All Analogue Pocket openFPGA Cores
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

The Analogue Pocket is a high-end handheld retro gaming system that uses FPGA technology to replicate the performance of classic gaming platforms on a hardware (rather than software) level, which means it's incredibly accurate. The machine runs physical cartridges for systems like the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance and (with optional adapters) Game Gear, Lynx and Neo Geo Pocket.

Being able to breathe new life info your old cartridges is wonderful, but one of the most exciting developments with the Analogue Pocket is the fact that it is now open to FPGA developers, thanks to its recent firmware update.

Since the update went live, we've seen a flood of FPGA cores being ported over the Pocket, and we've outlined them below – along with where you can download them. These cores run using the Pocket's openFPGA system, and do not require original media - you can run ROMs directly from the MicroSD card.

Be aware that many of these cores are still in active development and may not function 100% as expected. It's also worth noting that, at present, openFPGA cores do not function entirely the same as the built-in cores (Game Boy games running via the openFPGA core will not have access to the fancy screen filters available in the built-in Game Boy core, for example).

Analogue Pocket Auto Update Script

Keeping all of those openFPGA cores updated can be a bit of a chore, but thankfully developer Matt Pannella has created an auto-update script which allows you to update them all in one click. You can download it here.

To use it:

  • Download the auto_update.json file and executable for your os (Mac or Windows) and put both files on your SD card (the directory doesn't matter). The included json file has every core currently available in it, but you can edit it to remove stuff you don't want (as well as add new ones as they are made available)
  • Once the 2 files are in the folder, all you have to do is run 'pocket_updater'
  • It will attempt to compare the version of each core you have installed to the version on github, and download if a newer one is available (if it's unable to figure out the version of either, it will just download anyway to be safe)
  • Note: It only supports cores hosted on github that are using releases

Analogue Pocket openFPGA Home Console Cores

All Analogue Pocket openFPGA Cores
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

Nintendo Entertainment System / NES

Released as the Famicom in Japan in 1983 and coming to the west as the NES in 1985, this has to rank as one of the most influential video game systems of all time. Home to Super Mario Bros., Metroid, Zelda, Castlevania and many, many more famous video game franchises, the NES dominated the industry in North America and Japan for several years.

agg23's core

spiritualized1997's core

Super Nintendo Entertainment System / SNES

The successor to the NES, the SNES (or Super Famicom, as it was called in Japan) is arguably even more beloved by retro gamers. It played host to what must rank as some of the greatest video games of all time, including Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, Super Mario Kart and Chrono Trigger.

Super Game Boy

An accessory for the SNES which allows Game Boy games to be played on your TV, the Super Game Boy is significant because it also added features like improved visuals and full-colour borders around the screen.

Sega Genesis / Mega Drive

Sega's 16-bit system successfully challenged the might of Nintendo in North America and even went toe-to-toe with the SNES in that region. In Europe, it was even more popular, but in Japan, it ended up in third place behind the SNES and PC Engine. Even so, the Mega Drive (or Genesis, as North Americans called it) is one of the greatest consoles ever made; without it, we wouldn't have Sonic the Hedgehog, Streets of Rage or Gunstar Heroes.

Eric Lewis's core

spiritualized1997's core

SNK Neo Geo

Released in 1990, the Neo Geo was, for a time, the Rolls Royce of games consoles. Because it was based on SNK's MVS arcade system, the games for the home console (known as the AES) were arcade perfect in every way, and that meant they were insanely expensive, often costing as much as $200 per title. What that money got you was the absolute zenith of visual and audio power – and titles like Fatal Fury 2, Metal Slug and Neo Turf Masters were pretty darn special in the gameplay department, too.

Sega SG-1000

Sega's first home system, the SG-1000 was released in Japan in 1983 but was overshadowed by the much more successful Nintendo Famicom (NES), which launched on the very same day. Despite its commercial failure, it laid the foundations for the Sega Master System, which would enjoy incredible success in Europe and Brazil.

Sega Master System

Effectively a rebranded version of the Japanese Sega Mark III, the Master System was Sega's first real taste of success in the home console market. While it struggled in North America due to the stranglehold of the NES and the ineptitude of distributor Tonka, it was considerably more successful in Europe, where it laid the groundwork for Sega's next system, the Mega Drive. Titles like Phantasy Star, Wonder Boy III

PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 / SuperGrafx

A collaboration between electronics manufacturer NES and video game company Hudson Soft, the PC Engine launched in 1987 in Japan and quickly established itself as a valid rival to the Famicom thanks to stunning titles like R-Type, Super Star Soldier and Gunhed. Technically an 8-bit console but packed with the power to challenge 16-bit systems like the Mega Drive and SNES, the PC Engine evolved over time via a series of hardware upgrades, including a CD-ROM add-on and the ill-fated SuperGrafx.

Mattel Intellivision

Released in 1979 as competition to Atari's VCS / 2600, the Mattel Intellivision managed to establish itself as one of the major console platforms of the pre-crash era. The Intellivision is considered by some to be the first 16-bit game console, thanks to its 16-bit microprocessor.

Video Technology CreatiVision

Released by Video Technology – which would later become VTech – in 1981, the CreatiVision is a hybrid games console and home computer system. Only 18 titles were released, and the platform was discontinued in late 1985/early 1986.

ColecoVision

Released in 1982, the ColecoVision was noticeably more powerful than the incumbent Atari 2600 and was blessed with one of the first home ports of Nintendo's popular Donkey Kong arcade game. Around 136 games were released for the console between 1982 and 1984, but, like other platforms, the ColecoVision's progress was stymied by the video game crash of 1983.

Fairchild Channel F

The first video game console to use a microprocessor and interchangeable ROM cartridges, the Fairchild Channel F only sold 350,000 units before its parent company sold the technology in 1979.

Atari 7800 ProSystem

Intended to be the successor to the ageing Atari VCS / 2600 and the lacklustre 5200, the Atari 7800 ProSystem was announced in 1984 but wouldn't see release until 1986. Backwards compatible with 2600 games, the 7800 offered a massive visual boost over Atari's previous consoles – but it ultimately failed in the face of Nintendo's NES, which launched in North America in 1985. Atari discontinued the console in 1992.

Atari VCS / 2600

With a staggering 30 million consoles sold, the Atari VCS (later rebranded the Atari 2600 to bring it in line with the 5200) was the first machine of its kind to gain commercial popularity. It dominated the home gaming scene in North America for years thanks to a stream of coin-op hits from its creator, until poor management and a flood of low-quality software caused the video crash of 1983.

Arcadia 2001

Released in 1982 in North America, the Arcadia 2001 would be discontinued just 18 months later, with only 35 games released for it. Despite its commercial failure, the Arcadia 2001 was cloned aggressively, and even got a Japanese launch via Bandai.

Entex Adventure Vision

Entex's follow-up to 1981's Select-A-Game, the Adventure Vision launched in 1982, and, like the Vectrex, was an all-in-one gaming system with its own built-in screen (in this case, made from red LEDs). Only four games were ever released. Official sales figures aren't known, but it is believed the machine sold between 10,000 and 50,000 units.

Analogue Pocket openFPGA Handheld Cores

All Analogue Pocket openFPGA Cores
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

Game Boy / Game Boy Color

Released in 1989, the Game Boy revolutionised portable gaming. Alongside its pack-in title Tetris, it sold millions and, alongside the NES, cemented Nintendo's position as the world's leading video game company. It remained at the forefront of the handheld industry until 1998, when Nintendo released its successor, the Game Boy Color. This system was backwards compatible with all existing monochrome Game Boy software.

Game Boy Advance

Nintendo's follow-up to the Game Boy and Game Boy Color, the Game Boy Advance arrived in 2001, and promised SNES-style gaming on the go. The initial model had an unlit screen and used AA batteries; the SP variant (2003) changed the form factor and included a front-lit screen and an internal rechargeable battery at the expense of the 3.5mm headphone socket. The final version, the Game Boy Micro, arrived in 2005 but was overshadowed by the arrival of the Nintendo DS, which would go on to become Nintendo's most commercially successful piece of hardware.

Sega Game Gear

Based on Sega's 8-bit Master System home console, the Game Gear was an attempt to muscle in on the success of Nintendo's Game Boy. While it wasn't anywhere near as successful, the Game Gear still managed to sell over 10 million units worldwide and remained in production until 2000.

Arduboy

Based on the Arduino platform, the Arduboy is a handheld game console with open-source software.

Watara Supervision

Released in the UK as the Quickshot Supervision, this 1992 system sports a monochrome screen and was intended as a rival to the Game Boy. The poor-quality screen and lack of notable games prevented it from securing much of a foothold, but its unique design (with a tilting display) and unique features (you could connect it to your television) make it stand out.

OpenGateware's core

spiritualized1997's core

Pokémon Mini

Released in 2001, this tiny handheld was supported by interchangeable cartridges, all of which had a Pokémon theme. It's the smallest portable gaming platform ever produced by Nintendo.

Creatronic Mega Duck / Cougar Boy

Developed and manufactured by Hong Kong-based Welback Holdings (via its Timlex International division), the Mega Duck was released in 1993. Relatively few games were ever released for it.

GameKing

Looking like a Game Boy Advance, the GameKing arrived in 2003, but its monochrome screen gave away its cheap and cheerful production value. Manufacturer Timetop would release two other models sporting the GameKing name.

Gamate

Created by Taiwanese company Bit Corp and released by Cheetah in the UK, the Gamate was one of the earliest Game Boy rivals, hitting stores in 1990. Plagued by a poor-quality display that was even blurrier than the Game Boy's, the Gamate failed to emulate the commercial success of Nintendo's handheld.

Analogue Pocket openFPGA Computer Cores

All Analogue Pocket openFPGA Cores
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

VideoBrain Family Computer

Studio 2

Magnavox Odyssey 2

Analogue Pocket openFPGA Arcade Cores

All Analogue Pocket openFPGA Cores
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

Tecmo Multi-Arcade Core

Spacewar! (Steve Russell, 1962)

Asteroids (Atari, 1979)

Lunar Lander (Atari, 1979)

Super Breakout (Atari, 1978)

Dominoes (Atari, 1977)

Space Race (Atari, 1973)

Pooyan (Konami, 1982)

Xevious (Namco, 1982)

Galaga (Namco, 1981)

Bank Panic / Combat Hawk

Green Beret / Rush n' Attack (Konami, 1985)

Battle Garegga (Raizing, 1996)

Kingdom Grand Prix (Raizing, 1994)

Sorcer Striker (Raizing, 1993)

Congo Bongo (Sega, 1983)