Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Colors for Crullers, pt. 2

This is part two of the feature about Nintendo's portable systems and their colors.  You can read part one here.

Ok, it's tomorrow (or shortly thereafter)!  Let's finish this bad boy!

So, in the summer of 2001, Nintendo came out with the next revision of the Game Boy (and quite frankly, the first major revision to the series): the Game Boy Advance.  It had a 32-bit graphics processor (upgraded from 8-bits), a large, wide, color screen, shoulder buttons, and the buttons were on the side, rather than underneath (which made it easier to hold for long-fingered freaks like myself).  The graphics chip was designed to easily add nice effects to games, such as resizing and rotating sprites.  It could also play all previous Gameboy games, essentially giving it a launch library of several hundred games.  Oh, and here's a fun fact: the GBA was actually created before the Game Boy color.  But Nintendo released the GBC first because it had better battery life and the technology was significantly cheaper at the time.

The system's first standard color was indigo with gray trim.  There were other colors as well, such as black and frosted white.  It looked really cool (most of the colors would match the upcoming Gamecube colors), and more importantly, it had some incredible games.  The high-profile launch title was Super Mario Advance, which is Super Mario Bros. 2 with enhanced graphics and some cool bonus features, like single-cart multiplayer of the original Mario Bros. game.  It also launched with F-Zero Maximum Velocity, which looked like the SNES F-Zero, but with a bunch of sweet new tracks (and really cool music, like any other F-Zero game).

Basically, it was a freakin' cool new portable game system with some insanely cool new games (many more of which would follow in the next few years).  I was working at an insanely busy Albertson's deli at the time, and the day the GBA came out, I went to the local Kmart and bought the Indigo GBA with Super Mario Advance and F-Zero.  I was literally in heaven.  I even tried to play F-Zero while I was driving home, which was probably the stupidest I have ever done in my entire life.  But I'm still alive, so it was worth it.  Besides, now I can say I drove two vehicles at once (the crappy red Taurus and the Blue Falcon).  Then, later that night, I convinced my little brother that it was a remote control for the microwave I won at my Senior All-Nighter party.  Awesome.

A year or two after that, Nintendo released a really cool revision to its new GBA lineup: The GBA SP.  It was a foldable, vertical-style GBA with a backlit screen and internal rechargeable battery.  As such, it was an amazing system, and was insanely popular.

The GBA SP also had one of the coolest special edition designs ever seen on any game system ever.  One year for the holiday season, they released a special NES edition (pictured) that was colored like an NES controller.  As you can see, the nostalgia combined with the GBA library makes it a very desirable machine.  It's probably the only Nintendo system ever released that I don't have, but wish I did.  I attempted to buy one used once, but when the kid replied to my e-mail, he said "one of my friends ruined it", which we all know translates to "I decided I wanted to keep it" and/or "my friend wanted it more, so I let him have it instead."  But no worries.  I take comfort in the fact that he will spend eternity roasting alongside the Game Boy Pocket thief. (Game Boy pick-Pocket?)

In any case, when the DS was revealed, it basically spelled out the end of the GBA's life.  But before it gave up the ghost, Nintendo gave it one final and super-sexy revision: the Game Boy Micro.  It's a tiny, super-sleek system with an ultra-bright screen.  It has (almost) everything the regular GBA has, plus it's ultra-tiny, as you can see.  And get this: Wal-Mart had these for Black Friday one year for $25.  That's right: just 4 hours of work at a minimum wage job earned me the hot, shiny GB Micro.  Awesome.  There were a few different colors (silver, black, and a cool Famicom-colored one [think gold and red]), but that's not the best part: each Micro came with 2 interchangeable faceplates, so you can change the style whenever you want.  Now that's awesome.

Even though, sadly, the GBA is no longer being made, Nintendo has more than made up for it.  The Nintendo DS is absolute proof that Nintendo is the de facto champion of portable gaming.  Obviously, Nintendo decided to keep up their tradition of making cool colored systems.  Originally, the dual screen wonder came in a silver/black combination.  As the years went on, new colors were released (black, red, blue, etc).  I remember one particular time when the Nintendo DS Blue/Mario 64 DS bundle had just come out for $150. Now that's a great deal!  Anyways, I was working as a furniture delivery person and the lady that owned the furniture store gave me $150 as a tip.  Perfect timing!  But stupid me, I stupidly decided to pay off the college books I had recently bought instead.  So stupid!  But it all worked out in the end.  You see, at the time, I was dating this crazy girl.  And for my birthday (a few months later), she bought me a DS.  Awesome!  Then I broke up with her.  Free DS!

So, a year or two later, Nintendo decided the DS needed a more modern look, so they came out with the DS Lite, which was smaller, brighter, and pretty much better all around.  And it could still play GBA games, so that's cool.  It was a very well-designed system.  It had a clear plastic shell around the colored plastic, which kept your from getting scuffs on the color, which was awesome.  I bought the sweet white one, but they also had black, pink, and eventually green, blue, rose, and few special editions.

Unfortunately, at some point, I overplayed the system so bad, the touch screen got ruined.  :(  I don't know if it was from trying to beat Trauma Center or get first on some of the insane events on Mario & Sonic at the Olympics, but it didn't matter.  The screen wouldn't register touches correctly, so it was basically impossible to play anything that used the touch screen.  Fortunately for me, having the sweetest wife in the world has its advantages!  That next birthday, I received the sweet cobalt/black DS Lite, which I still use to this day.  Hooray!

That next April (or so), Nintendo released the DSi, which, as you all know, is a DS without the GBA slot, and two cameras.  Plus, you can download original games a la Wii.  At the time, Gamestop had a really good deal, where if you traded in an old DS, you could get $70 off the DSi.  So, I found a cheap replacement touch screen on eBay, installed it in the broken White DS Lite, and boom!  DSi for cheap!  It launched in Black and Sky Blue.

Since its launch, the DSi has seen several cool colors, such as white and metallic navy, which even came with 5 free games built-in.  Now, you can get the DSi XL, which is significantly larger, plus has designer colors such as Wine Red and Leather Brown (or something like that).  And, if the Japanese colors get here (which they probably will eventually), we'll soon have everything from pink to yellow to green, among others.

So there you go.  Nintendo's history of colored portable systems.  Pretty awesome, I do declare.  And surely, we haven't seen the last of it.  In fact, let's take some guesses on 3DS colors while we're at it.  Here's my guess for launch color: brushed metal.  Or even better, since they'll probably call it the Nintendo Egg, it'll be white with green spots.  How cool would that be?  Or hey, here's a really cool idea: it's clear, with colored LEDs built-in, so you can change to color to whatever you want.  Yeah, baby!  I'm awesome!

Alright, well, I'm tired, so I'ma go pick a colored system and play some games on it.  Hoo-hah!


1 comment:

Rachel said...

That's so cool! I really liked reading this blog. You are amazing Ben! BTW, I like those freakishly long fingers of yours! Can't wait for the 3d DS to come out! I love you!