Retronauts Episode 363: Game Boy Advance

The name "SNES Pocket" must not have tested well

Owing to the company's history as a card and toy manufacturer, Nintendo has a long legacy when it comes to handheld entertainment. The Game & Watch series predates the Famicom, and the Game Boy came to define the modern portable video game console: Years after the monocolor gadget had run its course, I remember hearing flight attendants use "Game Boy" as shorthand for "electronic game."

The Game Boy and Game Boy Color gave Nintendo a decade-plus reign as handheld leaders, but no king lives forever. So it was that 20 years this month, the company unveiled a proper successor with the Game Boy Advance. The GBA didn't live as long as the GB-not even close-but it marked a major step forward for the handheld market.

Joining regular hosts Jeremy and Bob this week to reflect on almost 20 years of the Game Boy Advance is first-time guest Adam Pawlus of—and I do mean reflect because good luck seeing anything on that initial unlit GBA screen!

Description: Jeremy Parish, Bob Mackey, and Adam Pawlus turn back the hands of time 20 years to the dawn of the GBA, Nintendo's tiny portable powerhouse. The soaring highs! The eye-straining lows! The many, many hardware iterations and Super NES ports!

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Artwork for this episode by Nick Wanserski and editing thanks go to Greg Leahy.