Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
33 Consoles of Christmas
Nintendo Game Boy Advance (2001)
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 16, 2006   |   Episode 24 (Show Archive)  

It's time once again for Defunct Games' 33 Consoles of Christmas, your 33 part guide to the best and worst system designs of all time. Join Cyril Lachel and Chad Reinhardt as they judge 33 different game consoles based on what they think of the look. Forget about actual hardware and software, the only thing these guys care about is talking about their exterior design. Join us every day between November 23 and December 25 for a new console review!

Synopsis: After the overwhelming success of the original Game Boy it's hard to believe that a portable could sell even more units, but that's exactly what happened with Nintendo's Game Boy Advance. It took them over a decade to release their official Game Boy follow up, but when they finally did the entire world stood up and noticed. With the success of the GBA it's not hard to understand why some of the best portable games of all time ended up on the system. To this day the Game Boy Advance is still scoring some amazing exclusives, including some of the greatest role-playing games ever made.

Best Games: Ogre Tactics: The Knight of Lodis, Final Fantasy V, Advance Wars, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap and others!

For those keeping track this is the three "B" I have given in a row. Make no mistake about it, I did not plan to give so many of these systems a solid "B" score, but the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st proved to be a pretty good time for console designs. Not a great time (you don't see a lot of "A" scores do you?), but a good and solid time when companies really knew how to make attractive systems. The Game Boy Advance is no exception. Despite its impossible-to-see dark screen, the system itself is actually an attractive piece of plastic. In a lot of ways it looks like the Neo Geo Pocket Color and WonderSwan, but that's not a bad thing since those systems actually looked pretty good, too. The Game Boy Advance had more curves; it felt comfortable in your hand and had cool racing stripes on the side. There are a few genres that didn't work with this GBA design (fighting games spring to mind), but this was a system that worked great with every single game Nintendo released. And really, isn't that the only reason you buy a Nintendo system?

The Gameboy Advance, or GBA as I call it, was a long overdue evolutionary leap for Nintendo. Finally putting to rest the aging original engine, the GBA provided excellent graphics and sound. But what about the look!? I have to say I like this one quite a lot. The biggest hindrance has to be the non-backlit screen. If you were playing your GBA on a car trip, as it was basically designed for, it had better be light outside or you wouldn't know...Mario from ... wario? I don't know from analogies. Or math. Regardless, the system design is very pleasing. Perhaps Nintendo should have incorporated an analog stick, but that's really not their style. The SP looked a little too much like those flip up calculators to me, and I found it less comfortable to hold. Had the original model been backlit, or had I the patience to mod that sucka and install a backlight, the GBA would have been among my favorites.


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