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Specials
 Written by Alan Rumpf  on June 12, 2001

Game Boy Advance U.S. Launch: As the Nintendo 64 dies, Nintendo brings new life; Game Boy Advance


With all sorts of shipping rumors about retailers getting systems earlier than June 11th or later, many gamers are calling into stores every 5 minutes to check if Nintendo's new portable system, Game Boy Advance, is in stock or not. After I found out that my local EB was only pre-selling twenty-one units, and I was too late, I chose the online path and pre-ordered with the GBA package offered on EBgames.com. When I had ordered, I checked off the overnight shipping option, hoping to get my system the day after launch at best. To my surprise waiting for at my front door was a nice little package containing my arctic Game Boy Advance unit, Super Mario Bros. 2, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, and an Interact PowerPak EX accessory. Much like a little schoolgirl, I opened my package with glee. I was glad that I had actually received my merchandise on the day Nintendo stated for a release date.

Immediately I held the GBA in my hands, and that cool plastic sure felt good. As I turned it over in my hands, I made sure there were no scratches or dents anywhere and tested the battery cover. As I was doing this, two things popped into my head. ?Wow, this is a lot smaller than I thought,? and ?Damn, that screen is huge!? I put in the two AA batteries (courtesy Panasonic), and even though it says not to turn the power on with out a game pak in, my curiosity got the best of me. Nothing special though, just the cool Game Boy boot up logo and the nice little jingle we featured in an earlier article.

I have very large hands and although the usual cramping occurs when I hold my hands around the GBA, it is no worse than holding the GBC. The shoulder buttons are very awkward to use, and it will take some training to get use to it. But enough of this pointless jabber, let's get to what matters: the games!

The wide screen is what really makes the difference in playing games on the GBA. The screen seems so much longer, and after playing Super Mario Bros. DX all week on my GBC, it now appears like I'm playing SMB 2 on a wide screen HDTV set. Okay, maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration, but the picture quality is improved tremendously, and it shows in both of the games I've played. The control in SMB 2 is very smooth, with the addition of using the R button for certain features. In THPS2 the graphics and gameplay are really outstanding, even though the control will take awhile to get use to. I do not want to get into the specifics of these games right now however, look for reviews of both of them in the coming days.



Well, enough blabbering about my experience, it's important to discuss the GBA as a whole. This handheld console is in a position to take the country by storm. While many children still love their GBC, as soon as they see their friend with this astounding new handheld they will no doubt ask for one immediately. There is nothing to stop them from wanting one either. Not only are the new games for it a lot better, but it can also play all of their old games, so people will not need to drag around their GBC to play Pokemon too. Granted, the old carts look a bit odd when compared to the new ones, especially when sticking out of the GBA, but all the old features are there and all of the new ones will make GBA an instant hit. In all probability, even if Nintendo were to completely fail in their Gamecube venture, the GBA would keep them in the black ink. Speaking of everyone's favorite cubic console, it seems as though Nintendo is actually intent on pulling through in making a successful link between the GBA and GCN. On the back of the GBA box, it has the little picture of a gamecube linked with two GBAs and the words ?On specially designed games, Game Boy Advance can be connected directly to the NINTENDO GAMECUBE for use as an additional game screen and controller!? The fact that they put this on the box, when over half of the people who purchase this don't know what a Gamecube is, seems to be a good indication that we will actually see lot's of interconnectivity.

The launch of the Game Boy Advance in North America is a very exciting time. We get the first taste of Nintendo's strategy in the next generation of gaming, and I'm sure my GBA will get a lot of use on long summer car/flight trips, as well as through classes next year in the months before GCN arrives. We here at Nintendo Target hope to give you as complete coverage as possible with all details surrounding this handheld wonder. We were the first to bring the extensive report about Nintendo's promotional tour, Advance Team Tour, and we hope to continue down the path of exclusives, reviews, previews, and features about all the little wonders GBA is sure to produce. Now I'm off to play classic Mario Bros. If you are a gamer and ever find yourself away from a TV and a console, or just love videogames then what are you waiting for, pick this system up today!



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