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Toys

Gameboy Advance SP Released Today in North America 281

Txiasaeia writes "The latest version of Nintendo's venerable Gameboy has been released today in North America. The Gameboy Advance SP builds upon its predecessor by adding a front lit display, and a foldable design in order to protect the screen. Also, instead of using AA batteries to power the device, it uses a Lithium-Ion battery. Other than that, the basic architecture of the system remains the same as the original Gameboy Advance. Most online retailers' first shipment has been sold out, but my local Walmart had plenty of copies. Check out this Gamespy review." I snagged one at lunch today. The screen is vastly improved from the original GBA. Now the only question is how many Pokemon I can collect ;) (And yes Hemos, we got you one too ;)
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Gameboy Advance SP Released Today in North America

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  • Only Today? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chmarr ( 18662 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @03:54PM (#5575292)
    Today? Sheesh... you're behind the times. Roomie got his yesterday! :)
  • GBA Cube? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @03:55PM (#5575298) Homepage
    When is the Gamecube device to let you play GBA games on the Gamecube coming out? That would be worth purchasing, especially if it let you play games as if you had 2 GBAs linked.
    • Re:GBA Cube? (Score:5, Informative)

      by magicsquid ( 85985 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:07PM (#5575350) Homepage
      The GameBoy Player is the device you're talking about. It's already been released in Japan, and it will be coming to the US in June or July. You can read hands-on impressions of it here [ign.com] at IGN.
    • The GBA's graphics remind me of the Super Nintendo. They look really nice on the little LCD screen, but on the big TV they will probably look pretty old.

      I think I'd rather play my Xbox games on the TV.
      • Yes, because graphics make a good game. Dude, you're lame. Your probably that person that sold all his old nintendo junk to get an XBox huh?
  • Bah. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by d3kk ( 644538 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @03:57PM (#5575308) Journal
    These features should had all been in the original GBA release. It's a nice addition to a already good gaming system, but I can't help but think I wasted money on the original release.
    • I can't help but think that too.... no back lit display really hampers the gaming time. I had bought the gameboy advance with the legend of goku game. Took a few hours, but that was fun. I had to play the darn thing under a big florescent light though.
      • Re:Bah. (Score:2, Informative)

        by Rob Simpson ( 533360 )
        Yeah, but it gave the old one had pretty impressive battery life on a pair of AA's. I was in the hospital for a month a while ago after being hit by a truck (while in a crosswalk, #%@! drivers), and after I was off the morphine injections I got (amongst other things) my Gameboy Advance and my NIMH charger from home. I kept expecting to need to change them, but never did. And hospital lighting is ideal for playing the GA. ;-)

        I think a built-in front light (which it says this thing has) is better, since

    • Re:Bah. (Score:5, Informative)

      by lpret ( 570480 ) <lpret42NO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Saturday March 22, 2003 @08:07PM (#5576389) Homepage Journal
      According to the article, several stores are allowing trade-ins with your old GBA and then getting the new one for like $60. It's worth a shot.
    • Then why'd you buy the original? This is like complaining about the Xbox's capabilities, when you already spent $300 on your Atari 2600. If you think something's worth your money, buy it. If no, don't.

      Freedom of choice doesn't come any simpler than this.
      • Re:Bah. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 )
        It's about trust in the manufacturer. The Atari to Xbox comparison is dishonest, because the new GBA is still a platform for the same games. An earlier-adopter would not be unreasonable to feel a bit "burned" right now, since there's an unspoken expectation that the next upgrade-cycle would be the next iteration of the technology, not an incremental release with features that should have been in the original.

        What this means is that there may well be a reluctance to adopt the next GB platform (if there is on

        • Nintendo has done this before.

          Gameboy Pocket. Gameboy Pocket Light.

          Sony did it with the PSOne.

          Of course, this is preferable I think to having later iterations of the same platform LOSE useful features of the earlier ones. (Later versions of the sega genesis and playstation)
          • What do you mean the Playstation is worse? The PSOne doesn't have somehting that the original Playstation didn't?

            Have you played the GBA? I hate it, because you have to have a lot of light to see the screen. I mean, even the Atari Lynx had a backlit display. This should have been included in the original GBA. They could have done it cheap with a white LED.

            I didn't buy a GBA because of the screen, and now I can buy one with a nice lit screen from Nintendo (for probably a lot less then those compan
  • Missing Features? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Phucilage ( 83738 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @03:58PM (#5575311) Homepage Journal
    Unless I am completely insane, it seems they have forgotten to include a headphone jack on the unit I messed around with. Anyone else find it?
    • Re:Missing Features? (Score:5, Informative)

      by thadeusPawlickiROX ( 656505 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:12PM (#5575372)
      You aren't insane. There is no headphone jack... They released an adapter in Japan that connects via the the AC adapter port on the Game Boy. It's a strange way to do things, granted, and I'm not 100% if the headphone adapter is slated for US release (but I'd assume it will come out). It shouldn't be too expensive, but it's an odd feature to leave out.
      • Re:Missing Features? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Textbook Error ( 590676 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:21PM (#5575408)
        It looks like you can pick them up from Lik Sang [lik-sang.com]. $13 with shipping, but it's truly bizarre that they didn't include it built in - after all it has a speaker anyway, so all you'd need is a tap off that.
        • The speaker is mono (Score:5, Informative)

          by yerricde ( 125198 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:27PM (#5575427) Homepage Journal

          but it's truly bizarre that they didn't include it built in

          For the same reason that tablet PCs and smaller laptop PCs don't have all the ports built in and need a "port replicator". There's just not enough space on the case.

          after all it has a speaker anyway

          Unlike the headphone connector, the internal speaker is monaural. Monaural audio is ill suited for first-person shooters such as Doom (now available for GBA) or 007 (coming soon for GBA).

          The biggest problem that I have found so far with the description of the headphone/charger jack is that I haven't seen pictures of a headphone dongle with a passthru for AC, so I can't play with stereo sound and mains power at the same time; I would have to wait for the thing to recharge.

    • by Mike the Mac Geek ( 182790 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:39PM (#5575473) Journal
      The headphone jack was too large to physically fit into the case. The headphone adapter is on sale now at Nintendo's site here in the US, or at stores probably Monday/Tuesday with the new Zelda game.

      This thing is so small, the volume dial was too large. Went with a slider. No headphone jack should come as no surprise.

      BTW, I got mine earlier this week. very nice battery life out of it.
      • The headphone jack was too large to physically fit into the case.

        what the hell kind of reason is that? it's not like they went:
        'ok, here's how big this thing is gonna be and any features that don't fit get left out.'

        come on, they left it out so they can sell you the adapter.
      • The last time around it was the abysmal shiny screen, and now it's no headphone jack.

        Space is a pretty weak reason for not including one at all. Lot's of MP3 / MiniDisc players are faced with the same size constraints yet manage to design a proper solution. A smaller jack and a couple of buttons could control the volume (no need for a wheel) or do what many minidisc players do and stick the volume controls onto the cord of the headphones itself.

        As it stands, it sounds like Nintendo have an utterly cluel

  • by DwarfGoanna ( 447841 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @03:59PM (#5575314)
    Gameboy is the last refuge of new, quality 2-D gaming. Am I the only one that misses spirites? I remember thinking someday we'd have anime quality 2-D games, now I guess I'll never see animation quality Street Fighter IX in an arcade. =/
    • by x mani x ( 21412 ) <mghase@cs.mcgGINSBERGill.ca minus poet> on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:06PM (#5575346) Homepage
      I agree with you, but all hope is not lost.

      First of all, build yourself a MAME cab, you wont regret it [mcgill.ca].

      Second, Sammy is making great new 2d fighters (Guilty Gear X2). They also have new arcade hardware out ("Atomiswave") that is based on Sega's NAOMI hardware. Expect them (and, by rumour, maybe SNK/Playmore) to make all kinds of nice 2d games for this system and port it to your favorite next gen console.

      Keep your chin up, soldier! :)

      -Mani
      • agreed. i just finished mine yesterday, and its a 2d gaming heaven.

        have a look [psg.com]

        you won't regret building one, even if you spend $2k on it like i did. arcade-infinity.com has some pretty cheap cabinets like mine for $500 or less, depending on what you're looking for.
    • you know, why don't they make some good games like gameboy games for computers? i love a good side-scrolling 2d game to just popup every once and a while to waste time on.

      btw, don't go starting on emulators, i've been there and am not wasting my time on those again!

      one thing i have noticed, macs seem to have far superior, reliable games like these up for download than windows.

    • My favorite game of all time has to be final fantasy 3. There was just so much plot, good music, and even action in that game I can't really compare it with any other new 3d rpg games.

      I really enjoyed Legend of Goku... finally, more 2d RPG like we want it!
      • You make me think of Sword of the Samurai [links.net]. This gem made a virtue of its hardware limitations by making everything look like a Japanese painting. And the music wasn't simply good, it blended seamlessly into the action. Plot got a little predictable after a while, though.
  • Changes at Nintendo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by magicsquid ( 85985 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @03:59PM (#5575315) Homepage
    It seems as though Nintendo is slowly coming out of it's slumber. They are beginning to realize what their fans have been clamoring for, and are trying to give the fans what they want. The original GBA comes out and no one can see anything without a spot light on the screen, so they release a new GBA with a lit screen and rechargeable batteries. The GameCube isn't marketed well, so they offer free games with every purchase. Original NES fans want their favorite series revamped, so they get Metroid Prime, and other oldies to be shown at E3 (perhaps Earthbound). Nintendo perhaps finally realizes the threat that Microsoft can pose and that soley by marketing out the ying-yang, they have taken a sizeable portion of the pie. Maybe the GBA SP is but another small step towards the agressive Nintendo we grew up with in the 80's.
    • I've only heard two Earthbound rumors so far myself:

      1. That there will be a Gameboy Advance re-release of Earthbound 1+2 (the SNES version was 2, the NES version was never officially released in the US, but the ROM version is available if you look hard).

      2. There are also rumblings of an Earthbound 3 for the Gamecube. Which would kick ass. We need more insane RPG's that involve you fighting alien posessed lamps.
  • by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @03:59PM (#5575316)
    I had a chance to hold the new GameBoy Advance SP.

    Big problem--it doesn't fit your hands comfortably. I like the older GBA design because all the controls fit your hands very comfortably.
    • True. I bought a GBA not all that long time ago, spesificly to play Pokemon on (yeah, I know). I could have gotten an ordinary CB Color, and cheaper too, but the GBA simply have better ergonimics.

      Totoaly on a sidenote; I recently bought a copy of Doom for my GBA which seems to be a near perfect copy of the original Doom for the PC; anyone knows how to enter the cheatcodes *smiles* ?

    • by handsomepete ( 561396 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:45PM (#5575497) Journal
      I have to disagree. The original GBA was like an overgrown SNES controller, so while it was a comfortable form, it always felt like my fingers were stretching just a little bit longer than they should, especially with the top buttons (yes, I know they were right there, but I always felt like I had to curve my fingertips around them). The SP fits in my hands perfectly and the top buttons feel good, but it's a pretty distinct size. If you have larger than normal hands it'll probably feel a little unnatural. The big positives for the new design (in my opinion - as with all other devices, your mileage may vary) are:

      Sexy design. It looks slick.

      Folds up to a size slightly larger than a pack of cigarettes. I can actually fit it in my pocket without walking funny.

      Screen position can be adjusted so you can hold the unit flat but have the screen point at your face.

      All that other stuff about the lit screen and rechargable battery pack is good too.

      With one of the many GBA trade in opportunities at used game places, it can be had for $60. Wait until after E3 and I'll bet that'll go down at least $10.

      • For those of us with larger hands the new model is a pain literally.
        I've found it rathe uncofrtable to use when I first gave one a go briefly a month ago (February is such a wonderful month to take a vacation in Japan), and decided not to pick one up. I would rather go with either the Halo light, or get myself an afterburner. I like the overall size and shape of the "old" GBA. The new clamshell design while cool and useful, makes the L and R buttons much to difficult to actually use alot.
      • Too big!?! Can you actually get your hands around an entire pencil? My biggest complaint with the GBA (after installing the Afterburner at least) is that the X,Y and L,R buttons were too close together. After awhile playing games that require heavy use of the L & R (Metroid) my hands would be all cramped up. There is a definate pain barrier to some games due to the controller design. My hands aren't huge either, the PSx controller is just about the right size, while the original X-Box controller wa
    • My sons have GBC and GBA original consoles and I have played them and an SP at wally world.

      I like my GP32 [gbax.com] better. It fits the hand better and the joystick is orders of magnitude better than the GBA D-pad.

      Also, it runs lots of emulators and ports [gp32x.com], plus MP3 and Divx video players. It's amazing how much stuff fits on a 128MB SMC card.
  • What, .... (Score:5, Informative)

    by phalse phace ( 454635 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:00PM (#5575320)
    no link [nintendo.com]?
  • by nsxdavid ( 254126 ) <dw@play.nGAUSSet minus math_god> on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:01PM (#5575323) Homepage
    Interestingly I was wandering through BestBuy two days ago and there, on the shelf, not drawing any attention to itself (heck, it was almost hidden) was several GBA SPs. I had to blink twice, cuz I knew they were not supposed to be out yet.

    I guess some stock-dude just put them out there not knowing to hold off until today. No one was grabbing them, but I did. :)

    -- David
    • by oGMo ( 379 )

      Thanks for the hint. :-) I was trying to find one today when I heard they were out "early" (like Nintendo didn't probably tell them to go ahead, hah), but all the game shops had them "reservation only". Suckage. When I saw your comment, I immediately went to Best Buy and found a nice platinum one.

      BestBuy++, nsxdavid++.

    • All the major retail chains jumped the street date. Gamestop, EB, etc.

      I'm perhaps not so surpised that /. gets a PR from the Gamespy people about it, when places like PlanetGamecube [planetgamecube.com] had a story about it being out early as of Wednesday.
  • Good for Nintendo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sixdotoh ( 584811 ) <{moc.liamtoh} {ta} {hotodxis}> on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:02PM (#5575329) Homepage
    this is probably very good for nintendo since the gamecube doesn't seem to be competeing as strong in the console market. sony may snag a lot of the share with PS's but there is basically no competition at all for gameboys.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:04PM (#5575341)
    Since I installed my Afterburner GameBoy light kit [tritonlabs.com] many many many months ago for practically nothing, I have no need for a barely improved piece of gaming hardware that doesn't really offer me anything more for the cost.

    What a waste.
  • Boycott Walmart (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Screaming Lunatic ( 526975 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:08PM (#5575356) Homepage
    but my local Walmart had plenty of copies
    I don't buy CDs, games, consoles, etc from Walmart. If Walmart chooses to force artists (that includes game developers) to censor their work, I choose not to purchase media from Walmart.
    • Force? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zygote-IC- ( 512412 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:59PM (#5575543) Homepage
      I must have missed the CNN story where the cybernetic clones of Sam Walton burst into recording studios and game developer offices and started executing people at random until the content met their specifications.
      If, by force, you mean they refuse to sell content that a large portion of their clintelle, (particularly those in the Bible Belt South where Wal-Mart has their primary stronghold) might find offensive then get over yourself.
      They also don't sell the finest porno mags but I'm not going to boycott them because they don't sell what I want.
      Here's where someone says, "but Wal-Mart is a huge soul-crushing corporation" to which I say there is nothing that Wal-Mart sells that I can't get elsewhere.
      That's not saying I love Wal-Mart..I personally dislike them because when they come into town they are the equivalent of retail MOAB which has killed many downtown areas in small towns all across the country..but they don't have shock troops running around forcing content providers to change their plans..
      • Hunger is force (Score:3, Insightful)

        by yerricde ( 125198 )

        executing people at random until the content met their specifications.

        In many areas, Wal-Mart has a geographic monopoly on trading factory-wrapped video games for cash (no Gamestop/Babbage's, no Best Buy, no Circuit City, no Meijer, no Kmart, etc). Thus, if publishers can't sell at Wal-Mart, they can't sell at all. And if the publishers don't sell, the developers dont eat. And if the developers don't eat, they die.

        • So what? What if there is no Walmart around, nor any of the others? I lived in a small town with no electronics store, no video game store, no nothing. Had to drive 2 hours to get to a "City" so I could get the games I could only read about in a magazine. Those poor developers! How dare some selfish corporation/company/mom and pop not stock something that I so obviously need! Whatever, dude. And then again, what if those mom and pops don't like the game content and decide not to sell it? Oh, those b
    • But you buy other crap there? I mean, I boycott the place for the reasons you mention but also because I find their business practices offensive.There is no reason to shop there, so don't. The $1 you save is not worth the devastation to local economies... and their outrageous censoring practices.
  • Headphones (Score:5, Informative)

    by heli0 ( 659560 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:11PM (#5575369)
    Those of you that will use this device in public may want to know that it does not have a headphone jack built-in. You have to buy a seperate add-on ($5) that plugs into the expansion port.

    I picked up mine yesterday and the screen is evenly lit, and even the darkish Castlevania game is playable in a dim room.
  • EB Has a deal (Score:5, Informative)

    by antis0c ( 133550 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:13PM (#5575378)
    You can return your old Gameboy Advance for 40 dollars off a Gameboy Advance SP. Seems like a pretty fair and reasonable deal to me. I plan on doing that myself.
  • colors (Score:5, Funny)

    by Raven42rac ( 448205 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:19PM (#5575399)
    everyone makes fun of my GBA because it is pink, they call it "gay". that is why i will get the purple GBA SP. no one wants to borrow it, so more advance wars and castlevania for me. i can not wait to get my hands on one, but do not want to go to wal-mart. you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.(/geeky star wars reference)
  • Damnit (Score:5, Funny)

    by Toasty16 ( 586358 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:20PM (#5575405) Homepage
    I hate Nintendo. I've bought almost every Gameboy released in the U.S. since its inception: The original Gameboy in 1989, the colored Gameboy (NOT the GB Color!) in 1995, the thin Gameboy in 1998, the Gameboy Color in 2000, and the GBA Advance in 2001, for which I even bought the Afterburner [tritonlabs.com] for $35 (it's now $25). Now Nintendo releases a Gameboy with a clamshell design, a built-in lighting system, and a rechargable battery, and again I am awash in gadget envy. Well, at least I can take solace in the fact that I'm not a total idiot, I didn't buy the Virtual Gameboy!
    • "I've bought almost every Gameboy released in the U.S. since its inception:"
      Good thing you modified that statement with the 'almost.' Because I've got a Gameboy and I know a few of my friends who bought one so obviously you haven't bought ALL the Gameboys released.
    • I've bought almost every Gameboy released in the U.S. since its inception: The original Gameboy in 1989, the colored Gameboy (NOT the GB Color!) in 1995

      Ahh, the "Play It Loud" series of brick-form-factor Game Boy systems with different color cases. It's a good thing you qualified it with "almost" because you can't claim to have one every GB system unless you have all colors, including the limited editions that were only available as prizes in a Nintendo Power sweepstakes. Collectors have driven up the e

  • Where has Sony been? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cubyrop ( 647235 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:23PM (#5575410)
    Sony was successful in pulling the console market out from under nintendo; why have they basically left nintendo free to dominate the hand-held market? One would have to imagine sony could put out a rad product, perhaps using memory stick for game dl'ing instead of proprietary cartridges.
  • by rinks ( 641298 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:25PM (#5575417)
    I'm glad I bought a GBA at Christmas. You know, a week before they announced SP for the first time?
  • Great.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lasuuco Tulkas ( 598141 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:25PM (#5575420)
    I cant wait for someone to come out for an emulator! I was getting kind of tired shining a desk lamp at my monitor...
    • VisualBoyAdvance (Score:2, Informative)

      by yerricde ( 125198 )

      I cant wait for someone to come out for an emulator!

      Download GBA freeware [pdroms.de] (or dump your GBA cartridges with a "Flash Linker" sold at gbax.com or gamegizmo.com), and then play the games with VisualBoyAdvance [emuhq.com].

      • The orignal poster is joking. See if an emulator emulated the old GBA, it would be dark, since it lacked a backlight, right? So one would need to shine a light on the monitor to brighten it up.

        Yes, of course this isn't really how it works, that's what makes it a joke :)
  • by robotmurder ( 612191 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:33PM (#5575451)
    The real gem-feature of the GBA SP is the screen, which is perfect for watching television or DVD's (with the tv tuner). I hardly even play games on it. It's become my little entertainment center, and I can take it to school or work.

    IT HAS NINJA CONCEALING CAPABILITIES!!

    I plug my portable DVD/SVD player into the TV tuner and watch movies ALL the time. The backlit/flipout screen improves this by 100 fold because it's just like having a small television screen. Sharp picture, too. Very nice.

    My only grip is the lack of stereo sound. But it's really okay! Doesn't affect the sound quality too much. GG NINTENDO.
  • Quick Review. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by anakin513 ( 653341 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:37PM (#5575468) Homepage
    I picked mine up yesterday. I havn't bought a GB since the original back when I was 13. Screen: Looks good. Nice colors, no streaking when scrolling, with the backlight on it looks good in any light. With the light off, you need some direct light to see it really, sunlight or a bright room. Battery: I charged it up yesterday and like they advertise, I got about 10 hours of play with the backlight on! Comfort: It fits nicely in my pocket when folded up and is comfortable in the hands when playing. I particularily like the flat buttons. I remember the directional pad became uncomfortable on the thumb after extended play. Not this one. I played Phantasy Star for 4 hours straight and no gamer's thub :) Drawbacks: It's a bit dissapointing that you need to buy an adapter to plugin headphones. I also appear to be missing a cable to play with my friends. I've been out of the GB world for a while, however, my original did ship with the cable to play head to head games. Overall: I can't put it down. I especially love the compact size. Hmm.. looks like it's all charged up again. Back to Phantasy Star (yes, you can use it while it is plugged in, but I was hungry too)
    • Re:Quick Review. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Drakin ( 415182 )
      That's been happening for a long time now. in fact since the time of the original gameboy, once it went to the smaller retail packaging, they've not included gamelink cable or headphones.

      They also went on the cheap with games, not providing their clamshell cases with the cartridge, which is annoying (dispite that the gamepacks are damn rugged to start with)
  • Accessories (Score:3, Informative)

    by blonde rser ( 253047 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @04:42PM (#5575485) Homepage
    There are a lot of messages posted right now from people complaining about ergonomics and lack of a head phone jack. There are already 3rd party accessories [ebgames.com] out to deal with these problems... partially.
  • by Malor ( 3658 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @05:00PM (#5575551) Journal
    I bought an import on EBay several weeks ago. I'm quite pleased with the system. I had previously bought Golden Sun and a GBA based on some strong reviews of it. I found the original GBA to be essentially unplayable. The small, dark screen was just too unpleasant for my adult (age 35) eyes to handle. I gave up on Golden Sun after a few hours.

    The SP model is an amazing difference. I'd have preferred a true backlight, but what they provided is *almost* as good. It's a clever frontlighting system that puts some sort of glowing stripe on all four sides of the screen, hidden from view by the case.

    The big problem with all the regular GBA lighting systems was that there were direct reflections and glare. (the Afterburner system is apparently better, but I haven't seen it.) This indirect front-lighting system is nearly perfect. You can see a sort of shimmering 'fringe' effect of widely-spaced squares (which I think are third-order reflections) if you are using it in a very dark room, but it's honestly barely noticeable, and about 20 seconds into the game you'll forget about it.

    It seems pretty hard to use, though, in very bright light. This is a little ironic, because the original GBA required extremely bright light to be playable. This one is best in a slightly darkened room. The recessed screen doesn't pick up outside light sources well, and its frontlight is easily drowned out by more than normal room brightness. For outdoor use, you may actually prefer the original GBA.

    Complaints: I wish the screen were just a *little* bigger, but it's usable. The lack of a headphone jack is also quite annoying. And I wish they'd stayed with regular AA batteries. I have the NiMH rechargeables, which pack an amazing amount of power in a small space. I'd have preferred to be able to charge up 2 or 3 pairs for an extended roadtrip. 10 hours isn't bad, but with regular AAs you have essentially unlimited battery life.

    Nitpicks notwithstanding, this is the system Nintendo should have shipped originally. I'm quite happy with mine.

  • by ChrisTower ( 122297 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @05:03PM (#5575574) Homepage
    ...If you really wanted one of these units. Like the last GBA release, there is no region lockout on the games or the hardware. No reason not to buy early. The big advantage is being the envy of every geek who sees you playing it on the subway.
    • Imports cost more (Score:2, Informative)

      by yerricde ( 125198 )

      No reason not to buy early.

      Except that early is more expensive. Lik Sang was selling imported units for about $130, as opposed to $100 from Wal-Mart and Best Buy this week. Add shipping, and you're looking at a big incentive to wait unless you're a rich early adopter.

  • What kills me is that the "new" SP finally has a lighted screen and still the game quality doesn't pass on what TurboGrafix was doing in 1991. I still have an 'old' TurboGrafix Express with lighted screen, TV Tuner, and the game quality is on the same level as what is offered on the 'new' GameBoy Advanced system. Don't get me wrong, the SP is a nice design and a good system, but why in the world haven't they evolved the technology further. Nintendo would rather capitalize on existing mass appeal than deve
    • You like 3 hours of battery life on your handhelds?

      Maybe you're not following the same things everyone else is. It's not portable if I have to recharge it for as much as I play it (3 on, 3 off, etc). Nor did the Turbo Express even have rechargables as an option unless you bought a very large battery pack for it. Yes, the games on it look pretty. And? Pretty is nice, but the black of an off screen is not pretty.

      To summarize, Nintendo is still the #1 in the handheld market because they are selling a su
    • If you honestly think an 8-bit system like the TG-16 (yes, that's right, 8-bit, read up on it if you don't believe me) performs as well as the 32-bit GBA...

      And if you really think Legendary Axe/Bonk looks anything *close* to the new Metroid/Castlevania/Mega Man...

      I have one hell of a cheap bridge to sell you.
    • I am something of a collector of portable systems. I love my TurboExpress; the Lynx whipped it IMHO, but it remains a great system.

      That being said, the GBA SP is the slickest package I have ever seen. The clamshell, the screen that is viewable in direct sunlight (try THAT on your precious TurboExpress - they didn't even sell one of these [atariage.com] [essential for backlight playing in sunlight, in my opinion]). It is slicker than snot on a doorknob. Buy it, experience the games and the great battery life, and see w

  • Gameboy Advance gots service packs?!

    Oh well, I bet new games will require everyone to be running GameBoy Advance SP-1.
  • My Mini-review (Score:4, Informative)

    by Faeton ( 522316 ) on Saturday March 22, 2003 @11:08PM (#5576951) Homepage Journal
    I just picked one up today, and here's my mini-review. The screen is great, pretty much agree with all the previous comments. I'll talk about stuff that hasn't (that I've seen) been covered here.

    The buttons are recessed slightly, so it takes a bit of time to get used to. Also, they're slightly smaller than the original GBA, so larger hands might find it awkward, especially with the new configuration. It's also harder to do a soft-reset (which may or may not be a bad thing).

    The sound is significantly better (IMO), probably due to the placement of the speaker. It's smack in the middle of the device, so your palms won't muffle the sound (a la GBA). Still, no headset jack.

    The shoulder buttons are smaller (L & R), but after a couple of games, it's not noticeable.

    The cartridge slot is at the bottom, so certain peripherals like the Kirby tilt module won't work, and the digital camera attachments might be weird to work with.

    The AC adapter is really well made, with the prongs folding inside so it's easy to transport. It's also small (about 3/4" x 1.5" x 2") and light. Too bad it's still a wall-wart design.

    The screen is now protected due to the design, but the plastic doesn't feel that robust. I'm thinking that it can get easily scratched (though I'm not going to try to find out).

    Other than that, I'm *highly* impressed with the GBA SP. If you have a GBA without the Afterburner kit, try to sell it to kid next door or give it to some young relatives. It's just that good. For only $100US, you get an amazing piece of hardware that can entertain you longer than a $2k laptop can on a flight overseas. 9.5/10

  • i went to a local gamestop and they said they were allocated 8. let me repeat that. 8. which, of course were all pre ordered, which seems to be the trend these days, unless you pre-order, take the release date and add a month. but anyways, they only got 8, then next week 8 more, pre ordered, while the wal marts of the world get more than they would ever need to sell to the slack-jawed yokels who just know their kid wants "yew gee owe". i would love to support the moms and pops, but unfortunately, they cant
  • Until I found out about it using a non-standard battery.

    Thanks for warning me slashdot! I hate products where replacing the battery is likely going to cost more than the value of the item, and refuse to buy them. The only exception I make is laptops, where there is limited choice.

    And no headphone jack? That's inexcusable. And highly surprising for a Japanese product.

    And I was just getting interested, what with the media player / programming flash pack hacks that are being made for it. Ho-hum.
    • The battery is surprisingly cheap. It's for sale at Lik Sang for $13US [lik-sang.com]. The operational lifetime is about 500 charges (says the manual). That's probably good for at least 2 years worth of play time for the average user. Plus, it only take 3 hours to charge it, and it lasts 10 hours w/ backlight, and up to 18 w/o backlight.

      And a headphone jack is available, only you have to pay extra (about $8, or $5 for an integrated headphone... go figure).

      There are a lot of nifty accessories available now, like a p

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