Celebrating The Game Boy Micro

Celebrating The Game Boy Micro

The beautiful little Game Boy Micro launched 10 years ago in the UK, and I fell in love with it at first sight. Unfortunately, I was 17 years old and had just moved out of my parents' house, so I had no money to buy one. I've been looking to pick one up every since, but they're surprisingly rare in good condition.

This post originally appeared on Kotaku UK.

The Game Boy Micro - as well as looking flipping gorgeous - fixed one of the most annoying things about the original Game Boy Advance model: it had adjustable backlighting. It's infinitely more beautiful than the Game Boy Advance SP, in my opinion, and it had some of the best ever Nintendo special editions. Behold, the NES special edition:

Celebrating The Game Boy Micro

Image: Arturo Martín on Flickr

I saw this in a Super Potato in Japan once for some ludicrous price, like £300. Nearly bought it anyway.

Then there was the Pokémon edition, and the Final Fantasy edition:

Celebrating The Game Boy Micro
Celebrating The Game Boy Micro

Images: Arturo Martín on Flickr

Then there was the properly rare Mother 3 edition:

Celebrating The Game Boy Micro

Image: Megaton Walk on Tumblr

For more Game Boy Micro love, I highly recommend this amazing Flickr album by collector Arturo Martín. Long live the Game Boy Micro!

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This post originally appeared on Kotaku UK, bringing you original reporting, game culture and humour from the British isles.


    I couldn't see the point of these when they came out, but one day I randomly wanted one.

      It has easily been my most played handheld console of all, even above my original Game Boy with Pokemon. I have absolutely adored my Gameboy Micro ever since I bought it and still take it on ski trips to this day :)

        DS for me. Was doing a heap of travel in that era.
        I didn't use my GameBoy quite as much, probably because I didn't get a charger til high school & couldn't afford batteries.

        Vita is catching up now thanks to my morning commute.

    I bought the Ness one when it came out. Lovely little device fits in your pocket so well. Im surpised it didnt catch on.

      It is a little surprising, but my god how good is it? I've still got my original red one that I bought at the same time as Fire Red. I even found a wireless adapter in Japan on their yahoo auctions site so I can trade with my GBA SP. Such good times :D

    I've said this a lot, I still maintain this is one of the most underrated Game Boys that was ever released. For starters, IT WAS ACTUALLY PORTABLE!!! I mean, what's not to love? The screen was also great and there is a deluge of GBA cartridges available second hand. I've since played a link to the past, FFVI, FF 1&2, Pokemon Emerald, Fire Red, Leaf Green, Sword of Mana... The list goes on. It's just bloody brilliant :D

      I dunno, it doesn't really click with me. I mean yeah it's cool and everything, being so small etc. Nice bright screen, with a pretty crazy pixel density. But then they went and gimped it with a nonstandard link cable port, and made the adapter for it the wrong way around (so rather than just getting an adapter so your regular cables worked with the Micro, you got an adapter that made your special Micro cable (ie another thing you had to buy separately) link to other machines). Plus I've never been a fan of digital volume controls, I much prefer an analogue slider. Especially since it lets you adjust the volume on the machine before you start playing. It had yet another type of charge port too, so that's another adapter you had to have kicking around the place (I'm still using my SP adapter to charge my DS, the DS one never left the box).

      Mostly though, I found it hard to play games that use the shoulder buttons. I don't know if maybe it's just because my hands are too big, but those clicky shoulder buttons just seemed kind of slippery too, and the small form factor made it hard to use those in a more actiony game like Mario Kart without feeling like (or actually) dropping the thing.

      Also it's difficult to hit Pause when playing the e-reader :P

        Most of your points are talking about rollover compatibility which I don't think is ever a good indication of how good a system is. Oh you need to use a different charger that came supplied with the console? So what? You need a new link cable? Wirelss is around anyway. I don't think it's a good way to judge a system at all.

          You can hardly describe wireless as being "around" though. Certainly not in the way that you can pass it off with a hand-wave like you could with the DS. You had to get two adapters individually, which was both more expensive and more difficult to do (I hardly ever saw the things around), both with the adapters not being that common AND the Micro again having its own specific model instead of just using the same kind as the rest of the GBA family. Plus, the wireless adapters only worked with games that were built to be compatible with them. They weren't just a straight replacement for a link cable. And on top of all that, they only work for GBA-GBA connections. You couldn't use wireless to connect to the GameCube for anything (and the adapter setup means you can't do that either with the existing cable either, there were no GCN-GBM cables).

          I think it's a perfectly legitimate thing to judge the system by. It was supposed to be part of the GBA family. When the SP came along it played nicely with all the established GBA format while bringing improvements. The Micro came along and decided to start its own clubhouse, where only other Micros were allowed to play for no good reason at all. An especially bad decision seeing as it was released so late in the platform's life, with the DS having already been out for a good while. It would have been more acceptable if the SP had created this new sub-ecosystem and the Micro was joining that, but at this late stage in the game it was just needlessly gimping it and limiting its functionality with the existing library.

            *edit* I'll just have a different opinion to you and we'll leave it at that.

            Last edited 08/11/15 6:56 pm

              Aw, that's no fun :P

              I can concede that there's an element of perspective going on here, if it's your first/only GBA then it's probably pretty fantastic, since you're not worrying about integrating it with other stuff like I was - my primary goal with getting extra GBAs was to have a full setup for Four Swords Adventures available, so the inability to use my Micro is obviously going to be disappointing.

              I am curious as to your thoughts on the buttons though. Do you find the shoulder buttons to be at all awkward, something you just kind of put up with? Or perhaps you have smaller hands that make it easier to use? I'm not overly familiar with most of the games you listed, but they seem to be slower games than the likes of Metroid or Mario Kart so maybe it mightn't come up as much of an issue. Actually I think I had a little trouble with the d-pad when I was using it to play Rhythm Tengoku, punching in a whole bunch of different inputs for the drumming minigame. Though it might've just been that the Left button was so close to the outer edge, it made things tricky on the more complex rhythms. I think I ended up switching to playing it on my DS just so I had something easier to hold.

                I actually have enormous hands and somehow found the Micro was just as good/bad as my GBA SP. And you're spot on, I didn't have games that required too much action or use of the L/R buttons. They were a bit stiffer than the SP but I actually found that much better strangely, but again I wasn't playing fast games on them.

                I also didn't have any mates at that time with GBAs (I was 19 when I bought it?) so for me it wasn't a reason to worry.

                What I found though is at the time I bought it and had buyer's remorse. I wondered why I bought it compared to the SP. Then years later (2007) I went and did a ski season in Japan and took it and my PSP with me. Funnily enough the PSP sat there most of the time and I rekindled my love of GBAs! I ended up playing an absolute shedload of Pokemon, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance etc etc. It was just so easy to use, really small so I could pop it in my pocket wherever I went etc etc. I thought it exemplified what a gameboy should be about. So for me travelling with it is what has really shone a light on the little system that could, and thanks to ebay I still play on it to this day ^_^

        Cracked out my DS charger after my Advance SP charger literally fell to pieces.

    Had the same urge to get one a few years ago and did. The hardest part is finding faceplates that aren't just decals. Some boutique stores have started making their own (http://www.rosecoloredgaming.com, iirc), but for the most part you're stuck with what your GBM comes with.

    Always wanted on of these, can't really justify the purchase though when I've got a 3DS and a GBA. If I ever see one at a garage sale I'll pick one up for sure though.

    Behold, the NES special edition:Looks more like the Famicom one to me. ANd FTR, the NES special edition of the SP was cooler :P

    I've got a plain black one and the Famicom Special Edition. Beautiful handhelds. Mix it with a flash cart and it's a retro gaming delight.

    The NES one looks awesome, same as the Japanese gameboy pocket NES version. Shame that stuff never makes it to here. But they are awkward and clunky to hold. I sold one in good condition for $29 a few months ago.. So they do exist!

    Even after I'd owned the DS for some time, I still got one of these and ended up playing it exclusively, eventually handing down my DS to a nephew. Mine was the standard stainless steel colour look.

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