Forgot password?  |  Register  |    
User Name:     Password:    
Blog - User Review   

Nintendo's portable systems, a review. Pt. 2 - The Game Boy Advance

On 07/18/2019 at 12:24 PM by Coolsetzer

See More From This User »

This was The portable system to have back in the day. I had so many good memories with this thing. The graphics were so good, it was like having a small portable SNES in your hand. I had one of these things with me on my deployment to Iraq for the army, and it provided me with a lot of enjoyment over the years. I literally owned every iteration of this thing, and don't regret it one bit. When it was discontinued, I was kind of sad, because I felt like it still had some life left in it.

Origins - Game Boy Advance

After having dominated the portable market for 12 years and squashing the competition thanks to innovative hardware development and marketing, Nintendo felt that it was time to completely redesign their portable lineup and release something completely new. The GB Advance wasn't simply an upgrade to the OG Game Boy, it was a powerful 32 bit console in the 6th generation of hardware alongside the GameCube and Playstation 2. Released in 2001 for $100, it featured a number of improvements like better graphics, sound and processing speed. Not only that, but the system was backwards compatible with all the older GB line of games. You could switch the resolution to show the older games in the original format or stretched version. The only downside to the system was that it still did not have a light source, so you were forced to play during the daytime. They eventually did release one at the end of the system's life in the colors of Graphite, Pearl Blue and Pearl Pink, but was the SP version, so to this day, Nintendo never did release an original model GB Advance with backlighting. The original model released with only the Purple color, but later, others were added.

The Game Boy Advance SP

Released in 2003 as a direct upgrade to the GB Advance, it featured a clamshell design and was the first Nintendo handheld with a rechargeable battery. Still compatible with all the older games, it was even more successful than the earlier model, selling more than 8 million more units over its lifespan. The only downside to the system was that they took out the headphone jack. Like before, this one had a number or colors and special editions.

The Game Boy Micro

Released in 2005, this was more of an offbranding of the GB Advance line. As the smallest version ever made, it was not compatible with older titles. As such, it did not sell well. Instead, it was more of a unique collectable. It did have a backlight and heaphone jack, but the thing I didn't really like about it was the fact that there was no all black model. You either had the one that was silver with a black faceplate or a black one with a silver faceplate.


The original Link Cable came with the GB Advance, and was nothing new. Still, it is worth mentioning because a number of titles used it compared to the old Game Boy line, most notably the next generation of Pokemon games. The were also a number of 3rd party lights for the original model, the best one being the Worm Light. The e-Reader was a gadget like the Game Boy Camera that attached to your system. It scanned cards and had bonus content for certain games and even full NES games on them. The Game Boy player was an add-on for the GameCube that played all your previous handheld cartridges as well.

The Games

Oh man, the games. This handheld had some of everything. I was a big fan of them, as evidenced by 63 games for the thing. There were a number of ports as well, since it was more powerful than the SNES. The only thing I don't like about them is that the cartridges aren't very stackable because they all had that protrusion at the top.

The Mario Advance 1 - 4: Direct ports of the SNES titles, they were great for on the go. They did go out of order on the games, but it was alright, because the best one - Mario 3, got the best port. It also had e-Reader support, and you could get brand new levels with the cards made exclusively for that release.

Final Fantasy Advance: 4, 5 and 6 are enhanced ports of the original games, and are faithfully reproduced here. The bonus content was really good, and made the games worth playing even today. Final Fantasy I & II Dawn of Souls was also an interesting game to see where the series originated.

Sonic Advance 1 -3: A continuation of the original Sonic games, everyone should play these. They were so good. Even though 3 wasn't as fun as the others. Special mention to Sonic Battle, since that game rocked it hard.

Mega Man Zero 1 - 4: A continuation of the Mega Man X story. If you were looking for a challenging Mega Man game, this series has you covered. It was so good.

Fire Emblem: Released after their Super Smash Bros. appearances, this trio of games introduced us to the Fire Emblem world. My favorite was the original title, which wasn't even the first game in the series. I think it was because I liked the characters the best. In the same vein, Advance Wars 1 & 2 were great, too.

Metroid: Zero was a remake of the original with the Super Metroid style. Fusion was a direct sequel to Super Metroid. There was also a port of the original NES game, but don't waste money on that, since Zero had the original game as an unlockable. They were great.

F Zero: get Maximum Velocity, since that was more of an F Zero game compared to the reboot GP Legend. While you're at it, get Mario Kart Super Circuit. Mode 7 graphics ahoy!

Mega Man Battle Network: The first 2 games were great, but 3 - 6 had to go all Pokemon and split them up into different versions. Still a good series if you want to play a Mega Man RPG! Get Mega Man and Bass, too, since there really aren't any other versions available to English audiences (wink, wink).

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon was a game in the style of the older ones before the Metroidvania style. Harmony of Dissonance was a Metroidvania implementing some ideas from both styles, while Aria of Sorrow was a direct sequel to Symphony. Get them, play them, love them. Then cry because Konami don't care about Castlevania no more.

I'll list the others as one because they are still worthy of your time.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament

Tales of Phantasia

Tactics Ogre

Gunstar Super Heroes

Astro Boy Omega Factor

That's all for today. The Nintendo DS is next! Have a great day.




07/18/2019 at 02:43 PM

I have the original in red. I remember that it was difficult to see in many conditions and I went out and bought some unwieldy light thing for it. I probably still have that in the basement too.


07/19/2019 at 07:49 AM

I agree. The original was so hard to see. There are a number of mod kits online for it as well, if you really want to dig out your old system and mess with it. 


07/18/2019 at 03:57 PM

I bought the original in the same indigo color as the first batch of Gamecubes. My first game with it was Castlevania: CotM, then I got Golden Sun later on for it. The FF Advance games were great, and I also enjoyed FF Tactics Advance. Tales of Phantasia came out right on the heels of Symphonia, which I had just finished. Zero Mission was a lot better than I expected.

Minish Cap was good. Sadly, it was apparently the poorest-selling Zelda game of all time. 


07/19/2019 at 07:53 AM

I forgot about the Golden Sun series. Good catch. I never got to play the Minish Cap either. I really wanted to like the Tactics Advance games, but they were severely limited gameplay wise I felt compared to the original game. 

Cary Woodham

07/18/2019 at 09:08 PM

I loved the GBA.  But then, my favorite console is the SNES so that's probably why.  Some aspects of the GBA I like even better than the DS and 3DS line.  

I'm glad you mentioned Astro Boy: Omega Factor.  For some reason, that game really stuck out to me.


07/19/2019 at 08:01 AM

Nintendo really did know how to make a fun portable back in the day. It really did feel more like a continuation of the SNES, since the N64 and GC was all about 3D games. I did like all of the first party ports because usually you would have some bonus features attached to them. 


07/19/2019 at 07:35 PM

I eventually got a GBA SP but I ended up using my DS Lite for GBA games because of the brighter screen. 

I have that Game Boy Player for my Gamecube. I use it for all my GB and GBA games now.

I got into handhelds with the DS, so I didn't play GBA when it was out, but I started collecting the games a while back. I've played a bunch of them now. 

Matt Snee Staff Writer

07/22/2019 at 04:13 PM

I never had one of these. I wasn't so into gaming at the time. I missed out on a lot of good games. 


07/24/2019 at 09:43 PM

My picks are above. Give something interesting a try. 

The Last Ninja

07/27/2019 at 08:01 PM

My brother (daftman) actually got a GBA on launch day. I'll never forget it, we were on vacation, and we went to ToysR'Us to buy one the moment they opened. He got Mario Advance and Castlevania Circle of the Moon. So many great games! The games I loved the most were Metroid Zero Mission, Mario & Luigi, Mega Man Battle Network 3, and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Truly, this handheld's life span was too short. 

Log in to your PixlBit account in the bar above or join the site to leave a comment.

Game Collection