After releasing beautiful aftermarket versions of the NES, SNES, and Sega Genesis, Analogue has now set its sights on NEC’s library of old-school hardware. Today the company unveiled the Analogue Duo, a console that supports a huge range of hardware including the TurboGrafx-16, PC Engine, SuperGrafx, TurboGrafx CD, PC Engine CD-ROM, and Super Arcade CD-ROM. It’s slated to launch in 2021 for $199.99.
“Sadly, they never got anywhere near the love they deserve,” Analogue’s Christopher Taber says of NEC’s consoles. “I’d say they are probably the greatest under-appreciated video game systems. Analogue Duo is designed to be the ultimate way to explore nearly all of NEC’s history, and for most people it’s gonna be their first introduction to this piece of video game history.”
In order to play all your old games, the Duo features an original cartridge slot, controller ports, and a CD drive, which means it’s compatible with classic HuCards (also known as TurboChips) with no regional restrictions. The Duo supports wireless controllers via Bluetooth — every 8bitdo controller is compatible with the console — along with wired USB gamepads, and outputs video at up to 1080p. It measures 38 millimeters long, 168mm wide, and 47mm high. It’ll also be available in two colors, black and white.
As with previous Analogue hardware, the company says the Duo is built without using emulation. Here’s how the company describes it:
We’re preserving history with FPGA hardware. Duo is designed with unparalleled compatibility. The core functionality of each system is engineered directly into an Altera Cyclone V, a sophisticated FPGA. We spent thousands of hours engineering each system via FPGA for absolute accuracy. Unlike the knock-off and emulation systems that riddle the market today, you’ll be experiencing the entire NEC era free of compromises. Duo is designed to preserve video game history, with the respect it deserves.
While the company has plenty of experience with building these types of consoles, Taber says the Duo presented a unique challenge.
“Duo is the first CD-based system Analogue has released (and the first CD-based video game system ever released in history) so we needed to approach things a little differently on a hardware level for CD and HuCard support,” he explains. “It was primarily about designing the hardware to accommodate all the different systems and formats in terms of the industrial design.”
The new device also isn’t the only hardware Analogue has in the works. The company previously announced the gorgeous Analogue Pocket, which plays a wide range of handheld games and was recently delayed until next year. To go along with this, the company is making a $29.99 adapter so that the Pocket can play TurboGrafx-16, PC Engine, and SuperGrafx games as well.
“Pocket is going to support as much of handheld history as possible,” says Taber. “TurboExpress was a great handheld and bringing that heritage to Pocket is [a] great fit. Playing TurboGrafx-16 / PC Engine games on the go is pretty special.” The accessory is also due out next year.
Given the ongoing pandemic, production issues have already delayed many devices — including Analogue’s own Pocket. So while the Duo is due to launch in 2021, Analogue says it will be available in “limited quantities” when it goes on sale.