Sometimes we receive fan mail that deserves a post of its own, and when I saw this submission from Christian Mills, I found that it was worth sharing.
Much like him, I laughed at the Gameboy Micro when it hit the shelves. Now, as I build my gaming/console collection, I must admit that I forgot all about the little slice of Nintendo History. Not only has Christian reminded me of the pocket sized handheld, but has ignited an urge to add one to my collection. If they are inexpensive enough, I might even add one of each variation (wow, I just checked ebay, and they seem to start at around $50 and go way up from there!).
Give Christian’s submission a read, and let us know what handheld/console you previously laughed at, but secretly want now.
The time of the Gameboy Micro.
by: Christian Mills
I have a confession. I want a Gameboy Micro. There, I said it. The phrase that almost no one on the planet has said without sarcasm. This wave of nostalgia and regret that I didn’t buy one when I had the chance was brought about by a random event the other day. I was cleaning my house and stumbled upon my old copy of Boktai: The Sun is in Your Hand. Boktai is a fantastic game from my youth that encouraged playing outside in the sun, or in my case to play for hours sitting under my sister’s blacklight. An adult may wonder WHY my sister had a blacklight in her room, but as a child I was far more interested in the in-game benefit it provided me without the drawback of sitting outside in the cold, unforgiving Utah winter.
Wondering if my save data was still on the cart and if the solar sensor still functioned, I grabbed my DS replacement, a shiny new 3DS. It was only when I pulled my 3DS out of its case did I remember a disturbing fact about the 3DS. It has no GBA slot. I own multiple other devices that have the ability to play a GBA game — namely a Gameboy Advance SP and a DS — but now I had to find them. And if I found it, then I would have to haul two clam shaped electronic devices around. It was at this moment I realized the truth. I wish I had a Gameboy Micro.
The Gameboy Micro was by no means a success. It hit the market at an interesting time for Nintendo. The Micro was released almost a year after the first edition of the Nintendo DS line, which was the replacement for the Gameboy line. To many, the Micro was obsolete the second it hit shelves and this mentality carried over into its sales. The Micro reportedly only sold around 2.4 million units, about 5% of the number of Gameboy Advanced SPs sold. It was easily outpaced by the Nintendo DS and quickly faded into history as one of the biggest flops in Nintendo’s history.
But now I want one, for one of the reasons it failed in the first place. Its size.
The screen on the Micro is small; nay, tiny. Measuring a mere 2 inches, the Micro’s screen was almost a full inch smaller than the GBA and SP screen size. This was viewed as a step backwards rather than forwards. Nowadays, small is the new big. A number of large electronics production companies have begun focusing on previously created products but repackaging them in smaller cases, such as the newer versions of the Apple TV, iPad Mini, the entire wave of 7 inch tablets, and Ultrabooks. The micro fits right into this schema. Same functionality as before but in a smaller size, making it significantly easier to carry around in a pocket or extra space in my laptop bag? Sign me up.
Perhaps the Gameboy Micro would not be a success in today’s market. People would still gripe about the small screen size, and the lack of backwards compatibility is a major issue. The design concept of the Micro was ahead of it’s time. Going smaller, rather than bigger, is far more common and acceptable in today’s market, especially when it comes to mobile entertainment. I don’t want to have to lug two giant molluscs around so I can play GBA games as well as modern games. Perhaps I could just knock the top half of my DS off and use the bottom half as an improvised Gameboy Advanced.