News Article

Nintendo: The Game Boy Advance Is Alive And Well

Posted by Damien McFerran

Just under half a million units sold in the past year

When Nintendo revealed the DS all those years ago it spoke about a grand 'three pillar' strategy; the idea was that the DS would not be a replacement for the ridiculously successful Game Boy Advance and instead would exist alongside it and the GameCube, giving the company a trio of potential sales platforms.

Such a move was probably a good indication of Nintendo's telling lack of faith in the DS, but with months of launch it was clear that the machine WOULD replace the GBA as the portable console of choice. The poor old GBA was quickly forgotten about, despite the release of the adorable GBA Micro.

So yeah - the GBA is ancient history, right? Time to file it along with the Turbo Express and Game Gear, wouldn't you say?

Not quite.

Kotaku contacted Nintendo regarding the status of the GBA - which has never been officially declared 'dead', even though no more software is forthcoming - and the company revealed that 420,000 units were shipped to retailers in the previous financial year, mainly in 'emerging markets'.

Not bad for a console that everyone considers to be six feet under, eh?


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User Comments (43)



Twilight_Crow said:

Well I got the three versions (Advance, SP, micro), and still use them now and then, and there's so many games for it out there, so no, I never thought the GB Advance was dead just yet.



Corbs said:

These things are getting pretty tough to find new. My buddy bought a new one off of Amazon the other day and paid $180 for it.



sirgrim said:

I wanted to get some more cases for my GBA games, there's a specific 3-holding type I really like and even that is getting expensive. I still play mine, and love the NES classic series games.



Kenji510 said:

I have all 3 of these still and there my collection too.. i would never sell or trade these handhelds at all cause there really hard to find now.. if u gonna get one of these its either Ebay or Amazon.



Damo said:

@Corbie - Your buddy is clinically insane. $180 for one of the most common consoles on the planet? Is he one of these strange types that just HAS to have new and sealed machines in their collection that will never be opened and used for their original purpose?



Corbs said:

I'm not sure why he wanted one brand new. He has about 300 GB/GBC/GBA games so I guess when his finally bit the dust, he didn't want to take any chances on buying a used system.

I'm one to talk. All 32 game systems I own I'm the original owner. My arcade cabinets are the only used game systems I own.



Sean_Aaron said:

My only portable console is the pink Micro I bought a few years ago after learning of it years after release. Genius decision I thought; especially as the original GBA is a hideous beast by comparison.



xesbeth said:

I kept my gba sp (for old gameboy games) and my micro, imo the DS rendition of gba games is terrible. Gameboy fanboy forever!



Damo said:

@Corbie - I can understand his reasoning but surely taking a chance on a cheap second hand GBA is more attractive than blowing $180 on a brand new unit?

Ah well, each to their own! As for me, I don't mind where my hardware comes Wii was purchased from new but 99% of my other consoles are all second (or possibly third) hand.

@Sean - The GBA Micro is indeed a lovely machine; my biggest problems with it are the tiny dimensions (it's too small even for my child-like mitts) and the small screen, which really hurts my eyes after a while. However, for portability it's awesome.



Corbs said:

I'm with Damo on the Micro. I finally sold mine. Not being able to play GB/GBC games and that tiny screen were too much after awhile so I unloaded it and kept my GBA SP2 around. And yeah, $180 smackers for a GBA is a bit steep in my book, even if it is brand new.



Jeroen1 said:

I only have a black original GBA but I still regularly use it for old Gameboy (Color) games. I mainly use the DS phat for GBA games. Funny how it goes.



Kirigirisu said:

I actually recently bought a Gameboy Advance Micro since my DSi can't play my GBA games anymore - it only cost £20 though I wish I'd bought the SP so I could play GB/C games too!



Big_A2 said:

I wish I kept my trusty blue GBA SP. My GameBoy Colour has so many scatches on it's screen I can't see a thing.



Esposch said:

@ Corbie
What type was it?
My mate recently paid $30 aussie (~US$20) for an SP. Micros were recently going at Target for AU$20. So either way, WTF?

And half a million sales for the GBA compared to 30 million or something for the DS/DSi isn't really worth bragging about. But with the cheap consoles and probably cheap (read: counterfeit) games in these "emerging markets" it doesn't seem like too bad an idea.

BTW corbie, can you ask your friend if he'll buy a new sealed copy of some old piece of poo game I never actually opened? I got a sealed copy of Shantae for the GBC (never got around to playing it because I never had a GBC or GBA). How does $200 sound? I mean it's a much better deal than $5 on eBay!



sfog said:

420K in worldwide shipments seems a bit high when you consider that it hasn't had a single new release in any territory since February 2008, with the last few major releases in November 2007.

@ Esposch

I realize that you wouldn't know, having not played it, but Shantae is definitely NOT a "piece of poo" game.



Sean_Aaron said:

Yeah the small screen can be a pain (Shanghai is probably the most ambitious thing I've seen on the machine, though I cannot imagine making out the characters on the mahjong tiles would be easier on a larger non-backlit screen!). I've got a nice Famicom faceplate though, so it's all good.



warioswoods said:

I have to keep four of these in a cabinet for the rare-but-wonderful instances where I can convince a group to play 4 Swords Adventures.



NinjaTendo said:

I bought the 25th Anniversary GBA Micro near the end of its short life for $99 I think – it is a beautiful little machine. Lately, I've decided to collect a little museum of GameBoy products, one from each generation. I have the aforementioned micro, GBA sp (classic NES version), original GBA (glacier), GBC (atomic purple), GB pocket (red), and the original GB (beige). I'm still holding out for one of the "play it loud" gameboys, a gameboy light (which I'll probably have to get on ebay since they weren't released here) and maybe even a gameboy camera just for fun.



laskecap said:

i only have 2 version (GBA and GBASP) and i still love em and sometimes i play em....theyre not dead..theyre just out of battery(jk)



Popyman said:

Well damn, re-release Mother 3 then so I can buy it off Play-Asia for $20-ish again...



GamerZack87 said:

Really?! Game Boy Micro for $20 at Target?! Where was this?

It looks like I'll need to get one from shinTOKYO in Adelaide, since it's the only place I've seen them in SA. Oh, and track down copies of Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, FireRed and LeafGreen...somehow...



Knux said:

I currently have a GBA SP and I'm keeping it because it can play GB/GBC games. But I mainly use my Nintendo DS Lite and DSi.



gig said:

I love my micro, proper pocket size and far easier to sneak out for some quick gaming



Curt said:

I have a Game Boy Player, so don't use my actual Game Boy Advance SP that much. I still use it though, and almost prefer playing game boy games on there instead of on my DS.



ataffa1 said:

i just bought a micro since traded in my DS lite for a DSi. i love it! but its hard to find faceplates for the dang thing.



super-nintendo said:

I loved my GBA more than my DS (not that I don't enjoy DS). I have the retro NES Game Boy Advance SP. But if Nintendo goes all out for the DSi shop with Game Boy games available for download, I will purchase a DSi.



AVahne said:

yay,I still love my GBA SP! since the DS Lite can't play the older GB and GBC games i still stick with the SP and it won't be any problem at all for me to get a DSi



cecesigue said:

oh man! try to play castlevania from the NES series in the DS! i mean you can but is way better in the Game Boy Advance... i have the SP black onix and i just love the design.



geek-master said:

we need to have a handheld game systime to replace the nintendo gba/gb that would have a slot to play gameboy and gameboy advanced games! maybe the word virtual playback would be a good name



Turbo_Genesis_64 said:

I don't know why they don't still support it in the USA. It's a great system for little kids especially if they sold it for only like $50.00



Esposch said:

@ Nintendo Purist
It's at all Targets nationa-wide. Well, it was. At Boxing Day. And GBA Pokemon games are not hard to find. I'd trade you Ruby and Fire Red for a Decent DS or Wii game if you want.



Metroid133 said:

Unfortunately when I got my DS I had to give my GBA to my little brother. Then when I got my DS Lite I had to give the original to my brother. Both of those are broken so the DS Lite better not break since I need it for Platinum. Anyways on topic... Its nice to see a system with a lot of good games and considered "dead" to still be kicking butt around the world.



LittleIrves said:

@NinjaTendo: I've got that same Classic NES-style GBA SP... ooh, I love that thing. Good work on the Gameboy Museum. I remember thinking the camera (with printer) was such a cool idea.
P.S. Anyone know the best way to find/buy any of the Bit Generation Japan-only games? Dotstream looks too groovy to miss.



Ricardo91 said:

@Corbie & Damo. FINALLY! Someone agrees that the GBA was a waste of money! Everyone on VC-Forums always goes on about how wonderful that thing is, and I haven't used it in ages. I'm looking to sell it. It doesn't have the MP3 support it was rumored to have, couldn't play GB(C) games, and the the screen was too puny (though it was really clear and bright). I can't believe I paid $120 for that thing. It sure is nice-looking though...

@Crobie. I agree with Damo. Your friend's got a screw loose. A used GBA is about $10 these days. I never care about getting a game system in mint condition; As long as it's in decent working condition, I'll buy it.



StarDust4Ever said:

I have huge hands, so the Advance SP and DS Lite are borderline too small for my hands anyway. When I first saw the ridiculously tiny Game Boy Micro in stores, with no support for GB Color, I laughed hard ...and laughed really hard ...and then I laughed some more

PS - Classic NES Edition GBASP all the way, baby!!!



Stijnco said:

I bought a new one not so long ago because my old one didn't work anymore and I wanted to play original Gameboy games, and I wanted it for the connectivity for my Gamecube to play Four Swords Adventures



Invertedzero said:

i really liked the micro,m wish i'd bought one when i saw it for like £20 or summin a few years ago

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