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"Game Boy Advance Debuts in US"

The original Game Boy is perhaps one of the best machines in the short history of video games. Along with the Game Boy Color, the Game Boy has sold a staggering 110 million
devices since it was released in 1989. With the release of the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo
is hoping to continue their dominance in the handheld gaming marketplace where they have
accounted for more than 90 percent of the global market and as much as 20 percent of the
total worldwide sales in any video game category.

The Game Boy Advance officially hit US stores on Monday at a suggested retail price of a
little less than one hundred dollars. It is a big improvement over the previous version of the device, which utilized a very slow 8-bit processor. On the other hand, the Advance uses a 32-bit chip that is more comparable to the original Sony Playstation than the Game Boy.

Along with the upgrade to the processing speed, the Game Boy Advance offers several
improvements to other areas of the device, most impressive of which is the new active-matrix LCD screen. It now measures 240 x 160 pixels and can display over 500 colors on the screen at a given time. The system uses a reflective LCD that is great for outdoors areas where everything displays perfectly, even in direct sunlight. Unfortunately, the device doesn't display objects nearly as well indoors, so you will probably be interested in purchasing an add-on light source. It's larger size and quicker processing speed should equal game play that has not been possible with previous handheld systems.

In order to improve the quality of the device as much as possible, Nintendo has also improved the sound the Game Boy Advance can produce. Along with the ability to simulate surround sound types of effects, the device provides stereo sound over headphones. This is a big improvement over the previous mono sounds offered by the Game Boy and may open the door for using the Game Boy Advance for doing other tasks such as playing MP3's.

One of the most interesting uses of the new system will be to connect it to the Gamecube,
Nintendo's next generation console that will be released in November. Once connected, you
will have the ability to use the device as a game controller and may even have the ability
to do some interesting options that are game specific. For example, if you are playing a
football game against a human opponent, you may not want them to see the plays you are
selecting on offense or defense. Using the Game Boy Advance, you could conceivably view
the plays on its display rather than the television, which would keep it hidden from your
competitor. This is a simple example and with some creative thinking, there are many ways
that Nintendo and other game developers could take advantage of the Game Boy Advance as a

The current list of games available in the US includes many titles that are probably obvious to most game player like Super Mario Advance. Along with Mario, you'll also have the ability to play games such as Tony Hawk 2, Castlevania and Ubi Soft's Rayman Advance. By Christmas, there are certain to be many more games available for this exciting platform.

  - by Clayton Crooks

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