Just because you’re trying to design a retro interpretation of an old design doesn’t mean you have to copy the original inch for inch. In fact, it might even be illegal in some cases to be an exact replica of the product you’re trying to pay homage to. It’s definitely a good opportunity to address the flaws of the past or to implement designs that were intended but couldn’t be implemented because of the limitations or tastes of ages past. It wouldn’t make sense, for example, for a modern recreation of the Game Boy Color to display the extremely limited palette of the original in this day and age. Fortunately, Analogue had the sense to equip its retro gaming handheld with modern capabilities while staying faithful to the original’s essence. So faithful that it, in fact, even tried to recreate the playful colors of the Game Boy Color while also expanding that selection with almost all the colors of the rainbow and then some.
Even by yesteryear’s standards, the Game Boy Color’s chunky design clearly earmarked it as a toy for kids. Those kids, however, have now grown up, and many of them want to relive those fun-filled days but probably with something that doesn’t look like it was plucked out of a time capsule. The Analogue Pocket is an attempt to feed this hunger while also making the design and the heritage accessible to a lot more people. Its more modern and sleeker aesthetic easily appeals to gamers of all ages but still exudes that charm that made the GBC an icon. Still, the retro handheld seemed to be missing one particular element that would really set it apart from other Game Boy Color recreations.
That missing piece of the puzzle was delivered by the “Classic” edition of the Analogue Pocket, which basically gives the device a colorful paint job. The very first GBC was a rather boring and very industrial gray, but the market eventually exploded in a variety of colors, including a transparent one. The Analogue Pocket Classic brings back not just one or two or five of these but offers no less than eight hues. That’s on top of the plain black, white, transparent, and glow-in-the-dark editions that came out in the past.
The full palette includes Indigo, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Pink, Orange, and Silver, all of which Analogue boasts have been color-matched to the original models. It might just be a change of hue, but it immediately gives the Pocket a vibrant character befitting of a gaming device. With these accurate colors and the overall design of the handheld, there is very little doubt that this retro revival truly captures the spirit of the Game Boy Color as faithfully as it can without tripping over legal landmines.
The story doesn’t end on a high note, unfortunately, with all variants of the Analogue Pocket now declared to be completely sold out. That’s true for this colorful yet limited run of the “Classic” edition as well as the original models. It’s uncertain if these will ever return to shelves, and collectors will have to stay on their toes while waiting for hopeful news in the coming days.