Game Boy Advance SP
Gameboy advance SP logo.svg
Game-Boy-Advance-SP-Mk1-Blue.png
A Cobalt Blue front-lit version of the Game Boy Advance SP
ManufacturerNintendo
Product familyGame Boy[1]
TypeHandheld game console
GenerationSixth
Release date
Lifespan2003–2009
Introductory priceUSD$99.99
¥12,500
129.99
CA$149.95
A$199.99
DiscontinuedDecember 9, 2009
Units shipped43.57 million
(as of December 31, 2015)[5]
MediaGame Boy Game Pak
Game Boy Color Game Pak
Game Boy Advance Game Pak
CPU32-bit 16.78 MHz ARM7TDMI
8 or 4 MHz Z80 coprocessor
DisplayTFT LCD, 240×160 pixels, 40.8×61.2 mm[6]
Backward
compatibility
Game Boy
Game Boy Color
PredecessorGame Boy Color[7]
SuccessorNintendo DS

The Game Boy Advance SP[a] (GBA SP), released in Japan on February 14, 2003,[8] is a sixth-generation handheld game console developed, released, and marketed by Nintendo that served as an upgraded version of the original Game Boy Advance. The "SP" in the name stands for "Special".[9] It is the penultimate console in the Game Boy Advance family before the Game Boy Micro, which was released in September 2005. The Game Boy Advance line was followed by the Nintendo DS family, starting with the release of the original Nintendo DS in November 2004.

Technical specifications

Physical

Hardware colors

The GBA SP launched in Platinum Silver and Cobalt Blue, with the addition of Onyx in Europe and Japan.[2] Later colors include: Flame, Pearl Pink, Pearl Blue, Graphite, Midnight Blue, Charizard Fire Red, Torchic Orange, Venusaur Leaf Green, NES classic design, and Pikachu Yellow. A limited gold edition with a Triforce and the Hyrule Royal Family crest was available in Europe which included a copy of The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap.[11] In 2003, Toys "R" Us sold an exclusive gold edition (without any Zelda symbols) in the US starting on Black Friday of that year, initially with a Super Mario Advance 4 game.[12]

In Japan, it was released in a variety of standard colors and special packages. In most other regions it was released in Platinum Silver and Charcoal Black. Later, a Flame Red version was released. Six special editions have also been released: an NES Classics model with the same color scheme as a classic NES controller (and designed to resemble an NES deck when closed), a SpongeBob SquarePants model, a Pikachu model, and a silver model with a tattoo design printed on it, known as the 'Tribal Edition'.[13] In other regions, such as Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, additional colors have been released, such as Pearl Green and Starlight Gold.[14]

Nintendo was planning to have the SP be 3D-compatible, but the resolution of the LCD was too low, resulting in Nintendo scrapping it.[15]

Internal

Headphone jack

Headphone adapter for Game Boy Advance SP
Headphone adapter for Game Boy Advance SP

Nintendo removed the TRS headphone jack from the SP, which had been included on all previous Game Boy models. Headphones designed specifically for the GBA SP can be purchased, or standard headphones can be attached with an optional, stereophonic[16] adapter that plugs into the same port as the AC adapter. Since the Nintendo DS used the same charging port as the GBA SP, the headphone adapter works with said console.

As both AC adapter and headphones use the same port, it is not possible to charge the SP and listen to headphones at the same time with the Nintendo brand adapter. There are, however, third-party adapters that "split" into two different cords; the power jack on one side, and a TS headphone jack on the other.

Backlit model (AGS-101)

The pearl blue AGS-101 GBA SP model that featured an improved backlit screen[17]
The pearl blue AGS-101 GBA SP model that featured an improved backlit screen[17]

In 2005, Nintendo released an improved version of the Game Boy Advance SP in North America, featuring a brighter backlit screen instead of the previous version's frontlit screen. This GBA SP was Nintendo's first internationally-released handheld system to feature an integrated backlight. (However, there had already been a backlit system years earlier with the Japan-only Game Boy Light, which was essentially a Game Boy Pocket with an electroluminescent backlit display.) The AGS-101 was never officially released in Japan, however, as the frontlit AGS-001 models were still available on the market until the end of production in late 2009.

The new model can be distinguished by the following features:

The North American backlit version comes in three standard colors: "Pearl Blue", "Pearl Pink" and "Graphite" (a greyer version of Onyx Black). There were also two Toys "R" Us exclusive backlit models; a "SpongeBob SquarePants" model[19] and a "Limited Edition Pikachu" model.

In 2006, the AGS-101 backlit model also saw a very limited release in Europe.[20] Few models made it to market, likely due to the release of the Game Boy Advance-compatible Nintendo DS one year prior. The European version was released in "Surf Blue"[21] as well as re-issued in "Pink" and "Tribal" editions.

Unlike the North American release, the European box does not feature any prominent text to distinguish the backlit models from the older frontlit models. In addition, only the "Surf Blue" color was unique to the AGS-101, the other two colors "Pink" and "Tribal" had already been released as frontlit models - for these reasons it can be very difficult to identify a European backlit SP. Apart from the AGS-101 model number on the base of the unit, the only other obvious distinguishing feature of the European backlit model is the large picture of the Game Boy Advance SP featured on the front of the box. (The European frontlit models of "Pink" and "Tribal" only feature small pictures of the Game Boy Advance SP on the sides of the box and Flower/Tattoo patterns on the front respectively.)

The AGS-101 Game Boy Advance SP was the final Nintendo handheld to have backwards compatibility with Game Boy and Game Boy Color games in North America and Europe.

Unit colors

The Game Boy Advance SP had numerous colors and limited editions.

Reception

M. Wiley of IGN called the Game Boy Advance SP "a step in the right direction for Nintendo", praising the system's new redesign over the original GBA and highlighting its inclusion of a backlit screen and rechargeable battery, although minor criticism went towards the system's omission of a headphone jack.[22] Engadget gave it a global score of 84 out of 100, also praising the new features of the redesign while noting the system's lack of a headphone jack.[23] Lawson Wong of Fresh Gear called it "darn close to perfection" aside from the missing headphone jack.[24] Matthew D. Sarrel of PC Magazine suggested it to consumers as an improvement over the original model, praising the backlight and integration of a charger as well as improved visual quality, though he noted that players with larger hands may find difficulty with the system's design.[25]

Sales

As of June 30, 2009, the Game Boy Advance series has sold 81.48 million units worldwide, of which 43.52 million are Game Boy Advance SP units.[26]

Life-to-date Number of units sold
Date Japan Americas Other Total
2003-03-31[27] 0.82 million 0.83 million 0.46 million 2.10 million
2003-06-30 ? ? ? 4.84 million[28]
2003-09-30[29] 2.33 million 4.32 million 2.38 million 9.04 million
2003-12-31[30] 3.14 million 7.82 million 4.34 million 15.30 million
2004-03-31[31] 3.68 million 8.78 million 4.70 million 17.16 million
2004-06-30 ? ? ? 19.33 million[32]
2004-09-30[33] 5.02 million 12.46 million 6.21 million 23.68 million
2004-12-31[34] 5.94 million 16.13 million 8.67 million 30.73 million
2005-03-31[35] 6.00 million 16.69 million 9.10 million 31.79 million
2005-06-30 ? ? ?
2005-09-30[36] 6.16 million 18.08 million 10.08 million 34.32 million
2005-12-31[37] 6.35 million 20.40 million 10.64 million 37.40 million
2006-03-31[38] 6.42 million 20.95 million 10.86 million 38.23 million
2006-06-30[39] 6.46 million 21.30 million 11.08 million 38.84 million
2006-09-30[40] 6.48 million 21.95 million 11.37 million 39.79 million
2006-12-31[41] 6.50 million 23.06 million 11.78 million 41.33 million
2007-03-31[42] 6.50 million 23.47 million 11.95 million 41.92 million
2007-06-30[43] 6.50 million 23.78 million 12.14 million 42.43 million
2007-09-30[44] 6.51 million 24.01 million 12.31 million 42.82 million
2007-12-31[45] 6.51 million 24.01 million 12.51 million 43.02 million
2008-03-31[46] 6.51 million 24.00 million 12.71 million 43.23 million
2008-06-30[47] 6.51 million 24.00 million 12.89 million 43.41 million
2008-09-30[48] 6.51 million 24.00 million 12.97 million 43.49 million
2008-12-31[49] 6.51 million 24.00 million 13.00 million 43.52 million

See also

Notes

  1. ^ ゲームボーイアドバンスSP (Japanese: Gēmu Bōi Adobansu SP)

References

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