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Game Boy Advance in General (GBA)

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58 Reviews

A classic handheld device, the Game Boy Advance has hours of potential playing time. The great selection of all the favourite games was the main selling point, although the lack of a backlight was an issue.

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      14.09.2010 19:50
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      Probably not worth buying now, unless it's going cheap, but cool for Nostalgia's sake

      Back in the early 2000s, this was one of my favourite consoles. I remember having played with classic Gameboys and their colour counterparts but never quite liking them. Even though they were both a huge step forward in the handheld gaming industry I never quite felt that I was really getting into the game much. But then this beaut came out. I didn't get one until a few years after its initial release, but it was still going strong then. And how to describe it? It was the best handheld console I'd tried and I absolutely loved it. The console featured a 2.9 inch screen, going at a resolution of 240 × 160 pixels. Nothing extraordinary, but the in game graphics of most games were really quite sophisticated for such a small screen, at the time. While the Gameboy Colour had only a very limited capacity for colours, the GBA held so many more. The device fit neatly into both hands, designed more like a classic controller, unlike the phone-like appearance of the other two. On the left you had the directional pad, start and select while on the right you had your A and B buttons. There was also the addition to L and R buttons for added functionality. The console had (although games are becoming hard to find, even second hand) a huge array of games, with a GBA version for almost every PS2 or Xbox game released and although a lot of the time they were not nearly as good as the console versions (see Lord of the Rings or Dragonball games) they had a sort of quaint charm about them. Sure, looking at it now, it falters in comparison to the PSP or the DS, graphics and sound-wise. I think, for a while, it was definitely my favourite console. You could bring it anywhere and the huge range of games that came in tiny cartridges (the last one to do so) meant you could take a few with you everywhere you went. It also came with a ridiculous amount of accessories from TV show episodes that came in cartridges, to actual TV tuners. If there were any problems with it, despite its limited capacity in graphics and sound, it was that the thing didn't come with a backlight. A strange decision on Nintendo's behalf which was fixed in the SP GBAs that were released some time later.

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      19.02.2010 16:17
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      Well worth the money-cheaper than a ds

      In these credit crunch times the GBA really comes into its own as a fun, portable console. Long since replaced by the DS, the price of the GBA has been slashed from around £90 a few years ago to about £30 for a brand new boxed item. Second hand consoles are even cheaper, and usually in pretty good condition. The gameboys are especially good for kids because they are easy to handle with child sized buttons and seem genuinely more robust than their more recent counterparts. It also helps kids get used to the idea of how to play video games, which can help their co-ordination, and you can see if they enjoy that type of game before investing in something more expensive, like a DS. Although Nintendo no longer make games for the Gameboy, you can buy games quite cheaply online or on some high street stores. Amazon is one of the best places to go. The games are even cheaper if they are not boxed, retailing at £1-£2. The games themselves are little grey cartridges, which slot neatly into the back of the console. They can also be played on the DS lite, but not the newer DSi. The GBA is excellent for amusing kids on long car journeys or on wet days. They are perfect to take with us when we go on holiday, as the kids are completely absorbed in what they are doing. My gripe about the gameboy is that the charge doesn't last long and we are constantly having to plug them in, but generally this is not too much of a problem. I really like the range of colours that the gameboy comes in, we currently own 3, and they are all very personalized to the kids tastes. My daughter has a metallic pink one, my son has a red one with his initial on the cover, and my youngest has the "micro" version in silver. Some gameboys are a "flip open" style, whereas the micro is just a single screen with buttons either side of the screen. I am quite impressed with the graphics and music quality on the GBA. They have certainly come a long way since the old black and grey gameboy games. In todays world where tech doesn't stay "current" for long, the gameboy still has a valid place in evey gamers collection.

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      13.01.2009 18:15
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      Excellent Little machine

      Ah... the Game Boy Advance - now there's a blast from the past. To be honest, before I read a review on one of these around twenty minutes ago, I had forgotten that it was a product which I actually owned. After the original Game Boy took the world of video-gaming by storm due its portability, it wasn't until 2001 that Nintendo decided to release a more powerful version of the handheld machine. The Advance (from here on in known as the 'GBA)' had a 32-bit CPU, which easy outclassed the original Game Boy's 8-bit engine. This meant that both graphics and sound were significantly improved with this model. I remember purchasing the GBA when it was first released, and being instantly impressed with how small and incredibly light it was. The build quality was quite robust, although perhaps not quite as strong as its predecessor. The only game I had for the GBA was Tony Hawk's Skater, which was a fantastic title. The graphics were good (for the time) and whilst not being anything like as polished as those featured on the original Playstation (which was also 32-bit), they were better than anything which had previously been seen on a hand-held console. The Game Boy Advance's main weakness was its screen. Not because it wasn't clear, but because of its darkness. Nowadays we have come to expect handhelds to feature backlit screens, but this wasn't the case with the GBA. Basically, if you weren't sitting in a well lit room, then gaming would be nigh-on impossible. The machine took two AA batteries, which actually lasted a long time (the lack of a backlight helped conserve power), and at the time Nintendo claimed an impressive 15 hours of battery life, which was 50% longer than the original Game Boy. In conclusion, the machine was an excellent little device, which was great for playing on the bus or train, and could claim a library of impressive titles. The lack of a backlight was a hinderance, but there were add-ons which you could buy to solve the problem. By the end of its production the machine (including the updated version 'GBA SD') had sold an amazing 81.36 million units worldwide - incredible. For the nostalgic amongst you, the Game Boy Advance can still be purchased from eBay for prices in the region of £20 - £40, depending on the condition of the machine. Tech Specs - - - - - - - - Size: 81 mm x 145 mm x 25 mm. Weight: 140 grams (5 ounces). Screen: 2.9 inches reflective thin-film transistor (TFT) color LCD. Power: 2 x AA batteries. Battery life: The average battery life is approximately 15 hours while playing Game Boy Advance games. CPU: 16.8 MHz 32-bit ARM7TDMI with embedded memory. Memory: 32 kilobyte + 96 kilobyte VRAM (internal to the CPU). Resolution: 240 x 160 pixels. Color support: 15-bit RGB (16-bit color space using 5 bits depth per channel), capable of displaying 512 simultaneous colors in "character mode" and 32,768 (2^15) simultaneous colors in "bitmap mode".

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        06.10.2003 20:53
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        It was last Christmas that I was given a GameBoy Advance (GBA)? It was a total surprise, I had wanted one for ages ? but certainly didn?t expect to actually get one! I ripped the packaging off? tossed the instruction manual aside? placed the batteries in? plugged in the game I had been given. (Oh yes, I got a game too!) And turned it on? And then it happened? or didn?t happen as the case was? I couldn?t see the screen very clearly? it was so dark. And I mean SO dark?If you have a mobile phone? you know how when the back-light goes out? you can?t really see anything ? behold that is the GBA. Yep ? I couldn?t believe it either? I then searched the instructions for how to turn the light on ? but there isn?t one? A complete joke!!! I sat under a light, with a window behind me? and if I titled to just the right angle? I could just about? see, kind off? but not properly! Later in the year they released the GBA SP ? which does have a light! How disappointing was that for all us lucky Christmas people last year! There is a company though ? that produces a product called an ?AfterBurner? which actually puts a light inside the old GBA ? I had this done ? and now my GBA is beautiful!!! Really ? perfect. :-) I had to send away for it? and I lost my warranty with Nintendo ? but it is the only way I could get my GBA to be usable. Other GBA stuff? There are SO many games out ? that it will be hard to choose things for it!! No really! I thoroughly recommend Lord of the Rings 2, and the Zelda game is supposed to be superb. If there aren?t enough games for you.. it also plays all the other older Gameboy games, including the original, pocket and pocket-colour version!! So if you are upgrading hang on to your old games! It runs of 2 AA batteries.. which are readily available! It is typically available in Red, White, Blue and Purple ? although other special colours are released from time to time ? s uch as Platinum! But would I buy one now? well? the cheapest way to get on the GBA scene would be to buy a second-hand one, and have it AfterBurned. This version also has a head-phone socket ? something the GBA SP doesn?t have? who knows why??? If you have the money buy the GBA SP ? which comes with the light ? and a warranty, but no head-phone socket ? but I think you can buy an adapter!!! (Don?t worry the GBA and GBA SP all play the same games!)

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          13.06.2003 16:42

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          a good game - Advantages: Portable are small, compact, and lightweight! - Disadvantages: Expensive, well compared to its rivals.

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          24.02.2003 08:29
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          Nintendo have brought out a few of these handhelds over the years. Firstly there was the original Gameboy which was white and the games were in black and white. Then came out the colour Gameboy. The Gameboy Advance is either the third or fourth one they have brought out. Am not sure which though. When buying the Gameboy Advance you have a choice of three colours to choose from. The three colours are Purple, White and also Clear Blue. They are all just the same though. The only difference is just the colour. I suppose the three colours are just to give everyone a choice of a favourite colour. I guess girls would pick Purple and guys the Clear Blue. The white would probably be bought by either male or female. The size of the Nintendo Gameboy Advance is pretty good with the games also being half the size of the original Gameboy games. The on/off button is at the bottom while there are right/left buttons at the top of the machine, just like on a joypad. The orientation of the buttons and screen is actually quite good - it’s just like holding a standard joystick. There aint many games out but the games that are out, are excellent indeed. Their graphics are really good and the sound is clear and you dont hear any crackling. Overall excellent handeld and comes in handy when on a long trip for example. Even if your not on a trip its still worth haveing this. Take in mind though the two batteries wont last very long so thats a bit of a downside.

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            20.09.2002 00:16
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            Portable gaming has been taken to a new level thanks to this little feller. Small and light with a wide range of title available, but that's not all this baby can do! The gameboy advance is one mean console. Its 32-bit display provides excellent graphics for on when you're on the move and its wide range of features makes it an ideal purchase as a present for kids or grown-ups. The gameboy advance comes in a wide range of colours, including lilac, white, pink, purple and more recently orange, black and silver. The gameboy advance has a total of 4 buttons for game play, start/select buttons and a conventional control pad for movements. The sound quality you get from this little machine is quite astounding but often depends on the game. For example DOOM Advance has mono sound, whereas Mario kart has amazing digital stereo sound. There are literally hundreds of add-ons for this console such as extension handles to make it more comfortable to grip to light magnifiers to enhance the picture brightness and clarity. The display this little machine offers is of an extremely good quality although let down significantly by its dull display. The console is not backlit and the foremost problem with the GBA (gameboy advance) is getting enough light on the display for your gaming experience to be normal. It is therefore highly recommended that your purchase a light magnifier. An alternative to this is the backlit display add-on. However this voids your warrantee and is EXTREMELY tricky to put on and I wouldn't recommend doing it. Nintendo have announced another gameboy release with the backlit display already present and it would be recommended to wait for this. The gameboy runs off of 2 AA batteries and a car/adapter rechargeable unit can be bought for about £10. The amount of battery life you get from 2 AA batteries is quite sufficient to last for about a day and a half (16hours) if continuously left on. One of the main features of the GBA is its li ttle black connector hole at the top of the console. This allows multiple users to link-up and play. However this usually requires 2 game cartridges however games such as Bomberman only require 1 Cartridge and a maximum of 4 GBA's can be linked up. There are a wide variety of games for the gameboy advance and even all the previous gameboy colour and normal gameboy games can be used. The cartridge size of the new gameboy games is extremely small and can therefore be easily lost and therefore a carrier case is recommended to keep all your games in. These cost around £10 and come in a choice of colours and styles. Also available for the GBA is an action reply cart, this enables games to unlock hidden features such as cheats. You can also buy for around £80 a T.V. add-on, which turns your GBA into a miniature travel T.V. however I haven't seen, the quality and cannot advise you on whether this is worth the large price tag. In addition to this you can also buy a cartridge writer and blank cartridges. This allows you to link your GBA up to your computer and download games from the Internet onto your Gameboy advance. This is very expensive (around £120 in total) but allows you to own almost every game. Overall the gameboy advance is an excellent purchase and retails now for around £59. The console may also be used in conjunction with a Gamecube and be linked up and used as an extra pad or add extra features to games. The games do retail at a price which is probably more than their worth (£35) but nevertheless as prices start to drop you can be sure that this will be an extensive investment for the future. With an internet add-on planned and new technology which may bring PC games such as Quake onto the GBA, one thing is sure, it will only get better.

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              30.08.2002 03:13
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              ~Quick Fix~ I knew I should have got money for Christmas. I just knew it, but oh no, Matthew's show off side had to go and want a Game Boy Advance now didn't he? I mean, what is the festive season without having to make your overworked parents slip some more money into the big company directors pockets for a load of cack? I'll tell you what; boring. ~His Story~ The Gameboy is, most probably, the most successful and well-known hand held console ever to grace the shelves at our local toys 'r' us. Released sometime in the late 80's, it shot to huge commercial success ahead of fierce competition from Sega's Game Gear as well as Atari's Lynx. Both were in colour, which meant good graphics, which is something that the black and white GameBoy could not provide. Standing on it's game play value, like many Nintendo consoles, it took on the others and ripped them to shred's. Games like Super Mario Land, Zelda: Links Awakening, Pokemon and Tetris were a large help, and can be held responsible a few million console sales each, but seedlings of what would become massive franchise tree's were planted on this console as well. Kirby's career started on the GameBoy, and, although he is far from a household favourite, he now has his own Comic Books and Cartoons in Japan. The graphic fuelled youth of today became the major buyers of games, which meant that, in their world of polished pixels and life-like graphics, and a black and white console had no place in the market. Thankfully, Nintendo recognised this and brought out the GameBoy Colour (sorry about the American Spelling, but that is its official name), which was much like the normal GameBoy, as in size and shape, but it had the abilities to produce games that were in colour. Unfortunately, it didn't quite take off as much as Nintendo would have hoped, not selling too well, and not producing nowhere near as many games as would have been expected. It did, however, have the ability to play old game boy games as well, and turn bits of them slightly into colour. How they did it, I will never know, but it made playing Tetris that little bit easier... ~Right About Now...~ Sometime in 2001 I first heard about the GameBoy Advance on a website called 'swapitshop.com' and I intended to save up and buy it. I was (and still am) a massive Nintendo fan, and having missing their last 2 forays into the world of consoles, I needed it. Once the advert told of its 32-bit graphics, I was sold, and my heart was set. Although I never bought it myself, I did get it for Christmas (as mentioned at the top), as I was happy... ~First Impressions~ I was very impressed with what I first saw. The Advance had broke the mould of the old GameBoy design and gone for a new one, with buttons at the side much like the Sega Game Gear and It looks better for it too. I also noticed that the screen had got a little bit larger, which meant more area for graphics. Another thing, which was surprising, was the small size of the cartridges. It is amazing how much information they can put on there. A normal GBA cartridge is probably just less than half the size of the old ones. Losing them is much bigger of a problem now, but it does mean for a lot more compact gaming. ~Shoulder To Cry On~ The shoulder buttons were a good addition too. It allows games like Tony Hawks to play better by making more tricks available, as well giving SNES games the ability to port straight from it's games from it's original console. ~Graphics~ Graphics are a big part of today?s gaming, but I do not really care about them, but I must review them nevertheless. Although the console is advertised as a 32-bit one, I doubt that it could ever reach the brilliance that games like Tekken and the Final Fantasy series produced towards the end of the Playst ation 1's reign as king. This is simply down to the limited area that it has to deal with on the screen. The Playstation had anything from a wide screen television to a portable program for, which meant they could create graphics that defied its limitations. The GameBoy Advance on the other hand only has a 6cm by 4cm area to produce those kind of graphics, which is not humanly possible, well not at least yet. ~Sound~ The sounds were one of the first things that I really appreciated. Playing a football game without commentary is like Deano not having his Belgian chocolates, it could happen, but with them, they'd be rubbish. ISS on the GBA was the first game that I realised which made good use of the sound system on this portable gem. The commentary was immaculate, better than most ISS games on the Playstation, and it was at east half an hour before it repeated itself, which is not a bad thing. The crowd was a little lack lustre, but that hardly detracted from the experience. ~Retro-Chic~ The current trend n the Advance is to bring out classic SNES games for it. I think this is a fantastic thing, as it allows the 7 and 8 years olds who are growing up now to learn what real games are. Lets face it, on a modern console, the GBA aside, where else would a youngster get the opportunity to play classics such as Super Mario World and the original Mario Kart? It may be a way for developers to make a quick buck out of their old and dated games, but who cares? They are fun and provide a good time for all who plays them. It is fascinating how they get all the data onto that small cartridge. We all found out how much the original Game Boy?s could when Pokemon came out, and was a 100 hour + affair. The GBA however fits all SNES games onto something a lot smaller, and for anyone who saw the original Snes carts, getting them to that size is a pretty big achievement in itself. There are many who believe that there should b e more 'Classics' brought out for the GBA. Just last night I signed a petition to get Sensible Soccer to go on to the hand-held hit. I am one of those people, as I am wishing to relive those hazy days of staying in all day, playing my latest game without a care in the world... ~GameBoy Colour Advance~ One ability that I cherish The Advance for is that of being able to play both GameBoy and GameBoy Colour on it. Although about 1/2 of the cartridge sticks up over the top of the GBA, it means that you can scrap your old machine, or just put them in retirement for a well-earned rest. ~Smaller Cartridges, Smaller Games~ Unfortunately, games on the GBA don't seem to last as long as a £35 investment should do. Probably because it is meant for travelling, not for playing on day and night like I have done. Even former SNES games don't seem to have the same appeal. Super Mario World became surprisingly easy after around 5 minutes, and I was up to the second boss in no time. Back in the day, that would have taken me days of hard work, but now it takes an hour. Maybe it is just I, who am a super gamer, and no game will ever satisfy my thirst, or maybe it's just the games themselves. I'll go for the second one. ~Movie Promoter~ Advance games are largely populated by Movie Promotions, the most recent of which is Scooby Doo. The GBA has acted as a little bit of a cash cow for movie producers, as well as improving awareness about the up and coming feature length films. A bad thing about this is that the games are as usually like a churned opinion; Quick to do, boring and annoying. I have not bought any of them, but I am yet to see a movie game to get good reviews in any magazine. ~New Seeds~ Although there may not have many new and exciting games come out yet, but there are signs that more seeds of what could become trees will be planted. One that has recently come out is Go Go Beckham. GGB could seamlessly fit in on the SNES a couple o years back, and it's cartoony graphics look superb. ~Link To The Future~ Although not much has been made of this by any of the games currently available for the GameCube, a link up between the 'Cube and The Advance is possible, which will let you download bits of games to the GBA to play on the move without a cartridge. Only one game, as far as I know, has used this so far. ~Back Light Needed~ As with all Game Boy?s, catching the correct light to play in is a hard task, and you often have to get in the most awkward positions to play it properly. Back Lights would have been a good idea, but I think Nintendo knew that this would waste batteries too easily. Instead, lighters are available from just about any catalogue. Playing all night is now a possibility. ~Batter Your Batteries~ The amount of time batteries last is quite amazing. A good pack can last up to 18 hours of straight gaming. One plus is that 18 hours is only for 2 batteries, which means that a traditional pack can last anywhere near 36 hours. Also, when your batteries are running out, the usual green light to a red one. This means that you no longer get cut on in the middle of a game, and you save in time for the batteries running out. ~No Expense Spared~ The games are quite expensive to say the small lifespan, but only a few are worth shelling out the £30+. There are a few budget games, but only a few. The cheapest new game I have found is one called 'Tang Tang' for £5.99 from game.uk.com. The console itself costs about £70, which is not too bad, but if you are looking for a proper console, then pay £50 more for the GameCube ~Time Goes By?~ I do not play on my Advance nowhere near as much as I should and I think that this is down to me owning a GameCube. I just cannot be bothered to buy many new games and play it all the time. I do get games whenever they are cheap, and play on it around once a week. An excellent games console. ~Overall~ It is a good starter for kids who are not old enough for a ?real? console. A fantastic console that can only get better in time when the Link Up to the GameCube becomes more apparent and more titles come out to entertain you all on the train, on the plane or in the car...

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                30.07.2002 05:06
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                The game boy advance is the most advanced hand held game system to date, it is very eye catching, with a bigger screen, more colors and boulder graphics. Although the previous game systems, the game boy and the game boy color were fantastic. I just had to have this new more advanced game system to ease my curiosity. I purchased my game boy advance from electronics boutique for 69.99, which is rather expensive but worth every penny. Not only has this game boy advance got a new wide screen format and more color for dazzling detailed graphics but the game boy and game boy color games are also compatible with this new hand held sensation. All of the game boy games vary in price, they range from 10 pounds to 40 pounds, depending on the age of the game or how many levels the particular game contains. If you do own a game boy advance or you are planning on buying one, I recommend that you buy games from the 20 pound range and upwards, (unless they are on offer), this is because the games that are at a higher price tend to have a lot more levels etc. These games will keep you entertained for day’s even weeks, unlike the cheaper games, which you will most defiantly complete within hours. This game boy can also be connected to the Nintendo game cube, to exchange data or for a supplemental game screen and input device. There is one thing that you should be aware of though; People who are photosensitive (have seizures induced by flashing lights or patterns) should not play this with out your doctor’s consent first. I would recommend this new hand held game boy to everyone; it will keep you or your children quite for hours. Thank you for reading. Bubbles.:O)

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                  07.07.2002 17:25
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                  • "New games cost."

                  I bought this for my seven year old son to keep him amused on long car journeys back to Scotland. I'd never looked at a Gameboy before, so I wasn't sure what to expect on graphics or playability. I bought him a second-hand Rayman game to try out, and then proceeded to worry I was going to have to surgically remove it from his hands. He was just addicted from the word go. The graphics (on this game) are amazing and the gameplay just scrolls effortlessly along. Controls are simple and ergonomic, if that's the word. The screen is quite dark, a complaint I noted in other reviews, but it's a minor issue and I can always buy a light for it. Overall, it's better than I expected and I'm seriously thinking about looking for games I can play on it myself, or even worse, buy my own. Then we can link both together and play each other. Parental bonding for the new Millennium, eh?

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                    15.05.2002 04:21

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                    The latest handheld offering from nintendo. It still has a long way to go to replact the game boy. - Advantages: Portable - Disadvantages: Size

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                    07.02.2002 01:39
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                    I had been missing the fun spirit of Nintendo games I grew up on like Zelda and Super Mario Bros so I figured I'd buy this little system to recapture that spirit. The prospect of a 32 bit full color hand held was awesome. Its affordable price (under $100USD) made it a no-brainer. After playing "Advance Wars" and "Tony Hawk 2" I can say that the GBA is very nice. The graphics are astonishing for such a little guy. The sound quality is nice for what it is. I never had a 32 bit system so I feel like I'm holding a real powerful NES in my hands which I think is pretty damn cool. New games for the system come out every week and they keep pushing the limits of what the console can do and that excites me. Can't wait until they come out with a full Zelda developed solely for the GBA. Now here's two buts... First, the console is a little small for my big hands. My hands get a little tired and cramped after a while holding it. I wish they would have made a slightly bigger version. Maybe the hand cramping thing wouldn't be such an issue if it weren't for this...the biggest BUT of all. THE SYSTEM ISN'T INTERNALLY LIT! OUCH! This is the system's Achilles Heel! It's a perfect system except for the fact that you have to have direct bright light on the console. What a pain in the arse! Contorting your body into a position where you get good light and no glare is no easy feat. Add on lights are not adequate enough to make the screen sing. In direct sunlight the GBA is beautiful and it lives up to the promise of a powerful handheld. Otherwise it is a bit of a let down. Now, there IS a guy who is working on a retrofit for the system which I will HAPPILY make. Then this system will be the best handheld ever. (check out the guy making the retrofit here: http://www.portablemonopoly.com)

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                      28.01.2002 00:33
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                      The Gameboy has always been a success for Nintendo. They have relied on it in their darkest hours and it hasn?t let them down yet. Not so long ago the Playstation One couldn?t be dislodged from its dominant position at the top of the console market and the critics said that Nintendo had nothing left in the tank, they thought that Sony had won. How wrong they were, while the N64 went down like a fart in a lift the morning after a curry the Gameboy continued to sell in its millions. There is one dreaded word that tells everyone why they continued to sell: Pokemon. The success of Pokemon took everyone by surprise and as the Pokemon series brought the trusty Gameboy back to life Nintendo began working on its next onslaught on the handheld games market, which it has dominated since destroying the Wonderswan and other feeble copies. In the world of the handheld the Gameboy is king and I'm now moving onto the point, which is why. The first Gameboys were chunky 8-bit affairs that played Tetris really well as well and loads and loads of other games that were so small they could be carried around, perfect for long car journeys or boring flights. Nintendo realised that the Gameboy needed a facelift and so in the mid-nineties decided to release the Gameboy pocket. A new slim line version of the old Gameboy that was available in silver, green, yellow, red and blue. This was a revelation as although not yet in colour it was much smaller and literally could fit in your pocket. Next up came the Gameboy colour, which signalled the start of the revolution. Totally re-designed and in glorious Technicolor the Gameboy was given a new lease of life in its 16-bit re-incarnation. Much-improved graphics with, yes I know it?s hard to believe, rounded edges and colourful backgrounds! Finally 2001 saw the release of the ultimate Gameboy. Again Nintendo have started from scratch and brought out the most complete Gameboy to date. The Gameboy Advance is a 32-bit console unlike any other handheld. The classic Gameboy look has been lost and replaced by a much more ergonomic landscape layout with the 16:9 aspect ration screen in the centre with the D-Pad on the left and the A and B buttons on the right. Now with new shoulder buttons on the top of the console on the left and right the Gameboy is as comfortable to hold as your favourite games console controller but it has its own screen. The graphics are defiantly the best ever seen on a handheld and games such as Mario Kart and Doom look better than ever. The sprite animation on the GBA version is actually better than the SNES version in both games although the GBA struggles to match the 3D backgrounds for the N64 version of Mario Kart. Doom gets its first new release for a few years and as with many other games, gets a retro feel for the GBA. This new console seems to have given life to so many classic games that it is unbelievable. It isn?t just doing it for the sake of it either, it?s doing it well. Fantastic games such as Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2 and F-Zero meet up with classic such as Super Mario. The screen is of excellent quality with a suitably hard covering over it to prevent damage. The only minor complaint that I have about the design itself is that the screen isn?t backlight. This probably doesn?t sound like a problem to most people but it means that it is difficult to play in anything other than artificial light coming directly down on it. Without using a light pack it isn?t possible to play in the dark or any other lighting conditions for that matter. The sound is something else that Nintendo have obviously taken a lot of time over and the old beeps have been replaced by excellent crystal clear sounds (Doom actually sounds better than on the PC) with the Mario Kart characters shouting their catch phrases and making strange noises when they accelerate. A great improvement over previous incarnations. The GBA is an excellent con sole with all the power of a SNES in a tiny box. How do they do it? Nobody knows, but there?s plenty of life in the GBA yet with a new ability yet to be proven. Connectivity with the forthcoming Game cube. With the promise of multiplayer gaming with each person using his or her GBA as their own personal screen seems like something that needs to be done and this and many other new games makes the GBA a definite buy for anyone looking for a bit of retro fun or something to do on the train other than play with their mobile phone. Please go out and buy one and fund the development of the next Gameboy ? surely they can?t get any better than this?

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                        23.01.2002 03:33
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                        • "Small Speakers"

                        The game boy was one of the most exciting and, still is, one of the most popular consoles ever. It may not of had the colour of the sega game gear but what really kept players hooked was its playability. Super mario for the Game Boy alone kept me on my little portable freind until the ultra-life battries had gone dead and my finger were bleeding. But now, in a world of graphics and detail there is no room for such a basic and limited console. Nintendo needed a newer, better console. They also needed to keep the old fans happy with the playability aspect. The Japanese giants have done exactly this with the Game Boy Advance. They've changed the layout from the original gameboy, opting for the buttons at the side, rather than the old buttons underneath. This makes you more interested in the game Also they have added two 'shoulder pad'. These are similar to the playstaions R1 R2 L1 and L2 buttons. These add extra possiblities to the games. If they hadn't of added these, games like Tony Hawks couldn't of been converted in it's full glory One major problem with the Gameboy Advance, like all hand-held consoles in existance is being able to see the screen. Fortunately though, strong lights that clip on to the system are avalible. One thing that shocked me was the size of a Gameboy Advance cartridge. It stands arounds 3 cm high and 5 1/2 cm wide. Compared to the old Gameboy cartridges, which were the same length but 6cm high, I was taken a back at how much information can be stored on such a small thing. On most Gameboy games the first levels got irritating because of them constantly being finished only to be played again when you next played on your Gameboy. This was due to the not enough space on the cartridge to save your hard work. With the Advance there are no such problems with spaces for TWO or THREE saves on even the longest and most difficult games like Harry Potter. The Advance wi ll also be able to be used as an extra control pad and screen for the Game Cube( When It Comes ou). All you will need is a link cable and you link it up to the Game Cube. This will be a big advantage for all those who have the Game Cube but don't want to buy another control pad just so when their mate comes round they don't have to take it in turns. In comparison though, the Game Boy Advance is no challenge to the thrown of best console to new super systems like the X-Box and the Playstation 2. It could never create the tense atmospheres of games like Metal Gear Solid, Or the intensity of A police chase on Grand Theft Auto 3 on such a small screen and with little speakers. In conclusion, I think that the Gameboy Advance has set the standard for hand held consoles forever but it will never be able to have the sparkle and polish of a console such as the Playstaion 2. If you want a console for on the go, buy this, but if detail exitment and suspense is what you want, go buy an X-Box in march. M Britton January 2002

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                          16.12.2001 20:45
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                          • "Could be too small for some"

                          My first Game Boy was a Game Boy Colour, and when it came out everyone said "Wow! It's a Game Boy! And it's in Colour!". So did I in fact, and I bought it. I was really impressed with Nintendo had managed to produce - a portable version of the original NES console. But it had something missing from it... it just didn't feel like playing on a NES, the games still looked pixellated and very un-NES-ish. And then the Game Boy Advance was announced... Most game magazines had previews of the upcoming games on the new Game Boy Advance - and what games they were! Mario Kart, ISS, Spyro the Dragon, Crash Bandicoot and even Sonic! The screenshots also looked like something that the Super Nintendo (SNES) could produce - amazing! And so, I made a Very Important Decision: I was going to buy one! THE LONG AND WINDING INTRODUCTION AND THE CONSOLE ITSELF ======================================================== It was in France when I actually handed over the dosh, lightening my wallet by about 2 kilos in the process - at £80 (at FNAC in Paris it was Ffr. 785, actually less) it doesn't come cheap, but at least I could weep over my anorexic wallet along with my friend (he bought one too). At the same time we also bought Mario Kart: Super Circuit (Ffr. 285, £29), Super Street Fighter Turbo Revival (Ffr. 340, £35), and an Official Link Cable (Ffr. 99, £10). Before you comment on the amount of money we spent in just half an hour, please note that we DID feel extremely guilty... ... until we got home, when the Unpackaging Ceremony commenced! We sat round the table, carefully opening the rather attractive but modest box, adding sound effects as first the included batteries came out ("woosh!"), then the manuals ("fwooo!"), then, finally, the Game Boy Advance itself ("aaaaahhh!"). My first thought was, "This is really tiny". Then I though again. And I thought, "Gosh, this is really tiny". It's about two-thirds the size of the box and is amazingly cute! It's also the first Game Boy to be gripped horizontally instead of vertically - so you now hold it as if it were a console game pad, complete with brand-new shoulder buttons. All of the "classic" Game Boy buttons are also there - the D-Pad, A, B, start and select. That's it. I had no problems adapting myself to the new Game Boy. You take a few minutes to get used to the shoulder buttons, but if you've already got a PlayStation, then you should have no problems. The game cartridges themselves are also tiny, half the size of the old ones. The only customisation available is the colour you choose your Game Boy Advance to be. At the moment, 4 colours are available: White (my friend chose this), Transparent Blue (I chose this), Purple, and Red. Except that it's not Red, it's Pink, no matter what Nintendo say. Needless to say, my friend nearly immediately regretted his rash choice, as the white slowly became alarmingly close to grey after a few uses of the GBA with unwashed hands. It seems that 2 other colours (Greenish blue and Orange), which were featured in games mags, were only for demonstration purposes, or I'd have gone for Orange. It was now time for that magic moment: the First Power-Up! After inserting the batteries (the GBA takes 2 AA batteries, and lasts about 15 hours, before the green "power on" light turns red, telling you to "save now or throw me through the window as I switched off just as you were about to finish off the final boss, having retaliated his mortal attacks for more than an hour"), and reading the manual (I'm sorry but I love manuals, and just HAD to read it... it even tells you how to change the colour palette for old Game Boy games!), the time had come to flick the power switch to On. The screen came alive, with the words "Game Boy Advance" wooshing onto the screen and a tinkl y sound... er, tinkling. Then the game started, and we could admire the GBA's lush graphics. The screen is wider and bigger than the old Game Boy's, so you finally have a wider field of view for racing and platform games. Colours have also been vastly improved, with far more colours being displayed on-screen at any given time. The quality of the graphics is comparable to a SNES game, even if the GBA's display is slightly pixellated. In practice, it simply looks better than any Game Boy before it has ever managed to do. The Game Boy Advance now really does look like a mini-console. But how does it play? The buttons are extremely responsive, including the new shoulder buttons. Your hand fits round it quite well, especially if you have smallish hands. If you have huge hands, then you're likely to get cramps within 10 minutes of play. My only gripe is that the buttons are slightly too "low" for me - if they were nearer to the shoulder buttons, I wouldn't have to massage my thumb every half and hour. Also, the screen is not backlit, but reflective. This means that you can't play in the dark, but have to tilt it to get the best light. This is sometimes annoying, as you lose the game the fifth time in a row because you can't take your eyes of your distracting (but rather handsome) reflection in the screen. Still, it was probably the best idea, as adding backlighting would have cost more, and would cause you to change the batteries every 5 minutes. An AC adaptor is available, but unless you really do play 24/7, it's a tad expensive and useless (you're supposed to play on the move, right? So where do you expect to find power sockets, then?). Batteries may be less ecological, but they're probably the best option. THE GAMES AND MULTIPLAYER MODE ============================== First up was Mario Kart: Super Circuit. This is NOT the old or N64 version, even though it includes some of those t racks as hidden bonuses. Quite frankly, it's excellent. The only really good Karting game ever made, the graphics are great and gameplay is infinite. There are 5 cups for each of the 3 racing classes, so it'll take you a long time to complete! However, the N64 version's strength was in its 4-player Multiplayer mode. And would you know, the Game Boy Advance offers this too! The Link Cable plugs neatly into the EXT. port, on top of the GBA, and 1 cable allows 2 people to play. By inserting more cables into each other (each cable has an "interconnect box"), up to 4 people can play at the same time, with no slow-down! And here's the brilliant bit: with some games (like Mario Kart), only ONE of the players has to own the game - the other Game Boys download parts of the game! How cool is that? Apart from ensuring that everyone has fun, it also entices the other players to buy the game themselves - as if all players have the game, more complicated options open up. Oh, and Nintendo are preparing a cable that links up your Game Boy Advance to their new Game Cube, letting you use the GBA as a game pad - with a screen in it to plan secret moves, so your opponent doesn't know! In Mario Karts case, with the 1-game, 4-players option, simple multiplayer tracks are accessible. However, with the 1-game-for-each-player option, you can also have the classic Battle option, where you have to crash into and hit other players with your weapons! This mode is just class. Putting it down will be impossible, you have been warned! Next game tested was Super Street Fighter Turbo Revival. This is a huge game - maybe not because it's long (it isn't), but because it has loads of game modes and options. There is also no way to "finish" it - you might as well keep playing forever! It's also fast, slick, and fun! Highly recommended. CONCLUSION ========== The Multiplayer options are just pure genius. I t really is like playing with a SNES with your mates - only that with the Game Boy Advance you can do this ANYWHERE. The games are much bigger than the old Game Boy ones, and have cool, colourful graphics. The fact that you can still play all of your old Game Boy and Game Boy Colour games on it gives it massive help in justifying its exorbitant price. The only other thing holding it back from a 5-star rating is the fact that the games for it are similarly priced - £35 for a Game Boy game is quite frankly ludicrous. Not even PC games, which have far better graphics cost that much (OK, some do, but still...)! Maybe the prices are high because of Christmas, but even so, Nintendo have no excuse for charging us so much for games. It's a shame, as the Game Boy Advance itself is next to perfect! Come on Ninty, do us a favour! ++ GOOD ++ + Really small + Excellent games and graphics + Fantastic multiplayer capabilities + Plays old Game Boy games -- BAD -- - Really expensive - Games are expensive too - Could be too small for some - Er... that's it

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