Monday, March 21, 2011
Happy Birthday GBA
Today is March 21st, marking the 10th anniversary of the Game Boy Advance's Japanese release. The handheld's American birthday isn't until June 11th, but I thought I'd say a little something on it's "true" anniversary.
The GBA has arguably one of the best console libraries ever, which is a grand accomplishment considering what a short lifespan it had before the DS came around. Originally released as a companion to the GBA, rather than a replacement, the DS quickly took over Nintendo's handheld department and the last of the clan Game Boy took its final bow.
The Game Boy Advance is a console very near and dear to my heart as it came out in a very instrumental time in my development as a gamer. I was 12 and just starting to develop a discerning taste for games. No longer was every game I played "awesome" and I could tell when one just plain sucked. For instance, Sonic Advance rules while Sonic Advance 2 is a handholding piece of garbage. The DS has its share of niche and weird titles, mostly from Japan and RPGs, but the GBA was of an interesting era where handheld games weren't as big a deal in the industry and could take more risks. I was going to make a post about all the more obscure titles on the system many may have passed over, but there's already a fantastic list at RacketBoy.
In its short time on this Earth, the GBA went through several iterations adding features like a much needed backlight and a more compact body and it built quite the selection of games. As Nintendo's first 32-bit handheld, the GBA was essentially a portable Super NES allowing the company to rerelease a lot of our favorite classics. The GBA was where I first experienced A Link to the Past. It was also the first console where major franchises would have handheld sequels that felt like full fledged entries into the series. Since the Advance Castlevania has practically lived on handhelds and it breathed new life into Metroid.
As a retro gamer I still play my GBA regularly. My silver SP is constantly at my desk and has something in it that I'm currently playing. I believe right now inside it is Final Fantasy Legend II which is a Game Boy game and not a GBA game, but I'm also in the middle of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. You can expect many more posts about the GBA's library on this blog as I'm still discovering new games for it constantly and my to-play pile always has a stack of three or four GBA carts. I still have to finish Drill Dozer, start Boktai and pick up the aforementioned Castlevania games.
As I said, the GBA is very dear to me and my gaming history. I'm getting a little misty just writing this post and thinking of the day I traded in my Game Boy Color for the GBA at Gamestop. What a fool my younger self was. I wish I hadn't always traded in the previous generation of Game Boy for the newer model just to knock off a few bucks. I'm still rebuilding my Game Boy collection.
Happy birthday, GBA.
Play it loud.