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Analogue Pocket goes 2.0 with new firmware, including CRT scanlines

It’s a Christmas miracle! Analogue Pockets can change screen colors now.

Image: Analogue Pocket
Image: Analogue Pocket

Over the long holiday weekend, Analogue, the folks that bring some of the coolest, most colorful, retro-focused consoles, updated their Analogue Pocket consoles to firmware version 2.0. With it comes some really cool new features and capabilities going forward.

While the firmware update has some help with video aspect ratios and support for the more SEGA-focused 8BitDo M30 2.4G dongle/controller in docked mode, the real additions are a little more visual.

This update brings custom palette support with new APGB format palettes. Anyone who knows how the original Game Boy works knows that they were limited to that classic green. 

This new format allows different or more vibrant colors with a little bit of tinkering now. Instead of standard Game Boy green, you can get more creative with your colors. Since people have already got plenty of options out there, I’m going purple, personally.

One thing that the modern Game Boy alternatives tend to offer is cleaner visuals than the original console. But, the Analogue Pocket is often used for recording or art, so you lose a little of the charm offered by the original handheld.

It also works to get old Game Boy Color games to be specifically into the palette that it was intended to be for a much more authentic feel to each game. It's a small touch, but well worth it, if you're into that sort of thing.

The new Analogue Pocket 2.0 update brings in some new modes to work with, such as “Original Display” mode (which is self-explanatory) and “CRT Trinitron Original Display” mode, which are unlocked automatically. Other modes have to be enabled by the individual software’s author, though.

CRT Trinitron is perhaps the most exciting addition here. While you didn’t see CRT scanlines on the Game Boy, a lot of people (including myself) played Game Boy games on the Super Game Boy, a Super Nintendo cartridge that allowed you to play GB games directly from your SNES and television. This means that the scanlines were part of the nostalgia.

There is a certain familiarity to seeing those lines on a retro game and a lot of people are happy to have it as an option again without running to their local flea market for an SNES and a Super Game Boy cart.

If you own an Analogue Pocket, the firmware is available right from the official website, alongside the full list of release notes for 2.0. They added more than I mentioned here, so it’s worth checking out. Plus, it works on all Pocket models, including the currently out-of-stock transparent and glow-in-the-dark options.

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