Game Boy Advance Explained

Game Boy Advance
Manufacturer:Nintendo
Family:Game Boy line
Type:Handheld game console
Generation:Sixth generation era
Discontinued:2008
Cpu:ARM7TDMI, 16.78 MHz
Gpu:Custom 2D core
Media:Cartridge
Unitssold:Worldwide: 81.51 million, all versions combined (as of September 30, 2010).
Japan: 16.96 million
Americas: 41.64 million
Other: 22.91 million
Topgame:Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, 13 million combined (as of November 25, 2004)[1]
Compatibility:Game Boy, Game Boy Color
Predecessor:Game Boy Color[2]
Successor:Game Boy Advance SP (redesign/concurrent)
Game Boy Micro (second redesign/concurrent)
Nintendo DS (successor)

The is a 32-bit handheld video game console developed, manufactured and marketed by Nintendo. It is the successor to the Game Boy Color. It was released in Japan on March 21, 2001; in North America on June 11, 2001; in Australia and Europe on June 22, 2001; and in the People's Republic of China on June 8, 2004 (excluding Hong Kong).

Technical specifications

The technical specifications of the original Game Boy Advance are, as provided by Nintendo:[3]

Length:approximately 14.45cm (05.69inches)
Width:approximately 2.45cm (00.96inches)
Height:approximately 8.2cm (03.2inches)
Mass:approximately 140g
Screen:2.9 inches reflective thin-film transistor (TFT) color LCD
Power:2 AA batteries
valign=topBattery life:approximately 15 hours on average while playing Game Boy Advance games (also dependent on the Game Pak being played and the volume setting)[4]
CPU:16.8 MHz 32-bit ARM7TDMI with embedded memory
Memory:32 kilobyte + 96 kilobyte VRAM (internal to the CPU), 256 kilobyte WRAM (outside the CPU).
Resolution:240 × 160 pixels (3:2 aspect ratio)
valign=topColor support:15-bit RGB (16-bit color space using 5 bits depth per channel), capable of displaying 512 simultaneous colors in "character mode" and 32,768 (215) simultaneous colors in "bitmap mode"
Sound:Dual 8-bit DAC for stereo sound (called Direct Sound), plus all legacy channels from Game Boy. The new DACs can be used to play back streams of wave data, or can be used to output multiple wave samples processed/mixed in software by the CPU.

Backward compatibility for Game Boy and Game Boy Color games is provided by an 4/8 MHz Z80 coprocessor (which Game Boy Advance software can use the audio tone generators to supplement the primary sound system), while a link port at the top of the unit allows it to be connected to other devices via use of a Nintendo Game Link cable or GameCube cable. When playing Game Boy or Game Boy Color games on the Game Boy Advance, the L and R buttons can be used to toggle between a stretched widescreen format and the original screen ratio of the Game Boy . Game Boy games can be played using the same selectable color palettes as on the Game Boy Color.Every Nintendo handheld system following the release of the Game Boy Advance SP has included a built-in light and rechargeable battery.

Other models

Game Boy Advance SP

See main article: Game Boy Advance SP.

In early 2003, Nintendo introduced a new form-factor for the handheld, known as the Game Boy Advance SP (model AGS-001). The redesigned unit resembles a pocket-size laptop computer, including a folding case approximately one-half the size of the original unit. It also supports a rechargeable lithium ion battery, a significantly brighter LCD screen, and an internal front-light that can be toggled on and off. The redesign was intended to address some common complaints about the original Game Boy Advance, which had been criticized for being somewhat uncomfortable to use, especially due to an overly dark screen.[5]

Around the same time as the release of the Game Boy Micro, Nintendo released a new backlit version of the SP (model AGS-101) in North America (commonly referred to as the "GBA SP+", SPII, or SP2). The switch that controls the light now toggles between "normal" (which itself is already brighter than the original Game Boy Advance SP's screen), and "bright", an intense brightness level similar to an LCD television set.

Game Boy Micro

See main article: Game Boy Micro.

In September 2005, Nintendo released a second redesign of the Game Boy Advance. This model, dubbed the Game Boy Micro, is similar in style to the original Game Boy Advance's horizontal orientation, but is much smaller and sleeker. The Game Boy Micro also allows the user to switch between several colored faceplates to allow customization, a feature which Nintendo advertised heavily around the Game Boy Micro's launch. Nintendo also hoped that this "fashion" feature would help target audiences outside of typical video game players. Unlike the previous Game Boy Advance models, Game Boy Micro is unable to support Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles. The Game Boy Micro did not make much of an impact in the video game market as it was overshadowed by Nintendo's other portable, the Nintendo DS.[6]

Sales

On December 1, 2006, Nintendo of America released launch-to-date information indicating that the Game Boy Advance series had sold 33.6 million units in the United States.[7] In a Kotaku article published on January 18, 2008, Nintendo revealed that the Game Boy Advance series has sold 36.2 million units in the United States, as of January 1, 2008.[8] As of December 31, 2009, the Game Boy Advance series has sold 81.51 million units worldwide, of which 43.57 million are Game Boy Advance SP units and 2.42 million are Game Boy Micro units.[9]

After the Game Boy Advance's support lessened, the most popular software became mostly games oriented to younger gamers.[10]

Games

See also: List of Game Boy Advance games.

The Game Boy Advance became the modern flagship of sprite-based games. With hardware comparable to the Super NES it had proven that sprite-based technology could improve and live side by side with the 3D games of the day's consoles. The Game Boy Advance not only has typical platformers, but also a huge collection of SNES-style role-playing video games. It has also become a popular system for old-school gamers due to the increasing number of games ported from various 8-bit and 16-bit systems of the previous eras, including the popular Super Mario Advance series, as well as its compatibility with all earlier Game Boy titles. The Nintendo DS is backwards compatible with GBA games.

Final Fantasy VI Advance was the last Japanese GBA game, released November 2006, the last Nintendo-published game for the system.[11] was the last European GBA game, released November 2007.[12] Samurai Deeper Kyo was the last North American GBA game, released in February 2008.

Accessories

Official

Nintendo released many addons for the Game Boy Advance. These include:

Released in 2004, this adapter hooks up to the back of the Game Boy Advance. It replaces link cables and allows many people to link together. It markets for US$20 and came included with Pokémon FireRed and Pokémon LeafGreen. Because it was released so late in the Game Boy Advance's life, fewer than 20 games support this hardware. The adapter's usefulness is most evident in Pokémon; FireRed/LeafGreen and Emerald feature a "Union Room" where up to forty people can enter to battle or trade Pokémon. A Game Boy Micro version has also been released; it can interact fully with both models of the Wireless Adapter.

The link cable was used to connect the Game Boy Advance to the GameCube and Wii gaming console. It was intended for interoperability between games for the Game Boy and corresponding games for the GameCube. There were not many games that supported the hardware; notable titles are Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and , allowing up to 4 players to use their advance or sp handheld as a controller that had additional information on the screen, as well as , allowing additional content to be unlocked through one of the characters in the game. Also, device this works for Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD which lets you trade Pokémon back and forth to its GBA iterations (Pokémon FireRed, LeafGreen, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald)

The Play-Yan is an MP3/MPEG4 player for the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS. The cartridge is slightly broader than a normal Game Boy Advance cartridge and includes a built-in headphone port as well as an SD Card slot. Music or videos that users have downloaded from the Internet can be transferred onto an SD Card and slotted into the Play-Yan device. Nintendo has released several mini games for the Play-Yan that can be downloaded from their website, although Nintendo later removed all minigame functionality through a firmware update. The Play-Yan was initially available in Japan only, but was released in Europe as the Nintendo MP3 Player on December 8, 2006, with the MPEG4 functionality removed. The Play-Yan was never released in North America.

The e-Reader is a scanning device that plugs into the game cartridge slot of the Game Boy Advance. Specialized cards with codes along the side and bottom are slid through the slot, scanning the card into the Game Boy Advance. Many ideas for the e-Reader include cards that scan classic games like Donkey Kong and Excitebike onto the handheld ready to play, as well as a collaboration with Super Mario Advance 4 and Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire to have cards that unlock content. Nintendo GameCube games like Animal Crossing have cards with unlockable content as well, and the Pokémon Trading Card Game playing cards also adopt the e-Reader codes. The e-Reader works with the Game Boy Player and Game Boy Advance SP, but cannot fit into the Nintendo DS's Game Boy slot (however it can fit into the Nintendo DS Lite's Game Boy slot). Nintendo continues to manufacture the accessory and sell it at its Online Store. It is still quite popular in Japan. It was not released in Europe.

These cartridges contain two episodes of thirty minute cartoon programs. First released in North America in May 2004, these cartridges included cartoons such as Dragon Ball GT, Pokémon, SpongeBob SquarePants, Sonic X, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Yu-Gi-Oh!. The movies Shrek, Shrek 2, and Shark Tale are also available for Game Boy Advance Video and all three movies are full. Due to the Game Boy Advance screen ratio, the three movies are in their widescreen format. These cartridges display an error when inserted into a GameCube via a Game Boy Player. The Game Boy Advance Videos are no longer available at most major retailers.

Unofficial

Other accessories for the Game Boy Advance are:

The Afterburner was an internal front-lighting system. The installation consisted of disassembling the system, removing some plastic from the interior of the case, attaching the lighting mechanism to the screen, and soldering two wires to the motherboard for power. Optionally, a potentiometer or an integrated circuit could be added to allow adjusting the brightness of the light. When the initial version of the Game Boy Advance SP was released, it included a very similar integrated lighting system. This was replaced in the subsequent version of the Game Boy Advance SP with a backlit display.

The GBA Movie Player is a versatile gaming cartridge that allows users to play NES/Famicom games, watch movies, read .txt files, listen to sound clips, etc. The GBA Movie Player does not actually play MPEGS or MP3s directly, a freeware conversion software is needed, that converts an array of formats into GBM and GBS formats that are compatible with the GBA Movie Player. There are two forms of the GBA Movie Player with one using a CF (Compact Flash) card and one using an SD (Secure Digital) card, though different companies have made their own devices similar to the GBA Movie Player.

The Game Boy Advance version of the GameShark, programmed only to work with Game Boy Advance games as making the device take Game Boy Color cartridges too would have made it expensive. This cheat device allowed users to change the code in their games to create cheats. Codes could be entered by hand or uploaded to the device itself with the provided USB cable and software.

A cheating device like the GameShark, sold mainly in Europe. Had a few extra features as well as an updated interface.

Unit colors

The Game Boy Advance, SP, and Micro had numerous colors and limited editions.

Game Boy Advance

The Game Boy Advance was initially available in Arctic, Black, Orange, Fuchsia, Glacier (translucent blue/purple) and Indigo. Later in the system's availability, additional colours and special editions were released. These editions include: Red, Clear Orange/Black, Platinum, White, Gold, Hello Kitty edition (pink with Hello Kitty and logo on bezel), King of Fighters edition (black with images on bezel and buttons), Chobits edition (translucent light blue, with images on bezel and buttons), Battle Network Rockman EXE 2 (light blue with images on bezel), Mario Bros. edition (Glacier with Mario and Luigi on bezel) and Yumiuri Giant edition (Glacier with images on bezel).

A number of Pokémon-themed limited-edition systems were made available in Pokémon Center stores in Japan. These editions include: Gold Pokémon edition (Gold with Pikachu and Pichu on bezel), Suicune edition (blue/grey with greyscale Pikachu and Pichu on bezel, and a Pokémon Center sticker on the back), Celebi edition (olive green with Celebi images on bezel), and Latias/Latios edition (pink/red and purple, with images of Latias and Latios on bezel).

Game Boy Advance SP

Game Boy Micro

Competitors

Nintendo's competitors in the handheld market were the Neo Geo Pocket Color, Bandai Swan Crystal, Game Park 32, Tapwave Zodiac, and the Nokia N-Gage. Despite the competitors' best efforts, Nintendo maintained its majority market share with the Game Boy Advance.

Emulation

See also: VisualBoyAdvance and NO$GBA

"Project Atlantis"

In 1996, magazines including issues 53 and 54 of Total! and the July 1996 issue of Game Informer featured reports of a new Game Boy, codenamed Project Atlantis. Although the expected release date of "early 1997" would make that machine seem to be the Game Boy Color, it was described as having "a 32-bit RISC processor" and "allowing similar to Super Nintendo Entertainment System standard games-playing to be played in the palm of your hand"—a description that more closely matches the Game Boy Advance. It also may have referred to the unnamed, unreleased Game Boy Color successor prototype that was revealed at 2009's Game Developers Conference.[16]

Legacy

Although Nintendo currently has no plans to release Game Boy Advance games for the Virtual Console, specifically on the Nintendo 3DS for unknown reasons http://www.videogamesblogger.com/2011/07/30/3ds-virtual-console-gets-gba-and-nes-games-or-does-it.htm, when Nintendo announced that the Nintendo 3DS would receive a price-drop worldwide only six months after its initial release in Japan, they added those who had already purchased the device and entered the Ambassador's program would be eligible to receive twenty free games, ten of which are specific Game Boy Advance game titles. These titles were distributed to eligible Nintendo 3DS owners on December 16, 2011.[17] http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57344264-1/the-nintendo-3ds-finally-gets-game-boy-advance-games/

External links

Notes and References

  1. Web site: Consolidated Financial Statements. PDF. 2007-11-11. 2004-11-25. Nintendo. 4.
  2. Umezu. Sugino. Konno. Satoru Iwata. Nintendo 3DS (Volume 3 – Nintendo 3DS Hardware Concept). Transcript. Iwata Asks. Nintendo. 2011-03-07.
  3. Web site: GBA Technical Specifications. http://web.archive.org/web/20071014004636/http://www.nintendo.com/techspecgba. 2007-10-14. Nintendo. 2006-12-05.
  4. Web site: Game Boy Advance Frequently Asked Questions. Nintendo. 2007-09-06.
  5. http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2001/06/13 dark screen criticism
  6. Web site: Nintendo Co., Ltd. - Corporate Management Policy Briefing – Q&A. 2008-12-06. 3. Nintendo Co., Ltd.. The sales of Micro did not meet our expectations ... However, toward the end of 2005, Nintendo had to focus almost all of our energies on the marketing of DS, which must have deprived the Micro of its momentum..
  7. Web site: Nintendo sales through end of November revealed. 2006-12-01. Behrens. Matt. 2006-12-01. N-Sider Media.
  8. Web site: Who's Winning The Console War In The US?. Michael McWhertor. Kotaku. 2008-01-19. 2008-01-18. UPDATE: Nintendo was nice enough to forward on GBA figures, just so we can see how the other last-gen, still-on-the-market platform is holding up..
  9. Web site: Consolidated Financial Highlights. 2007-04-26. 2007-04-26. PDF. Nintendo Co., Ltd.. 8.
  10. News: Top 10 Games of December 2008, By Platform. blog.wired.com. 2009-01-19. 2009-01-18. Chris. Kohler.
  11. Web site: Search:. Final Fantasy VI Advance Release Information for Game Boy Advance. GameFAQs. 2010-09-13.
  12. Web site: Search:. The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night Release Information for Game Boy Advance. GameFAQs. 2010-09-13.
  13. Web site: Game Boy Advance Mobile Adapter Compatible? - News at GameSpot. Gamespot.com. 2001-01-12. 2010-09-13.
  14. Web site: Pokémon Crystal/Mobile Adapter GB Announced. Rpgamer.com. 2010-09-13.
  15. Web site: Game Boy Mobile Adapter Delayed. Rpgamer.com. 2001-01-27. 2010-09-13.
  16. http://www.joystiq.com/2009/03/25/gdc09-dsi-architect-reveals-unreleased-nintendo-handhelds/#continued GDC 2009 Nintendo Reveals Unreleased Nintendo Handhelds
  17. Web site: NINTENDO 3DS PRICE DROPS TO $169.99, AS GREAT VALUE AND NEW 3D GAMES COME TOGETHER. July 28, 2011. Nintendo of America's press release. 2011-08-15. By the end of 2011, Nintendo will provide Ambassadors with 10 Game Boy Advance Virtual Console games. These include games like Yoshi's Island': Super Mario Advance 3, Mario Kart': Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion, WarioWare', Inc.: Mega Microgame$ and Mario vs. Donkey Kong. These games were made available exclusively to Ambassadors, and Nintendo currently has no plans to make these 10 games available to the general public on the Nintendo 3DS in the future..