Game Boy Micro


posted 12/1/2005 by Sean Colleli
other articles by Sean Colleli
One Page Platforms: GBA
The Micro is most definitely image-conscious, with the most sex appeal of Nintendo’s consoles except maybe the forthcoming Revolution. Despite all of this focus on appearance, the Micro is also remarkably good at doing its job: playing video games. The snug control layout takes a bit of getting used to, but is quite comfortable after some practice. The screen, probably the focus of the most doubt and debate, is a surprise within itself. It has five levels of brightness, adjusted by holding the left trigger and manipulating the volume control on the right side of the Micro. Indeed, it is the brightest of all Nintendo’s portables, even outshining the DS.

This means it’s crystal clear in almost any conditions, be it sunlight or pitch black darkness. The screen size, a little under two inches long and a smidge over an inch high, isn’t hard on the eyes either; I’ve played Harvest Moon for an hour straight without getting any eyestrain. GBA games actually look sharper and crisper on the Micro LCD, probably because the pixels are packed so tightly.

One of the Micro’s subtlest and most appreciated features is its nondescript headphone jack. It’s on the bottom of the unit, on the lower right hand corner, and allows for easy listening without any detriment to control. In fact, the headphone experience is superior to the Micro’s single little speaker, which is just a tad on the tinny side.

I have but one question. If Nintendo can cram a headphone jack into a machine this small, then why isn’t there one on the GBA SP? Why do I have to buy an adaptor for a much larger console? Suffice it to say, I can finally play my GBA games in public and hear them too, I just wish I could do it on my clamshell-folding SP.

The flaws of the Micro are few, but significant. As I stated it only plays GBA games, so you’ll be getting a smaller machine that does less. The screen light can’t be turned off, so the battery life is technically shorter than the GBA SP’s by default, but who plays their SP with the light off anyway? Speaking of the SP, the Micro’s biggest competition is actually the latest upgrade of its larger cousin. Nintendo recently released the GBA SP Mark II (lots of acronyms!), which possesses a screen as bright as the Micro’s, but still lacks the headphone jack.

It all comes down to the consumer base. The iPod happy teens and casual gamer adults will appreciate the Micro for its discreet sense of taste, and its modifiable appearance. The Micro is basically about image, and it’s for people who don’t want to look like a geek while playing video games. Most of the hardcore will probably stick with their GBA SP’s, buy the new mark II, or use their DS’s to play their collection of GBA games. That said, the Micro is an impressive feat of miniaturized technology, a sexy little beast that will satisfy gadget connoisseurs, and finally a compact power house, capable of pushing the same graphics of the SP as well as fitting into the tightest jeans.

Pick one up if you’re a gamer with a refined sense of class and the extra spending cash.

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