06 , 2001 | gear
Krikorian - Its the media that makes the platform --
not the platform alone. This lesson has been played through over
and over: quadrafonic sound, 8-tracks, and the Betamax. Nintendo
treaded this water with its previous entry in the handheld gaming
market, the Game Boy Color.
In an attempt to learn its lesson Nintendo has recently released
its newest Game Boy family member: the Game Boy Advance.
Previous to the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo has attempted to reinvent
its popular Game Boy line twice. After the original, the Game Boy
Pocket was released years later in hopes of re-capturing the market
with a smaller "on-the-go" unit. Post the Game Boy Pocket, came
the addition of the color LCD screen -- what Nintendo thought was
lacking from its successful Game Boy line. But it saw with the Game
Boy Color that color alone does not bring in customers. People did
not flock to buy another version of Tetris
that was in color, or a version of Super
Mario Brothers that was in color. Nor did they care that some
of their older games got "pseudo-color". Color wows them for a second,
and then they get just as bored as they got with the older Game
bet is that Advance will change all of this. Starting with the hardware,
the Advance is armed with a 32-bit ARM processor (an upgrade from
the Z80 processor that the predecessors ran on) which drives a 2.9"
240x160 pixel color screen (over 50% larger than the original Game
Boy screen). The Advance also has to have the ability to be used
as a controller for the upcoming Nintendo Game Cube;
this follows the concept pioneered by the Sega Dreamcast's Visual Memory Unit
by allowing multi-screen play. In a football game, for instance,
gamers can call the plays without each other seeing them. All this
is impressive, but will people still flock to it? Has Nintendo learned
its lesson? The pivotal question: how are the games?
That, I am not so sure about. I purchased the Glacier
Game Boy Advance Mario Xtreme Game Pack from Amazon.com -- a
tidy little package that contained an Glacier Game Boy Advance,
Hawk's Pro Skater 2, Super
Mario Advance, a Game Boy holster, and a Worm Light Accessory.
To round it off, I also decided to grab myself a copy of F-Zero.
And I was totally wowed. I relived my dream of being a boarder in
the X-Games. But after that, it was a trip down memory lane. Super
Mario Advance is a remake of Super Mario Brothers 2 (arguably the
worst Super Mario Brothers game for the NES) while F-Zero is a new
version of the futuristic racer that has appeared on the SNES and
N64. Both were decent games on their original platforms and they
both make a good transition to the handheld market. Neither have
very complicated graphics and both have easy to manipulate characters,
which makes them appropriate for a small hand-held device.
But this cannot last forevert. While I get a kick out of playing
games I used to play while in Junior High School, and while I anxiously
await the Game Cube neither of these add to the standalone features
of the Advance. The platform is great, but I am going to need some
new games next.
the Game Boy Advance in Daily Relay
is an independant writer and software consultant. Originally of
San Francisco, he is currently residing in Cambridge, Massachusetts.