After months of waiting, Analogue has finally released the latest beta firmware for its FPGA-based Pocket handheld, and this event has triggered another long-awaited update – the mythical 'jailbreak' fans have been waiting for since the system launched.
Analogue OS v1.1 beta finally adds the “Library” and “Memories” features to the system; the first is similar to the built-in database on the Polymega and displays information about the games you're playing (such as release date, developer and even a screenshot) while the second is essentially a more robust save state mechanic.
These two features are welcome, but perhaps most interesting of all is the fact that v1.1 finally opens the Pocket up to developers. Using the 'openFPGA' platform, devs can get their hands on the two FPGA chips inside the pocket. The first example of this is an FPGA port of Spacewar!, a video game that predates Pong by a decade.
Shortly after the v1.1 firmware went live, a Github account called 'Spiritualized1997' uploaded a repository called openFPGA-GBA (thanks for the spot, Kotaku). It then uploaded another called openFPGA-GB-GBC a minute later.
That basically means that it's now possible to load ROMs for the GB, GBC and GBA on the Analogue Pocket – the Holy Grail that fans have been demanding for months.
So who is Spiritualized1997? Some are speculating that it is none other than Kevin “Kevtris” Horton, the FPGA wizard who is responsible for much of the magic found inside Analogue’s systems. He publically released a jailbreak for the Analogue Nt Mini a while back which opened up that particular machine, but since then, Horton has kept things a little more under the radar, choosing to push out these updates via third parties. It's not known 100% if Spiritualized1997 is Horton – but the swiftness of the release of the 'jailbroken' cores certainly has some people linking the two.
Analogue, for its part, has reiterated its stance on the use of ROMs on its consoles, saying:
Analogue does not support or endorse the unauthorized use or distribution of material protected by copyright or other intellectual property rights.
You can check out Nintendo Life's Analogue Pocket review if you want to learn a little more about this portable wonder machine.