It looks like a Game Boy. It plays Game Boy titles, along with Game Boy Color, GBA, Sega’s Game Gear, SNK’s Neo Geo Pocket Color, and Atari’s Lynx, giving you an absolute buffet of nostalgia. It also has its own DAW or Digital Audio Workstation called Nanoloop that lets you create your own electro 8-bit soundtracks. It’s called the Analogue Pocket and it is everything a retro gamer dreams about.
With a shape, size, and form that gamers have fallen love with for decades, the Analogue Pocket could be called a Game Boy clone, but that would take away from exactly how much better the Pocket is. Built on Analogue’s FPGA hardware, the Pocket can run practically every 90’s handheld console game on its own, without an emulator. When you’re tired of playing the thousands of games you previously owned (but couldn’t play because of obsolete hardware), Pocket has a digital audio workstation built in called Nanoloop. It’s a synthesizer and a sequencer that’s designed for music creation and live performance, letting you create those wonderfully glitchy 8-bit electronic tracks to take you back to the old days. It also has a 3.5″ LCD screen with a resolution of 1600×1440, mappable buttons, a MicroSD card slot, USB-C charging, an HDMI output, 2 USB inputs for wired controllers, Bluetooth for wireless controllers, and the best feature yet… the ability to save progress in your games. Hallelujah, it’s the glorious 1990s again, but slightly better! The Analogue Pocket will launch in 2020.
Video game systems and computers from the 1980s had a bad habit of coming in light-colored plastics which all aged quite horribly. Even just sitting out turned many of them yellow, and usage just made it worse. Take for example this grubby Nintendo Game Boy that Odd Tinkering put his hands on.
He bought the Game Boy online after it had already had a very full life, with all of the wear and tear that goes along with it. Not only was it in terrible cosmetic shape, the display was faded and had lots of vertical lines in it. His mission was to turn it into a factory fresh model and restore its sexiness. Return them to their prime. Give them a face-lift. Resurrect it like a zombie, then shoot it in the screen when it craves your brains. To accomplish this, he had to first disassemble all of the electronic bits, then managed to repair the vertical lines using a trick that heats the connectors with a soldering iron. The case needed extensive cleaning, and got a new bezel too.
You can check out the full restoration process in the video below:
I have to admit, this dude did a great job. Hey, send me your number, I have like five Game Boys and an old Atari handheld that look like they’ve been to war. I probably shouldn’t throw them every time I lose. Now he can play Tetris in style and pretend that this technology is brand spanking new. Besides, someone has to help keep the AA battery companies in business. They can’t depend on Walkmans anymore.
This week marks the 30th anniversary of the Game Boy’s release in Japan. The old portable brings back memories for many of us, even if we’ve come a long way since then. In fact, these days we can even create our own Game Boy games.
Developer Chris Maltby has released the code for GB Studio, a free tool for building real Game Boy ROMs. You can experience all the creation of fun games without any of the pay from big game companies.
GB Studio lets you create games without writing code. Game levels, sprites, and logic can be programmed using a simple visual editor. Design your graphics in any editor that creates PNG files, and music comes from GBT Player. When you’re done creating your game, just export it as a ROM file that can be played on Windows, Mac and Linux.
You can build an HTML5 version that works on mobile too and if you have a USB cart, you could even play your games on your 30-year-old Game Boy. That’s pretty damn cool. So check it out and build your very own game that can frustrate and delight others. Maybe you will become a star of the Game Boy gaming world.