Today, June 11, marks the 20th anniversary of the discharge of the Game Boy Advance within the U.S. Please put in your hats and inflate your balloons.
The Game Boy Advance was the primary time I’d ever pre-ordered a gaming gadget. I can’t even bear in mind what it was in 2001 that impressed me to purchase my first ever Nintendo console, having solely ever borrowed a buddy’s Game Boy a few years beforehand, however in some way I simply knew that I wanted to personal one in every of these. I selected a pink one.
Yes, I do know, GBA aficionados, there wasn’t a pink one. There was purple, white, glacier blue, black and…fuchsia. It didn’t appear to be that within the image. I ordered the translucent pink one. I’ve no situation with pink gadgets. Frankly, I get fairly pissed off when folks rant that pink variations are in some way evil. But if you’re anticipating pink, a borderline fluorescent pink is one thing of a shock. But it was one I in a short time grew to like.
The GBA was, and I say this with all of the authority of somebody who makes sweeping statements with out enough proof or purpose, the very best handheld ever made. Sure, the Nintendo DS was additionally the very best handheld ever made, and sure, it was higher than the GBA in nearly each means (even to the purpose of with the ability to play GBA cartridges), however—crucially—I wasn’t 23 when the DS got here out.
And 23 is the proper age for a second in gaming historical past. Being 23 means you’re an grownup, however you’re additionally nonetheless a young person if we’re being sincere. But you’re additionally unlikely to be stricken by youngsters and companions and different irritants. Now you may (wrongly) argue that being a baby is a greater time for a brand new gaming gadget. It definitely feels prefer it was the appropriate age when getting all nostalgic. But no, it’s not, as a result of you haven’t any revenue, no means to purchase video games for your self, and also you’re garbage on the video games anyway. But at 23, when you’re lucky, lots of these points have handed. 23 is ideal.
The first sport I received for it was Rayman, which I’ll admit was an odd alternative in a universe that concurrently contained Super Mario Advance, F-Zero: Maximum Velocity, and ChuChu Rocket!. But I performed the hell out of it and completely cherished it. I bear in mind sitting outdoors on the grass within the sunshine, and it felt good. There was one thing completely magical about enjoying on that colourful display screen in that remarkably gentle gadget, within the temporary window between 2:30 and a pair of:35 p.m. when the glare from the sky allowed you to see the display screen.
I quickly picked up Advance Wars and found the primary (and let’s be sincere, final) technique sport I used to be not solely vaguely able to enjoying however extra importantly completely cherished enjoying. I spent a completely ludicrous period of time enjoying Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, to the purpose the place it’s my favourite entry in that sequence on any platform. (When I returned to the sport within the lately remastered variations of the PS2 editions, I stored considering, “But no, this is all wrong!”) Then there was Mario Kart: Super Circuit and the utter magic that was enjoying multiplayer with a single cartridge. And this was all of the launch yr, 2001.
The GBA went on to be the gadget that introduced me lifelong favourites like Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Metroid Fusion, WarioWare, Inc., and even the bonkers sun-powered Boktai: The Sun is in Your Hand. But most of all, towards all my expectations, one in every of my favourite video games that I’ve ever performed on any format: Mario Golf: Advance Tour. (I’ll now struggle each intuition in my physique to show this right into a retrospective of Advance Tour, among the finest and silliest RPGs ever made. Only three years to attend for the 20th anniversary of that one.)
Now I’m previous and withered and thus drawn to retro gaming alongside the most recent and shiniest. I discover that it’s all the time the GBA I return to on any emulation gadget. Sure, there are folders and folders of video games for therefore many machines, however every time I decide up my Anbernic RG 351M, it’s the GBA part I flick by way of to. I fill in all of the gaps, the essential video games I missed twenty years again, the Minish Cups and the Fire Emblems. I lately tried to get my poor previous DS Lite working once more so I might play a few of my unique GBA cartridges. (I failed.)
I can’t show to you with graphs and logic that the Game Boy Advance was the very best handheld ever made. Mostly as a result of I do know it was the DS, and I’d by chance find yourself proving that. But shhhh, overlook that, as we speak is the GBA’s day. I adored my see-through pink monstrosity, after which I adored my ridiculous clamshell GBA SP. (I in some way stopped myself from shopping for the Micro.)
Happy birthday, Game Boy Advance. You had been fantastic. Your video games had been fantastic. Thank you for releasing after I was 23 sufficient to actually recognize you.