Teenage Engineering’s “pocket operators” are tiny sound-making machines with power far beyond their diminutive size. As if they weren’t already cool enough, Teenage Engineering just announced a Capcom series of pocket operators that has us scrambling for our wallets.
The new pocket operators come in two Capcom-themed flavors: the PO-133, which uses Street Fighter’s classic aesthetic choices, and the PO-128, which takes the 8-bit Megaman games and turns them into a soundscape. Both devices are just the right combination of nostalgia and usefulness.
And the new pocket operators don’t just come with customized cases — they’re also packed with sounds that will transport you right back to the back corners of a dirty arcade. What we’re trying to say here is our holiday wish lists just got a little bit longer.
Which one should I cop? — The PO-133 and PO-128 are similar enough that you might, at first, think the only difference between the two is the Capcom game chosen for their respective cases. Like all of Teenage Engineering’s pocket operators, though, each has slightly different features.
The PO-133 — that’s the Street Fighter one — is a micro sampler, with a built-in microphone that allows users to record and manipulate their own sounds of up to 40 seconds. The PO-128, which is Megaman-themed, is more of a classic synthesizer, with more emphasis on using existing controls to create live tracks.
The PO-133 is available now; the PO-128 will be available beginning on December 3. That might affect your decision, too.
Those sounds! — As slick as the pocket operators look in the palm of your hand, it’s their built-in sounds that really stand out. Each comes programmed with 16 samples from the original games’ soundtracks and in-game sound effects. You can check out samples of each on Teenage Engineering's website.
Listening to these sounds is the next best thing to hanging out at an arcade. And arcades are pretty much off-limits right now (thanks, COVID), so this might actually be the best outlet for your nostalgia at the moment.
Bonus round: vroom vroom — If you’re really obsessed with that classic arcade aesthetic, Teenage Engineering has also created a custom Street Fighter Honda S660. You can bid on the car — which comes bundled with both new pocket operators and some custom apparel — for a smooth $27,500. Teenage Engineering says it’s “street legit in Europe, Japan, and probably in America as well.”