end-all-be-all of course, but it is another tool in my video game console tool belt.
I wanted to whip up some initial impressions, instead of reviewing it full stop. Let’s use that to segue into the first takeaway.
The Pocket has uncashed checks. At launch, there are no third-party cores, major features are pending on AnalogueOS 1.1, and Analogue’s own promised core support via adapters. The future, like a modern console (or game) is contingent on software support. I’m confident it will be delivered. Heck, the jailbreak could be dropping any day now. It’s still early, but after two years of hype, I was hopeful for more at launch.
This also applies to the Dock. I was shocked to find out the Dock does not support Analogue’s own DAC on day one. There are no Display Modes on the Dock. Settings feel like the bare minimum. I know the Dock was supposed to launch after the Pocket released. It’s safe to assume the delays allowed Analogue to launch them simultaneously, but the Dock feels unfinished. It performs as advertised, but it’s a far cry from Analogue’s usual baseline.
Why is there no Game Boy link cable support while docked? Maybe it can come someday via UBS. I tried using a USB-C extension cable, but all it did was charge the Pocket. Someone on reddit claims they got one to work, but haven’t shared which cable or shown proof. All I want is the Tingle Tuner in 1080p to capture it…
My last complaint at launch is why no Phil Fish boot sequence? The home consoles from Analogue all have neat boot animations with a pleasing tune. I really wish there was more than a white Analogue logo. I miss the Game Boy boot as well, but I understand why that can’t be officially included for copyright reasons. Maybe with the jailbreak I can get my chime back.
I’ll throw out one specific praise of the console: the Display Modes absolutely deliver. I learned from My Life in Gaming’s review that due to the displays high pixel density, Analogue is able to use the pixels and sub-pixels to create these modes. It’s not a mask or filter. I’m truly floored by their performance. I do wish we could tweak them or create our own. Maybe that comes someday with software.
The display truly is unlike anything else. You really couldn’t ask for a better display, especially in the current market of replacement IPS panels.
The Pocket is solid hardware that is now living under the cloud of future software to truly unlock its full potential. With orders backed into 2023, we’ll see what kind of experience those owners will have on their own launch of the console.