Nintendo Game Boy Advance Guide
The workhorse that is the Game Boy Advance keeps chugging along with some of the best content the portable market has to offer, and we break it down here!
For years when it came to handheld gaming dominance, Nintendo was the company to turn to. They launched the revolution back in the late 80s with the release of their standalone handheld system Game Boy, a lime-green screen system that gained great appeal thanks to such games as Tetris and Super Mario Land. The system then evolved years later with the release of the Game Boy Color and the Game Boy Advance.
Each evolving brought something new to the experience, either with a back-lit screen or with games that became better looking and playing with each attempt. Nintendo finally perfected on the 16-bit handheld with the release of the Game Boy Advance SP, complete with a fold-away layout, a strong battery life, and a backlit screen with no worries regarding glare.
Who is the Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP for?
The Game Boy Advance is all about the classics, though original content like Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga surpasses the best of what home consoles can offer. This is the old standby; a strong system with a stronger library and significant support from one of the most impressive publishers in the world.
Did You Know?
Nintendo was in the handheld game long before they introduced the Game Boy to the market. Back in the early 80's, the company introduced a line of devices known as Nintendo Game & Watch, allowing players to take part in a number of mini-games, like Luigi's Cement Factory. The games got such a following that, years later, Nintendo would release Game & Watch Gallery packages for the GBA.
Believe it or not, the Game Boy Advance SP was not the first 16-bit handheld system to utilize a backlit screen. NEC manufactured the Turbo Express to follow their success with the Turbo Grafx 16, allowing gamers to play their TG-16 games on the go with ease. The second was Sega's Nomad system, which allowed gamers to play their Sega Genesis games wherever they wanted, even being able to hook it up to a television with the necessary cable. Both are now collector's items in the gaming market- and pretty notorious on battery life as well.
Don't care to play your GBA games on the go? Nintendo has created a Game Boy Player that allows you to play them on your Nintendo GameCube. The player sells for $50 and is available at retail locations everywhere. This isn't a first for them, as the company released the Super Game Boy for the SNES back in the day, allowing gamers to play old-school Game Boy games on their 16-bit system.
Five Recommended Titles for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance
Super Mario Advance (Nintendo) - The Super Mario Advance series is obviously one of the most recommended for the Game Boy Advance SP because, with each new release, you get a classic Mario experience with all new features that take the most advantage of the system. The first release, Super Mario Advance, revamped the NES classic Super Mario Bros. 2 with excellent results. Then came Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World, based on the 16-bit SNES classic, and it too offered hours of fun for all ages.
Nintendo went even further forward with Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi's Island, bringing back a long-lost NES favorite with bright new life. The latest (but certainly not the last in the series, we're sure) Super Mario Advance title, Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, brought one of the NES' biggest hits to the system with fantastic results, including the trick with the magic flutes. This series continues to push the envelope and shows the grandeur drawing power of Mario.
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (Nintendo) - For years, the Legend of Zelda series has grown up to a level of absolute perfection, culminating with the release of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for Nintendo 64 and the forthcoming The Legend of Zelda rebirth for the GameCube. But in the middle, we have The Minish Cap, a refreshing new adventure that pits Link against a whole new league of enemies and puzzles to solve. The interface is classic Zelda all the way, but there's lots of new tricks up Link's sleeves and plenty of adventure to endure as your quest goes on. The Minish Cap certainly shouldn't be missed.
Astro Boy: Omega Factor (Sega) - One of 2004's best games came from out of nowhere. Based upon the popular anime of the same name, Astro Boy: Omega Factor brought the talents of Sega's internal studio Hitmaker and the genius developers at Treasure together to create a finely crafted adventure game, jam packed with challenging bosses, wild level design, and the kind of awesome gameplay that really comes together from the two teams. After all, where else will you find a butt cannon? One that actually gives help when it's needed, mind you. Astro Boy: Omega Factor is proof positive that all you need to create a masterpiece for the Game Boy Advance is patience and creativity, and they both come full tilt here.
Castlevania (Konami) - No matter where you turn, there's bound to be a Belmont adventure just waiting to be played on the Game Boy Advance SP. First there was Circle of the Moon, a fun Castlevania throwback with tons of challenging new enemies and obstacles. That was followed by the much more fantastic Harmony of Dissonance, with great story twists and challenging boss battles to make you gnash your teeth.
The latest game, Aria of Sorrow, proved to also be worthy of the Casltevania name, with its outstanding design and gameplay that stayed true to the trend. And if those aren't your speed, you always have the original NES Castlevania, released as part of Nintendo's NES Classic brand. Where there's a whip (or a sword or spells or whatever), there's a way.
NES Classic Series (Nintendo) - Nintendo is always big on classics, and last year they began a push to re-introduce their classic NES line-up for the Game Boy Advance through a series of budgeted game releases and a new system design, similar to that of the original NES controller. This included such games as Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, The Adventures of Link, Dr. Mario, Castlevania, Ice Climber, Bomberman, Pac-Man, and so many more games. And with new waves coming from Japan on a constant basis, it seems that the classics will never go away, and will entertain both longtime fans and newcomers.