15 Years Of Game Boy Advance: Personal Memories


According to my search function I haven’t gone on at length about the Game Boy Advance on this blog yet. I guess the system’s 15th anniversary is a good time. I’m not gonna do any huge retrospective, just talk a bit about my own memories with the system and maybe some of its overall significance.

One memory that always sticks out to me regarding the GBA is actually the day I first got one in 2001. I actually wasn’t 100 percent sure it was a worthwhile investment because none of the launch games really stuck out for me (and because I had to settle for a purple one). These days I’m a lot less likely to get a new system on day one and more likely to wait until it has multiple games I want, but back then I was still getting roped into new hardware just for its novelty.

The GBA in North America had just three launch games right? The one I settled on was Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, a game in a franchise I hadn’t played before. I wasn’t sure if that game and the newness of the system would be enough to hold my interest until better games came out. That changed as soon as I turned the system on.

Looking at that title screen and hearing audio of that quality on a Game Boy wasn’t something I could fathom until the day I turned on that GBA. It was the moment that told me indisputably that this was a demonstrable leap above the Game Boy Color (which at the time in North America was only three years old).

Generally speaking, the GBA went on to become the system where we saw the return of SNES-era game design. It wasn’t just the SNES classics that were ported to GBA, but a lot of new side scrolling action games and RPGs in the classic style filled the GBA’s library. Complex RPGs on a handheld weren’t even really a common thing before Pokémon, and Golden Sun in late 2001 cemented the trend that continues on handhelds to this day. Metroid and Castlevania games became a staple on the GBA too (and later the DS) but pretty much ended for some reason until indie developers picked up the slack on the Vita.

Top GBA memory: throwing the system across the room after getting killed by SA-X for like the fifth time in Metroid Fusion.


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