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Home > Hardware Reviews > General Computing

Monday, December 17, 2001
GBA FlashLink

3. Gameboy Advance Flaws

Flash Advance Linker and Card - Page 3

Gameboy Advance Flaws

After naming all the new advanced features, we move on to our usual 'moan and groan' part of this mini GBA review. Let us begin this with the fact we disliked the most. I am sure that most N64 owners know the problem of a 'foggy' in-game screen. That is why the N64 has the bad reputation of being a 'fog box'. Well, the Gameboy Advance can surely earn the title of the 'dark box'. Each and every game we tested (well over 40 titles from all 3 world regions) is very, VERY dark. In fact, during our first test with 'Castlevania' we thought that our console was defective. But no, unfortunately it wasn't. The screen is really dark under most of the usual situations of environmental illumination and angle of view. And just like in the Gameboy Color, there are no controls for brightness and contrast to ease the pain.

We know what you are thinking by reading these comments. 'Oh come on, how bad can the situation be? You always keep exaggerating here, you find the weak spots of a piece of equipment and try to blame the manufacturer. And besides, that is your own personal opinion, and many users will find the Gameboy Advance screen to be satisfactory for their gaming needs'. Well, don't take our word for this, have a look at what an independent artist has to say about this fact:

Click here and get ready for a big laugh

You wanna hear Nintendo's official answer about this? The GBA is designed so that the user will be able to play under the direct sun light, something that the Gameboy Color can't do. If you ask us, that is a really stupid excuse. Three members of our staff have owned a Gameboy Color for more than 4 years now. They have been playing all kinds of titles under the warm, bright, intense Greek summer sun. No one has ever had any problems or complaints. And during this summer, the GBA and GBC screens looked alike, with the GBC one looking better! Our guess is that Nintendo stayed focused into making a screen so large that it would be impossible to keep lit efficiently without draining the batteries after two hours of play. It would either force the price to go up really high (we will talk about that later), or it would take so long to develop that it wouldn't be ready until the next decade. Both those two scenarios wouldn't serve the company plans, so Nintendo decided to release it anyway.

So, now that you know about this problem, and you are already facing it if you own a GBA, what can you do? Well, not much, but you have to do something. One bet would be to attach a huge spotlight on your shoulder while you play. Nah, we wouldn't think so either. You just have to buy the GBA Light & Magnifier Advance (above picture) or the GBA Light Magnifier Joy (picture on your left), both available by Lik Sang. They come really cheap and help improve the situation a lot. We consider these pieces of hardware as essentials for all the Gameboy Advance users.

Our next complaint is about the price. Sure, it should be more expensive than the Gameboy Color... but come ON! MORE expensive than the almighty Dreamcast? It costs as much as a PSOne? At least the game prices didn't go that high up, and were kept at Gameboy Color game price levels. Most users thought twice before buying this gem, because they were discouraged by the amount of money they had to spend for it.

Other points we disliked were the small size and rubberish feel of the L and R buttons, the size of the cross that should have been a bit bigger, the lack of an input for external DC supply, and some other facts that we could go on complaining about for pages and pages.

As a conclusion, we must say that the Gameboy Advance did not live up to be what we expected. Sure, it takes gaming on the road many steps further, but its negatives points are many and severe. Of course, it will stun you with its excellent graphics and fast-paced gameplay, but it will leave you with the question about which is the best angle to hold that thing in order to see what you are doing. Nintendo has failed to continue the legend and produce a handheld console worthy of its reputation.




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