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The Game Boy Advance Launch

The original Game Boy that released back in 1989 left a monumental impact for handheld gaming, releasing millions of units and having a boatload of titles to choose from, whether you wanted to go hopping around the world of Sarasaland in Super Mario Land, or catching creatures in Pok'emon Red, Blue or Yellow, it was so iconic that it lasted nine years on the market, with a colored version to follow, that is, until the early 2000s. The future looked bright for Nintendo and they soon had a new form of Game Boy to release shortly after the GBC bit the dust, the Game Boy Advance.

Now the Game Boy went from being an 8-bit handheld to 32-bit, and new graphical surprises and sound made for some fun surprises with what the handheld could do. Games would feature SNES quality graphics (with some games also having a prerendered 3D look) and the sound was no longer limited to the usual 8-bit chirps, there were far more options to make music stand out, and even voice clips could be used. The screen also came in a small widescreen with a sleek design to boot.

Probably the best feature to me was having the backwards compatibility of playing original Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, the only downside is that since the GBA cartridges are short in comparison, Game Boy cartridges would stick out, so I'd have to be careful not to bump into anything when playing.

One of the original launch titles, Super Mario Advance was an enhanced port of the Super Mario All-Stars remake of Super Mario Bros. 2, featuring voice clips of characters, red coins to find in each stage, a new version of the classic arcade Mario Bros. game, and a new "Robirdo" boss, seen here.

The GBA also had quite a great list of games to choose from during its launch, Rayman Advance, Iridion 3D, Earthworm Jim, Dodgeball Advance and F-Zero were just a few, but many more were to come. Even the tradition of RPG Castlevania games would soon make a new home on the system as well.

Obviously with some classic games getting ported over, graphics and sound may not have made the best transition, the GBA still had some tinny sound when comparing it to the Super Nintendo, but it wasn't much of a problem to consumers and critics.

Did you know? Nintendo Power released a short lived spinoff magazine called Nintendo Power Advance focusing primarily on releases of Game Boy Advance titles as well as showing guides for some recently released games as well. The magazine only lasted a few issues, but was a great start for anyone who was planning to save up for the shiny new handheld.

Just like the Game Boy Color before it, the Game Boy Advance ran on double A batteries by default and if you wanted an AC adapter plug/charger you had to buy it separately. By playing through battery use you got about 15 hours of playtime, while some rechargeable batteries by companies like InterAct had the same hours as well.

The GBA would also get some accessories down the road as months and years passed, whether it would be a carrying case, a pair of headphones, a cable to connect to a Nintendo Gamecube, and yes, even the Nyko worm light for the GBC could work on it as well.

What are your memories of the Game Boy Advance? Leave a comment and as always, see you next article!

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Mr Magic Posted on Jun 04, 2021 at 05:28 PM

My parents gave me an SP for Christmas in 2004. I had old-school games like Castlevania, Donkey Kong and a Namco collection. I also had Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga and a couple of Pokemon games.

onipar Posted on Jun 04, 2021 at 02:09 AM

I actually never purchased or owned one, but I am discovering tons of GBA games right now on an emulation handheld. Some great stuff they made for the system.

Benjanime Posted on May 24, 2021 at 04:56 PM

@Julie

thank you always for your support, my wondrous love ❤

Julie Posted on May 24, 2021 at 04:32 PM

I remember reading about the GBA on some gaming magazines of the time, saying it has a 32-bit central processor. I was afraid it would substitute the PlayStation for having the same processing power but it didn't show that power with the time and more releasing titles. Even the Silent Hill was just a novel for reading (of course the GBA has much more power than that). But then I was glad to have a handheld more powerful than the Super Nintendo (just with a lower resolution) and all portable! And it has some really great games.
Amazingly charismatic article as always. Well written and deliciously nostalgic. ❤

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