Terrible puns aside, this is a great piece piece of hardware that everyone should own. Seriously, go buy one.
Here it is, the one you've all been waiting for, the Game Boy Advance! No SP, no Micro, just Advance. The "vanilla" flavor, if you ask me. This was not one of the many FuncoLand buys for me. In fact, now that I think of it, this came out around the time that FuncoLand met its demise. It was too young...
Anyway, the Game Boy Advance is what one would call the pinnacle of handheld gaming. For starters, the Game Boy Advance runs in beautiful 32-bits. For those of you who don't know (or don't care), that is double the bits that the SNES could handle. That's right, when looking at just bits, the GBA is more powerful than the SNES. In fact, if one were to look at the library of games for it, a lot are ports of games for the Super Nintendo. Just look at the banner image if you don't believe me.
It featured a widescreen aspect ratio, which was pretty cool for a handheld. It also had L and R shoulder buttons, which were a staple of the SNES. Now that I think of it, the GBA is essentially a portable Super Nintendo with a few extra benefits.
The first of which, and is the most appealing to me, is the backwards compatibility of GB and GBC games with the GBA. So, if you are like me and you just happen to own a lot of Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, you could play those right on your GBA. That is pretty convenient, and the L and R buttons added a bit of depth with these games. Well, not really. What I mean is that the games would appear with the original aspect ratio that they had, but if one were to press the shoulder buttons (I think it was L), the game would be "stretched" to fit the widescreen aspect ratio. This is cool if you don't like empty space or, if you're like me, you try and make sprite art from the original Pokemon games. Can't do it with GSC, because of the stupid battery backup. Maybe I'll do a post on that one day...
The Game Boy Advance also pioneered wireless communication between handheld game systems. Don't believe me? The first run (or maybe most of the runs) of Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green came with a wireless adaptor that plugged into the link cable slot. Only a handful of games used it, but trading and battling Pokemon was never cooler. Speaking of the link cable, you could now daisy chain them to have multiple people link up at the same time. Really cool for multi-battles.
Also, linking your games to the Gamecube was streamlined due to the GBA to GCN cable. It made things so much easier when linking up your Pokemon games to Pokemon Coliseum. Plus, you could transfer data from your e-Reader, or even download games/programs to your GBA from certain games. Heck, even the Game Boy Player used this so you could use your GBA as a controller.
I honestly can't think of any downsides to this thing. I mean, it's everything a handheld fanatic could ask for. It had easy yet innovative connectivity options, a wonderful library of games (even if a lot were ports of SNES games), and backwards compatibility that is almost as good as the Super Game Boy. The only thing that might be bad is that you have to use AA batteries. If only they didn't have to be replaced. Wait...
And there we go, the Game Boy Advance is finished! Just get it, I know you want it. Or, you could wait for the next review. Anyway, if anyone has a suggestion for a future blog post, wants to comment about anything Game Boy related, or just wants to speak his/her voice, drop a comment down there. I'm looking forward to seeing you all next time!
P.S. Today, I was listening to Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete's soundtrack. I just got the game the other day, and it came with the soundtrack. Lucky me!
I always loved that there was no region encoding. You probably already know how I feel about region encoding, so this was always a big "win" for me.
I still need to play Chrono Trigger. I plan on getting the DS version since it seems like it's the cheapest and best version.
One other thing I liked about the GBA was the ease of playing import games since it was region free like its predecessors.
I have my jet black one and it works beautifully! I always would get games my mom would recognize so I mostly have Pokemon and Wario/Mario games. I would always go to FuncoLand and peruse the shelves for a wonderful gem, like Wario and Bomberman (I think that's what it's called).
The SNES ports didn't have as good a sound, since the sound chip for the GBA was, how should I say, set to a higher pitch. Either way, it was great to play Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls and Final Fantasy VI on the go! At least my favorite non-Pokemon RPG of all time, Chrono Trigger, didn't get the almost SNES sound treatment. That DS port was amazing.
Of Nintendo's portable consoles the GBA was my first and favorite of the bunch. I got my indigo GBA back in second grade around 2001 or 2002 with Mario Kart: Super Circuit and Spongebob SuperSponge. I used to bring that thing everywhere and play my two older sister's Game Boy and Game Boy Color games with it. I was able to get introduced to Pokemon and Wario Land thanks to the little 32-bit machine. I still have the system and even though the right part of the D-pad is warn and its been dropped many times in the last 12 or so years, it still works and I recently found Advance Wars and Metal Slug Advance for $4 and I'm enjoying both games a lot, especially Advance Wars since I've never played a strategy game before.
Although I had many great memories with the GBA I also had some bad memories with some of it's games. Being a little kid, I used to get some rather crap games, most notably Ice Age, The Simpson's Road Rage, and some 2 games in 1 cart that had a Spongebob and Fairly Odd Parents game included.
My only complaints with the GBA are that the origional models weren't backlit and that the sound capabilities weren't as good as the SNES.