Customer Reviews: Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP - Platinum
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on March 9, 2003
Well, after playing the SP last week, I decided to write down my (random) thoughts about it.
I bought a Game Boy Advance on launch day in the U.S., and while it is a great system, I had a few problems with it. The main one being the screen. The first game I bought was Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, and I couldn't see worth a darn if there wasn't the exact right angle of light on it. So that's why, when I heard this new 'upgrade' was coming out, I was quite excited. Since you probably already know all the features of the SP, I'll address a few concerns some people have brought up.
One of my friends imported the SP from Japan, so I've actually had some playing time with it, and he used it on a long car trip, so...
When I first read about the SP, I was a little afraid my hands would be cramped with the small size. To my relief, I found that the GBA:SP is surprisingly comfortable to hold, and I have rather large hands. My friend, who played it while on a 1000 mile car trip across country, said his hands never felt at all cramped while playing. And he has small hands. Most reviewers have also said it fits the hands quite well. So it seems, whether you have big or small hands, hand cramps shouldn't be a problem, as it fits any hands quite well.
The light on this thing is the best available for the Game Boy Advance. Even better than the Afterburner. It covers the whole screens and leaves no area unlight or anything. It doesn't tint the screen in the slightest either. It's just too bad they didn't use a screen like this for the original GBA.
The fold-down screen is great, since my current GBA screen has several scratches on it.
Also more compact when closed, the SP is easier to carry around and use whenever you want.
It's a little annoying that you have to buy a separate adapter for headphones, but I don't ever use my GBA headphones, so it's not too big of a bother.
One thing that worries me though, is the fact that you are not supposed to change the battery without being a 'professional.' I mean, what if you are on a long plane ride and you don't have access to a power outlet. You probably won't be playing the thing the whole time you're on the plane, but still, it seems a little inconvenient.
Most of the things, such as the back-lit display and the rechargeable battery, were available for GBA, but they came at an extra cost, and often didn't work as well. So overall, this just seems to combine those things into higher quality first party objects at probably a little cheaper than you'd spend buying them separately.
For those complaining that you feel like you got cheated because they're releasing a new system so quickly, you should have expected it. Recently they have been upgrading their Game Boys quite frequently. This system is actually probably more designed for those who don't already have a GBA and want more options with theirs. And for those who do have one and simply cannot live with the current model. Yeah, Nintendo is trying to get parents to spend more money, but what do you expect? That's every companies' goal, to try and get you to spend as much money as possible. If you simply can't stand the thought of Nintendo trying to cash in like this, don't buy the system and stop complaining. You say it's not that great of an upgrade, well then, don't buy it. Other people, who like the new model, will be happy to buy it. If you don't, wait for the true sequel with upgraded graphics. (Sorry, I had to get that out.)
Overall, it should be great for those long car rides and times when you are really bored.
The game selection for the Game Boy Advance is great and getting better, so if you're a first time GBA player, don't worry about software choice, as there is a ton. Also, if you are a first time GBA buyer, this is definitely the version to get, despite being a little more expensive than the regular model.
I'm glad Nintendo finally listened to its fans and made this upgrade. Sometimes they make questionable decisions (sure they make tons of money, GameCube is great, but one has to admit... Some of their decisions,) but I think this is one of their great decisions.
Now, I'm not going to say whether it's really worth [the money] yet or not, because I'm not sure. I think it is, and I'll be buying it. But if you really don't have many problems with the screen and you don't use your Game Boy often, it's probably not the best choice. Besides the fact that one can be quite sure within the next couple of years a new Game Boy will be released with improved graphical capiblities and all that stuff. To add to that, if you're patient, there will most likely be a price drop soon enough. But if you have had problems with the screen and you would like an upgrade to your system, it's worth it.
In review:
- Excellent back-light display
- Smaller than original
- Rechargeable battery lasts a long time
- Comes with an AC adapter
- Fits hands very well
- Fold-down screen prevents scratches
- A bit pricey if already own current model
- Headphone jack
- If rechargeable batteries run out while on a plane or something, you won't be able to play until you get to a power source.
- Cannot play Kirby's Tilt and Tumble. :(
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on January 22, 2003
We'll, I've been playing Game Boy's and their games since the original came out, but I've persounally never bought one myself (friends, relatives, brothers and sisters have though). Why? Because I COULDN'T see the screen! It got to a point where in broad daylight, riding in the car, I'd need to turn on the snake light to see (which causes a glare itself). It's always had great games, great graphics, and great sound. But the problem is, it's always been difficult to play all of those awsome games on the Game Boy Systems. Well, the new and improved GameBoy Advance SP, replacing the less than 2-year old GBA (GameBoy Advance), is a HUGE improvement for one simple reason. Here's a sort of preview of Nintendo's latest GameBoy:
Facts: The GameBoy SP is the most sophisticated and stylish handheld system ever to be released. It has a folding screen, and when folded, is smaller than even the current Game Boy Advance, and claims to fit "perfectly" into one's pocket. The system itself is powered by a battery, which has ten hours of gameplay and is rechargable, taking only 3 hours to recharge.
What else is new? It has a frontlight, making it possible too *gasp* see the screen! It makes all the colors and details hard to usually make out in past GameBoy games crystal clear on your screen, so u can play it anywhere, anytime. Even at night in a pitch black room! You don't need to use endless batteries anymore, as the GBA: SP recharges itself after 3 hours for 10 whole hours of fresh use (this includes using the light). When the screen is turned OFF (light), the battery lasts an additional 8 hours, meaning u can play your GBA: SP without tripple AAA batteries for up 18 hours after it's recharged. That's a HUGE improvement!
The GameBoy Advance: SP plays all Game Boy games ever made, so u can trade in all of your GameBoy systems and play all of your favorite games (including Pocket, Color, and of course, Advance GameBoys) on the same system, NOW WITH LIGHT. See why u have to get this!?
1) The system is actually smaller than the GBA, and fits perfectly into your pocket.
2) You can play thousands of games on the GameBoy Advance: SP. Every GameBoy game ever made works on this sytem. It's time to get the old Mario's and Zelda's and Pokemons's out!
3) It will be released in 2 colors ONLY at launch: Platinum and Cobalt.
4) The system features a front light (so u can now c your games), and a built in battery. So u can play for up to 10 hours with the front light, then recharge at the hotel, and play for 10 hours on the trip the next day.
Well, this is the FIRST Game Boy system I've actually counsidered buying. No batteries, a front light, and u can play all those games u were playing 8 years ago. Could it get any better?
Well, I hope I gave u a few facts, and proved to you that NO, this is not another GameBoy, or even just an add-on from GameBoy Advance. This is a new and improved GameBoy people, and will be available everywhere March 23, 2003 (North America only).
(Notes: The GameBoy Advance will NOT be discontinued, but will continue to be manufactered and sold by Nintendo. Don't worry GBA owners, you can still play and buy your GBA games.
Oh, one more thing. Game Boy Advance: (SP) (stands for *Special Project*).)
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on June 9, 2003
I am planing on getting an SP, but I wanted to try one out before I got one. Luckily my next door neighbor's little brother has one.
The second I saw it when he pulled it out of his closet, I thought, "I have to play it". But when I played it, it was very comfortable considering the fact that I have carpal tunnel syndrom! And that niffty little light behind the screen really turned me on.
The SP wieghs about 5 ounces and is really good for car trips, plane rides, ect., because of its' compact size.
Overall, I think that the SP is a really good idea and I am definitely getting one! Anyway, I hope that my review was a good reference and if it helps you decide to get one, I would be flattered!!!!!
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on June 5, 2003
Thank you, Nintendo! Finally a screen I can actually see! The graphics look amazing. This little pocket sized system is one of the cooler gadgets I've seen in a long time. I love that it folds up- with the screen folded all the way up it's just like playing the meatier old gameboys. With the screen folded in, it's much smaller and easier to tote around.
The rechargable battery is great. The silver looks classy, and I love the game selections.
This is at long last a portable video game system that I actually can use out of the box without buying any adapters or accessories. I am in love.
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on November 14, 2003
My little brother got this gameboy this afternoon for his birthday, and he was real happy. Since he has Asperger Syndrome, it's really hard to get him to find anything he likes. Ever since he had a gameboy, there where no more problems. I watched him playing this new SP, and I can see it has some controversial parts to it:
The light. some people may say that they can just get the gameboy attach light, but really, they don't light up the whole screen. The regular Advances have a really dark screen, and even with the light it was too dark. With the built it light, you can see the whole screen, and no attachments.
The color (in both ways). for one thing, the colors of the graphics aren't much different from the regular Advance. But if you have one of the regular gameboys, or the color version, you will see that the graphics are really superb to the old ones. For those of you who have a palm pilot, the light is that much lit up, and the color is that much colorful. Except the graphics look better, and more defined. And the actual colors of the gameboy are real different. Most of the old colors where boring, but the new SP colors are shiny and metallic (even though I myself think that they sould come out with some more colors, which is why I still haven't gotten one).
The weight and size. these things are really light!, and small! If you took around 20 pieces of printer paper and folded them to the lenght the size of the distance between two holes on a three hole puncher, that would be the weight and size of the thing (at least that's an estimate, I'm not actually holding it, and that's what it felt like compared to the advance).
The price. This is arguementable. If you have the Gameboy color or older, the next new one you should get is this one. If you have the regular Advance, I advise you to wait. The prices will go down to $60 or $70, and then another better, newer model will come out. They always do. I waited to get the Advance, and by the time the prices went down there was a new model out.
HEADPHONES! They had headphones on the old ones, but not on this. My brother for some reason CAN NOT PLAY WITH THE SOUND OFF because he makes songs to them and turns it up. He doesn't realize your'e telling him to turn the sound off, and then he wishes he has headphones. But for those of you who like the music, but play around lots of people, or those of you like me, who think the music is annoying and want your little siblings with brain disorders to turn off the music because it is bugging you and everybody else, this is a BIG DRAWBACK. But one of the only ones. And if we all say stuff about the headphones on this site, then the nintendo people will make a new one with headphones(seen there's one reason why they will make a new version of gameboy. and another, and another. if they don't they will go out of business anyway).
The tilt. You can tilt the screen anyway you need to see it, while still having the buttons in a comfortable position. And it folds like a wallet, and I bet you could put it IN a large wallet.
Battery. They have all these battery things that you can put in. Ask somebody else about the details, but all the adapters, chargers, and other things can blow your mind.
that's about all I can think of, but you can add more with your own review after you actually see the thing. Now ask yourself: why do some reviews have to be soooooo long? for one, It takes the writer a long time, for another, nobody actually cares what the writer thinks really. But I wasted my time writing one anyway, because somebody has to write these reviews!
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on December 9, 2003
This is truly phenomanal. It has a big improvement over the original GBA. I'll list the pros and cons now, but first, personal experience.
I have seen varios amounts of SPs but only Platinum and Cobalt, Platinum more often.
The feel is spectacular, if you are worrying about being cramped, DON'T it is just like holding a GBC/GBP and it has an AWESOME light up screen.
The rechargeable battery is cool and if it goes comepletly dead, you can buy another one for $20.
The simple flaw is headphones, me, I only JUST got into the headphone craze and there being no port sucks, and they say they didn't put it in for portabality. but there is an adapter that lets you listen to headphones. Normally, you can't listen while charging, but I came apon a jack that lets you listen to headphones while chaging, or just listen to a CD....
There is said to be specks of dust on the screen. .... I've played a GBC with a scratch and a shadow for 2 years. No biggie. Just IGNORE IT or get nintendo to remove it.
The lap-top design is a main effect. It was cool how they do the screen and all, and I'm alwazed amazed on HOW they get the wires connected to the screen.

THE MAJOR FLAW IS IN THE PLATINUM SP, THE PAINT IS SPRAYED ON SO IT SCRATCHES, THE OTHERS ARE COLORED PLASTIC AND DO NOT SCRATCH!!! Unless you want the system of the next coupla years to look [bad], get flame, onyx, or cobalt. COBALT IS NOT PURPLE, IT'S BLUE. Now, the pros and cons.
-excellent design
-a light up screen from the SIDE, it's not back lighting.\
-Need to buy a headphone jack (which review DOESN'T have this in there CONS)
-Chargeable batterie dies eventually and you need to get a new one instead of using regular batteries for the time.
-The Platinum one scratches.
That's it. The only thing that POs me is why the platinum scratches.
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on March 13, 2003
I bought a Game Boy Advance SP imported from Japan and have been using it for almost 2 weeks now. How did I ever play these games without a lighted screen?
The ritual with my standard GBA was, find a decent light source, and sit under it, back straight, craning my neck downward the whole time. As a result, I never played for very long. But with the SP's front light, you can play anywhere, in any position. That alone is worth the price of this machine. But the flip-screen design is also a major bonus. It'll keep the screen safe when the system's not in use. Also, the rechargeable battery is far more convenient than having to exchange AAs when you need fresh juice. Just keep the light turned off when you have good lighting to play under, and the battery will keep you going for a good 12 hours.
One thing to be wary of if you buy the Platinum unit (not sure about the Cobalt): the silver paint comes off relatively easily if you subject the GBA SP to rough handling, so get a carrying case for it. Other than that, I can't find a single fault with this game system. If you already own a GBA without an Afterburner installed, buy the SP. If you've never owned a Gameboy before, this is the time to jump in. You get a sleek, sophisticated unit and a library of great games to play on the go.
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on February 24, 2003
The GBA SP is a great item! I love mine! The light is great. The battery's great. It's comfortable to hold... But the platinum model has a sort of "paint" that scratches off VERY easily. If you get Platinum, expect it to look horrible after a week of play.
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on May 23, 2003
The folks at Nintendo have really out done themselves this time. Game Boy Advance SP is a much better unit than original GBA...let me count the ways..
1. The screen is now backlit. Yes you can actually view the action on the screen without having to tilt the screen to get "the right light", or using an annoying worm light.
2. Rechargeable power supply in now a built-in instead of an add-on. One fully charged you can get up to 10 hours of power. If you are on the road longer than that there is a charger now available for use in your car.
3. The clamshell design helps protect the screen from damage/scratches while not in play, and literally fits in your pocket when closed. The size of the screen was not compromised one's still the same size as the old GBA.
4. Yes this baby is backwards compatible, just like GBA.
For those of you wondering whether it's worth the investment, consider the following:
1. Some gaming retailers may let you trade in your old unit, which takes a bite out of the cost of the upgrade
2. GBA games have much better graphics and features than GB and GB Color games. On this unit you can actually SEE everything.
3. This is simply the best travel game out there. It has kept my child occupied on an airplane for 6 hours, which in my opinion is worth the price of admission alone. You parents out there know what I am talking about...there is nothing worse than being stranded on an airplane with a child who does not want to be on an airplane. I used to bring a huge bag of activities to keep my kid busy on trips, and he would be done with everything inside an hour. This has all been reduced to the GBA SP that fits in my pocket, and keeps him busy for the duration of the more lugging a 20 lb bag through the more "Mom I'm bored". Also a great activity when your child in sick in bed and bored out of their mind...keeps 'em busy and gets their mind off how crummy they feel. 'Nuff said..
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on March 7, 2003
This game boy comes with a built in lightwith a light switch,well thats good news,but The Game Boy Advance SP is a lott smaller then the standard Game Boy Advance and can fold up like a tinylaptop computer when not being played.And it doesnt use any standard batteries,the Game Boy Advance SP needs to charge like a regular cell phone with an AC adapter.A Lithium ion battery is built in and cannot be removed or replaced.Nintendo claims that with 3 hours of charging equals 10 hours of play or 18 if you dont use the light.but the AC adapter can be used as a regular power source so you can play the Game Boy Advance SP can be played while plugged into the wall. The Game Boy Advance SP will have the standard D-pad ,A and B buttons plus START and SELECT.The L and R buttons are smaller and are placed behind the flip top screen.A new Front Light Screen (FLS) button has been added just under the display that functions as the off/on switch for the light.A new sliding volume switch is located on the right side. Games will be inserted from the bottum of the unit instead of from the top like the regular Game Boy Advance and the original. In addition the Game Boy Advance games,the Game Boy Advance SP will also support old and new Game Boy and Game Boy Color games.The games with the built in sensors like Kirby's Tilt'N'Tumble may not work properly with this unit because the cartridge would be flipped upside down during play. The new Game Boy Advance SP screen is the same exact size as the regular Game Boy Advance screen. The Game Boy Advance SP will come with a AC adapter and headphone adapter. The headphone adapter will be required for any regular headphone set since the Game Boy Advance SP doesnt have a mini-plug input.In fact the headphone adapter uses the same port as the AC adapter ,so using headphones while the unit is plugged into the AC adapter would be impossible. Another concern is that Nintendo is still struggling to come up with with a solution for consumers if their internal Lithium ion battery dies from overuse. Three colors are offered in Japan:cobalt,platinum,and black.But in the U.S. only two colors are offered:cobalt and platinum.In the U.S. the Game Boy Advance SP will be available ... on March 23one day before the release of the game The Legend of Zelda:The Wind Waker for the Gamecube.THANK YOU FOR READING MY REVIEW ON THE GAME BOY ADVANCE SP..............
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