Every Nintendo system has its gems, but to say we were a bit spoilt with the Game Boy Advance is an understatement. Game after game after game kept being released, and there were so many incredible ones our original list was well over double the size of this one. For the sake of brevity and my own sanity, we cut it down.

So what are these 26 mythical games? Well, we've divided them into the list below in no particular order, and a top five just below that to keep things interesting. To further the 'interesting' theme, we are also only allowing one game per mainline franchise, otherwise we'd be drowning in Super Mario Advance games.

Here's our list of 21 in no particular order:

That's the bulk of it of course, but that's not why you're here is it? Come on then, let's indulge ourselves with the top 5.

Golden Sun

5. Golden Sun

Golden Sun seems to have slipped a fair number of people by, and it's a massive shame because this first entry in the series is arguably one of the finest RPGs ever released on the system. Despite its somewhat childish art style the story is surprisingly mature and warrants a lot more thought than you might expect.

Advance Wars

4. Advance Wars

We couldn't forget the grandaddy of tactics games now could we? Advance Wars may seem simple on the surface, but the sheer number of mechanics and available strategies at play are simply staggering. If you haven't played this one yet you absolutely have to.

Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3

3. Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3

Ludicrous title systems aside, this is undoubtedly the best version of Super Mario Bros. 3 to date. It features the SNES-like graphics of Super Mario All Stars but with the added bonus of a whole host of new levels thanks to the e-Reader.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

2. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

We know we're bending the rules by including this as well as A Link to the Past, but it's our list and we'll do what we like. Much like the Oracle games this title was developed by Capcom, not Nintendo. It's a bold and genuinely different kind of top-down Zelda game, and every frame is absolutely gorgeous. The Wind Waker-style graphics really give a sense of charm and character that has often been lost in older 2D Zelda games.

Metroid: Zero Mission

1. Metroid Fusion & Metroid: Zero Mission

Ok, we've bent the rules again. What are you going to do about it? We simply couldn't choose between these two games, they're both masterpieces. Slap a fresh coat of high-def paint on them and you could honestly sell them as modern titles without anyone batting an eyelid. From top to bottom both games just ooze class, ingenuity, and an undeniable creepiness about the aesthetic. If you've never played either, we don't care how you go about it, just play at least one of them immediately.

And there you have it lovely people, the 26 finest GBA game to ever grace the system in any of its forms. Naturally you may have your own ideas of what constitutes such a list, so be sure to voice just that in the comments below.