Analogue Pocket gets a long-awaited update – here’s what’s included and what’s not

Half a year after its expected January release date, a beta version of the long-awaited 1.1 release of the operating system that powers Analogue Pocket is finally available. While it includes support for additional controllers while docked, the Memories feature that stores wild states, and the openFPGA feature (which promises support for new consoles via third-party kernel development), the beta doesn’t include all the features expected

Notably there is the Full Library feature which populates game data when you insert a cartridge and the Screenshot feature which will also populate saved files in Memories. Less officially, but perhaps of more interest to Pocket owners, it’s unclear whether this AnalogueOS 1.1 milestone has been what keeps the long-awaited jailbreak that, following all previous Analogue products, promises to replicate built-in functionality while adding support for side loading. ROM files.

Upon launch, the Pocket only supported a handful of 8BitDo controllers, along with the Switch Pro and PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controller. The new beta 1.1 includes support for a number of new 8BitDo controllers, along with support for the DualSense controller from PlayStation 5. No support for any Xbox controller. We asked Analogue if support for Xbox controllers is still planned.

The Memories feature works as promised. Although the original version of Pocket had support for save states – D up or down and the analog stick would save or restore a state during gameplay – it was not possible to save and move between games. The Memories features, accessible from the Home screen, can now store up to 128 save states for Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and Game Gear games. Analogue’s press materials say, “In the near future, Memories will evolve into features that display each save state with a screenshot showing exactly where you were in the game when the save state was captured along with options side sort to see save states organized according to your preference.”

Image: analog via polygon Image: analog via polygon

The library function appears here, but it’s only half-done. When you insert a cartridge, it is sure to load the game’s title, system, developer, publisher, and more into the game details screen. But it’s not possible to browse your games, or all the games available on a console, or make playlists, all features that were originally supposed to be included. Again, Analogue promises further development here: “In the near future, Library will evolve into a reference-level database for playing, exploring and sharing. A scholarly cataloging of the entirety of video game history. You’ll be able to search and explore across its full breadth; system by system, game by game, region by region, developer by developer, publisher by publisher, revision by revision.”

And finally, the pocket’s so-called openFPGA component, intended to give third-party developers access to build additional cores beyond the console’s built-in portable cores, launches with a core that recreates one of the first video games to have ever been made: the 1962. Space War! for the legendary PDP-1 computer. The kernel will be distributed directly by its author, Spacemen3. Analogue’s Chris Taber told Polygon that he expected more third-party kernels today, while prominent MiSTer lead developer Jose Tejada polled his Patreon followers to gauge appetite for getting their kernels in their pockets. There is some debate about the merits of bringing these open source efforts to a platform monetized by a private company, as RetroRGB founder Bob explains here.

An FPGA developer just posted a poll on his Patreon account, asking if we think they should bring their cores to @analogue’s pocket. While I’m always learning and evolving my opinions, after nearly 20 years of hardware development, my opinion is split, but very strong…

— Bob from RetroRGB (@RetroRGB) July 26, 2022

While we wait and see what kernels might be released on Pocket today, Taber tells us that Analogue has “received a few thousand applications” into its development program and should have access to a “proper development documentation section” of its place today When asked if he envisions MiSTer cores being ported to Pocket, Taber said, “Because Pocket is purpose-built for FPGA development of gaming hardware, it will be able to support virtually every third-party core out there ha, even when you compare the LE. [logic element] differences between something like the [MiSTer’s] DE10-Nano.”

Image: analog via polygon

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