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Game Boy Advance

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Game Boy Advance
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Live Advanced.
Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: Original
JP: March 21, 2001
NA: June 11, 2001
AU: June 20, 2001
EU: June 22, 2001
IND: June 2001
KOR: April 7, 2004
CHN: June 8, 2004

Game Boy Advance SP
JP: February 14, 2003
CAN: March 22, 2003
EU: March 23, 2003
NA: March 28, 2003
IND: March 2003
AU: April 10, 2003
CHN: December 1, 2003
KOR: January 18, 2004

Game Boy Micro
JP: September 13, 2005
NA: September 19, 2005
CHN: October 1, 2005
AU: November 3, 2005
EU: November 4, 2005
KOR: November 9, 2005
Predecessor: Game Boy Color
Successor: Nintendo DS
Competitors: PocketStation
Generation: Sixth generation

The Game Boy Advance (known as GBA for short) is a handheld gaming console developed by Nintendo released in 2001 and was discontinued on May 15, 2010. It is the successor to the Game Boy Color and was succeeded by the Nintendo DS in November 2004.

Why It Lives Advanced


  1. A concept of the portable gaming system, that brings the Super NES in the palm of your hand.
  2. It was a very capable handheld system, capable of running ports of Super Nintendo Entertainment System games such as re-releases of Final Fantasy IV-VI, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Final Fantasy 1 & 2: Dawn of Souls. These ports even offered more content than the original games, such as extra levels and dungeons.
  3. The technology used in the GBA allowed for the Game Boy Advance video packs, which allowed for several children's television shows and movies to be compressed into cartridges for viewing. Though it wasn't received well.
  4. The original model has an excellent battery life.
  5. Unlike its predecessors, the GBA has 2 bumper buttons, allowing for more controls.
  6. Like the previous models, the GBA came in different colors and some limited edition versions.
  7. The Game Boy Micro model is much smaller, has a better quality screen, and can be customized with face-plates.
  8. Numerous accessories, such as the Nintendo E-Reader which is used to scan cards to gain access to special minigames and animations such as.
    • Machop At Work: A game where you play as Machop smashing boulders if you gain enough points the Machop will evolve to Machoke at 50 Points and Machamp at 100 Points at the end of the game;
    • Punching Bags: A game where you play as Tyrogue smashing punching bags to gain points, however, don't get near them or Tyrogue will get knocked out;
    • A Mario Party E-Reader game (which is pretty rare for collectors)
    • And more.
  9. Some franchises such as Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon had Game Boy Advance games that recreated the gameplay of the console versions fairly accurately, given the GBA's hardware.
  10. Large library with over 1,000 games, including:
  11. Like its predecessors, GBA is region free.
  12. The Game Boy Advance and the Game Boy Advance SP models were completely backwards compatible with the original Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, making them the only Nintendo systems to be backwards compatible with more than one system as well as making the total library of playable games above 2,000.
  13. It also allowed Classic NES Series and Famicom Mini games to be released on the GBA, which is great for people who would enjoy playing NES games on a GBA legally. The Classic NES Series and Famicom Mini series of games are GBA re-releases of NES/Famicom games like Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, and many more. Link cables can be used for most multi-player games, too.
    • However, since the GBA screen is small, games had to be sized down to fit the screen. On the SP, it sticks down even further.
  14. The Game Boy Advance also supported 3D, however, it wasn't that great and the technology was improved by the Nintendo DS hardware.


  • It uses a horizontal orientation like its fallen competitors, where the D-pad and action buttons are to the sides of the screen rather than at the bottom, making it more comfortable to use over long periods of time compared to its predecessors.


  1. It introduced the clam-shell design which would allow you to close the system to protect the screen when you're not using the system. This design would later be used for all the DS and 3DS systems (except for the 2DS).
  2. It was the first Nintendo handheld to feature a rechargeable battery.
  3. The original SP released in 2003 added a front light to the screen. Another SP model released a few years later featured a backlight, around the same time of the GBA Micro's release, which has an even brighter screen.

GBA Micro

  1. It had a brighter screen than the original model, the AGS-001 version of the SP, and even the original DS, and the same brightness as the AGS-101 version.
  2. The face plate could be swapped out for face plates with graphic designs on them.
  3. It brought back the headphone jack, which was removed from the SP.

Bad Qualities


  1. It was a target for shovelware developers like Destination Software.
  2. The video quality of Video Packs was extremely poor that it, however, became a meme with "But in GBA" which uses Meteo to translate another meme to a Video Pack (in this case, an emulator or a Meteo cart)
  3. The ports of SNES and Sega Genesis/Mega Drive games had inferior audio quality compared to their original counterparts (Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis is a classic example of this). They also had to figure out how to work with only the A and B buttons.
  4. Just like its predecessors, the screen will decay if reflected by the sun for too long, although not as much.
  5. Like the original Game Boy and Game Boy Color, early GBA cartridges still used battery-backed SRAM for save games. Games released later in the GBA's lifecycle used flash memory instead; however, some games, primarily Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, still used a battery to power a real-time clock chip.
  6. Piracy was really rampant: Many fake GBA game cartridges mostly originating in and around China were produced as an attempt to make quick cash for their producers. It is fortunately easy to notice the differences between real and fake GBA cartridges, mostly with poorly replicated icons like the rating and the Nintendo logo and the color of the cartridge (only Pokemon games however since they had different color for cartridges).[1]
  7. While Nintendo gave many of their IPs original platformers, they didn’t give a single one to their own mascot Mario. Only remasters, and spin-offs. (sound familiar?)


  1. It still used AA batteries.
  2. It had no lighted screen, frontlit, or backlit, which is a serious problem with games with really dark graphics such as Castlevania: Circle of the Moon. There are aftermarket mods to replace the stock screen with a backlit screen at the expense of battery life. Even the original DS's screen isn't that dark.


  1. It was less ergonomic due to reverting back to the vertical orientation to accommodate the clamshell design.
  2. Since cartridges load from the bottom of the system, original Game Boy and Game Boy Color cartridges stick out, further hampering its ergonomics.
  3. While the frontlit screen was an improvement over having no screen lighting at all, it is not as bright as a backlit screen. The later models (model AGS-101) would receive a backlit screen.
  4. No headphone jack. An adapter was released that lets you use headphones, but it is cumbersome to use as it requires you to plug it to the battery charger port, meaning that you cannot recharge the battery while using headphones (sound double familiar?) and the adapter was poorly designed, so it had a tendency to fall off while playing. To fix this problem, third parties did release breakout cables, allowing users to charge the system and use headphones at the same time.
  5. Closing the system does not put it into sleep mode, causing your battery to get drained if not in use.

GBA Micro

  • The Game Boy Micro was considered to be a big downgrade and a pointless revision like the Wii Mini. Despite some good qualities, it was still bad enough to have its own page over here.


As of 2009, over 81 million units of the GBA have been sold worldwide. While multiple handhelds were released during the GBA's lifespan, none could even try to compete with it and it further cemented Nintendo's dominance in the handheld gaming market.

The Micro model did not sell as well as Nintendo had expected it to mainly because it was too uncomfortable to play with, it was more expensive, and the DS was already out as well as the DS Lite being released sixth months later (both which also played GBA games). Although the DSi and later handhelds removed support.

Other Models


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