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Size does matter!
I was worried when Nintendo first announced a 32-bit successor to the insanely popular original 8-bit Game Boy Color way back in 2001. Sure, the Game Boy Advance was a cool system because it added more power to the aging 8-bit Gameboy, but the system still had its fair share of problems. For example it had a very reflective screen, any didn't have any type of a protective cover and overall it was fairly bulky for a portable system. Fortunately, despite a few minor issues the Game Boy Advance and the later GBA SP were huge hits for Nintendo selling well over a millions units world wide. It even helped them forget all the failures of their Nintendo GameCube console, eh? Although the technology is getting outdated, Nintendo isn't giving up on this old dog just yet with the super tiny Game Boy Micro. Is the Game Boy Micro the ultimate edition to the portable world or just is it a big waste of money?
Lets just set the record straight here! Even though Nintendo has moved on to the more powerful Nintendo Dual Screen, this is not a remodel of that system. The GBA Micro is still the same old 32-bit portable system like the original GBA or SP unit so it won't recognize any of those fancy little Nintendo DS games. Yeah, it sounds pretty dumb to me too but whatever keeps Nintendo happy, eh?
The big fuss Nintendo is making about the Micro here is the system's actually size. It's only 4 inches wide, 2 inches tall and only 1 inches deep. Remember ladies; its not the size of the unit but what you do with it. It's pretty cool I'm playing a stand alone 32-bit game system that I can completely engulf in the palm of my hand and there are hundreds of games available for this little beauty. The small size is great but the biggest problem with the Gameboy Micro is there is no way to open or close it like the DS or SP so there is a better chance to scratch up the screen then before. The Micro also has this almost useless feature where you can change the face plate if you like (which you probably won't) to help protect that screen as well. I got an idea; where is the one that makes this look more like a Sony PSP?
Since the Gameboy Micro is just has powerful as the SP model the system can not produce true 3D polygons like other 32-bit systems like the Playstation and Nintendo 64, but it does have the 'Mode 7' effects of the Super Nintendo for some blurry scaling and rotation graphics on the system and that's still better than nothing. There are a few exceptions to the rule with games like 3D games StarX and Super Monkey Ball Jr. but there are not too many of these titles available and they still look pretty basic. The Micro also comes with the option to use your standard headphones (unlike the Gameboy SP) but you're going to need it since the system's speakers are really tiny and not very effective.
The Gameboy Micro has the same buttons as before but now they are even flatter and smaller then ever so people with bigger hands may have trouble with the tiny controls. If you are having problems seeing the screen at anytime then you easy turn it on the system's Back lit switch to see if it helps. Using this Back lit option will really eat away at your standard 7-10 hours of battery life but at least you have the option to turn it off on the fly just in case. That moves me to another big change; this thing doesn't even need those annoying AA batteries anymore. Since the Micro doesn't have to take the traditional batteries, Nintendo threw in an AC Adapter that automatically charges the new internal rechargeable lithium battery if it runs low on power just like the GBA SP. You can even play the system while it's charging up, it will just charge slower while in play.
One of the main reasons why the Gameboy has been so successfully over the years is because it has a huge library of great and popular games. It will play all the 700 plus GBA games out there though which isn't too bad to say the least. The games range from popular NES, Sega Genesis, and SNES remakes (i.e. Super Mario Bros., Gunstar Super Heroes, and R Type III), GBA exclusives (like Wario Ware Twisted and Castlevania Aria of Sorrow), and countless of licensed titles from movies and television shows (like XXX, That's so Raven and Elf). There's lots to choose from and these GBA games can even be played on a TV if you have the Nintendo GameCube and the Gameboy Player. Sadly, the Micro won't play the larger older Black & White and Game Boy Color carts for some stupid, dumb, totally moronic reason. I'm a big fan of classic games like Tetris and Super Mario Land 2 and its a shame I can't play these cool games on a Gameboy anymore. I know I can still play the GBA game Tetris Worlds on the Micro but why can't I play a good version of Tetris?!
Bottomline: OK, maybe I'm being a little hard on the little guy here but do you really need this super compact portable unit? It's great to see a powerful 32-bit system that's so small you can use it as a keychain, hide in the smallest of pockets or even fit in your mouth (WARNING: Do not put the GBA Micro in your mouth!) but is it really better than past SP edition? No, not really. The GBA Micro may be one of the smallest game machines I ever came across but the one big question I have is if the Micro is so tiny why does the stupid little thing cost so much? A 100 bucks is still a lot of money for aging technology here. If you love your stuff small and you don't have one already have a Gameboy then maybe you might like the Micro here. Other then that I say avoid it and go for the cheaper SP instead so you can put bigger bulges in your wallet and pocket.
Overall Gameboy Micro rating: 47/100
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