Analogue Pocket announced; can play a variety of handheld systems' games through FPGA

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Analogue is a company that has been taking retro video game consoles, and adapting them to use in the modern day, by providing a system that can play oldschool 90's game cartridges in 1080p, without any emulation. Previously, they've created the Analogue Mega Sg and the Super NT, "perfected" variations of the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo, respectively. Now, Analogue is taking on a new front: handheld gaming, with the announcement of the Analogue Pocket. This new system will play nearly any handheld game you can throw at it, from Game Boy, to Color, to Advanced, or even Game Gear, Atari Lynx, and Neo Geo Pocket Color; over 2,780 different games are compatible through two FPGA chips.

The Pocket will feature a 3.5" screen in a case similar to that of a Game Boy Color. The LCD has a resolution of 1600x1440, and offfers a ppi of 615. It will also have a function for those who wish to create music using game's soundfonts through a built-in synthesizer called Nanoloop.

Addtionally, there will also be a dock sold seperately, which can allow you to place the Analogue Pocket onto it, and play your games on a TV through HDMI, much like the Nintendo Switch.

Analogue's Pocket will launch sometime next year, for $199.99.

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Zense

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This is pretty nice, though, I wish there was one in the form factor of the GBA or GBA SP. Also, I don't think Analogue have made any controllers or hardware that are supposed to feel comfortable holding in your hands for hours, so that will be intersting to see. I mean, they're great on all things aesthetics and looks, but what about ergonomics? It will be intersting to find out. Like the edges on that thing seem a bit too sharp, imo.
 
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I've never given the Mega SG or Super NT a try, but I think I might go ahead with this, well, that is if it gets a price drop. I don't think I'll be able to afford another triple digit console next year, with the PS5 and Scarlet.
 

FAST6191

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Assuming baseline competence as far as the simulation and buttons then it is all in the screen for me, and most of these replications/revisits/recreations have been woefully poor (they usually just seem to crowbar either a phone screen they found in their electronics vendor or on rare occasion the cheapest and nastiest replacements they can find). I have never met a non multiple algorithm I care to see, much less one that would do and work in real time on a device like this, so we will go with multiples for the purposes of my contemplations here. Would be nice to see something but if all they want to give us is nearest neighbour then I am more than OK with that.

They say
1600x1440 at a fairly high DPI (can't be bothered to figure out the resulting size right now)
Systems mentioned in the OP
Game Boy, to Color,
http://bgb.bircd.org/pandocs.htm#gameboytechnicaldata
Resolution - 160x144

to Advanced. The addition of a d in advanced does not speak to much care but still GBA)
Display 240x160 pixels
http://problemkaputt.de/gbatek.htm#gbatechnicaldata

or even Game Gear
Resolution: 160 x 144 pixels
https://segaretro.org/Sega_Game_Gear#Technical_specifications

Atari Lynx,
- Resolution: 160 x 102
https://atariage.com/Lynx/history.html

and Neo Geo Pocket Color
RESOLUTION 160x152
http://www.captainwilliams.co.uk/gaming/ngpc/ngpc.php

Ignoring pixel aspect ratio for now

So for the GB/GBC that is a clean 10x multiplier for a complete fill. I dare not speak the supergameboy's name but if they did want to give me SGB mode bomberman then I might lose some objectivity/cynicism.

For the GBA that is a clean 9x multiplier vertically, 6.6666666666666 horizontally. In that case doing a 6x multiplier (rounding down) vertically that gives 960 pixels or 66.6666666...% screen fill vertically and not quite there horizontally. Not looking great.

For gamegear then same as GB/GBC then (a 10x scale). I should also note the gamegear can play master system games ( https://segaretro.org/Sega_Master_System/Technical_specifications says "Screen resolutions: 256x192 and 256x224. PAL/SECAM also supports 256x240. Overscan resolution: 342x262 (NTSC), 342x313 (PAL) Scanlines: 262 (NTSC), 313 (PAL)" but we will have to wait and see what goes here for that one, and frankly I don't know how it handled it normally -- I played a few on one back in the day and it was great* but this was before I understood much of anything here -- it would be maybe 2 years before I took up emulation in earnest, and longer before ROM hacking/programming enough to do much here).
*that cart acting as a sun visor action... mind blown.
Edit I am told the GG pixel aspect ratio changes the game a bit here and its ratio is a bit different as a result. Take what I said above with a pinch of salt in that case.

For the Lynx then for horizontal fill (160 pixels like the others mentioned for 10x multiplier) then better part of 71% vertical.

For NGPC then we can't do full 10x horizontal without vertical cropping. Going with 9x then 95% vertical fill, 90% horizontal.


So anyway clearly a GB/GBC and GG focus from the screen side of things, does not mean the rest will be an afterthought but does dampen my enthusiasm a bit.
 
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Sakitoshi

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They are trying too hard with this one.
That resolution is a 10 times bigger, which is good, but totally overkill and unnecessary unless they are trying to do gba too, but is unlikely.
Even there 240x160 doesn't scale perfectly to 1600x1440 without black borders.

They likely decided to use such resolution to be able to use shaders or a similar filtering technique, but nothing beats native resolution.
 

FAST6191

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They are trying too hard with this one.
That resolution is a 10 times bigger, which is good, but totally overkill and unnecessary unless they are trying to do gba too, but is unlikely.
Even there 240x160 doesn't scale perfectly to 1600x1440 without black borders.

They likely decided to use such resolution to be able to use shaders or a similar filtering technique, but nothing beats native resolution.
If it is a clean multiple then it does not matter as you can't tell. It is when things start to get stretched that problems appear.

As for why then I imagine most screen vendors for this size of screen (you have two main fields here -- small devices for embedded screens and large ones for TVs and laptops) are only doing this kind of DPI. That said if they are doing a custom size like this (I can't imagine anybody else is doing anything like this aspect ratio for it to be an off the shelf effort) I don't know why they went for that one rather than a multiple of the GBA (which had perfectly acceptable GB/GBC support) or 10x the common 4:3 home consoles.
 

ChibiMofo

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$199.99?
This is a joke right? Tell me it's just a joke :ohnoes:

This isn't some Raspberry PI inside a 3D printed case. This is a FPGA solution using their own custom chips. The joke is you expecting it to cost less.

You want some Chinese crap running various emulators of varying degrees of quality then go ahead and save some money. You want a quality product that actually works, pay extra. But please don't suggest the price is ludicrous.
 

FAST6191

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This isn't some Raspberry PI inside a 3D printed case. This is a FPGA solution using their own custom chips. The joke is you expecting it to cost less.

You want some Chinese crap running various emulators of varying degrees of quality then go ahead and save some money. You want a quality product that actually works, pay extra. But please don't suggest the price is ludicrous.

While I don't disagree that a FPGA of suitable potency + screen + nice switches + battery means price heads up that way I also have to wonder if FPGA is overkill for this sort of thing, especially for a handheld where battery life matters. At this point I would more be expecting custom chips to be made, even if they in turn are just someone sending their FPGA code to a fab and having them create one from that (we might have even seen a few of those in flash cart and such world already for some things). Depending upon batch size* you could probably even get it comparable to the bad screen worse emulation handheld set and blow them out of the water.

*while the GBA is fairly interesting as these things go it is still 1990s tech and about 74K transistors if a search is to be believed. Should not be too taxing for some of the custom chip fabs out there. Even if they want to go further and wind in a bunch of the others on there, which are fairly closely related -- the GG Z80 and GB/GBC custom 8080 are not that far apart and the rest... eh, though I will admit I have not played much with the TLCS family).
 

Sakitoshi

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If it is a clean multiple then it does not matter as you can't tell. It is when things start to get stretched that problems appear.

As for why then I imagine most screen vendors for this size of screen (you have two main fields here -- small devices for embedded screens and large ones for TVs and laptops) are only doing this kind of DPI. That said if they are doing a custom size like this (I can't imagine anybody else is doing anything like this aspect ratio for it to be an off the shelf effort) I don't know why they went for that one rather than a multiple of the GBA (which had perfectly acceptable GB/GBC support) or 10x the common 4:3 home consoles.
I can tell, the image will be clean sure, but I'll see subpixels, is not the same.

That's what I was thinking too. maybe nobody has the equipment to do such a low res screen anymore so they are forced to use a very high res screen to achieve as close to the same result as possible. with such high dpi is less likely to see the subpixels, but you can still tell.
 
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