Portable Wonders

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The Game Boy would see another update with the Game Boy Colour in late ‘99. Finally, Nintendo fans had the chance to play their favourite games in colour (although limited to a few shades for older black and white games). Funnily enough, it would again be Tetris that led the charge of the new system in the form of Tetris DX. And Pokemon would also return for four more outings.

1999 would also see the release of the Wonderswan, arguably the greatest challenge to the Game Boy over its long reign. With strong support from many developers, and plenty of great games in full colour, the Wonderswan was a delight to play. All this was lost those because of one simple mistake: no Western release. Creators Bandai chose not to release the system outside of Japan, meaning any chance of success for the system was limited.

In the last two years, the Game Boy Advance has dominated the market all by itself. While still a far cry compared to the continued evolution of the PC and console world, the GBA has become a major success worldwide. However, with its success comes much criticism.

You see, despite the fact that Nintendo finally made an effort to move up the food chain, there hasn’t been much to talk about on the GBA’s software side. A majority of the top selling titles are all remakes of classic SNES games (not that they aren’t a worthwhile purchase, as Super Mario Advance 4 proves). In fact, only two of Nintendo’s releases on the system have attempted something new or unique (those being Wario Ware and the multiplayer mode The Four Swords on A Link to the Past,). Third party developers Activision, Sega and more recently SquareEnix have been the driving force of the system with plenty of quality releases, which leaves many wondering why Nintendo have failed to deliver a regular stream of original products compared to its releases on the Gamecube. Despite all this, the GBA has helped to resolve Nintendo’s position while the Gamecube falters along side the Xbox and PS2.

The recent release of the GBA SP proved further Nintendo’s belief of slow and steady wins the race. For the first time in the consoles lifespan, the SP included a backlight and rechargeable battery pack. Not only was this a long time coming, but as sales prove, it was well worth the wait.

Continued: Mobile games, literally!

Table of Contents: Portable Wonders