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Friday, 22 June, 2001, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
Game Boy Advance: Your views
Nintendo's Game Boy Advance Console
Will the Game Boy Advance be a big success?
While Nintendo has suffered at the hands of Sony and their hugely successful PlayStation console, the firm's Game Boy console has completely dominated the handheld sector since its launch in 1989.

Now Nintendo hope to capitalise on this success with the launch of the Game Boy Advance.

"There is little doubt that the Game Boy Advance is a giant leap forward from the original and the firm's domination of portable gaming looks set to continue," wrote the BBC's David Gibbon.

But what do you think? Is it a vast improvement on the original Game Boy? Can Nintendo transfer their hand-held success to home based consoles?


It is a big improvement upon the original Game Boy and the later Game Boy Colour. Let's hope that Nintendo continues pushing forward the boundaries of mobile gaming.
Phil, UK

Graphics, unbelievable. Sound, decent for a handheld console. But the screen... why didn't they put in a backlight? Even more so than with the original Game Boy, the screen needs to be lit to really appreciate the quality. I just find myself standing beside a window or directly under a light to be able to use it. Aside from that, pretty damn impressive.
Rory Davidson, UK

Having waited eagerly for the Game Boy Advance to be released in the UK, I can honestly say that it was worth the wait. It is such a massive step from the old Game Boy - the graphics and sound are amazing - and they've managed to extended the battery life by five hours! I would recommend this as a must-have, the Game Boy has been strong for 10 years and will be for another 10!
David Bandey, England

I think that whatever Nintendo do, it will be great. The other games firms are interested in graphics and full motion video sequences. But with Nintendo, they have gameplay on their side, and a new console from them is not a bad thing.
Scott M. Johnson, UK

My advice would be to wait for the next revision - if Nintendo has any sense, it will include a backlight

Chris, UK
Very nice! It's a SNES in the palm of your hand with a good reflective wide LCD screen. It's going to appeal to anybody who had one in the early 90s as well as any existing Game Boy devotees, since Nintendo have been responsible for some classic games. My only complaint is that the release catalogue is a little thin. I wonder if they could squeeze Starfox into it?
Russell Garner, UK

I purchased one yesterday and will be taking it back on Monday for a refund. The problem is the screen - you just cannot see what is going on as it has no backlight. My advice would be to wait for the next revision - if Nintendo has any sense, it will include a backlight.
Chris, UK

What can I say, my son saved his birthday money and pocket money for it. And having now seen it, I think it is great.
Paul Thomas, England

I've only had it a day and I can't put it down. It is faster than I expected it to be and it has breathed new life into the old Game Boy Colour games that I have.
Mark, England

Four player games, four players in the same room playing on the soon to be released GameCube. Each player using their GBA's as controllers on the GameCube, all with separate screens to plan their secret moves. Or, simply a sole play 10 minute blast while you wait for the coffee to brew. It's an instant winner, and judging by the backing from game developers, it's just going to get better.
Paul Varney, CA, USA

The system is good, the games are great, but the screen is terrible

Jack, England
A great system, it's just a shame that it's so expensive in this country. It really is cheaper to import it, and you get it earlier.
Bob Shand, UK

Vast improvement? The Advance is not even backlit. Unlike the Sega Game Gear that is more than five years old. The games are overpriced, and several of them make you wonder if the designers were high, they are that bad. Get with the times, save your money, and buy a PC...
Logie, UK

Its speed is reasonably impressive, but the screen is hard to see and when you play old Game Boy games, it streches them to fit the wider screen making them look wrong. The new style catridges are very small though, which is cool.
Gareth, UK

The system is good, the games are great, but the screen is terrible.
Jack, England

I like the size of the screen, big. Tony Hawks is really good, as good as the Playstation version.
Sam Shingo, UK

Absolutely stunning! The quality of the graphics, sound and gameplay is astounding.

Dipesh Mistry
The new Game Boy is an example of how marketing can win over technological progress. During the early 1990s, a black-and-white Game Boy beat out the competition, the SEGA Game Gear, which looks just like the new Game Boy. Now we see what is essentially a Game Gear system back after 8 years.
Kevin Blankinship, USA

Absolutely stunning! The quality of the graphics, sound and gameplay is astounding. Forget the X-Box, PS2 and even the GameCube. The Game Boy Advance is better than them all!
Dipesh Mistry, England

The new GameBoy is leaps and bounds above the old one, but again us Europeans get ripped off on the price by every retailer realising that demand is high and adding another 20 or so on the top. Our American and Japanese cousins pay a vastly smaller price then we do on hardware and on games while receiving them sometimes months before us too. It's a great system, let down by a ridiculous pricing structure. 34.99 for a revamp of 10+ year old game.
Daniel, England

While Sony and Microsoft fight it out over 'lifestyle' devices, Nintendo has stuck to its roots and made a console for people who just want to play good games. This is a tremendous little box of tricks, and should help redress the balance of too much emphasis being put on style over substance in today's world of videogames.
Rob McMeekin, UK

It's a great piece of kit, and when it comes to portable gaming, there is no other choice - it's in a market of its own. Atari's Lynx, Sega's Gamegear and the NeoGeo Pocket have all been and gone, but the Game Boy held out. So the hardware may not be able to deliver serious 3D gaming, but in a way this is good as the developers are forced to concentrate on playability, not eye candy. Hopefully the Game Boy Advance will repeat, if not better, the success of previous models.
Ed Vista, UK

If only there was a backlight and if only pink wasn't the only colour left in the shops!

Mat Bettinson
I have found the new Game Boy screen very dark. There is no contrast control and it needs to be played in the day with a light on. I do not think there is a huge improvement over Game Boy Colour.
Sharon Stokes, UK

The Game Boy took a backseat to the Playstation? That's hardly true at all! Game Boy games continue to sell incredibly well, a shade over 20% of the entire entertainment software sales in the UK according to the latest ELSPA ChartTrack figures. It successfully beat off technically superior newcomers such as the NeoGeo Pocket Colour; last year SNK withdrew the product from Europe in defeat. The only unit to succeed the Game Boy Colour Nintendo's own sequel. Doesn't sound like much of a back seat to me.

Obviously a home console and a handheld unit are not competing against eachother anyway, a fact Sony themselves is keen to point out on the massive success of the GBA's launch. They rightly claim that the real/comparable fight will be between Nintendo's home console GameCube launching at the end of the year, targetting the PlayStation 2.

The Advance is definitely the must-have unit for keen gamers of the minute. If only there was a backlight and if only pink wasn't the only colour left in the shops!
Mat Bettinson, UK

Not impressed. We got one for our son on Friday. The screen is as hard to see as a Game Boy Colour. The screen is a little larger, but the sprites don't appear to be any better defined than on an existing Game Boy. The existing cartridges that we have will fit into the new unit, but they stick out a mile. The new cartridges are very small and will be easy to lose or misplace, especially when you consider the younger children that will have access to this device.

The sound quality seems to have improved, but as far as I can see there is still a single speaker on the front. I'm not aware of any infra-red capability, so that means more cost if you want to do something interesting with the device. Nor is there any sign of USB connectivity. You'd think by now that the manufacturers had realised the importance of standardised connectivity. The device itself doesn't feel as robust as the original Game Boy. I can imagine that a simple accident could damage the casing significantly. All in all, I don't think that this device represents any quantum leap over the previous models.
Bernard Blundell, UK

If you want something portable then I would say that this is a must for all Game Boy lovers.

Fu man chu, UK
A badly lit screen almost the same design as Sega's very much older Game Gear from years back, going to show that success is more to do with cornering the market than the actual quality of the product. Are Nintendo admitting that Sega's design was better than theirs all along?
Tom Medland, England

I think the Game Boy Advance is very good. You can spend hours on the machine. I had my Game Boy Advance imported from Japan. I was however disappointed as some of the game titles were just mere copies of games designed for Super Nintendo. If you want something portable then I would say that this is a must for all Game Boy lovers.
Fu man chu, UK

Fantastic, I've had a Japanese import since late March and still haven't put it down but I do agree with the pricing structure over here. 35 for a game is too much but hopefully once Christmas is out of the way, prices will drop!
Michael, England

How can the Game Boy Colour be compared to a Sega Game Gear? The only thing in common is the shape and the colour screen. What about battery life (the Game Gear had very little) or the fact that the GBS is 4 times more powerful than the Game Gear. And comparing it to a PC is even more ludicrous. PCs are big, expensive, immobile, the games only work occasionally, and you're being ripped off by Bill Gates. The GBA is mobile, got quality games that work (F-Zero is fantastic), and you're only being ripped off by Nintendo, which is much better!
Nik, UK

Just one thing. It doesn't have a back light. Do you have any idea how irritating that is?
Steve Mortimer, UK

I would rather have long life out of it, and a small machine than a backlit screen

Lokey, England
There is no denying that this is really quite impressive. It is essentially a Super Nintendo (or SNES) in your hands. I can see very little difference between the console version and the GBA version of, say, F-Zero. But why oh why oh WHY didn't they include a backlit screen? Or at least made two versions - one with and one without.

I imagine their main reasons are that of price and of battery life - both of which would have been significantly affected. But as discerning purchasers WE should be able to decide whether we think the reduced battery life and extra price is worth the back-light. Personally I would happily pay an extra 50 for a backlit version even if I only got a few hours out of my rechargeable batteries. The difference this would make to the pleasure of using it would be worth the extra bucks.

Please Nintendo - make a backlit version, you know it makes sense!
Mike, Surrey, UK

Wow! I haven't got the GBA yet but three of my friends have and I played F-zero on it. I can't buy one because my parents have taken 85 of my money and I used the last 25 to buy Pokemon Silver! The GBA is truly one small step for Nintendo, one giant giant leap in handheld gaming.
Neil Bonwick, England

People complaining about the lack of a backlight are forgetting that the Game Boy Advance is not a home games console designed to be played in a dark bedroom, it is a portable games machine that can be played anywhere. The colours are fantastic when it is played while around natural light. When playing outside, a backlight would not only be unnecessary but it would make the screen impossible to see. Have you ever tried watching TV with sunlight shinning on the screen? A backlight would also drain the batteries in about 4 hours (they currently last 15), the price would be higher and if the light were to break the screen would become impossible to see.
Ben, UK

Now who can think of a good use for all the old Game Boys that are going to start appearing? Novelty paperweight anyone?

Ben, UK
The GBA is an awesome little box for a portable machine, it really does have all it needs. The complaints above about a backlit screen are valid but if it had a backlit screen , the GBA would have to grow massively in size in order to hold the amount of batteries it would take to power it for a few hours.

Why do you think game gear was the size of a coffee table?! So I would rather have long life out of it, and a small machine than a backlit screen; it really doesn't need that much light to see whats going on, but yeah, strong light is needed if you want to really see all those colours at work.

For a portable machine, it really is the best out there, by a long way....

With support from houses like Sega, this machine is gonna rule....I mean these are the first games out....when games like MarioKart, Final Fight and Tomb Raider come out, you really are gonna see the power of it.... superb!
Lokey, England

The games are great, the sound is great. But the screen spoils it for me.
Eric Emel, UK

Having read the opinions here, I felt compelled to explain the screen situation. Having a backlit screen would decrease battery life immensely, also it would mean a bulkier system and a price increase. I think Nintendo made the right decision in the end, and you can always purchase a light add-on which costs near to nothing.
Martin Anderson, UK

It is ridiculous to suggest a comparison between the GBA and a Game Gear. The Game Gear is at least twice the size and weight, has a quarter of the power and the batteries last for a fraction of the time. The GBA has more in common with the NeoGeo Pocket colour, both in design (almost the same size and shape) and power (with the GBA having the edge in this department).

It doesn't matter anyway since it is the quality of the titles that make a system. Since the GBA has the power of Nintendo behind it and no real competition (except from its Game Boy predecessors) it is difficult to see where it can go wrong.

Now who can think of a good use for all the old Game Boys that are going to start appearing? Novelty paperweight anyone?
Ben, UK, via USA!

The sad thing is, the Atari Lynx was a pocket Amiga ten years ago.....just 'cos something's powerful doesn't mean it will succeed..
Gamer, Australia

Fair amount of games released at launch, but don't Nintendo realise that the majority of people want an original Mario, Mario Kart (at launch), a good football game and other good sports games along with the other titles? The quality of the games is great and the console design is good.

It is ridiculous though that the screen isn't backlit! I am thinking of taking mine back and waiting for a new model to be released (not sure if there will be though?) with a backlight. Why didn't Nintendo include the option (a switch) to turn a backlight on and off like the Atari Lynx had, so gamers could choose whether they prefer to save a few pounds on batteries (buy rechargeables!) or actually see the screen?!

Oh well, let's wait another ten years for the perfect handheld. A great machine apart from the backlight!
Matt, UK

Having read the comments on here already it is clear that some people have no idea what they are talking about!

A backlight display is not only unnecessary, it is also pointless on this system. I have played mine in quite a few locations day and night and had no problem whatsoever, remember this isn't a Playstation and a TV, it's a portable system!

How anyone can say that the GBA isn't a huge leap forward from the old Game Boys is totally beyond me! Have you even seen or played one?

Must calm down! The GBA is amazing and all the people who have played on mine agree with me, don't try to compare it to anything else, just play it and make your own mind up. I'm sure if you get ideas of Playstation and the like out of your head you'll see that the GBA is amazing and will be a great platform to push the boundaries of portable gaming.
Rob, UK

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22 Jun 01 | Reviews
Nintendo fight back
22 Jun 01 | New Media
New Nintendo enters games wars
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