Why the Game Boy Micro was a DISAPPOINTMENT to close out the brand
The Game Boy Micro was the last model released from the brand, here’s why it was a wimper instead of a bang.
In the early noughties, Nintendo were riding high in the handheld space with the Game Boy Advance and seemingly no other competition to rival it.
Fast forward to 2003 and the Game Boy Advance SP is introduced, featuring a clam-shell design, rechargeable battery, and for the first time, a backlit display.
It was a runaway success, as it finally answered the wishes that customers had ever since the GameBoy first came out in 1989. But two years later, it was to be superseded by the final iteration; the GameBoy Micro.
Unfortunately it made everything great about the line into something that was the size of a small chocolate-bar; here’s why it was a disappointment to have this as the fade-out to the GameBoy line after sixteen years.
In 2002 I’d saved enough money for a Game Boy Advance; I loved being able to play Super Mario World anywhere I wanted, as long as there was a light available due to the handheld not being backlit. It was fantastic, especially with the fact that it could play all my GameBoy and Color games with no issues.
I missed out on the GBA-SP, but I was happy enough, and by this time my interest was waning due to the PSP being announced for a release in 2005. But once I saw the Micro, it only made me want to pre-order a PSP even more.
Nintendo wanted to push the envelope for their handheld. Their ‘Nintendo DS’ was transforming from an experiment to overtaking the GameBoy brand; no one expected it to replace a line that had been going since 1989, but it was the next step that customers wanted, and Nintendo ran with it.
Which is why I suppose we had the Micro. It featured a 2-inch screen, a design that was so small it couldn’t play any backwards-compatible GameBoy games, so anyone with a library from previous generations were out of luck. It also had a design similar to the first-gen NDS, with the same colour scheme, but smaller. Much smaller.
A Final Curtain of GameBoy….for now
It felt like an entry-point to someone who wanted to own their first handheld; or for a parent looking for their son/daughter’s Christmas present. For $99.99 in 2005 it was a good starting-point for some, but the design was simply way too small.
When you line it up against the SP model, it can feel cramped in many people’s hands, even those for who it was aimed for, such as 10-year-olds. It seemed as though Nintendo wanted to make an impression on its design, rather than what the system could do.
If you couple this with the fact of the Nintendo DS at the time being able to play GBA games, it seemed like a better deal to buy this handheld instead.
All in all, it just felt like a shame to put the ‘GameBoy’ line out to pasture, especially with the great games it came out with across the years, from ‘Links Awakening’ to ‘Pokémon’.
I hope that Nintendo look to bring out a variety of Game Boy games onto the Switch Online Service, similar to what they’ve done with NES and SNES games. To me, this seems more likely for now than Nintendo 64 games coming, so to have the name return on its newest console, it could be a return to form.