The Game Boy Advance brings me back to the formative years of my video game experience. Finally we are entering the 2000’s as my journey through my favorite games continues and finally my tastes begin to expand in some new and exciting directions. However, if there is anything that you may have learned about my gaming habits so far is that I love Nintendo games. Something about the magical worlds and the simple yet engaging gameplay mechanics keep me coming back year after year. Nintendo also kept me coming back for more and more Game Boy Advance systems; I own an Artic White classic Game Boy Advance, a charcoal and black Game Boy Advance SP, and a currently camouflaged Game Boy Advance Micro. I still play the GBA Micro to this day, although all of my favorite games listed below are available on the Nintendo 3DS as a part of the Ambassador’s Program, which was only available to people who bought the 3DS during the first few months after launch.
Metroid Fusion (2002)
At the time of this game’s release I had very little exposure to the Metroid series. I did not know what to expect, but after reading reports from Nintendo Power magazine I knew that I had to try out the game. Samus Aran became one of my favorite protagonists in all of video games. Her ability to collect power ups, access new areas, and collect new power ups was the perfect gameplay loop for me. I have beaten this game many times over the years, doing 100% runs similar to the way that I play Super Metroid. I do believe that the control scheme for the Game Boy Advance game works a lot better than the SNES game, the extra buttons do more to clutter the user experience than necessary. Metroid Fusion also seems much more beginner friendly and I appreciate that an effort was made to make the game more accessible to more players. This game began my relationship with the Metroid series and has me very excited to play Metroid Prime 4 whenever it is released for the Nintendo Switch.
Fire Emblem (2003)
I never completed Fire Emblem for the Game Boy Advance, but I should have. I own the official strategy guide and have played through the opening half of the game too many times. For some reason a younger me could not figure out how to keep my party alive long enough to succeed during some of the more difficult battles. Later entries in the series would make it much easier to grind for extra levels and remove the permanent death aspect of the game. Perma death scared me away from some of the later stages as I would continuously restart levels in an attempt to keep my entire party alive. Perhaps this is what the developers intended. Perhaps I was trying too hard to spread my experience around to all of my characters. I often think about going back to this game and finally completing it. The recently released 3DS games have reestablished my love for the strategy game genre. The Super Smash Bros series has also encouraged me to love Marth.
WarioWare, Inc.: MegaMicrogame$! (2003)
The Game Boy Advance was full of remakes of classic Mario games and reskinned SNES games, but WarioWare was not afraid to break the mold. I was initially skeptical of this collection of micro games, the fun of the short games would be shallow and would not keep me coming back for more. But the quick and enjoyable games had the classic Nintendo charm and were so simple and easy to play that I often found WarioWare inside one of my many Game Boy systems instead of more in depth experiences like Pokémon Sapphire. I was a huge fan of Mario Party games growing up, but with such limited options to play multiplayer mini games with friends, WarioWare offered a quick alternative. The settings and art that the game introduced provided some small backstory and character that made the game more connected. You weren’t merely playing microgames, you were trying to escape the police or abduct a scientist towards your UFO. The game did not take itself seriously and focused on offering some short bursts of excitement. I still pick up and play WarioWare on my Game Boy Advance and Nintendo 3DS, and even my girlfriend wanted one more round after the first time she tried some of the games!
The Game Boy Advance had some fantastic games, which were your favorite?
I hope you are enjoying this week’s look at some of my favorite games from each of the past consoles. Next week I plan to finish up the series with a look at my favorite games on the Nintendo GameCube, Wii, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and Microsoft Xbox 360.
Have a great weekend!
Jake “prettyboyplaid” Fredericks