In the last installment of the Game Boy system, Nintendo shrank the hand held down to the mini, giving it a smaller screen, and a more streamlined appearance, but is this an improvement on the GBA?
The original Game Boy only played LCD style games in mono color, but is remembered fondly as the very first hand held game system. It allowed users to change games with simple cartridges, and take their games with them on the go. Their durability meant that even today, more then 15 years later, owners still play this all time classic.
They improved on this design with the Game Boy Color, which simply added color in a smaller case, though the batteries did not last as long. Nintendo made one other announcement with this product: it would be backwards compatible, able to play old and new games, and they have continued on this tradition throughout.
They came out with the Game Boy Advance, which had better graphics and a larger screen, but no back light so it was sometimes hard to see the screen.
The last version, the Game Boy Advance SP, took the original GBA and fixed many of the original problems, including giving it a rechargeable battery with a wall plug in, a backlight so it would be easy to see in any lighting, and a clamshell design that made it even more compact.
The GBA SP has been the mainstay of the Game Boy industry for several years, one of a bare few hand held game systems, the only system to employ backwards compatibility, and still in a durable case that would last many years. It also had a convenient port to hook two GBA’s together and play multiplayer, and connected to the new Game Cube to add more fun to games on both systems.
This last year saw the advancement to the Game Boy to a different level. They shrank it even farther, creating the Game Boy Micro, small enough to fit in your jean pocket. With this smaller size came a smaller screen, but it also has an SD slot to play MP3 and video files giving it a bit of an iPod feel. It will play cartridges from the GBA, but not from the original Game Boy, or Game Boy Color.
While the Game Boy Mini is reported to have a better resolution, and backlight system for its screen, it is still smaller. (51 mm / 2 in. compared to 74 mm / 2.9 in.) Also, the Mini has many probloms with accessories and connections to other systems. It does not connect to the Game Cube at all. Also, with the new release of the GBA SP with a comparable screen and back light there is an even bigger question of the true usefulness of the Mini.
While the Nintendo DS and PSP have both come out with new and interesting features, the Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP will always be my favorite hand held system, and a classic I will come back to time and again. With great games like Final Fantasy Tactics, Tetris, and Mario Brothers, and video cartridges with cartoons for the kids, you truly can’t go wrong.