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Game Boy Advance

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...
Five Best Fire Emblems photo
Five Best Fire Emblems

Ranked: The five best Fire Emblem games

Take a look at the franchise's history
Feb 05
// Chris Carter
Fire Emblem is a pretty mysterious series to many gamers out there. Firstly, it's a strategy RPG (SRPG), which already places it in an established niche. Then you have to consider the fact that Nintendo didn't release the ser...

Double the Trouble! OC ReMix's massive DKC3 album

Largest OCR album yet, covers both SNES and GBA OSTs
Dec 03
// Tony Ponce
I remember when OverClocked ReMix started producing full arrange albums nearly a decade ago. The second official release was 2004's Kong in Concert, a tribute to the SNES classic Donkey Kong Country. It clearly shows it's ag...

Who wants to buy every Japanese GBA game ever?

795 games for $5800
Dec 01
// Tony Ponce
There is something very awe-inspiring about seeing every game for a particular platform in one place, like looking out an airplane window while flying over a major city and feeling like a god who could reshape the land with b...
100% Kingdom Hearts photo
100% Kingdom Hearts

100% Series Retrospective: Kingdom Hearts

Carter's Quest
Sep 26
// Chris Carter
[Read on for a description of every Kingdom Hearts game ever released in the US, and my completion of all of them in 2012.] So I kind of realized that I was powering through both the Resident Evil and Tony Hawk...

Game Boy Advance games may be coming to eShop

Sep 12
// Tony Ponce
Despite bundling 10 Game Boy Advance titles for the 3DS Ambassador Program last year, Nintendo has announced no plans to officially bring GBA games to the eShop. NES titles were likewise part of the Ambassador package, but at...

Some folks spent 5 years remaking Pokemon Crystal for GBA

Apr 29
// Tony Ponce
Biggest question: why would anyone want to play a remake of Pokémon Crystal on the Game Boy Advance when HeartGold and SoulSilver already exist on the DS? A lot of reasons, it would seem. Pokémon Liquid Crystal...

A few days ago, we told you that an official Zelda art book containing the definitive timeline for the series would be released. Well, with the book out in Japan, that timeline has been officially revealed. All the historic e...


How to make GBA games on your 3DS not look like ass

Dec 19
// Dale North
It was really nice of Nintendo to give us Ambassadors all of these free GBA games, but man, they looked all stretched and washed out. I remember these games being beautiful. Is my memory fading, or is it the 3DS pulling some ...

PSA: 3DS ambassador GBA games now downloadable!

Dec 16
// Jim Sterling
If you are eligible for 3DS ambassador status, your ten free Game Boy Advance games are now available to download via the "redownload" section of your eShop menu. Yet again, it's a process of finding the games in your queue o...

3DS ambassador GBA games dated for December 16

Dec 14
// Jim Sterling
Nintendo has finally dated the ten GBA games that so-called 3DS ambassadors will receive, and it's this Friday! On December 16, those who bought a 3DS before its big price drop will get ten free Game Boy Advance games, which ...

3DS ambassador GBA games still arriving this year

Dec 01
// Jim Sterling
We are now in the final month of 2011, and some of you may be wondering whether you're getting your ten free Game Boy Advance games before the year is out. Nintendo has answered the question, confirming that 3DS early adopter...

It Came from Japan! Rhythm Tengoku

Sep 15 // Allistair Pinsof
Rhythm Tengoku (Game Boy Advance)Developer: Nintendo SPD Group No. 1Released: August 03, 2006Current value: $65-100  Fan translation: NopeFor fans of: Elite Beat Agents, WarioWare series, Rhythm Heaven Given the wide claims of OCD-ridden children and the growing popularity of rhythm games during the early '00s, it wouldn't surprise me if Rhythm Tengoku was made in response. Like Gitaroo Man and Elite Beat Agents, Nintendo's charming rhythm game collection is memorable for its music as much as it is for its strange sense of humor. Even when the game gets difficult -- grunting starts to mask the sounds of your tapping feet, head nodding turns into aggressive headbutting --  it's hard to get angry at the charming world of Rhythm Tengoku. However, it's very easy to be upset with Nintendo for keeping it from those outside Japan. After implementing innovative vocal technology in Wario Land 4's soundtrack and redefining mini-game collections with the WarioWare series, Rhythm Tengoku was the next logical step for Nintendo. It was an ambitious project with a bubblegum pop producer and one of Nintendo's most innovative development teams. Well, maybe not completely logical, but thank God it happened! Unfortunately, Nintendo decided to forgo a Western release due to the arrival of the Nintendo DS. Like Mother 3, Rhythm Tengoku is one of the greatest games for the GBA, one that I and the rest of the Internet soon discovered through emulation and imported copies. [embed]210680:40712[/embed] Like WarioWare, Rhythm Tengoku is a series of mini-games with controls that don't get more complicated than pressing a button or two in time to the music. Unlike WarioWare, the visuals are some of the most striking of the GBA's catalog, and the mini-games are more varied and developed -- as they should be, since you'll be spending minutes (not seconds) with each one. The game contains eight "stages," each containing five levels/songs and a sixth remix level that sets a combination of all the previous level actions to a new tune. Given the format of the game, which varies from song to song (and level to level), I thought that it'd be best to give my thoughts on my top five favorite levels. Make no mistake, I could easily list ten. Even if those ten included entries from Tengoku's two sequels, the majority of the list would still be dedicated to the original.   5. Night Walk Night Walk is one of the few levels in the game that doesn't open with a tutorial because of the simple fact that you don't need one. It's as reductive as the game gets -- press the A button in time with the beat. Your reward? You get to watch your 8-bit avatar skip from box to box, as stars twinkle and scroll behind him. Although my love for this level has waned since the first time I played it, it remains a memorable one due to the music and tension it draws out in the player. Given the relentless rhythm of the song and the seemingly endless sprawl of the stage, Night Walk's challenge has more to do with fatigue than timing. I often find myself becoming self-aware of what I'm doing and suddenly freaking out, wondering if I'll be able to persevere to the end. It's also the only stage to have distinctly retro graphics that refrain from pushing the power of the GBA yet still manage to charm and create a unique atmosphere as well as any other level in the game. The recently released Japanese sequel Minna no Rhythm Tengoku even has a direct tribute to Night Walk at the end of the game!   4. Air Batter Here is another "hit the A button in time with the music" level that I love. Maybe I'm just simple in my tastes, but the reason this one sticks out has more to do with presentation. It's rudimentary in concept, but Air Batter is one of the few levels in the game that messes with your perception. It's also the first and best stage that does so. Like Night Walk, the player is tasked with pressing the button in time to the beat, although this one is more consistent in its melody and rhythm. Your avatar is a baseball player trapped in a green room floating in space. Your visual cues are baseballs that are launched from a pot and return to the infinite when struck. The mind game is in the stage's inexplicably zooming in and out, to the point where the ball is no longer visible. Succeeding based on the visual cues is no longer an option, leading to inevitable failure on your first attempt (most of the time). To add to the stage's manic quality, your character's head becomes a giant tomato or a bunny after each extreme close-up. 3. Hopping Road In addition to having wacky character-based games, Ryhthm Tengoku is filled with wonderful abstract gems like Hopping Road. Here, you bounce small balls from one platform to the next, one controlled by the D-pad and the other by the A button. The balls bounce along to a shifting tempo that makes the timing hard to predict until they are right in front of your controlled platforms -- I develop an uneasy sensation every time they get near. Soon enough, the level throws multiple balls at you, each with their own rhythm which quickly ramps up the challenge. For a game that is so much about the audio-visual response, Hopping Road is surprisingly fun despite its simplicity.   2. Bon Odori There are many categories the mini-games of Rhythm Tengoku can be filed under. For example, Bon Odori is a "clapping" game, where you clap to a song as your three partners jump up with glee or give you dismissive glances (depending on your performance). As I mentioned above, the music is what sets Rhythm Heaven apart, and Bon Odori is a shining example of this. It's one of the few songs with full vocals, which are compressed though not enough to sound grating. The track itself is a traditional Japanese song, but it's so giddy and warm that it always puts me in the right mood. 1. Toss Boys I'm a fan of tossing stuff, be it salad, balls, or salad balls(?). If you knew this, you may have suspected that Toss Boys would be my favorite mini-game on tap in Rhythm Tengoku. After all, what could be more fun than tossing some balls with adorable children? By the time you reach the fifth tier of levels, you begin to feel like you've seen all the game has to offer. This isn't far from the truth, given that the levels remaining after the fifth tier are remixed, harder versions of previous ones. Toss Boys, however, is one of the most original and jovial entries in the game, tapping directly into my love of 16-bit volleyball games. With three characters mapped to the buttons and D-pad, Toss Boys has you keeping the ball in play as you toss to the beat. The beat will frequently speed up and throw your characters into full-on volley panic mode, keeping you on your toes. It's a simple idea that's well executed with just the right amount of feedback and presentation to make a mini-game that is memorable beyond its soundtrack. [embed]210680:40879[/embed] The post-GBA years  Rhythm Tengoku's legacy has carried on, with a DS sequel reaching Western gamers in 2009 and another one for Wii on the way. However, the original remains the best for many reasons. The music and stages of the series' debut are unmatched in quality, whereas I struggle to find a memorable tune or a stage that didn't make me want to pull my hair out the DS game -- jury's still out on the Wii game. Even in their best moments, they can't capture the magic and surprise of the GBA debut -- to be fair, I haven't played all of the recent Wii sequel. It's unfortunate that many will never be able to play this lost gem due to Nintendo's lack of faith in consumers. There was also an arcade port by Sega, but that didn't reach the States either. -----  Have played Rhythm Tengoku? Do you want to dropkick me for saying the sequels are inferior? Do you enjoy tossing balls as much as I do? Leave a comment below!   [Where we're going, we don't need roads.]
It Came from Japan! photo

[It Came from Japan! is a series where I seek out and review the weirdest, most original and enjoyable titles that never left the Land of the Rising Sun.] Japanese games often possess a delirious quality that leaves some...


Two more 3DS Ambassador program games revealed

Aug 01
// Jordan Devore
Of the twenty free games current 3DS owners are getting in exchange for having bought the system at full price, ten are NES titles, and the rest are Game Boy Advance games. Nintendo hasn't said what each individual "Ambassado...

I really want this little tiny Space Invaders machine

Jul 12
// Dale North
So cute! I'm a sucker for miniature things, especially when they're somehow related to gaming. Space Invaders isn't my favorite retro game, but this little cab is so cute that I don't really care what they put on it or on it...

Get your Mother 1+2 fan translation while it's hot

Apr 29
// Jordan Devore
Tomato has completed his translation of Mother 1+2 for Game Boy Advance, which should have a good number of you rejoicing. You can read all about the patch, and download it, by going to this page. The main focus here is Mothe...

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