Advance Linker and Card -
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
here and get ready for a big laugh
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.
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
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.