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Game Boy Advance

Virtual Console photo
Virtual Console

Lucky! Europe gets Advance Wars 2 on Wii U

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, too
Jul 01
// Jordan Devore
One of my most-played Wii U games is, I kid you not, Advance Wars. That's not a judgment on the quality of the console's (lovely) exclusives, it's just that the game is really damn good. I'm dying for the sequel, my favorite ...
Obscure Video Games photo
Obscure Video Games

Obscure Video Games: Hachiemon

Put your lips together and throw
Apr 25
// Obscure Video Games
Hachiemon is not nearly as weird as it looks. Natsume and Namco unleashed this GBA game onto the people of Japan back in 2003, perhaps as their response to Kirby. The character, however, was created in 1995 as the mascot for ...

Beards optional: Embedded difficulty decisions in Fire Emblem

Mar 02 // Anna Anthropy
I have been playing a ton of Fire Emblem lately. I tried to take up cross stitch but my partner ended up taking over the cross stitch supplies, so I played Fire Emblem instead. I like how character-based it is: it's like Game of Thrones but without the threat of rape constantly hanging over all of the female characters. It's great! Fire Emblem is one of those strategy games where you pit your dudes against their dudes until one of you wins. Except that each of your dudes isn't just a pile of numbers, they're a pile of numbers with a face. If Neimi the Archer dies in battle, she's gone forever, but if you can keep her alive and give her enough opportunities to train her skills against the enemy, she can level up and eventually become something rad like a Sniper or an Archer-on-a-horse. Bad­ass. Marcus and Seth come with horse already attached. As Paladins, they're drastically over-leveled compared to your other forces when they join you, which is right at the beginning of the game. In all three games, you're equipped from the get-go with a character who can kill anything, cross the map quickly (because of the horse), and take an attack from nearly any of the low-level enemies you face that early in the game without flinching. These guys are essentially Easy Mode. But they're not a decision you make once and then live with the consequences of all game. They're a constant series of decisions: will I bring Seth out this round, or will I give the slots to one of my lower-leveled characters? Will I put Seth out in front to soak up blows or give other characters the chance to grab some experience? Seth is a get­-out­-of­-jail-free card: if a fight turns out to be too difficult, the enemies too strong, you can always pull out Seth and have him charge at something. You're continually making choices about whether to use Seth (or Marcus, or Old Marcus) and how. You can use him for the first few missions and then phase him out in favor of new characters. You can keep him around as a guaranteed bodyguard for the whole game. These decisions are different than the decision to pick "Easy Mode" or "Hard Mode" off of a menu at the beginning of a game. (Many of the Fire Emblem games have those too.) That's because the Easy / Normal / Hard decision is lacking in context. You have no frame of reference for that decision, no way to predict how "Easy" is different from "Hard" or what constitutes "Normal." Unless you've played the game before. But even then, it's not clear what makes Hard so different than the other options. Marcus­ -- or the gun that fires super powerful shots, but has a really long cool down before you can use it again, so it demands a lot of accuracy to use ­-- is a difficulty decision that you have context for, because you can constantly test the boundaries of his strength in actual play. You can watch him demolish a dude and then go, "Maybe I should let my Archer level up a bit." You can watch one of your characters lose half his hit points to a single enemy and decide, "Time to call in Marcus." These embedded difficulty decisions give the player the chance to continuously rescope her own desired difficulty level, allow her to find and fine ­tune the boundaries of her own play experience. Fire Emblem is real good at this sort of thing: Sacred Stones will sometimes periodically give you level one characters you can arduously level up into powerful fighters or over-classed powerful fighters that you can choose to put on the front lines, or not, or only when you're desperate. Because character's deaths are permanent in Fire Emblem, these late-­game reinforcements also give the player the chance to patch up holes in their forces with appropriately powerful characters. As designers, accessibility in our games is about more than just slapping some sexist "girlfriend mode" on at the end, but about giving players meaningful ways to tweak the parameters of their play experience. Give your player a gun with a weird anime beard that kills anything in one shot.­ Let her decide when to fire it. [Anna Anthropy is a play designer, critic and historian. You can support her on Patreon for regular updates on what she's working on. She also maintains, a growing repository of digitized games media.]
Game Design photo
Letting the player draw her own difficulty curve
[Destructoid likes to invite game developers to write editorials for us from time to time. Their opinions don't necessarily represent Destructoid as a whole, but they sure are interesting. Here is a fun one on how Fire Emblem...

Rockman & Forte photo
Rockman & Forte

Rockman & Forte is coming to the Wii U in GBA form

This month
Feb 10
// Chris Carter
Mega Man & Bass, known as Rockman & Forte in Japan, is my favorite Mega Man game. It originally debuted on the SNES, but was later converted to the Game Boy Advance -- it's the latter version that will be coming to th...

Pokémon Pinball GBA photo
Pokémon Pinball GBA

Europe gets Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire on Wii U this week

More where this came from, please
Dec 08
// Jordan Devore
A new pinball game out of Nintendo sure would be delightful. The time is right (because the time is always right for well-made pinball spinoff games). I don't see that happening anytime soon, granted, but there's always Pok&e...
Fire Emblem photo
Fire Emblem

Fire Emblem lands on Wii U Virtual Console in North America tomorrow

Dec 03
// Jordan Devore
I let out an involuntary "hell yeah!" upon hearing that Fire Emblem for Game Boy Advance is coming to the Wii U Virtual Console tomorrow, December 4. In fact, I think my body even twisted in excitement for a few seconds there...
Castlevania photo

The other two Castlevania GBA games are also coming to Wii U

Harmony of Dissonance and Aria of Sorrow Next hit next week
Oct 09
// Jordan Devore
As Chris reported this morning, Konami added Castlevania: Circle of the Moon to the Wii U Virtual Console today, priced at $7.99. This is good news, but it gets even better: the remaining two Castlevania titles for Game Boy A...
Reliving old games photo
Reliving old games

How long do you wait before replaying games?

Related: Fire Emblem is kicking my ass
Sep 19
// Jordan Devore
When I was younger, I would spend months -- and in some cases years, on and off -- completing the same videogames repeatedly. Forget new game plus. I didn't need extra motivation. This was back when I could only afford to buy...
Wii U photo
Wii U

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon hits Wii U in Japan real soon

Releasing next week on the Japanese Virtual Console
Aug 20
// Jordan Devore
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon is coming to the Wii U Virtual Console in Japan next week and one can only hope that the rest of the world will get it not long after. Playing Game Boy Advance games on Wii U has become one of ...
Available soon photo
Available soon

I want one of these SNES and Super Famicom-inspired GBAs

Game Boy sure has advanced
Jul 07
// Steven Hansen
Rose Colored Game is currently producing these fancy, backlit GBAs for connoisseurs who recognize the GBA's relative perfection. I own three myself and while a back light took me to the SP, which I also love, I sort of want t...
Metroid: Zero Mission photo
Metroid: Zero Mission

Metroid: Zero Mission coming to Wii U Virtual Console

Japanese fans getting a real treat
Jun 11
// Brittany Vincent
Rejoice, Metroid fans! One of the greatest entries in the franchise is making its way to the Wii U Virtual Console, and it could be slated for a North American release if we're lucky enough. Metroid: Zero Mission is headed fo...
Game Boy photo
Game Boy

Did You Know Gaming hits us with Part 2 of its Game Boy series

Make sure to check out the channel!
May 27
// Abel Girmay
Did you know, the Game Boy Color had wireless capabilities via an infrared sensor? Or that the system also had motion controls? Did you know that the Game Boy Advance was supposed to have online and wireless multiplayer at o...
RetroN photo

The RetroN 5 is my childhood of gaming in one box

Coming real soon
May 24
// Jordan Devore
Hyperkin's RetroN 5 console will be released in the Americas for $140 beginning June 6, 2014. It seems to be sold out for the time being, so I hope you got your pre-order in. This thing is a beast, supporting NES, Famicom, SN...
Game Boy  photo
Game Boy

You got a Game Boy emulator in my Oculus Rift

So meta
May 16
// Brittany Vincent
Yo, dawg. We heard you liked Game Boy, so we let you play virtual Game Boy via Oculus Rift with a huge headset with roms and a complicated setup instead of just handing you a Game Boy and Tetris. I kid. This is actually kind...
Nintendo  photo

Pick up replacement game manuals at Nintendo's online store

Or you could hit up ReplacementDocs, I reckon
May 16
// Brittany Vincent
If you've got a ton of Nintendo games just laying around without manuals and there are no gamer yard sales around to pillage, Nintendo has just the answer. The online store is selling a bevy of replacement manuals for games l...

Advance Wars is better than CoD: Advanced Warfare

May 07 // Jonathan Holmes
Kevin Spacey < Nell In Advance Wars (available now on the Wii U Virtual Console), you're playing as a military strategist working for the Orange Star Army, lead by a charming and heroic woman named Nell. She is smart, compassionate, and has an interesting backstory involving a rootin', tootin', sharp-shootin' defector named Grit. Unlike a lot of game characters today, she's not quick to over-share that backstory. She knows that you came to the battlefield to fight, not to hear her about her problems. She teaches you how to fight and aids you in battle with minimal intrusions. She maintains an engaging relationship with the player without relying on grandstanding monologues or anti-hero cliches in order to endear herself to us. She's just an awesome boss, the kind we'd all be lucky to have. Advanced Warfare's boss is a creepy Ken-doll version of Kevin Spacey. Just like the real Kevin Spacey, he's over dramatic, anti-heroic, full of himself, and known for making sadistic sexual advances on production assistants on the sets of his films. Unlike the real Kevin Spacey, he's entirely made from plastic. If you were to rub him really fast, you would generate very little heat, as plastic Spacey is too smooth for friction. If regular Kevin Spacey is like a banana, Advanced Warfare's Kevin Spacey is like a banana wearing a condom, except the banana also is a condom. Don't eat that banana. Advance Wars is modest genius, Advanced Warfare is grandiose mediocrity  Advance Wars was first released in 2001, but it looks and sounds just as good as any other $8 downloadable game on the market today, if not better. The character design is just the right combination of cool, cute, familiar, and unexpected. The graphics are clear, clean, and expressive, with great care taken to render even the most incidental details with love and attention. The music is catchy while remaining appropriate to the setting. It's a game that knows it is a videogame, and isn't trying to look or sound like anything but. It aims to do things that only videogames can do, and it does them all with excellence. Advanced Warfare tries to be a realistic drama, a near future sci-fi rollercoaster ride, a message about the evils of warmongering and a balls-to-the-wall tribute to killing people and blowing stuff up all at the same time. It aims to be worth more than it ever could be, like a billion-dollar bill with Paula Deen's face on one side, printed in Bobby Kotick's basement. It has the illusion of value, but is bankrupt of meaning.  Advance Wars is fair and balanced, Advanced Warfare is mostly bullshit Advance Wars is a game of many variables. There are many types of units to command, each with their own stats, ammo, and fuel supplies. From there you also have environmental hazards to manage, funds to generate to build more troops/tanks/planes/battleships, the wisdom to know what to build and when, and of course the special Commanding Officer's powers to master. It's a military strategy game with some Sim City-style resource management and fighting game-style meter building and super-move execution all thrown together. You'd think all those variables would lead to Advance Wars becoming something of a game of chance, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Thought, careful planning, and wise risk taking are all one needs to be a champion of Advance Wars. When you suffer a loss, it's always clear what you did wrong. The game is always fair. The player may feel regret and anxiety during a given challenge, but they will never feel short changed or flimflammed.  Contrast that with Advanced Warfare and you're pitted with a very different kind of challenge, one ruled by those who are most willing to build XP to gain access to game-breaking "perks," practice shooting people in the face, and generally abuse the system so they have an unfair advantage. When you die in Advance Warfare, you may not even see who killed you. The kill-cam footage that shows your death from an alternate angle may show you that a sniper shot you from a long way away. What could you have done to prevent that? Not walk where you walked? How were you to know that it was dangerous to walk in that area? What are you being taught in this moment, other than you're wasting your time with game that will punish you at any time, regardless of whether you've done anything "wrong" or not.  Advance Wars is a lovable farce, Advanced Warfare is grimdark glorification of real war Advance Wars originates from a culture that doesn't resonate with idea of "realistic warfare" as a potential avenue for fun. War is the most terrible thing in the human experience. It is the theft of belongings, of humanity, and of life. It is every form of crime and every type of abuse stacked on top of each other thousands upon thousands of times. There is literally nothing less "fun" than the concept of war. Yet, many love thinking about war. Fantasizing about fighting in this way gives them a sense of purpose, of potential heroism, of superiority, and of permission to be as terrible to other people as they'd like. Of course, in their fantasies, there is no real sadness or tragedy. Just drama, action, and power. Advance Wars plays like a parody of that vision of war. It's light cartoon drama, where the Commanding Officers smile and laugh as the witness enemy soldiers being blasted to their deaths, and frown with embarrassment when their own troops are murdered. Instead of "dying" in the conventional sense, decimated platoons are blown into the air like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. It makes the whole "war" thing a lot more palatable to imagine that every dead soldier in history is floating around in the air somewhere. Religious folks might call that concept "heaven." In Advance Wars, it's just everyday wartime physics.  While Advance Wars comes off like an Airplane!-esque parody of how the idea of war is softened and simplified into a palatable, marketable product, Advanced Warfare works to make war marketable without any irony or self awareness. It earnestly wants to be honest and unflinching in its depiction of the moral ambiguity of war while it encourages the player to get into a Gatling gun robot and murder a bunch of strangers in a realistic setting because it's fun. If you don't actually think war is something to be glorified, it's pretty clear which game will be more palatable to you.  Advance Wars innovates and experiments, Advanced Warfare stagnates and panders Advance Wars builds upon many aspects of turn-based strategy games without detracting from the genre's capacity for balance and economy of design. It adds a story element and fighting game psychology to the genre in an effort to add personality and unpredictability to the equation, but in ways that don't betray the original concept of the title. In short, it feels like an evolution and not a compromise or a defamation. On the other hand, Advanced Warfare is quite deformed, with facial features concocted from an amalgamation of sources. It's got Iron Man's War Machine for eyes, House of Cards power-hungry lead on its nose, the Conduit 2-enhanced soldier robots coming out of its ears, and Titanfall's parkour and mech "innovations" stuck in its teeth. It's a Frankensteining of various things that make a lot of money, sewn together into a makeshift, shambling horror. Where Advance Wars is beautiful and streamlined, Advanced Warfare is grotesque and bloated. Pre-rebuttal to the Socially Advanced Justice Warfare Warriors The longstanding rivalry between Advance Wars and Advanced Warfare has built up passionate followers on both sides. These followers are renown for their tribe-like loyalty to their game of choice and the fierceness with which they battle for their game's "side." I know that many of Advanced Warfare's most passionate defenders (the previously noted SAJWWs) will be upset beyond words to find that their game "lost" the now weeks-old battle between Advance Wars and Advanced Warfare. I'm sorry for that, but there is nothing to be done about it. One game is just better than the other one and that is that.  Some of you may be thinking "but Advance Wars just happens to fit with your developed tastes, temperament, and current total life equation. When a game fits with your preferences, it's much easier to see its good qualities and be unaffected by its lesser traits. This whole article is hogwash!" That's an interesting theory but it's entirely unfounded, and does nothing to change the fact that Advance Wars is better than Advanced Warfare -- a truth that I just unequivocally proved by stating it as fact. Still others may be thinking "How can you fairly assess a game that hasn't even come out yet? Shouldn't you wait until Advanced Warfare is out before you denounce it with such authority?" If you are thinking that, you're due for a dose of humility. How are you to know that I haven't played through all of Advanced Warfare three times already? You can't prove that I haven't, and therefore, I probably have. More so, if you haven't played through both Advance Wars and Advanced Warfare to completion several times (as I may have), then you are truly in no place to judge. You have absolutely no right to claim that Advanced Warfare is even a little bit better than Advance Wars. Instead, you should be grateful for the factual information that I have imparted onto you this day, and sit in silence as you ponder the important truths that are now echoing in your mind. Also, Jem is better than Jem.
CoD: Advanced Warfare photo
'Not sure if trolling...'
When the word leaked that the next Call of Duty game is called Advanced Warfare, there was just one thing everyone everywhere wanted to know -- will Advanced Warfare be as good as a 10-plus-year-old Game Boy Advance game with a name that sounds kind of like Advanced Warfare? Sadly, the answer is "no."

Mega Man Battle Network photo
Mega Man Battle Network

Mega Man Battle Network 3 rated for Wii U eShop

Both GBA versions
Apr 25
// Chris Carter
Both versions of Mega Man Battle Network 3 (Blue and White) have been rated for the Wii U eShop by the Australian Classification board, which of course highlights an impending release. Why Capcom would release the third ...
GBA on Wii U photo
GBA on Wii U

Australia rates Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, F-Zero: GP Legend for Wii U

Thanks for the heads up
Apr 04
// Jordan Devore
I do love a good ratings board heads-up every now and then. The Australian Classification Board has listed Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and F-Zero: GP Legend as coming to the Wii U Virtual Console now that Game Boy Advance tit...

Impressions: Shin Megami Tensei

Oldie but goodie
Mar 27
// Dale North
I've drained my iPhone's battery a few dozen times playing Shin Megami Tensei ($5.99, iPhone, available now) these past few weeks, so I felt it was time to weigh in with my impressions on this vintage role-playing game.
Wii U photo
Wii U

Advance Wars is Europe's first GBA title for Wii U Virtual Console

And it's out next week!
Mar 25
// Jordan Devore
Nintendo UK announced on Twitter that the region's first Game Boy Advance title to hit the Wii U Virtual Console will be none other than Advance Wars. Intelligent Systems' masterful turn-based strategy game is coming to the p...
Wii U VC photo
Wii U VC

Australian Classification Board rates two GBA games

Most likely for the upcoming Wii U VC
Feb 20
// Chris Carter
Nintendo recently revealed that GBA games would be coming to the Wii U Virtual Console, and we're already aware of Metroid Fusion, Mario and Luigi Super Star Saga, and Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3 would be ...
GBA VC photo

Natsume confirms that Nintendo is working on GBA VC

Will the Game Boy Advance finally come to the eShop for everyone?
Jan 31
// Chris Carter
Once upon a time, Nintendo delivered a handful of Game Boy Advance classics (like Metroid Fusion) to the 3DS as part of the Ambassador program. The only problem is, they never really followed up on adding any GBA ga...
Nintendo photo
Oh, yeah, the 2DS is out now!
In this pleasant little video from Family Gamer TV, nine Nintendo handhelds are battery tested including the brand new 2DS. The results aren't terribly surprising -- the 3DS line all kick off fairly close to one another, at ...

Pokemon photo

Pokemon grave stone fills me with all the feels

Catching shinies in the afterlife
Sep 30
// Tony Ponce
Among the readers here, I'm sure there are a few who are so engaged in videogames that they've effectively become your identity. Will your game-playing habits be what you are remembered for long after you've passed on? A man ...
Chris' Top 5 Mega Mans photo
Chris' Top 5 Mega Mans

Ranked: The five best Mega Man games (Carter's picks)

The Blue Bomber's best, ranked
Jun 25
// Chris Carter
It's no secret that fellow Destructoid author Tony Ponce and I enjoy a hearty serving of Mega Man on a daily basis. While I'll let Tony speak for himself in his own "Ranked" article, the reasons why I love the Mega Man series...

Super Retro Console plays SNES, NES, Genesis, GBA

May 01
// Dale North
The Super Retro Console and Adapter by Retro-bit doesn't have the best name, but I like what it could do for my old game collection. It accepts carts from the SNES, NES, Genesis, and through an adapter, GBA, covering mos...

Every (Japanese) GBA cartridge ever released for sale

eBay auction at nearly $6,000
Apr 25
// Dale North
Wouldn't it be cool to own every Game Boy Advance cartridge ever? It's still one of my favorite systems, and I've become obsessed with owning as many carts as possible these last few years. Trips to Japan have me bringing bac...
Mother 3 photo
Mother 3

Mother 3 fan translators offer their patch to Nintendo

... for free, of course
Apr 20
// Jonathan Holmes
Nintendo recently announced that they're releasing EarthBound on the Wii U virtual console in the U.S. and Europe. Then they debunked the theories that it hadn't been previously re-released because the music sounded too ...
RetroN 5 photo
RetroN 5

Hyperkin's new RetroN console will also support Famicom

Along with a new name
Mar 25
// Jordan Devore
Ahead of release, Hyperkin's upcoming RetroN 4 console has become the RetroN 5. With the change comes increased support: the new system count is NES, Famicom, Super Nintendo, Super Famicom, Genesis, Mega Drive, and Game Boy A...
RetroN 4 photo
RetroN 4

RetroN 4 plays NES, SNES, Genesis, and ... GBA?!

Sounds crazy enough to work
Mar 05
// Jordan Devore
Ahead of a full reveal later this month, Hyperkin has begun talking about its latest system, the RetroN 4. This bad boy has slots for NES, Super Nintendo, Genesis, and Game Boy Advance cartridges, as well as six controller po...

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