Game Boy Advance
Game Boy Advance
A clear Game Boy Advance model.
Developer(s) Nintendo
Release Date(s) Japan
March 21, 2001
North America
June 11, 2001
June 22, 2001
Units Shipped Worldwide
81.51 million[1]
16.96 million
North America
41.64 million[2]
Other regions
22.91 million
Best-selling game Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, 13 million[3]

The Game Boy Advance (ゲームボーイアドバンス Gēmu Bōi Adobansu), often shorted to GBA, is a 32-bit handheld video game console developed, manufactured and marketed by Nintendo. The successor to the Game Boy Color, it debuted in Japan on March 21, 2001, in North America on June 11, 2001, and in Australia and Europe on June 22, 2001. It made its final release in the People's Republic of China on June 8, 2004, with the exclusion of Hong Kong.

Technical specifications Edit

The technical specifications provided by Nintendo are as follows:

  • Length: approximately 14.45 cm (5.69 in)
  • Width: approximately 2.45 cm (0.96 in)
  • Height:approximately 8.2 cm (3.2 in)
  • Mass: approximately 140 g (4.9 oz)
  • Screen: 2.9 inches reflective thin-film transistor (TFT) color LCD
  • Power:2 AA batteries
  • Battery life: approximately 15 hours on average while playing Game Boy Advance games (also dependent on the Game :Pak being played and the volume setting)
  • 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)
  • Color 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 (240×144) and the original screen ratio of the Game Boy (160×144). 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.

Accessories Edit

Nintendo has released numerous add-ons for the Game Boy Advance, listed below.

e-Reader Edit

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 can be 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 DSs 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. Cleaning cartridge: A white cartridge that has a soft cloth inside so that it cleans the connectors of the Game Boy Advance when inserted. It can also be used to clean Slot 2 of the Nintendo DS or DS Lite.

Infra-Red Adapter Edit

Only included with the game Cyberdrive Zoids, it is only compatible with this game and the latest-released Pokémon games for this system. The adapter was never released separately, nor was it ever remade for the Game Boy Micro.

Mobile Adapter Edit

The device works with Game Boy and Game Boy Advance systems to connect to mobile phones for remote play. It was released in Japan and was compatible with Pokémon Crystal.[4][5]

Nintendo GameCube Game Boy Advance Cable Edit

This link cable was used to connect the Game Boy Advance to the Nintendo GameCube and Nintendo Wii consoles. It was intended for compatibility between games for the Game Boy Advance and corresponding games for the GameCube. However, there were not many games that supported this feature; titles that did include Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, allowing four players to use their Game Boy Advance or Game Boy Advance SP as a controller. Additionally, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker allows additional content to be unlocked through this feature and one of the characters within the game. The cable also functions with Pokeémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, allowing Pokémon trading or battling between these games and any Pokémon Game Boy Advance games.

Play-Yan Edit

The Play-Yan is an MP3/MPEG4 player released only in Japan (and in Europe in late 2006 with its MPEG4 functionality removed, as the Nintendo MP3 Player). The cartridge is slightly broader than what is standard and includes a headphone port and SD card slot. Music and videos that users have downloaded can be transferred to the SD card and put into the Play-Yan device. Initially, Nintendo's website released several mini-games for the Play-Yan; however, they later removed all minigame functionality in the form of a firmware update.

Wireless Adapter Edit

Initially released in 2004, the Wireless Adapter hooks up to the back of the Game Boy Advance and replaces the link cable. It sold for $20 USD and was included with Pokémon FireRed and Pokémon LeafGreen versions. Because it was released late along the Game Boy Advance's life, not many games support it. However, the adapter's usefulness is evident in Pokémon; FireRed, LeafGreen, and Emerald feature a "Union Room", in which up to 40 people can battle or trade Pokémon. A Game Boy Micro version of the adapter has also been released; it can interact with both models of adapter.

Remodels Edit

Game Boy Advance SP Edit

In 2003, Nintendo released a new version of the Game Boy Advance known as the Game Boy Advance SP (model AGS-001). This unit resembles a small laptop computer, including a folding case approximately one-half the size of the first generation system. It also supports a rechargeable battery, a significantly brighter screen, and an internal front-light that can be toggled on and off. The redesign was intended to address complaints about the first generation Game Boy Advance, which had been criticized by some as hard to use, especially because of its darker screen.[6]

Around the same time as the Game Boy Micro was released, Nintendo released a backlit version of the SP (model AGS-101) in North America. The switch that controls the light toggles between "normal", which is by default already brighter than the Game Boy Advance SP's screen, and "bright", an intense brightness level comparable to an LCD television screen.

The Game Boy Advance SP's technical specifications, provided by Nintendo, are as follows.

  • Size (closed): Approximately 8.4 × 8.2 × 2.44 cm (3.3 × 3.23 × 0.96 inches).
  • Weight: 142 grams (approximately 5 ounces)
  • Screen: 2.9 inch Reflective TFT color LCD.
  • Light source: Frontlight integrated LCD.
  • Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery.
  • Battery life: 10 hours continuous play with light on, 18 hours with light off; needs at most 3 hours recharging.
  • CPU: 32-bit ARM7TDMI with embedded memory.
  • Co-processor: 8-bit Zilog Z80
  • Memory: 32 kilobyte + 96 kilobyte VRAM (internal CPU), 256 kilobyte DRAM (external CPU).
  • Resolution: 240 × 160 pixels.
  • Color: Can display 511 simultaneous colors in character mode and 32,768 simultaneous colors in bitmap mode.
  • Software: Fully compatible with Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. Game Boy games can be played using the same selectable color palettes as on the Game Boy Color.

Game Boy Micro Edit

In late 2005, Nintendo released its second redesign of the Game Boy Advance, titled Game Boy Micro. It is similar in style to the first generation Game Boy Advance's horizontal aesthetic; however, it is far smaller and less bulky. The Game Boy Micro additionally allows users to switch between several faceplates for customization, a feature that was advertised heavily.

Unlike the previous Game Boy Advance models, the Game Boy Micro does not 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 the release of Nintendo's other portable device, the Nintendo DS.[7]

The Game Boy Micro's technical specifications, as provided by Nintendo, are as follows:

  • Dimensions: 50×101×17.2 millimeters (2×4×0.7 in)
  • Weight: 80 grams (2.8 ounces)
  • Processor: 32-bit 16.8 MHz ARM processor (ARM7TDMI)
  • Colors: various
  • Screen: 51 mm / 2 inches, backlight with adjustable brightness.
  • Resolution: 240×160 pixels
  • Battery: built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery, up to 5 hours of battery life with top brightness and sound or 8 hours with both features on default
  • Headphones: standard 3.5mm headphone jack

References Edit