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North America

Game Boy Advance

by Rick Powers - April 12, 2001, 4:43 pm EDT

Rick's Gameboy Advance from Upstate Games has arrived! What does he think about it upon first blush? Read on ...

It's been a long time in coming, but my Gameboy Advance from Upstate Games has arrived. While I didn't get my first, or second choice, I did receive a Purple GBA, and wasted no time dropping some batteries into it and powering it up.

The GBA is roughly as wide as the Gameboy Color is tall, and just about as thick on average. The D-Pad and both action buttons are identical to the GBA unit, like to reduce the cost of creating additional molds for those plastic pieces.

The Left and Right "shoulder" buttons are extremely light and easy to press. Too easy, in my opinion, as when playing older Gameboy titles, the Left button stretches the game to fit the screen. Don't be surprisd if you're constantly having to hit the Right button to force the game back to standard mode.

The speaker is placed right under the action buttons on the right side of the unit. While my thumb would rest right over it, the obstruction had little effect on the sound coming from the tinny speaker.

The On/Off switch and volume dial are placed unobtrusively along the bottom of the unit. No danger of accidentally switching off the game in mid-play ... it needs to be a conscious decision.

Attaching a Nyko "Worm Light" to the link port provided enough light to be able to see the rather dim screen by, albeit not nearly as bright as when powered by a GBC. This is clearly the result of the lower voltage supplied to the link port.

The screen is wider, and just as hard to see as the GBC screen. That stands to reason, as they are literally the same screen, the GBA version is simply wider.

Something interesting to note ... the Power LED in the upper-right-hand corner is dual-color. It's green under normal circumstances, turning reddish when your batteries are running low. Now you no longer have to guess how much juice you've got left.

The unit comes with a Japanese instruction booklet (rather thick, too) and a paper pamphlet of some sort. It also comes with a set of Alkaline AA batteries, so you can be up and running immediately. Don't expect them to last too long, though ... pick up a good set of NiMH batteries and a charger. You won't be disappointed.

So far, I'm not overly impressed, but that's likely because I don't have any import software to play on it yet. However, it stands to reason that GameBoy Color units hold no "advantage" over the GBA ... so expect to see the prices on the GameBoy Color drop dramatically around E3.

Still, the GBA should be a major draw stateside once it's released. I can't imagine any current Gameboy owner not wanting to upgrade to the more attractively looking GBA, unless money is an issue. That will be a big plus to Nintendo, especially considering their intention to use it to leverage Gamecube into our homes.

More impressions once I pick up a couple of import titles.

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Developer Nintendo

Worldwide Releases

na: Game Boy Advance
Release Jun 11, 2001
aus: Game Boy Advance
Release Jun 22, 2001

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