Two decades after its first release, the Game Boy Advance is still one of the best handheld consoles in Nintendo's library.
Two decades ago, on June 11, 2001, Nintendo released its successor to the Game Boy handheld console in North America. Called the Game Boy Advance and having already been released in Japan in March of the same year, Nintendo's latest console arrived right behind a device that totally dominated the 1990s and easily surpassed competitors like Sega's Game Gear and Nomad, as well like the infamous Game.Com.
To stay ahead of competitors like the Neo Geo Pocket and Wonderswan Color of the time, Nintendo needed to think big. The vertical orientation of the original Game Boy is gone, as the Game Boy Advance favored a more natural landscape position for its characteristic form factor, with a TFT LCD screen capable of transmitting an incredible 32.000 simultaneous colors at a crisp 240 x 160 resolution.
Controls have been kept simple with an eight-way directional pad for left movement, two face buttons for right actions, and two shoulder buttons at the top. Coupled with the powerful audio from the dual 8-bit DAC for stereo sound, the Game Boy Advance felt like a big step up from its predecessor.
In many ways it was, but the console still relied on a pair of AA batteries to power it, while the lack of a backlit screen made it difficult to play games at night or on a cloudy day. These issues would be fixed with the release of the Game Boy Advance SP in 2003, which featured a rechargeable battery, a clamshell design, and a backlit front display, while a later revision in 2005 would finally switch to a backlit display.
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There was even a tiny Game Boy Micro released in 2005 that took the hardware of a very portable console to an absurd level and whose design could be altered with one of several different display designs.
Over the course of its run, the Game Boy Advance has undoubtedly had some of the best games available on a Nintendo system. Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire sold over 16 million units on the console and Mario Kart: Super Circuit saw over 5,9 million lifetime sales. Several other games received critical acclaim at launch, such as Final Fantasy: Tactics Advance, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, and the handheld strategy masterpiece Advance Wars.
It may not have surpassed the original Game Boy, but the Game Boy Advance family of consoles was a big hit for Nintendo when it was officially discontinued in May 2010. 81,51 million Game Boy Advance consoles were sold during its lifetime, a benchmark. that would be overturned by its successor, the Nintendo DS, when it was released just three years after the Game Boy Advance.
Game Boy Advance sales have only recently been surpassed by Nintendo's current handheld, the Switch, which has reached half its life cycle and could have a chance of overturning the Game Boy lifetime sales record if rumors of a Switch Pro turn around. to be true.