Nintendo Game Boy Micro
I’ve never owned a portable gaming system, nor have I ever wanted one. The idea of gaming on the go never seemed to coincide with the bulky handhelds that I saw on the market, including the updated Nintendo Game Boy Advance, its successor the DS, or even Sony’s PlayStation Portable. Then, during last year’s E3 Expo, Nintendo unveiled their latest addition to the handheld family: the Nintendo Game Boy Micro. Essentially a GBA in execution, the Micro includes everything you can find in the older model, but only smaller and with a much brighter screen. Also included with the system are a carrying case, two extra faceplates, and a unit charger.
The Micro’s price tag is a bit high ($89.99 in stores), but it’s the perfect system for the casual gamer who’s looking for something small to take on the go. Whether you’re in the car traveling, or waiting in line at Taco Bell, the Micro’s quick start-up makes it a breeze to turn on and game for as long as you’d like.
Smaller than most cell phones, the Micro will fit comfortably into the smallest jeans pocket imaginable. Mimicking the style of the original NES controller, the Micro is about two-thirds the size, but includes all of the usual buttons, including a D-pad, A and B buttons, start and select, as well as the addition of two shoulder buttons. Also included is a port for the charger to connect, as well as a 3.5 mm earphone jack. You won’t believe how small the system really is until you feel it resting in your hands, but its size doesn’t affect its playability. Resting in between the middle of the system is the screen, and boy does it look good.
The Micro’s 2-in. display is more amazing than the system’s size. I’ve never seen a brighter screen, especially one that makes tiny words so easy to read. Past experiences with portable game systems have resulted in playing with the screen five inches from my face, but with the Micro, I could sit back and relax without straining to see everything. The colors are brilliant and even older games (i.e. “Super Mario Bros. 3”) play like new.
Taking Microsoft’s marketing methods to heart, Nintendo has included the possibility of changing the system’s look to your liking. Out of the box, the Micro will be either silver with a black faceplate, or black with a silver faceplate. These two systems are also bundled with two extra faceplates, with the silver bundle including a ladybug and blue swirl option, and the black bundle featuring a camouflage and flame option. The latter is the obvious choice for anyone not wanting their girlfriends to strap on the pink faceplate. I’m currently rocking the camouflage look, and I must say, it looks pretty damn cool.
This would probably land in the bottom section on any other review of a portable system, but with the Micro, gamers finally get a decent amount of play time per charge. And while Nintendo claims that the system will have at least six hours of playability for a fully charged battery, it usually lasts upwards to ten hours. No complaints here.
This is undoubtedly the biggest problem with Nintendo’s marketing of the system. Longtime devotees of the Big N have three choices: the GBA SP for around $69.99, the GBA Micro for $89.99, or the DS for $129.99. If you don’t care about size, then the GBA SP is obviously the way to go. If you’d much rather play newer games that have Wi-Fi accessibility and a more interactive experience, then you’ll need to save up an extra fifty bucks to pick up a DS. The $89.99 price point is a little odd, but it’s hard to justify lowering it anymore with the GBA SP still available on the market.
As a mature gamer already displeased with the selection of games that Nintendo has offered for its GameCube console, I was well aware that there wouldn’t be a large collection of titles that interested me. Still, there’s quite a few worth checking out, and with a huge back library at your disposal, you’ll never run out of choices.
Overall, Nintendo has done a pretty good job with basically redesigning current hardware to market towards a different target audience. The system’s impossibly small design will undoubtedly persuade casual gamers to go out and pick one of these bad boys up, and they’ll be able to do so without breaking the bank. Couple that with the option of customizing your system's look and you have one sweet little toy worth looking into.
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