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Nintendo Purple Console (GBA)

Guide price: £70

Last updated on 25th Mar 2009

Tags: nintendo

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Nintendo Purple Console (GBA)

The Game Boy Advance features power that would have been unthinkable back when the original Game Boy was launched. Its 32-bit RISC CPU runs circles around the former machine's 8-bit workhorse, allowing it to process program instructions much faster. What that means to everyday gamers is more intricate visuals, more simultaneous movement on the screen, and better sound. In fact, the often-annoying bleeps and bloops of old-school Game Boy titles are being replaced with digitised stereo sound.

When you first pick up the system, you'll notice how lightweight it is. It's a little less than 150 grams, but a little larger than a deck of playing cards. The GBA's wider shape fits better into a wider range of hands, and the screen is fitted with antiglare technology--you need pretty good light to play by, but you won't be craning your neck and tilting the unit to see around the reflection of the light bulb in your screen.

You'll also notice the graphics. Essentially sporting redesigned SNES technology, you'll see things on the GBA that the big consoles do, such as scaling (making objects larger or smaller) and rotation effects--technological advances that will affect the look of everything from crossing a finish line to scoring a goal to crawling through a dungeon.

The extra processing muscle also means you can network up to four Game Boy Advance units together, via the communication cable, for multiplayer fun from one shared cartridge. Because the Game Boy Advance system is backward-compatible, it will play not only its own line of colourful games--including such launch titles as Super Mario Advance, F-Zero: Maximum Velocity, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, and Kuru Kuru Kurin--but also almost all of the monochrome and colour games that have already been released for the previous Game Boy systems.

It seems that Nintendo have wisely struck a balance between size, price, and power consumption. And considering how well the old 8-bit system weathered the decade's technological storms, the Game Boy Advance seems here to stay.

--Porter B Hall

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25th March 2009 @ 11:00

Gameboy advanced...

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