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Nintendo Game Boy Advance

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33 Reviews

A real step forward for Gameboy, the Advance has great graphical capabilities and an array of big titles. The price may put some off, but the progression is clear to see.

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      16.01.2013 23:16
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      Great for the price and makes for hours of fun and quite times for mummy.

      After seeing how much my three year old daughter enjoyed playing the games on my mobile phone I thought it was about time I got her,her own games console and after considering the newer DS I decided it may be a little to hard for her to play and thought I would start her off with the older and more simple Gameboy advance,and the great thing is when I do decide to buy her a new DS all her Gameboy games will work on it as the DS plays the Gameboy games as well as its own.

      It costs around five pounds in the shops for the Gameboy Advance games but you can pick them up for a few quid less online,there is a wide range of games to choose from including the most popular brand games such as Sonic,Mario,Fifa and Sim city,it comes including a charger so there will be no need to keep buying batteries in order to play it.
      This console is easy to handle not to heavy and can be held with ease,the graphics are also good and the Gameboy Advance has enough power to make this little console have great game play,I myself have been addicted to some of these games. I do not no how much this will cost you in the shops but I picked mine up online for around fifteen pounds.

      The only problem I have with the Gameboy Advance is the same problem I used to have as a youngster with the old Gameboy and that is occasionally the games jam and don't come on but taking the game out and blowing in to the cartridge and console always sorts this problem out.
      On the whole this is a great little games console,not to complicated,my three year old daughter is picking it up quite well.

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        04.02.2012 20:59
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        A pretty good games console!

        This outdated games console was a present from my parents a while ago, and even though I've got a DS now, I continue to play on this from time to time since it holds quite a lot of sentimental value for me and I have several gameboy advance only games. I don't want to forget about it either and for it to gather dust! I have bought gameboy advanced games from various places on the internet ...(admittedly some have stopped working when I was more than half way through due to being fakes!) The games can also be hard to find depending on what you're looking for.

        This was released in most countries in 2001 and was the successor to the gameboy colour. The gameboy advance is a little more bulkier than my Nintendo DSi XL because of the chunky cartridges, but the length and width are quite similar. I make out the dimensions of my pink/red see-through coloured gameboy advance to be 14cm x 8cm and roughly 2.5cm thick. It's pretty lightweight as well at 140g and quite comfy to play with with its 4x6cm coloured display. I don't use any screen protectors and it's pretty much in pristine condition - admittedly I do have a pouch for it, but this is for storage/when I'm carrying it out of the house.

        The gameboy takes 2xAA batteries, but has no power port/battery for you to charge; this can be a really expensive habit since I found myself buying more and more batteries/recharging old ones! It's a source of great annoyance when you see the power button go from the healthy green colour (good battery life) to red (low battery) to a tiny, tiny distant speck of red (''HELPPPP HELPPPPP") A friend of mine also snapped off the battery lid at the back... that is irrelevant but it's been something that's always annoyed me...*sigh*...; the battery lid isn't particularly flimsy I might add.

        You have your usually A,B, start, select button and the directional buttons, but you also get the Left and Right buttons at the top, although with many of the games I play, I don't really use them that much. The positive of all the buttons makes this console extremely comfy to use, and there is enough space on either side of the screen to position and rest your hand. At the bottom edge of the console you have your volume button, on/off button as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack. There is another link port at the top of the gameboy that I have never ever used since I didn't have any compatible devices.

        I really like the see-through plastic that mine comes in which allows you to see the electrical components. The advance does come in solid colours as well, but these aren't as cool in my opinion ;)

        The main thing I HATED about mine was that you couldn't control the brightness of the screen at all, so sometimes it would be pretty difficult to see! I seem to recall that they sold lights for these...quick google search later...these were sold as a plastic attachment for you to shine light above the screen. I never had one of these and could just about manage, but it did annoy especially if some portions of a game were dimmer than normal.

        (The gameboy advanced SP and gameboy micro followed as a redesign of the gameboy advance, but I was never interested in those.)

        ~~Overall~~
        A really nice games console that gives me lots of good memories when I play it!

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        05.08.2010 18:43
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        Now I'm off to defeat Emperor Zog

        The Nintendo Game Boy Advance was released in 2001, I was playing on mine yesterday. That's how good they were. Creating a successor to the original Game Boy was always going to be something of a challenge, the system was one of the most successful gaming devices ever made and had successfully made a name for itself among gamers and non-gamers alike. Nintendo's dedication to practical battery usage, practicality and fun was only becoming established at the time but the Game Boy secured Nintendo as a company for years to come. When they developed the Game Boy Advance, they took the same principles and applied them with equal success.

        The most obvious developments for the Game Boy Advance were in its shape. moving the screen to the centre of the device, buttons common to its predecessor were placed either side of the screen. This actually makes the Advance significantly more compact and doesn't force you to squeeze up your hands. The other advantage is the space it provides for two shoulder buttons, a real improvement over the original Game Boy's lonely A and B buttons. It's an aesthetically pleasing, practical design that not only suited it at the time but doesn't look too bad today. It's perhaps not so surprising that the designed of Sony's PSP is essentially the same in terms of button and screen placement.

        A few poor decisions were taken somewhere along the line and the Game Boy Advance was shipped without any kind of screen lighting. At this time most handheld devices were still running on store bought batteries and I imagine decision was taken to save customers emptying their bank accounts just to get enough AAs. Nevertheless, trying to find the right lighting to play was even more frustrating with the more intricate visuals on display. Furthermore, the console offered colours and visuals beyond anything on the original Game Boy but the basic screen made them appear washed out and drab. Nintendo would make the very wise decision to fix this towards the end of the console's life with the Game Boy Advance SP. This handheld offered a built in, chargeable battery back and a backlit screen. Unfortunately it also revised the design into a clamshell version of the original Game Boy. While I'm sure this went on to influence the design of the DS, it forced anyone ever twelve years old to scrunch their hands up around the thing again.

        When Gunpei Yoko developed the original Game Boy he had the option of providing colour functionality. He chose not to despite the obvious appeal to the customer on the grounds that a colour console would consume batteries at such a speed it would be impractical for the owner. The Game Boy Advance has a similar ethos, rather than targeting the developing 3D market it is focused purely on mastering 2D games in the style of the SNES era consoles. One of the great advantages of this approach was that it didn't take long to populate the library of games with some truly excellent ports from the SNES days. To be able to play some of the great RPGs of the 1990s on a handheld console was a welcome development and it was actually on the Game Boy Advance that I played a lot of my favourite games for the first time. That didn't stop the trend of Nintendo innovation though and the Game Boy Advance saw some of the best attempts to develop and add to their growing list of franchises. Nintendo learnt to use their handheld console for riskier, quirkier titles including such favourites as the Mario and Luigi RPGs.

        Nintendo also pioneered new ideas in connectivity when they made the Advance compatible with their home console, the Gamecube. While underused, Game Boy connectivity was a key element of some excellent games over the years including two Zelda titles and an excellent, Final Fantasy multiplayer game. This is an idea they would take further with the Wii and the DS and really showed Nintendo's desire to try new things.

        Today Nintendo is flying high. The Nintendo is raking in money as the most successful gaming machine ever made and the Wii is outselling far more powerful competing machines with ease. It's interesting to look back to the days when Gamecube owners were the lepers of the gaming world, the Game Boy Advance was a success but Nintnendo's future wasn't so secure and yet we can see the same strengths. An ethos of quality and affordability that permeates all their consoles. Great ideas but most of all, great games.

        I am playing my Game Boy Advance today because I want to play Breath of Fire and my girlfriend is playing on my DS Lite (they kindly put a slot for Game Boy Advance games on there.) It's bringing back memories, all of them good.

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        18.02.2010 11:49
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        A good handheld, but lacks so many features which the NDS has.

        Well i owned my GBA for about 2 years before i sold it, and i only owned about 3 different games on it, but i've seen a lot of GBA games and played them on emulators before.

        The GBA was a fairly big step up from the GBC, greatly improving the graphics, to somewhere in between the SNES and the N64, although it had greater graphics quality than a SNES, it didn't really have any 3D graphics like the N64.

        You can link up with friends on certain games, using a GBA link cable, or alternatively, players can buy a wireless network adapter for their GBA, allowing multiple players to link up together, unfortunatly as it was released near the end of the GBA's life, very few games support it. Luckily there are 2 types of link cable, a 2 player one and a 4 player one, and most of the GBA's multiplayer games only support a max of 4 players, such as the famous Advance Wars series.

        Theres not much point in buying a GBA nowadays, except they have the added bonus of being able to play GB, GBC and GBA cartridges, NDS can also play GBA cartridges but cannot play GBC or GB games.

        There were a few gems of games for the GBA, such as the Pokemon series of games, and the Advance Wars series, and some others. But a word of advice, the Classic NES games are very overpriced, at £20 a game, you might as well buy a NES or a SNES and buy the games for £4 each.

        If you have a NDS then don't bother with this unless you want to play GB or GBC games, thats the only advantage it has. Also the standard GBA (non SP editions) do not have a backlight, meaning you won't be able to play games in the dark, and will have difficulty in a dim room unless you point the screen so it reflects sunlight, best played in a well lit room. Because of this i recommend paying a bit more for an SP, which have a button which turns on and off a backlight, or buying a light accesory for your GBA, but they can be irritating.

        In my opinion, it was a decent handheld when it came out, but the NDS expanded the handheld generation so much, theres not much point in looking back.

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        02.08.2009 19:25
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        A good handheld.

        Nintendos Gameboy Advance was the model that followed the extremely popular Gameboy Colour.

        The Gameboy Advance packs some great new features, the unit is now held sideways with a widescreen LCD screen, this makes it a more immersive experience when playing. The unit has added shoulder buttons to it and of course it has updated specs to provide graphics with greater fidelity.

        Upon unboxing your Gameboy Advance, which comes in many different colours, you won't receive to much, just the usual handful of instruction manuals, the handheld itself and a couple of AA batteries to get you started. No demos to play nothing!

        Luckily the Gameboy Advance is backwards compatible with both your Gameboy Color and original Gameboy games and you can even play them in widescreen presentation though this does stretch the image.

        The handheld also has a great lineup of games, from the classic platforming of the Super Mario advance series, the deep engrossing stories of Golden Sun and Final Fantasy, arcade racing titles such as Mario Kart Super Circuit to the epic adventures of Zelda and Metroid. All your Nintendo favourites make an appearance here and nearly every one of their games are of stellar quality.

        The only bad thing about this handheld is the screen, even if you're playing indoors in ideal lighting conditions it can be difficult to see the screen, outside you might as well not bother! You will need to invest in a lighting accessory to get the most of this system.

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          03.11.2008 20:09
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          A great thing for keeping little ones quite

          I got this as a replacement when i dropped my gameboy in the bath. Despite trying to dry it in the airing cupboard and even taking it to bits to do so, it never worked agaion, so when we went to America, Disney World to be specific, i was given gamebiy advance as a present that christmas, as wel as the amazing trip to Disney World. But would every kid think so at age 10!!

          Anyway this new gameboy was a bit of a scam it was the same but a different shape. the graphics were still as good or bad whichever is your take on them, and it still had the same games, as wel as new different shape ones which you couldn't fit into the old one, so later that year as the old one was fased out my younger brother got one as well, but as usual with these things he had a choice of better more attractive cououler, so he got Black and i was stuck with the gameboy purple which was not good for waht little street cred you got age 11. However despite the couour i loved it as you could stayup late completing your games under the covers so your parens were non the wiser that you were'nt going to sleep. Which of course is every kids nightmare bedtime it was always the let down of the day but the adults got to stay up!!!??

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          11.09.2008 00:01
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          Good.

          I recently started a new job which pays weekly. I received my first paycheque 2wks ago. Did I save it? No. Did I invest it? No way!

          What did I do? I just had to run out straight away and buy a Gameboy Advance with two games from "Toys R Us" didn't I?
          It seemed the only sane thing to do when you receive a wad of cash for the first time (I'm a student, I suppose I could have spent it in the pub!)

          So I went on a mission to Toys 'R Us, friends in tow and browsed all the different packages. In the end I went for the Ultra package which contains a GBA, Mario Advance and F-Zero + a Travel Pack with power adaptors, rechargeable battery pack, a little light, a carry case and also a link cable for up to 4 GBA's connected together .
          You see I'm one of those people who goes weak at the knees with the thought of a new toy/gadget - the smaller and more expensive the better! But enough about me. On to the product in hand:

          Initial Impressions
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          Upon taking it out of the box for the first time I was delighted to see that 2 AA batteries had been included so I could start straight away. So I got it out the box and then went to get one of the games. I didn't expect the sight I saw when I opened the Mario Advance box - the cartridge was so small I could have swallowed it whole! There was this box (the same size as a gameboy game box) whose entire contents could have been comfortably accommodated in a box about 25% of the original size.

          A little hesitant I slotted it into the back of the gameboy.
          On turning it on for the first time I was greeted with a cornucopia of colour as the little logo spun into place before greeting my with the familiar face of Mario and Co.

          Bad Points
          ~~~~~~~~~~
          After becoming familiar with this new device I was surprised to find there was no Contrast control which seemed a little odd as you have to hold it in the right light if you want to see clearly. Another problem is that the screen is too reflective so this renders the travel light I got with it pretty useless as you can't really see the screen for the reflection of the bulb.

          By no means should this put you off, once you have it in the right light (try sitting with a window behind you) the screen and colours look really crisp and clear. I think the screen is an updated version of the one used in the Gameboy Colour so if you've ever owned one of them you'll get the sort of idea what the GBA screen is like to use.
          Another problem with the screen is that it can pick up dirt and dust far too easily but this can be sorted out via the use of a damp cloth. I suppose peoples main gripe would be about the price of the games: £30+. It may seem a little excessive but if they were not so high priced, Nintendo would have to sell the GBA at a much higher price. As always, they sell the console at a loss and make the profits from the game sales, just like any other company.

          So that's the downside of it, now what are the good points?
          Good Points
          ~~~~~~~~~~

          First of all you'll be owning something that is more powerful than a Snes and yet will fit into your pockets making less of a dent than most mobile phones. Weighing in at about 150 including batteries , this is one slim console. It has a 2.9" TFT screen capable of displaying up to 32,000 colours, so expect to be dazzled by some of the future games.
          Don't throw away all your old GB games as you can play them on the new GBA with the only downside being they stick half a mile out of the back of the console and also after you have become accustomed to the GBA games, going back to a old GB game will be like going back from a Playstation to a Sinclair Spectrum (remember them?)

          Retro gamers will be in Heaven with this console, from what I can tell a lot of the original Snes games are being converted for the GBA, most notably Mario Kart - one of the best titles ever release on the Snes. It should be available in Mid September. The current launch titles are just an example of what the GB is capable of. Look at the release titles of Playstation and then look at their most recent games... it can only get better.
          Sound has made an great improvement with digitised speech in Mario Advance and music that actually sounds good rather than the beep beep of the old Gameboy games

          Multi-players will celebrate thanks to most of the games which can have 4 players only requiring one cartridge between 4 Gamboys; though you may need 4 to have all the levels.
          Battery life is the best yet for a hand held
          console with up to 15 hrs of play from one set of 2AA batteries, plus it has an indicator (the power light goes from Green to Red) when it is running low on power.

          Finally
          ~~~~~~~~
          I would whole heatedly recommend the purchase of this console if you enjoyed the previous gameboy and the Snes. It's a great deal of fun, just make sure you shop around to get it at a good price. I think WHSmith are one of the cheapest with the console being £79.99 and the games £29.99. If all else fails try to get one off ebay but don't expect a bargain, there are a lot of people out there who want one.

          One other thing - The GBA will be able to connect to the future Gamecube console from Nintendo to be used as an extra controller or downloading mini games. Think of it as a very advanced version of the Virtual Memory Unit on the Dreamcast.

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          20.08.2007 12:26
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          A nice console which is comfortable to hold and fun to use with plenty of games available

          A good console which is more comfortable to hold than its predecessors (Classic, Pocket, Color).

          With a bigger, brighter screen and added L/R buttons, this is a great console, but perhaps lack some of the 'retro' look and feel that the others had, though that's hardly cause for complaint.

          The L/R buttons are a nice addition for extra control, but they aren't used in many of the games. However, if you lack co-ordination to a certain degree, it can be a bit tricky to concentrate on the direction controls as well as four other buttons.

          The game Boy Advance can take all previous Game Boy games, which was a relief because as soon as I started buying Game Boy games for my new Game Boy Color, the Advance entered the market and I thought I had wasted a lot of money on obsolete games. Thankfully this wasn't the case at all.

          Overall, a good console which is easy to hold and has many great games for it which have brilliant colour and excellent sound (compared with previous consoles). I really enjoyed using it and although I feel it was overpriced to start with, it is worth having.

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            10.09.2006 12:01

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            Buy a gba SP

            I brought one of these as soon as it came out, it was the best handheld of its time, large screen, good graphics, as well as supporting gmaeboy advance games, it supports the gamboy colour and original games. One particular set of games helped sell millions more of these, The pokemon games.

            The only downsides to this console is the fact that (like ones before it) you cannot play in the dark, unless you have a light, or you have the gba light that can plug into the gameboy advance, which then drains your power fast.
            Another is the shape, once you get used to the normal gameboys the gba feels weird and uncomfortable, it also has a bit of weight to it.

            The best thing to do would be to go out and buy yourselves the newer version, the gameboy advance SP, it has a foldable screen, better sound adjustment, inbuilt light (for the screen), shaped like a normal gameboy but half the thickness and a little longer, and fits into your pocket nicely.

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            12.10.2005 12:19
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            An excellent buy for those wanting a good handheld with a large catalogue of games.

            I knew my wife had been after a Nintendo Gameboy Advance for quite a while so I got her one as an anniversary present - and guess what? I can't stop playing the damn thing now…

            It's not the newest handheld games machine on the market by any means, but even today it's not too shabby. I'm not going to bore you with technical details however as they're largely irrelevant (I could tell you that it uses a 32-bit RISC processor but how many people would know that RISC stood for "Reduced Instruction Set Chip", or that it was first used in the Acorn Archimedes… and even then, how many people would really care?!?). What I will do is give you a pros and cons list, which I think will be far more helpful. (If you really must have the technical specs. Visit http://www.nintendo.com/techspecgba.)

            Pros

            Readily available and cheap, I saw it on Amazon for about £65 new, though availability of the GBA new will no doubt reduce as Nintendo try to promote their newer models. I got mine (er… my wife's, I mean… of course…) second hand for £60 including 3 games (Mario Kart Super Circuit, Road to Westlemania - well it was thrown in for free, I didn't actually want it - and the Gameboy Colour version of Super Mario Bros). Which leads me to another two pros…

            1 - Backward compatibility - if you have a load of Gameboy / Gameboy colour games already you don't need to throw them away - you can still play them on GBA. They won't be enhanced in any way of course but you can still play them.

            2 - There's a thriving second-hand game market out there for GBA, which is just as well since new games range from about ?15-?35, which I think is a bit steep for a handheld game. (If you live in / near Birmingham, check out "Gamestation" in the city centre - they have a good selection of reasonably priced pre-owned games.)

            Multiplayer option - up to 4 GBAs can be connected.

            Massive selection of games available, first or second hand.

            Proven technology that works and has had the bugs fixed.

            Decent control system (I found the extra buttons on top a little fiddly to use but otherwise it's quite intuitive.)

            Surprisingly good battery life (quoted in the manual as 10 hours for a rechargeable battery but we tried it on a normal AA battery - it takes 2 - and got about 20 hours life out of it).

            Cons

            Not exactly the cutting edge of technology these days.

            You have to get the GBA in exactly the right position to be able to see the screen properly.

            Some of the games will of course be rather rudimentary by today's standards.

            Sooner or later companies will stop developing new games for it.

            You can't plug it into the mains.




            There are other options that might interest people, for instance I think you can plug it into a Gamecube, but I can't comment on that feature as I'm never going to use it myself. Overall it's a robust little machine and is a lot of fun for those odd few minutes travelling or whatever. Getting a decent pair of headphones (ours cost £5) is a must if you want to avoid annoying the life out of everyone around you, and it really does enhance your game playing experience no end. The GBA is very lightweight and can at a push fit inside a typical jacket pocket.

            The actual GBA cartridges fit snugly into the machine but the older ones for Gameboy and Gameboy Colour protrude over the top. Not a great problem or anything but worth mentioning. The GBA isn't perfect, but it's a solid handheld games machine that is recommended for all the those who must have the latest piece of equipment.

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              15.09.2005 21:20
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              good value, great for kids or all ages

              we bought the Gameboy advance for our 8 year old for a number of reasons. firstly cost, we got a very good deal on the console, games bundle and accessories from a very popular auction site for £140 delivered. this saved time, money and was very convenient. Secondly we wanted something that she would find easy to play and as there are few buttons on this console the Gameboy advance looked like something she could deal with on her own.
              Thirdly it was the choice of colours that really sold it to us as we could get her one that really suited her and would personalise the present for her.

              i am totally impressed with the gameboy advance. It is easy to use, the games load in quickly and are durable so they are much better for travel purposes. the accessories that came with it really compliment it such as the carry strap, protective wallet etc.

              the games are really suited to the ages that they say on the box which i have found not to be the case with other games consoles.

              so when she put it down i picked it up to have a go and i found that the game play really is very good, the screen is beautifully lit and is very smooth. the games she has, although they are easy, are just as entertaining for adults as they are for children. Especially monopoly which is really addictive.

              there are a good range of games to suit all tastes . the charge time is quick and it holds its charge well. we also have an emergency charge pack for it that we haven’t yet had to use but it is available for longer journeys where you don’t have access to a plug socket.

              the only problem is the adaptor that you need to use to plug in the headphones (also a necessity on long car journeys) but this is only a minor inconvenience.

              i cant think of a better console that is suitable for kids of all ages, would be as durable and as easy to use. Gets a total thumbs up!

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                17.01.2005 10:54
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                As my four children wrote their letters to Santa (well three really, the eldest just told us what he wanted), top of their lists were Gameboy Advance (GBA) SPs. Which is strange really, as they already possessed ordinary GBAs, which were working perfectly well, but as with their Mum, they absolutely needed the newest version of their favourite technology. Anyhow, fast forward to Christmas day, and to their delight Santa had managed to secure one for each of them, all in different colours.

                The Evolution Of The Gameboy Advance SP
                ***************************************************

                When the first incarnation of the Gameboy hit the shelves way back in 1989, it was a brick of a machine measuring 90mm x 148mm x 32mm and weighed a massive 300g. Yet, those of us that bought it (or dreamed about buying it), thought it was the best thing since the Atari. We could barely imagine how they managed to create a console that let us play games on the move. Believe it or not, I still possess one of the original Gameboys and ten years on its still working perfectly and I play Super MarioLand, on its Dot Matrix LCD screen that boasts 14 shades of grey.

                In 1998 Nintendo decided to spruce up the Gameboy's image and to this end they not only shrunk it in size to 75mm x 27mm x 133mm, and a much lighter 138g, but they added an impressive upto 56 simultaneous on-screen colours.

                In 2001 the third incarnation arose, the Gameboy Advance. And this truly brought a new experience to handheld gaming, boasting a 32 bit CPU, and upto a massive 32,768 colours on-screen, we now had gameplay to rival the playstation, only in a handheld console. But the real killer, was the capability of the GBA to play the games designed for the previous versions, so all those precious Tetris and Super Mario games would still work.

                The fourth and final incarnation arrived in 2003, in the form of the GBA SP. Smaller, sleeker and generally better looking, it boasts almost the same specifications of the GBA, with a few improvements.

                In The Box
                ***************

                So you've paid your money, what do you get?

                Well you have a very cute little silver (unless its a special edition) box with pretty pictures of your GBA SP on it, in the colour of your choice. Inside the box you will then find the following :

                * The GBA SP console.
                * A Mains charger
                * Several instruction leaflets, including one warning about epilepsy.

                Now, the first thing we need to do is charge the GBA SP's battery, so plug it in and wait three hours, and I'll tell you about the consoles specifications.

                The Specifications
                ************************

                The GBA SP boasts the following impressive list of specifications:

                * CPU - 32 bit ARM with imbedded memory
                * Memory - 32 Kbyte + 96 Kbyte VRAM (in CPU), 256 Kbyte WRAM (external of CPU)

                I'm sure these mean something to someone, but not to me I'm afraid.

                * Screen - 2.9” TFT screen with integrated screen light.
                * Resolution - 240x160
                * Screen size - 40.8mm x 61.2mm
                * Colours - 32,768 possible colours. (511 simultaneous colours in character mode)

                Now these do mean something to me, it means there is a fairly large, good definition screen with lots of colours.

                * Power - Built in Lithium Ion battery
                * Battery Life - 10 hours continual gameplay (18 hours without light), 3 hours charge.

                Finally, a handheld that doesn't eat batteries for a living. Simply charge it for the three hours and the battery will last for up to two days of play.

                The Styling
                ***************

                What can I say, the gameboy has come a long way in 14 years. Measuring in at a tiny 82mm x 84.6mm x 24.3mm when closed and weighing 143g, the GBA SP fits in your hand or pocket perfectly. When you flip the lid open, your are confronted with a very reasonably sized screen. And even better it's available in an ever increasing range of colours and special editions.

                What, you want to know what colours are available. Well here goes :

                For the girl's among us there is a very nice pink version. There are two blue versions available, one deep blue, and the other a nice light metallic Arctic Blue. For those that want their console to stand out there is flame red. And for those who want a more subdued look there are black and silver.

                Then we have the special edition versions : The tribal version is silver with tattoos, while for the Zelda fan there is a gold Zelda Minish Cap version. Not leaving the mario fans out, there is a red Mario edition, and finally for us oldies there is a NES classic edition.

                These are of course only the versions available at the time of writing, I'm sure more will become available with time.

                So What's It Like To Play?
                *******************************

                It plays like a dream. The built in light means that you no longer need to sit in a brightly lit room, or have one of those silly light accessories to play. Even in a dark room there is no problem seeing the screen. If you've used a GBA before you might find the back buttons a little awkward to begin with, but as they say practise makes perfect. Of course there is no actual improvement in the internal workings of the console of the GBA, but somehow the games do look better when they are lit up.

                The truth about battery life
                ********************************

                So you've read the spiel about upto 10 hours continuous play, a quick word of warning, if you have accessories attached such as the wireless link, battery time goes down drastically, maybe by as much as half.

                Any Gripes
                ***************

                Well yes, I have one. My children are used to being able to use their personal stereo headphones with the GBA, but the Sp does not accept a standard jack. You have to buy a special adaptor, to use headphones. Not a great gripe, but still what were Nintendo thinking except more money.

                What Games Are Available?
                ***********************************

                There is a huge library of games available, consisting of hundreds if not thousands of titles. As you can play games originally released for the gameboy and gameboy colour, you can even play the original Tetris. A word of warning though, gameboy/colour games will stick out of the slot somewhat and make the overall look of the console a bit silly.

                A few of the games my children possess are :

                * Pokemon - in its many versions, IE. red, blue, silver, ruby, fire red etc.
                * Tony Hawks Underground
                * Crash Nitro Kart
                * Green Eggs and Ham
                * Spyro

                The list goes on and on, there is literally a game out there for everybody.

                Available Accessories
                ***************************

                There are a multitude of accessories available which include :

                * Carry Cases
                * In Car Adapters
                * Link Cables (for linking to games together for multiplayer action)
                * Wireless Link Adapters (as above)
                * Replacement Batteries
                * Headphone Adapters

                Console Only Or Bundle
                ******************************

                My recommendation would be to buy this in a bundle with accessories included. Just make sure you don't buy one that includes games you already own.

                Price And Availability
                ***************************

                The price of the console has been recently reduced to £69.99, which is considerably less than I paid for my original gameboy (I feel cheated now). However by shopping around, you can find some excellent bundle deals, for example ToysRus have a GBA SP with six games and a travel pack for under £130, which is extremely good value, especially if you consider that this time last year, the console itself would have set you back £100.

                Final Words
                ****************

                I was a bit dubious about buying these for my children, but they love them. And I must admit, on the rare occasions they've let me have a go, I've seen a big improvement from the original GBA. Of course a console like this is only as good as the games available, but with such a huge range with prices starting from £4.99 I can't see it ever losing it's appeal. Saying that, the Nintendo DS is on the horizon, which boasts even better capabilities with the backwards compatibility, what is techno-freak to do?

                Ok, decision made, this is a great console, at a great price, go and buy it now you won't regret it. If it's as durable as my original gameboy, you'll be paying the grand total of £7 per year of use.


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                  29.02.2004 07:02
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                  • "Can it stand against the PSP?"

                  The Gameboy Advance was awful. The original Gameboy and the multiple versions that followed were simple and effective systems. True you had to look at third parties for worm lights (to play the games in the dark), battery packs and cases (to avoid nasty scratches on the screen), but it was still a nice looking and playing piece of kit. For the new millenium meanwhile Nintendo needed to add more buttons and introduce the Gameboy to a new generation. Sadly it all went wrong; the system was so poorly marketed that Nintendo only managed to strengthen their kiddy image. The design was so awful that the screen not only didn't work in the dark but in the day as well and the position of the speaker meant the sound was inaudible. For the first time since 1989 Nintendo needed to update the Gameboy properly and they had fluffed it. Had Nintendo lost it? Well no, in fact less than 2 years later Nintendo introduced a special version of the GBA. The GBA Special Project (SP), a system that had lost all it's childish appeal and replaced it with a more adult, sexy look. It was a machine that fixed not only the problems created by the GBA but fixed those the Gameboy series had been suffering since 1989. The Ion re-chargeable battery that has been built into the machine means you will never need to spend money on batteries ever again. The inclusion of a lit screen means you can have people watch you play without them "getting in your light" and also allowed you to play in the dark. The speaker had returned to a central position, no longer covered by your hand and the clamshell added further portability plus protection for that frequently scratched screen. Nintendo had done it again. The SP is genius, the Gameboy no longer suffers any major flaws and can no longer be called a "children's system". Sadly the SP still lacks perfection, you need an adapter to use headphones on the machine which is a disappointment and the
                  L and R buttons are not as easy to use as the original GBA... not to mention how steep the price is. But these are minor flaws. The software line up feature major classics from the SNES era including Mario World and A link to the past. All new original titles such as Advance Wars, Mario and Luigi, Golden Sun and Wario Ware. And the only system that still creates 2D versions of Metroid, Sonic, Mario Kart, F Zero and Kirby. It is like the SNES/Megadrive era never left. That's not to say there isn't more modern ideas here. Jet Set Radio, Crazy Taxi, Doom, Super Monkey Ball and Ecks Vs. Sever are all wonderful 3D achievements and that's not to mention the frankly Phenomenal Pokemon. The SP is also backward compatible with every GB game ever made since 1989 and that is one hell of a lotta games. Throw in a connectivity feature for the Gamecube and you truly have the pinnacle of a handheld gaming marvel. So what are you waiting for? Choose your colour and watch the good times roll. Gaming has never been this good.

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                    11.11.2003 16:59
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                    Nintendo's latest member of the gameboy family (barring the GBA XP) is of course the Gameboy Advance. I started my journey along the gameboy family, starting with the Gameboy Pocket (still the smallest of the lot). It was a nice upgrade on the original, being far more compact and having a much clearer and more defined screen display. Then along came the Gameboy Color - BIG excitement. Having a much better 8 bit memory, colour graphics and better sound, it was the obvious purchase for all owners of the older model. The games improved too - I remember Conkers Pocket Tales and my favourite game of all time - Wario Land 2. Ok, so thats enough of a history lesson, now for the latest toy - the Gameboy Advance. This really was something to lust for. Firstly, it has a 32 bit memory, which (painful as it might be to confess) is more advanced then a Playstation - there, I said it. The graphics and sound are of course a vast improvement with a much wider range of colours available to use for game designers. Of course the great thing about the GBA (Gameboy Advance) is that, as with all members of the family, ALL old games are fully compatible. That means I dont have to keep digging out my old GBC to enjoy a spot of Zelda. Also, a lot of recent games for the GBA have some truly unique and exciting features incorporated into them, including games where you need to expose your gaming masterpiece to direct sunlight in order to "charge yourself up" and games, where you must actually shake the entire console to kill enemies. But are there games behind these gimmicks? Yes there are is the answer to that, I often find myself fully engrossed when I have a spare hour or two. To be fair, although the GBA is excellent value for money, I find the games to be rather too expensive. No GBA game is worth £40, believe me. Ok, so I've promoted all of its winning assets, so where does it not quite please? Well actually, I find it hard to find
                    much fault with it. One thing, though is that it is fairly large for a "portable" console. Although not quite as large as the original gameboy, it is certainly larger then the GBC and GB Pocket. It doesnt really fit neatly into a lot of my pockets which can be a mite irritating sometimes. Another small caveat is that the screen can be rather reflective and hard to see if you havent got the right light conditions. I tried using an add-on light for those late night gaming sessions, although I find that it irritatingly causes a nasty reflection at most angles. To be honest, those small nuances don't really present themselves that often. Comapred to the larger console, obviously the GBA doesn't have much of a say in terms of advancedness but for a portable console, it really does push the boundaries. I've had mine for a long time now and I definately wouldn't be without it.

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                      06.06.2003 21:17
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                      I was 17 in March, and I'm indesicive to say the least, so I always get completely random birthday presents to save the hassle of actually asking me! From my parents I got lots of lovely clothes and jewelery, driving lessons, quality digital camera and money. Friends got me an assortment of smellies and other girly stuff. My brother got me a battery charger and lastly, my boyfriend got me trainers. And a Gameboy Advance SP. A Gameboy might seem like a strange present to get a 17 year old female, but I'm hooked on champ manager and play gamecube almost obsessively, so it made sense in a way! The SP is the newest addition to an already huge selection of portable game consoles, many of which come from the same Nintendo family. There's the original gameboy, gameboy colour and the gameboy advance. They all do the same thing some may say, but the SP has one huge advantage. It has a flip screen, so it looks like a cute little minature laptop, and saves the screen from getting scratched. The keys are on the opposite side the the screen and offer suprising comfort despite the square shape. Another key advantage this has over the original gameboys is the light facility. As anyone who has played gameboys will probably know, the screen is very dark and often needs to be played under some kind of light or with the extra fittings. This has a tiny little key near the key pad which flicks on and off to brighten up the screen. It makes a huge difference when you consider the difference in picture quality. The games are only about 3cm by 5cm and slip into a space beneath the console. They're visible whilst playing but quite a tight fit so there's no worry about children pulling them out. A two bar light on the right hand side indicates level of battery life and charging time left and a slider on the left side turns the volume up and down. Nintendo have a history for making good quality consoles and at reasonable price
                      s, take the Gamecube for example, which was much cheaper than competitors. Games come at reasonable prices if you're willing to buy second hand, I recently picked up Super Mario Advance for £7 and Rayman for £10. It's playable anywhere you go, from a short bus trip to a boring evening at work (well, that might just be a personal thing!!). Its appeal is long lasting and games can be swapped in and out as quick as a flash. How good is it -------------- Despite the fact that it cost a small fortune for something so teeny (£89.99 from Game), I do believe that it's worth it. It takes games from its predecessors the GB colour and the GB advance, so if you have one of the earlier consoles, theres no need to replace games. I do enjoy playing and find that the screen is suprisingly easy to view, without getting eye strain! It also keeps people of all ages amused, my baby sister likes playing her Tweenies game, my mum will play Tetris, I play Rayman and my bf will play Zelda! So if you're looking for something to keep the family amused on long car journeys, this could be your answer, it's compact, reasonably priced and games can be bought second hand for as little as £7! It comes in two colours, platinum and cobalt, both just as cute as the other! I would reccomend this fully, I love mine and its all I can do to stop playing! Specs ----- Size (closed) - Approximately 3.3" height/3.23" width/0.96" depth Weight - Approximately 5 ounces Battery life - *10 hours continuous play with light on *18 hours with light off *3 hours recharging Power - Rechargeable lithium-ion battery Resolution - 240 x 160 pixels

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                  • Product Details

                    Muscular 32-bit processor. Big screen. Great multiplayer features. And it slips easily into your hip pocket. The Game Boy Advance. Welcome to the future of hand-held gaming.