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I recently started a new job which pays weekly. I received my first paycheque 2wks ago. Did I save it? No. Did I invest it? No way!
What did I do? I just had to run out straight away and buy a Gameboy Advance with two games from "Toys R Us" didn't I?
It seemed the only sane thing to do when you receive a wad of cash for the first time (I'm a student, I suppose I could have spent it in the pub!)
So I went on a mission to Toys 'R Us, friends in tow and browsed all the different packages. In the end I went for the Ultra package which contains a GBA, Mario Advance and F-Zero + a Travel Pack with power adaptors, rechargeable battery pack, a little light, a carry case and also a link cable for up to 4 GBA's connected together .
You see I'm one of those people who goes weak at the knees with the thought of a new toy/gadget - the smaller and more expensive the better! But enough about me. On to the product in hand:
Initial Impressions ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Upon taking it out of the box for the first time I was delighted to see that 2 AA batteries had been included so I could start straight away. So I got it out the box and then went to get one of the games. I didn't expect the sight I saw when I opened the Mario Advance box - the cartridge was so small I could have swallowed it whole! There was this box (the same size as a gameboy game box) whose entire contents could have been comfortably accommodated in a box about 25% of the original size.
A little hesitant I slotted it into the back of the gameboy.
On turning it on for the first time I was greeted with a cornucopia of colour as the little logo spun into place before greeting my with the familiar face of Mario and Co.
Bad Points ~~~~~~~~~~
After becoming familiar with this new device I was surprised to find there was no Contrast control which seemed a little odd as you have to hold it in the right light if you want to see clearly. Another problem is that the screen is too reflective so this renders the travel light I got with it pretty useless as you can't really see the screen for the reflection of the bulb.
By no means should this put you off, once you have it in the right light (try sitting with a window behind you) the screen and colours look really crisp and clear. I think the screen is an updated version of the one used in the Gameboy Colour so if you've ever owned one of them you'll get the sort of idea what the GBA screen is like to use.
Another problem with the screen is that it can pick up dirt and dust far too easily but this can be sorted out via the use of a damp cloth. I suppose peoples main gripe would be about the price of the games: £30+. It may seem a little excessive but if they were not so high priced, Nintendo would have to sell the GBA at a much higher price. As always, they sell the console at a loss and make the profits from the game sales, just like any other company.
So that's the downside of it, now what are the good points?
Good Points ~~~~~~~~~~
First of all you'll be owning something that is more powerful than a Snes and yet will fit into your pockets making less of a dent than most mobile phones. Weighing in at about 150 including batteries , this is one slim console. It has a 2.9" TFT screen capable of displaying up to 32,000 colours, so expect to be dazzled by some of the future games.
Don't throw away all your old GB games as you can play them on the new GBA with the only downside being they stick half a mile out of the back of the console and also after you have become accustomed to the GBA games, going back to a old GB game will be like going back from a Playstation to a Sinclair Spectrum (remember them?)
Retro gamers will be in Heaven with this console, from what I can tell a lot of the original Snes games are being converted for the GBA, most notably Mario Kart - one of the best titles ever release on the Snes. It should be available in Mid September. The current launch titles are just an example of what the GB is capable of. Look at the release titles of Playstation and then look at their most recent games... it can only get better.
Sound has made an great improvement with digitised speech in Mario Advance and music that actually sounds good rather than the beep beep of the old Gameboy games
Multi-players will celebrate thanks to most of the games which can have 4 players only requiring one cartridge between 4 Gamboys; though you may need 4 to have all the levels.
Battery life is the best yet for a hand held console with up to 15 hrs of play from one set of 2AA batteries, plus it has an indicator (the power light goes from Green to Red) when it is running low on power.
I would whole heatedly recommend the purchase of this console if you enjoyed the previous gameboy and the Snes. It's a great deal of fun, just make sure you shop around to get it at a good price. I think WHSmith are one of the cheapest with the console being £79.99 and the games £29.99. If all else fails try to get one off ebay but don't expect a bargain, there are a lot of people out there who want one.
One other thing - The GBA will be able to connect to the future Gamecube console from Nintendo to be used as an extra controller or downloading mini games. Think of it as a very advanced version of the Virtual Memory Unit on the Dreamcast.
I disagree, I think a Gameboy Advance is a great investment, well that's what I am trying to tell my girlfriend!
Excellent review, and thanksfor the advice about the price at WHSmith, I'm off there soon.
kano 22.07.2001 13:38
I am STILL consering this haha as I have a SNES i bought just for Mario and Street Fighter which are bound to come out on this soon hehe very informative op, thanks Ken
seagulls-lost-horizon 22.07.2001 13:37
I'd quite like to get one of these , I got the one before the colour one, if I have some money to spare, I just might