Switch is great, but GBA SP is the pinnacle of the public transport game

Image: Nintendo’s Life

Soapbox features allow our writers and individual contributors to voice their opinions on hot topics and random stuff they’ve mulled over. Todayalmost 20 years since GBA SP launched in Japan, Jim aargue the case why it still has a very important role in his daily life…

Ok, let’s deal with this first. It’s 2023 and I own an OLED Switch filled with great games and even some great Game Boy Advance game, also. So why – with one of Nintendo’s most successful consoles when sitting right there — am I still playing the Game Boy Advance SP? The answer (in case you’ve somehow stumbled without seeing the title): public transit.

Gaming on the go is a strange beast. Since the advent of handheld game consoles, the concept of playing your games wherever you are has become commonplace. the Big selling point in the sales race. Why play? Skyrim on your TV when you can play it on one of those giant drop-down airplane tables that only exist in TV commercials?

I moved to London six months ago and since then my commute has been much more Tube focused. Although I used to make odd decisions like walk or bike to a location 20 minutes away, I am now one of the Big City Kids you see in But the movie™ — without walking shoes, I’ll hop on the Subway.

But this comes with its own set of challenges. I’ve been lucky enough to ride on a number of subway networks in my time (I know, for your applause) and I’ve yet to find one that doesn’t make me want to put my headphones on. so much so that I couldn’t hear myself think. Usually, there’s no cell phone signal on these journeys, so you have to play some trashy Flash-y game that a YouTube ad says “you must play”, stare Stare into the abyss of the gum-filled floor to avoid catching anyone’s eyes, or take a game console with you on the trip.

GBA game stack
Just look at those games – Image: Zion Grassl / Nintendo’s Life

The thing is, this is a crowded market these days. On the one hand, you’ve got the somewhat novel family of Switches and Decks, but there’s a large selection of so-called “classic” consoles that also fit the bill from the old days of *gulp* 10 years formerly. I’m talking about your DS, 3DS and PSP. Yes, the console is outdated, but still offers the portable feel we so desperately crave. However, none of these can match the Game Boy Advance SP.

The Switch, although filled with great games, is too big for this. Most people can’t fit one in their pocket, and even if you take one with you when you leave the house, playing Nintendo’s latest game in a crowded carriage is sure to attract attention. unwanted from the people around you. “Wait a minute, he’s not staring into the abyss of his phone. What’s going on?”

The same can be said about the 3DS. Yes, it’s easier to get in the bag, but you open up to that bad boy on the train or the bus and it’ll be pretty obvious that you’re the weirdo. There’s no point in trying to break the case of curious village when a sly kid across the street gives you “do you have a game?” eye.

And so we landed comfortably on the GBA SP. It slides in most of the pocket (I wear men’s jeans and understand I’m incredibly lucky to be in the pocket-sized department), is backlit and when unfolded is no larger than a standard phone these days. In fact, at first glance, others might think I’m tapping on one of those sci-fi-looking new-old-new folding phones and continuing my quest to find one. dirty chairs without knowing that I was actually taking orders. from the talking hat on the Game Boy two decades ago.

GBA SP Minish Cap
Just to be clear, this is the talking hat I’m talking about— Image: Zion Grassl / Nintendo’s Life

Furthermore, there is a library of games to boot, ensuring that no two journeys are alike. Yes, we all have at least one bad movie title *looks at my copy of GBA shamefully Pirates of the Caribbean: Death Chest*, but for the most part, there are games for every occasion. I have completed a full play of Emerald Pokémon and i am currently working on A path to the past intended for longer rides, but there are plenty of titles that are broken down into sharp 10-minute levels that make it feel like driving a few stops before jumping off — Advanced Super Mario, Land of War 4Crash and Spyro packages that everyone seems to own, the list goes on!

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