Happy 15th anniversary to the Game Boy Advance


Let’s remember some games

I’m leaving on a jet plane at 6AM tomorrow morning for E3, an entire week dedicated to the hottest upcoming new video games and my own navigating how to play all these hot new games after just getting my thumb ripped out of its socket. It’ll be a blast!

Still, it’s always worth taking brief reprieves on our endless quest up the mountain to stop on a nice ledge, turn around, and look back at everything that we’ve left behind. Maybe that’s just the vicodin talking. Regardless, it is the 15 year anniversary of the Game Boy Advance, which released in North America on June 11, 2001.

While the Nintendo DS would release just three short years later, it didn’t feel like it. It felt like I had an eternity with Nintendo’s belt-buckle-shaped handheld and its rectangle cartridges. I have three of the suckers — one purple, two silver — that have mercifully not succumbed to double-A battery corrosion (which, of course, means I left the batteries in last time I checked) and I love ’em. While the original design ended up pretty outmoded by the back lit Game Boy Advance SP, I still love their silhouettes. They’re comfy to hold.

That library wasn’t anything to sneeze at, either. There are all the Advance-bearing titles: Advance Wars, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Final Fantasy IV-VI Advance. There were some delightful personal favorites, from Mega Man Battle Network 2 to Golden Sun to Metroid Fusion. A lot of 2D and JRPG goodness.

There were 1074 GBA games in total and the golden years of the Game Boy line didn’t disappoint. It was also an era of Nintendo doing a lot of weird tech stuff. The Pokemon Leaf Green/Fire Red-packed in wireless adapters, the amiibo harbinger e-Reader. Extra special shout out to the GameCube connectivity that enabled good evenings with Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure and Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles. Despite my undying love for Tetris DS, Nintendo’s follow-up foray into a 3D-aiming handheld never captured me as much as the Game Boys, which managed to be distinct and impressive throughout their life cycle (from the original to the color to the back-lit SP or tiny Micro).

Let’s all take a moment to remember the Game Boy Advance. You can get psyched about Open-world Ubisoft Game 17 on Monday.