The End of the Game Boy Era
The Game Boy Advance is a device released in 2001 that evolved from the popular initial Game Boy line of handheld gaming consoles. The Game Boy was first created by Gunpei Yokoi and was initially released in Japan in 1989. The Game Boy was only Nintendo’s second attempt at portable gaming system since the Game & Watch series back in 1980.
The initial release of the Game Boy was a great success despite experiencing intense competition from Atari and Sega in the late 1980s. It was so successful, in fact, that the Game Boy was included in the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2009. The first model of the Game Boy required four batteries to play games on a 2.60-inch screen of monochromatic colors with a display resolution of 160 x 144 pixels.
The Game Boy Advance is a 32-bit handheld gaming console developed by Nintendo, which is a far cry from the 8-bit of the original Game Boy. The Game Boy Advance measures roughly 14.50 x 2.50 x 8.25 cm and weighs approximately 140 grams. The screen comprises of a 240 x 160 pixel resolution on a 2.90-inch TFT LCD screen. The Game Boy Advance works on two double AA batteries for about 15 hours depending on the game and volume settings. However, the Game Boy Advance was subsequently discontinued in 2004 as a redesigned model was released in the form of the Game Boy Micro.
The Game Boy Advance SP, an updated version of the Game Boy Advance, was released in February 2003 and was made more compact, measuring 8.4 x 8.2 x 2.44 cm, with its clamshell design. The screen size, resolution and weight is approximately the same with the Game Boy Advance however, it comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery, as opposed to two double AA batteries, that will last nearly ten hours of continuous play.
Nintendo released two versions of the Game Boy Advance SP and the second one was released around 2005 coinciding with the release of the Game Boy Micro, the last of the Game Boy line. The second-generation Game Boy Advance SP features a brighter backlit screen manipulated through a toggle button between the settings, normal and brighter. Unfortunately, the Game Boy Advance SP was also discontinued in 2008.
2005 saw the release of the Game Boy Micro. It was also announced during its unveiling that it will be the last of the Game Boy line. You’ll notice that the appearance of the Game Boy Micro is a noticeable divergence from the design of the Game Boy Advance SP and pays homage to the original design of the Game Boy Advance. However, it’s made smaller and sleeker than its predecessor.
This latest model does not support any games from the original Game Boy and Game Boy Colors series however; it does support Game Boy Advance games including Game Boy Advance Video Game Packs. Nintendo also made modifications on its adjustable brightness setting for the backlit screen instead of the two-option toggle of the Game Boy Advance SP.
The Game Boy Micro is also remarkably lighter and compact than its predecessors and competitors. Its 240 x 160 pixel resolution on a two-inch screen only measures 50 x 101 x 17.2 mm and weighs approximately 80 grams. It also comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery that will last for at least five hours. Unfortunately, it was also discontinued by 2008.
Game Boy certainly paved the way for the success that PSP, Game Gear and Nintendo DS have achieved. The discontinuation of the Game Boy Micro marked the sad ending of an era but marked the birth of another with the Nintendo DS series.