Saturday, March 28, 2015

My Personal Favorite: The Nintendo GameBoy Advance SP Model AGS-101

My GBA SP AGS-101 with the brighter screen

Let me start off by saying that this particular model of the GBA is the BEST way to play all kinds of GameBoy games in existence – even the old black and white, and the color cartridges. It will play the best GBA games no problem, and play all the Gameboy games you can think of in the best way possible... Well, I say that because this particular model of the Gameboy Advance has a backlight…
That’s why I love this model of the GBA SP. Imagine the vast library of games: the GBA games, the original black and white GameBoy games, and the GameBoy Color games – all of those will be playable. One might contend that the Nintendo DS is also backlit and backwards compatible… But it can only play GBA games in addition to the DS games.

The Gameboy Advance didn’t start off with a backlight – heck! Even the first SP upgrade just featured a frontlight which looks bland and washed out compared to backlighting. I remember buying the GBA when it first came out… I was blown away by the specs and the potential of the system, but was horrified that I can’t really see the screen except when in bright light conditions… The screen was great, for the first time it was in a widescreen aspect ratio... And, the graphics were awesome. The colors are rich and vibrant and the GBA games just looked good to play. The only problem was the screen… They probably did this to increase battery life, and the GameBoy Advance only needed 2 AA batteries.

Nintendo Game Boy Advance
The first release of the Game Boy Advance

For a long time, the Game Boy family needed an upgrade – while the GameBoy Color was released just a couple of years earlier than the GBA, it wasn’t a huge leap technology wise. Don’t get me wrong, I love the GBC, it had some awesome games… But the GameBoy family really needed a big upgrade in the technological standpoint. Then came the GameBoy Advance, which was followed by an upgrade a couple of years later. The upgrade was the GameBoy Advance SP Model AGS-001, which had a front light (or sidelight?)… The tech specs are basically the same from the GBA… But, it was the first GameBoy to have a rechargeable battery – so gone are the days of constantly buying those AA batteries. It also had a new great clamshell design, which made it more portable. I also bought the SP when it was first released. While the screen was lighted, it wasn’t as bright as you would expect… The colors were all washed out and bland. It wasn’t really comparable to the backlit screens that you would normally see on a phone, for example. So, I could say that I wasn’t impressed by it.

Then after a few years, in 2005, Nintendo released a newer GameBoy Advance SP… The box had a text that said: Brighter screen. At last my prayers were answered, they released a backlit model! The GameBoy Advance SP Model AGS-101 was born. It was released around the same time as the GameBoy Micro – which I will delve into in another article. You can distinguish the two models of the SP with the text on the back... The frontlit model had AGS-001 written on the back, and the backlit model had AGS-101. The screen was a huge leap from the AGS-001… The GBA games, and all other Game Boy games you put on it look phenomenal. It gave a new lease on life on the older Game Boy games, because you wanted to see how they will look and play with a superb backlit screen.

Yoshi's Island on the GBA AGS-101 
Yoshi's Island on the GBA AGS-101

AGS-101 designation on the back
The AGS-101 designation on the back

The GameBoy Advance SP Model AGS-101 is the best Game boy ever released in my opinion… It had the terrific backlit screen, the clamshell design and the superb processing power of the GameBoy Advance. The Nintendo DS is only backwards compatible with GBA games and the GameBoy Micro didn’t do so well for various reasons, so I would say that the GBA SP AGS-101 wins out. It’s really the best system to play the best GBA games and all kinds of Game Boy games. The GameBoy Advance SP Model AGS-101 is still available for sale online, new and used

GameBoy Advance SP

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