All hail Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance! Perhaps one of the most loved handheld systems ever created, it’s been going strong from its release in 2001 until now, even with the release of Nintendo’s current handheld, the Nintendo DS. It’s been estimated that it has sold nearly 850,000 units since the release of the DS, certainly a sign that it is still going strong. Why has it been so popular? Why are games even now still being created for it?
Part of the Game Boy Advance’s (GBA) popularity may be due to the popularity of its predecessor, the Game Boy Pocket. This system featured the incredibly popular Pokemon series, as any gamer will tell you, and perhaps the continuation of this series onto the GBA really helped move units in stores. Pokemon alone cannot be credited for this though, as there are a host of other reasons as well.
GBA has had, and still has a very, very solid selection of games available for it. Very few other systems have as wide a variety of high quality, yet low cost games, and the sheer number of GBA titles has helped maintain its popularity. Games like Advance Wars (1&2), Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Golden Sun, the Pokemon series, WarrioWare, The Legend of Zelda: Minnish Cap, and many others have contributed immensely to the fame of the GBA. These titles, while simplistic by comparison to Xbox 360 and PS3 titles, are incredibly fun, addictive, and entertaining.
The graphics on the GBA, while a far cry from those of advanced systems out right now, are pleasing to the eye, and generally work very well. Nintendo has also released a host of official add-ons and accessories for the GBA, such as everything from an MP3 and video player to a wireless adapter. Few, if any other handheld systems have had as many nifty official add-ons, or as many improvements on the original system. Nintendo released the GBA SP version as a nicer version of the GBA, and then released the GBA Micro version, as a sleeker, sexier model of the GBA. It is to be noted though, that the original GBA and SP both are backwards compatible with older non GBA games, while the Micro is not.
The GBA is certainly not without its flaws, yet it continues to be popular. Nintendo recognized some of the flaws, and worked to fix them, as seen in the release of the SP version, which added a backlight, and more screen space to the model. Companies trying to compete with Nintendo have failed (for the most part) in the handheld market. Even the new handheld system from Nintendo, the DS, has easily surpassed the closest competition, the Sony PSP, despite the power/hardware difference that favors Sony. Nintendo simply knows how to market well, and how to make good games for its system, specifically its handheld games.
Despite it prowess, the GBA will eventually fade away, like every system. However, any gamer who played it will never forget the fun times they had on what is one of the best handheld systems ever made. Thanks Nintendo!