Game Boy Advance turns 20 today: looking back


One thing we can say for sure is that Nintendo has always dominated the handheld gaming market. It won gold with the Game & Watch handheld series in 1980, which kicked off decades of Nintendo’s dedication to portable gaming. Take a step forward, and on that day, 20 years ago, the Game Boy Advance was released in North America. GBA boasted of a 32-bit microprocessor, 16-bit graphics prowess, and stereo digital sound, so let’s remember a bit now that he’s 20 years old.

The original Game Boy Advance model 20 years ago did not feature an illuminated screen. I remember trying to play this damn thing in the dark, hiding under my covers at 2 in the morning. Please don’t tell my parents! Two years later, in 2003, our prayers were answered in the form of the Game Boy Advance SP, featuring an illuminated front display. I ended up buying the Game Boy Advance SP Tribal Edition for Christmas in 2003, and it gave me some of my most memorable gaming moments. Nintendo will then follow the SP with the Game Boy Advance Micro in 2005, an extremely small counterpart of its older brothers.

Game Boy Advance SP Tribal Edition

An incredible range of games

Game Boy Advance owners have been treated to a robust line of quality games over its lifecycle. Mario made his debut in the portable RPG with Mario & Luigi: the saga of superstars, offering a whimsical adventure alongside his younger brother. It was also an important game to broaden Luigi’s personality, just like with 2001. Luigi’s mansion on GameCube. Speaking of RPGs, the Game Boy Advance housed a lot of them.

Mario & Luigi game: Superstar Saga

Mario & Luigi: the saga of superstars

There is of course the Pokemon series, which received a ton of love on the GBA. We were introduced to the third generation of Pocket Monsters with Ruby Pokémon, Sapphire, and emerald and returned to the Kanto region in Fire Red and Leaf Green Pokémon. The West was also finally blessed with the Fire emblem series, and we’ve seen games like golden sun, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Advanced wars, and Mega Man Battle Network, in addition to many SNES game ports like Final Fantasy IV and Breath of fire.

Game Boy Advance 20 Years Game Boy Advance GBA 20th Anniversary

Advanced wars

Nintendo’s other franchises have also arrived on the GBA, my favorite being The Legend of Zelda: The Minish cap. No matter what genre you liked to play, the Game Boy Advance always had something new and exciting to play, even when it launched 20 years ago with titles like Castlevania: Circle of the Moon. There was a ton of third-party support, with games such as the Sonic advance series and Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town.

20 years of Game Boy Advance

Game Boy Advance is one of Nintendo’s great consoles because its library was extremely diverse. And 20 years later, I still keep revisiting some of my favorite GBA games, especially The Minish cap. Nintendo continued to dominate the handheld market all these years later, with the Nintendo Switch gaining unprecedented popularity. Hopefully Nintendo will update the Nintendo Switch Online service with Game Boy Advance games at some point. It’s still hard to believe that the Game Boy Advance is 20 years old!

Happy Game Boy Advance Birthday! What are your favorite Game Boy Advance games? Let us know below!

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