Back in March, I talked about my experience with playing the Game Boy Color across a few different Gameboy Color-esque devices. Amongst those my favorite way to play ended up being the Funnyplaying FPGBC. A winner of the form factor. What I didn’t really talk about was the Analogue Pocket. Which I had only gotten the week that this article was put up. 

Going on two months later now, I’ve had a bit of time with the Pocket, and a good bit more time with the FPGBC. With that being said, here in May, I’ve just put one of these up for sale. That’s not a situation I find myself in often as I like to keep my things, but there’s no competition in which one is a better device. A personal opinion is what really drives my choice between these two. 

So come along and experience my comparison, and experience with the Funnyplaying FPGBC, and the Analogue Pocket over the last couple of months, and why one of these ultimately left my hands. Maybe you’ll even get some extra opinions from other writers in the RH writing team. 

The Analogue Pocket Experience

When it comes to the Analogue Pocket I have a couple of things to say. First, it’s larger than I expected. I don’t know why, but even with a 3.5” display that’s 10x the resolution of a GBC, I was expecting it to be a little smaller. Maybe my time with the RG353V has spoiled me, or maybe I just forgot the bezels would be quite sizable, it just was larger. 

Analogue Pocket in Green

Second, it’s premium. It feels nice in hand. Despite being just a slab it does nicely. Though ergonomically, I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite. There’s nowhere to grip, and that tiny shoulder ledge doesn’t help me much either.

Regardless the Pocket is one cohesive and nice experience. You put your cartridge in, you turn it on, you play. It works, and I’ve had zero issues with compatibility even with my limited GBC library. Though I will admit, my copy of Super Mario Land does look great on this screen. The software is perfectly fine. Probably something I like cause I’m a big fan of MinUI. It’s easy to navigate, easy to make changes, easy to get things done. As an experience software-wise, I really like it. 

What don’t I like? Well, the buttons. One of my favorite GBC games is Tetris DX. Just like how one of my favorite GBA games is Apotris, or how one of my favorite games on Xbox One was Tetris Effect, or- actually I think you get the point. I play a lot of Tetris, it’s my go-to game. And for some reason, the D-Pad on the Pocket just isn’t quite right for me. I don’t know if it’s not quite tight enough, or I’ve just become accustomed to the D-Pad on my GBA for Apotris, it just does not sit right with me. And speaking of my GBA, the shoulder buttons. They’re fine on the SP, but man, I don’t like the tic-tac shoulder buttons on the Pocket. 

Back of Green Analogue Pocket

Please. Do something better there. 

The biggest shame is that despite the Analogue Pocket being a great device, the company behind it chooses to engage in fake scarcity tactics. Or I could say the Analogue Pocket is a great handheld for Game Boy Color, but isn’t a great Game Boy Color experience.

But don’t just take my word for it. 

JaLanimal’s Thoughts on the Pocket

I’m here to split some hairs and I apologize now. I had the Analogue Pocket for over a year and just sold it this last week, and let me tell you, it was a liberating experience. I felt like I had to constantly justify the Pocket being a great device because of the premium price I paid, but in reality, I kind of hated it.

The screen and feel in hand is great, don’t get me wrong. However, the D-Pad has to be one of the worst D-Pads I have used. It feels so loose and I got so many false diagonals. “But you can open it and add tape to avoid that!”. For the price you pay for this thing, that should NOT be an ideal solution for anyone.

Speaking of bad buttons, those shoulder buttons are terrible. The angle to press them is so awkward and they feel so loose. Just those alone made me not pick up my Pocket for any gaming unless I wanted to take a picture and show how nice the screen is, which again is very nice.

Getting the Miyoo Mini Plus made me come to the realization I did not want this device anymore. I know the experience is to emulate a real console experience, but man playing without Save States, Fast Forward, and other quality of life things felt crazy after a while. I love RPGs and some of the old ones are rough without that fast-forward option. There’s also the feeling like I had to baby the Pocket because of the price, but with my Miyoo I would just toss it in my pocket.

You can dock the Pocket which is nice, but that is also an expensive attachment that I would probably not use if at all. I am into the handheld aspect of these devices. The Pocket turned me into the portable version of the annoying person who only plays on their CRT TV and brags about it. I will be the annoying guy who plays on his DMG, GBA, GBC, or emulation handheld instead.

The FPGBC Experience

Bottom of Analogue Pocket and FPGBC

The FPGBC on the other hand is very much a DIY experience. You buy the kit from Funnyplaying, and then you buy the buttons and membranes separately. You put it together, and boom. FPGA handheld. Well. Not that easily. The assembly was fairly straightforward. You plug the thing into the thing and put it all together? But due to me having some, not svelte digits, I found myself struggling to plug some of the connectors in. Obviously, this would be solved with some plastic tools that can get into those small places. But I am not a smart man and did not realize I had the kit with me until after I got the battery plugged in at the end.

Assembly? Fine. Hardware? Well, it absolutely feels like a Game Boy Color in hand, and I adore that. Having stolen my brother’s GBC at a young age I had one with me for quite a while, and this has the perfect shape for that. The buttons? Yeah, they needed some breaking in. At first, they were pretty dang stiff, and I really wasn’t too happy with that. But over time, I’ve gotten used to their feel, and while I might be crazy, they don’t feel nearly as stiff now. Definitely worse than the original, but something I’m quite happy to use often.


Analogue Pocket and FBGBC with screens turned on

This is probably the place that needs the most work. FunnyPlaying has put out many updates to their firmware since my initial article included it. While I still haven’t had any concerns regarding support of original cartridges, there still seem to be concerns with Flash carts.

The games I want to play don’t seem to bar any issues, but they’re the ones people might actually want to play on a Gameboy. Tetris DX, Shantae, and Super Mario Bros Deluxe all seem to play well for me on my cheap $20 flash cart. Yoshi’s Cookie? Seems to be good. And it’s the system I’m probably going to try and beat a few GBC games that I made it most of the way through before giving up.

Despite the smaller screen, the strange software experience, and the finicky build experience (For me), this still remains my favorite way to play Game Boy and Game Boy Color games.

Final Thoughts

Analogue Pocket next to FPGBC with screens off

At the start of this experiential comparison, I mentioned I sold one of these devices, and if you figured it out already, good job. It was the Analogue Pocket. The key thing that it came down to was, what I wanted to pick up. For Tetris DX, I kept going to the FPGBC and my knockoff flash cart. It was what I wanted to play, it was what I wanted to take with me. Something I couldn’t say for the Pocket.

There’s no competition between these two devices. Outside of being an FPGA device for Game Boy and Game Boy color, there’s not much comparison left. The Analogue Pocket is a great retro handheld. One that plays more systems thanks to its Open FPGA cores. You can dock it and have a retro gaming system for your TV, and overall it’s a higher-quality device.

But where it loses is availability, pricing, and providing a Game Boy Color experience. The FPGBC is anywhere from $100 to $150 cheaper depending on shipping or if you’re buying the Pocket new or from a second-hand market. You can go to Funnyplaying, or you can go to Retro Game Repair Shop (use code eems for 10% off), and just order the parts there and then.

It’s not the best handheld, it’s not the better handheld. Not at all. But it hits the experience just right, and it gives the appropriate feeling. The FPGBC just ended up being the better Game Boy Color. No competition.

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