This years marks the 20th anniversary of the Game Boy Advance’s release. Here are a few ways Nintendo could commemorate the iconic handheld console.
It’s been a busy two years for Nintendo, in terms of anniversary celebrations. Last year was the 35th anniversary of Super Mario, and this year is The Legend of Zelda‘s 35th, along with several other Nintendo franchises. Somewhat overlooked in Nintendo’s storm of marquee anniversaries is the fact the Game Boy Advance turns 20 years old this year. March 21, 2021 marked 20 years since the GBA’s release in Japan, and June 11 will be the same for its U.S. launch. Nintendo should do something special to commemorate this classic handheld console.
Nintendo has released a number of successful, cutting-edge handhelds over the years. From the Game & Watch all the way to the 3DS, Nintendo has managed to revolutionize handheld gaming with nearly every one of its new systems. While it may not seem all that revolutionary 20 years after its release, the Game Boy Advance remains one of the most iconic Nintendo consoles, even among such stiff competition.
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The GBA was a significant upgrade over the Game Boy Color that came before it, and in the early 2000s, the Game Boy Advance was a must-have for any Nintendo fan. According to Nintendo, the GBA sold 81.51 million units worldwide, ranking it fourth in sales of any Nintendo console, with only the Nintendo DS, Game Boy, and Wii outselling it (though the Switch is close to surpassing it, already). The console introduced many now-classic Nintendo games, furthering long-standing franchises like The Legend of Zelda, Metroid and Pokémon, while also introducing old favorites to a new generation, with games like Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3.
The Nintendo Switch Needs A GBA Virtual Console For Its 20th Anniversary
Creating a GBA Virtual Console, of sorts, on the Switch would be the easiest way for Nintendo to celebrate. The system already offers NES and SNES games via the Nintendo Switch Online service, so the template is already there. Since Game Boy Advance game graphics are generally on par with SNES, creating a collection of the GBA’s best games shouldn’t be all that difficult. Many hit GBA games are difficult to find nowadays, too, so a service that allows fans to revisit some of its best games would be a huge hit.
Another way to celebrate the Game Boy Advance would be to offer a classic console, similar to the NES and SNES Classic Editions. Releasing an updated GBA with a backlit screen, a rechargeable battery, and pre-installed games would be a huge nostalgia trip for fans. There already seems to be a market for an updated version of a classic console, as the Game Boy cartridge-playing Analogue Pocket is something a lot of Nintendo fans are excited about. Considering the SNES Classic sold more than 2 million units in a month, a Game Boy Advance Classic Edition would have the makings of a major success.
There’s no telling what Nintendo might have up its sleeve for the Game Boy Advance’s 20th anniversary – if anything at all. The 20th anniversary of the console’s release in Japan passed unceremoniously, so there’s a chance Nintendo doesn’t see this as something worth commemorating. Nonetheless, the Game Boy Advance is one of the best Nintendo consoles and is more than deserving of some type of recognition.
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