Portable Video Game Systems: Best Nintendo Redesigns
DS Lite or DSi XL? GBA SP or Game Boy Micro? You be the judge.
Almost every handheld video game system (and console, for that matter) has received a redesign. Cheaper materials and a bit of ingenuity let manufacturers improve on the original models while kick starting sales.
Nintendo, more than any company, has a long history of revamping its hardware. The publisher normally does excellent work with first generation systems, but does an even better job the second and third time around.
This is especially true with its portables, going back as far as the original Game Boy. Even Game & Watch, which predates Game Boy by almost a decade, went through several revisions.
That said, we want to hear from you. Which was the best Nintendo redesign? Check out the systems below, then vote to make your voice heard.
Game Boy (1989)
While smaller than the competition (but still too big to put in one's pocket), the first Game Boy suffered from screen flicker and took four AA batteries.
Game Boy Pocket (1996)
After the Play It Loud! Game Boys in 1995 (just a color change), Nintendo finally gave its beloved portable a much needed makeover. A backlit display didn't make the cut, but fans enjoyed the true black and white (and larger) screen, slimmer body and ten hours of play off just two AAA batteries.
Game Boy Advance (2001)
Game Boy Color, while decent, wasn't the true Game Boy evolution the fans demanded. That came in 2001 with Game Boy Advance. Unlike the Game Boy models that preceded it, the GBA had a more horizontal (bar of soap) design. The bigger screen (2.9 inches), impressive 15-hour battery life and advanced processing muscle (essentially a tricked out Super Nintendo) made up for the lack of a backlight.
Game Boy Advance SP (2003)
Talk about different. With GBA SP, Nintendo ditched the soap in exchange for the more desirable clamshell (the better to protect the screen with), an internal and rechargeable lithium ion battery and the biggest feature of all, a backlight. In a strange twist, the company nixed the headphone jack. Still not sure why it did that.
Game Boy Micro (2005)
Ah yes, Nintendo's infamous third pillar handheld, the GBA Micro. The big N went back to the horizontal design, except the unit was much smaller than its predecessors; it can literally fit in the palm of your hand.
On the positive side, the screen is without question the most colorful and brightest of the GBA line, and interchangeable face plates let gamers customize their systems, though Nintendo didn't offer many to choose from.
The first DS was unattractive to say the least. Not only was it clunky (this earned the DS Fat nickname), but the screen somehow trailed behind the Micro's in terms of quality. At least it retained the clamshell made famous by the GBA SP.
DS Lite (2006)
Feeling the pressure from Sony's PSP, Nintendo went back to the proverbial drawing board and launched DS Lite, a lighter, smaller and slimmer DS with a sharper screen and more responsive buttons.
Dissatisfied with DS Lite, Nintendo retooled the system yet again with DSi. The company axed the GBA cartridge slot, added two cameras (one internal and external) and added online connectivity to the DSi Shop, paving the way for DSiWare games and applications.
DSi XL (2009)
With two revisions under its belt, Nintendo released yet another in the form of DSi XL. This super sized DSi includes all the same features, but it's significantly larger, with two enhanced 4.2 inch screens, bigger speakers and improved battery life.