Game Boy Micro


posted 12/1/2005 by Sean Colleli
other articles by Sean Colleli
One Page Platforms: GBA
I must have deliberated for a week before purchasing Nintendo’s latest version of the Game Boy. It was an epic mental struggle, a psychological clash between desire and logic that ultimately...never mind. In light of all the self-debating, I am quite pleased with my new super-portable Game Boy, even though it left a Ben Franklin shaped hole in my savings account. Hopefully I can recount just what makes the Micro worth the hundo you’ll drop for it.

The obvious selling point is the size of the machine. Without a doubt, the Game Boy Micro is the smallest gaming console ever created, and you can’t really get an idea of how small it is until you hold it in the palm of your hand. It’s smaller than an NES controller. The GBA cartridges it plays are bigger than the Micro’s screen itself. In fact, when comparing the size of the game paks to the system, you’ll be amazed that with such a honking huge cartridge inside, there’s still enough room for the GBA’s processing guts.

And that’s where one of the Micro’s chief down points comes in: it plays only Game Boy Advance cartridges. No classic Game Boy Games. No Game Boy Color games. What the Micro gains in portability, it loses in versatility; there just isn’t enough room in the Micro’s diminutive frame for two processors. Nintendo is quick to stress that the GBA game library has over 700 titles, and I’m sure that’s enough to keep the average consumer busy, but I still won’t be able to play my copy of Metroid II on the Micro.

The average consumer, however, is the target demographic. Odds are they’ve never heard of Metroid II Return of Samus, so they’ll be perfectly happy with the massive GBA library. They’ll also be enamored with the Micro’s distinct sense of style as well. Everything about the past Game Boy models has been sleeked and sexified. The Micro comes in two colors, black and silver. Power and charge lights have been eliminated; the start and select buttons now glow an icy blue or molten red depending on the battery level. There’s a small slot for a wrist strap, but oddly enough the strap itself is sold separately, unlike the one packaged with the DS. Shoulder buttons are larger and easier to manage, and the horizontal design of the original GBA is back for a more natural feel.

Interchangeable faceplates (the Micro comes with three) allow the console to match the player’s mood, so if you’ve always wanted to deck your portable out in military camo, here’s your big chance. A pink ladybug-flower plate is perfect for the bubbly and flirtatious gamer, while I prefer the haunting nautilus X-ray image. It fits my smoldering, cynical outlook nicely.

The faceplates serve a practical purpose as well, by protecting the screen with a transparent layer of plastic. New styles and colors will be released soon at an affordable price, so picking up a new faceplate to replace your scratched old one won’t break the bank.

The Micro comes packed in a spiffy box that’s reminiscent of the iPod, and a first in package design for Nintendo. Accessories for the portable are more numerous than those for its GBA SP and DS older brothers; included with the Micro are a tool for popping the faceplates in and out, a specialized charger for the Micro’s smaller charging port, and a sleek velvet bag that keeps the console safe from dings and scratches.
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