$199 Analogue Pocket promises FPGA accuracy for portable retro gaming

If you know the name Analogue, you know the company’s reputation for somewhat pricey but authentic and beautiful HDMI-compatible FPGA (field-programmable gate array) recreations of classic gaming consoles. Today, the company is announcing that it will extend that line into the portable market next year with the Analogue Pocket, a $199 FPGA handheld that’s fully compatible with literally thousands of original cartridges for the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance (and other portables like Lynx, Game Gear, and Neo Geo Pocket Color via planned cartridge adapters).

The Pocket’s 3.5-inch, 1600×1440 resolution, 615 pi LTPS LCD display frankly seems like a bit of overkill, considering the Game Boy Advance topped out at 240×160 and about 100 ppi. But Analogue’s Christopher Taber tells Ars the Analogue Pocket will sport the same Altera Cyclone V FPGA found in its previous Super Nt and Mega Sg, plus a second Cyclone 10 FPGA “just for developers to develop and port their own cores.”

That means it should be trivial for hackers to add aftermarket firmware to the Pocket through the system’s microSD card slot, as they have for other analogue products in the past. So don’t be surprised if the Pocket gets “unofficial” support for the same NES, Super NES, and Genesis FPGA cores built into previous Analogue products, as well as homebrew cores that support classic systems, from the Atari 2600 to the Sega Master System.

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