|Game Boy Advance
ゲームボーイアドバンス Gēmu Bōi Adobansu
|Game Boy, Game Boy Color, & Game Boy Advance cartridges
|32KB (CPU), 256KB (DRAM)
Up to 32MB
|16.8 MHz 32-bit ARM7TDMI
8 or 4 MHz 8-bit Z80 for GB/C backwards compatibility
|NA: June 11, 2001
JP: March 21, 2001
PAL: June 22, 2001
|Total (WW): 81.51 million
NA: 41.64 million
JP: 16.96 million
The Game Boy Advance (ゲームボーイアドバンス, Game Boy Advance), often shortened to GBA, is Nintendo's 32-bit handheld gaming system that supplanted the Game Boy Color. The Game Boy Advance was released in 2001. Not only did it look dramatically different (a semi trapezoidal shape compared to the rectangle shape of the original Game Boy and Game Boy Color), but it also contained a more powerful processor, allowing it to display SNES-caliber graphics and even play recorded sound samples. The Game Boy Advance was also capable of interaction with the Nintendo GameCube via a special Link Cable.
The original model was eventually discontinued in favor of the Game Boy Advance SP and Game Boy micro, both of which function similarly. All versions save the Game Boy micro maintain the backwards compatibility function introduced with the classic Game Boy Advance. Backwards compatibility, through the inclusion of Game Boy Color hardware, allows Game Boy and Game Boy Color games to be played on the GBA. The Game Boy Color CPU is also used as a tone generator (which produces the classic 8-bit sound of Game Boy games) for Game Boy Advance games. Because the Game Boy Advance's screen is wider compared to its predecessors, an option to widen the display can be toggled with the L and R buttons.
Game Boy Advance Game Link Cable
The Game Boy Advance Game Link Cable is the third model of the Game Link Cable released, specifically for use with Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Advance SP systems as well as the Game Boy Player. Although similar in design to the Game Boy Color Game Link Cable, the Game Boy Advance version is given a small protrusion to keep it from being used with older systems. This version of the link cable also features a small hub through which an additional link cable can be connected, allowing for up to four players to play simultaneously.
Another type of Game Link Cable, the Nintendo GameCube - Game Boy Advance link cable, allows for a Game Boy Advance to be connected to a Nintendo GameCube console, allowing for the Game Boy Advance to be used as a second screen in games, for content to be unlocked in compatible games, or for the Game Boy Advance to be used as a controller.
The e-Reader is an accessory that allows for additional content to be unlocked in compatible games. The peripheral connects to the system through the cartridge slot. The e-Reader has a scanner through which players can scan e-Cards by swiping them across, allowing it to both unlock content in games and access games.
The e-Reader+ released in Japan features a pass-through for the Link Cable connector that the original model lacked; in Australia and North America this was the version of the e-Reader that was released, and as such as simply called "e-Reader". The e-Reader was never released in Europe.
Game Boy Advance Wireless Adapter
The Game Boy Advance Wireless Adapter is a special adapter allowing for local multiplayer without using a link cable. The adapter plugs into the link cable connector, but is not compatible with all games that support link cables, only those that are programmed to support the adapter.
Because of the new Link Cable port used on Game Boy micro, a Game Boy micro Wireless Adapter was produced specifically for the system, since the standard Wireless Adapter is incompatible.
Game Boy Advance Video
Game Boy Advance Video is a series of cartridges produced as a platform for presenting full-length episodes of cartoon shows and movies and allowing them to be viewed on the system. Produced by Majesco Entertainment, the cartridges were incompatible with the Game Boy Player due to copyright reasons.
Play-Yan is a line of cartridges that can play audio and videos downloaded onto an SD Card through the Game Boy Advance. Although designed for later iterations of the hardware, the cartridges are fully compatible with all Game Boy Advance systems and Nintendo DS. Play-Yan was discontinued in September 2005, only to relaunch with the redesigned Play-Yan micro alongside the Game Boy micro.
Game Boy Advance SP
The Game Boy Advance SP (as in "special") (ゲームボーイアドバンスSP, Game Boy Advance SP) is the second version of the Game Boy Advance. The system was completely redesigned to give it a clamshell design, protecting the screen from damage and also adding a rechargeable battery (rather than requiring AA batteries). The system was also given a front-lit screen so that players can see the screen more easily in the dark, as well as an additional button to toggle it on and off. However, the SP removes the headphone port seen on the original model.
The Game Boy Advance SP was later re-released some time after the Nintendo DS came out. While the system design was unchanged, this re-release, known as the "AGS-101" (in contrast to the original release's model number of "AGS-001") features a back-lit screen like the Nintendo DS, as a brighter alternative to the previous front-lit design. This model still features the button to toggle the backlight on and off.
Game Boy Micro
Introduced at E3 2005, the Game Boy Micro (ゲームボーイミクロ, Game Boy Micro) is the third design of the GBA. At a size of only four inches wide, two inches tall, less than an inch deep, and a weight of 2.8 ounces, it is smaller than any other system in the Game Boy line, and the smallest handheld system ever produced. Its screen is slightly smaller than that of the GBA and SP, but it maintains the same resolution. Like the second release of the SP the Game Boy Micro also features a built-in backlight, the brightness of which can be adjusted by holding down L and sliding the volume slider, as well as a headphone port like on the original model. The micro also has a removable face plate that can be swapped out with another one, allowing for customization.
Unfortunately, the system was not very well supported by Nintendo and several factors led to its early retirement. Due to size constraints, the micro will not play Game Boy or Game Boy Color games since it does not have the hardware built-in to do so. The system is also incompatible with the Game Boy Advance's standard link cables, requiring an adapter to interact with another Game Boy Advance system; the Wireless Adapter is also incompatible with the Game Boy Micro, leading to Nintendo releasing a new model specifically compatible with the micro. Other accessories, such as the e-Reader, due to design issues are also incompatible with the micro. Finally, the console was released about a year after the Nintendo DS, further hindering potential sales.