Game Boy Wiki
Game Boy Advance
800px-Gameboy Advance On.png
Release Date Game Boy Advance:
JP/BRA: March 21, 2001
NA: June 11, 2001
AU: June 20, 2001
EU: June 22, 2001
IND: June 2001
KO: April 7, 2004
CHN: June 8, 2004
TAI: 2004
Game Boy Advance SP:
JP: February 14, 2003
CAN: March 22, 2003
EU: March 23, 2003
NA: March 28, 2003
IND: March 2003
AU: April 10, 2003
CHN December 1, 2003
KO: January 18, 2004
CHN: 2003
JP: September 19, 2005
NA: March 27, 2006
Game Boy Micro:
JP: September 13, 2005
NA: September 19, 2005
CHN: October 1, 2005
AU: November 3, 2005
EU: November 4, 2005
KO: November 9, 2005
Discontinued BRA: 2008
JP: November 18, 2008
EU: October 16, 2009
NA: December 9, 2009
BSG Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire
Predecessor Game Boy Color (1998-2003)
Successor Nintendo DS (2004-2014)

The Game Boy Advance is a 32-bit Game Boy system. It is the fifth console in the Game Boy Family (unless you include the Game Boy Light, which was only released in Japan in 1998). The colors it came in include, but are not limited to, black, fuchsia, glacier, and its most well-known color, indigo. It has its own line of games and is also backwards-compatible with Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. Game Boy Advance cartridges are nearly half the size of the cartridges for Game Boy and Game Boy Color.


The bottom has the power switch and the volume control. The top has the game link port for multiplayer games. The Game Boy Advance was the first Game Boy model to have L and R shoulder buttons, and grips were also added on the sides. The Game Boy Advance has the D-pad and the select and start buttons are on the left side, the screen is in the middle, while the A and B buttons are on the right side, and this system is comfortable for the player's hands while playing the system. The original Game Boy Advance did not have a built-in frontlit or backlit screen, which means the screen of the original Game Boy Advance is useless in the dark without using external devices, and the screen is used only in the daylight. The non-built in light issue was fixed in the Game Boy Advance SP. The original Game Boy Advance ran on 2 Double A batteries, and the original Game Boy Advance was the final handheld that two AA batteries are needed to run.

Technical specifications[]

The technical specifications of the original Game Boy Advance are, as provided by Nintendo:

  • Size: Approximately 6.2 inches (160 mm) x 5.69 inches (145 mm) x 0.97 inches (25 mm).
  • Weight: Approximately 140 grams (5 ounces).
  • Screen: 2.9 inches reflective thin-film transistor (TFT) color LCD.
  • Power: 2 AA batteries.
  • Battery life: The average battery life is approximately 15 hours while playing Game Boy Advance games (also dependent on the Game Pak being played and the volume setting).
  • CPU: 16.8 MHz 32-bit ARM7TDMI with embedded memory.
  • Memory: 32 kilobyte + 96 kilobyte VRAM (internal to the CPU), 256 kilobyte WRAM (external to the CPU).
  • Resolution: 240 x 160 pixels.
  • Color support: 15-bit RGB (16-bit color space using 5 bits depth per channel), capable of displaying 512 simultaneous colors in "character mode" and 32,768 (2^15) simultaneous colors in "bitmap mode".

Backward compatibility for Game Boy and Game Boy Color games is provided by an 4/8 MHz Z80 co-processor, while a link port at the top of the unit allows it to be connected to other devices via use of a Nintendo Game Link cable or GameCube cable. When playing Game Boy or Game Boy color games on the Game Boy Advance, the L and R buttons can be used to toggle between a stretched widescreen format (240x144) and the original screen ratio of the Game Boy (160x144).

All the Nintendo handheld systems that have been released since (the SP and Micro versions of the Game Boy Advance, as well as the Nintendo DS, DS Lite, and DSi) have included a built-in light and rechargeable battery.




  • Wireless Adapter': Released in 2004, this adapter hooks up to the back of the Game Boy Advance. It replaces link cables and allows many people to link together. It markets for US$20 and came included with Pokémon FireRed and Pokémon LeafGreen. Because it was released so late in the Game Boy Advance's life, fewer than 20 games support this hardware. The adapter's usefulness is most evident in Pokémon; FireRed/LeafGreen and Emerald feature a "Union Room" where up to forty people can enter to battle or trade Pokémon. A Game Boy Micro version has also been released; it can interact fully with both models of the Wireless Adapter.
  • Game Boy Advance Infra-Red Adapter': This adapter was included with the game Cyberdrive Zoids, as it is only compatible with this game and the latest GBA Pokémon games. The adaptor was not sold separately. This is also currently the only Game Boy Advance accessory that has not been remade for the Game Boy Micro.
  • Nintendo GameCube Game Boy Advance Cable': The link cable was used to connect the Game Boy Advance to the GameCube and Wii gaming console. It was intended for interoperability between games for the Game Boy and corresponding games for the GameCube. There were not many games that supported the hardware; notable titles are Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, allowing up to 4 players to use their advance or SP handheld as a controller that had additional information on the screen, as well as The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, allowing additional content to be unlocked through one of the characters in the game.
  • Play-Yan': The Play-Yan is an MP3/MPEG4 player for the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS. The cartridge is slightly broader than a normal Game Boy Advance cartridge and includes a built-in headphone port as well as an SD Card slot. Music or videos that users have downloaded from the Internet can be transferred onto an SD Card and slotted into the Play-Yan device. Nintendo has released several mini games for the Play-Yan that can be downloaded from their website, although Nintendo later removed all minigame functionality through a firmware update. The Play-Yan was initially available in Japan only, but was released in Europe as the Nintendo MP3 Player on December 8, 2006, with the MPEG4 functionality removed. The Play-Yan was never released in North America.
  • E-Reader': The e-Reader is a rather bulky scanning device that plugs into the game cartridge slot of the Game Boy Advance. Specialized cards with codes along the side and bottom are slid through the slot, scanning the card into the Game Boy Advance. Many ideas for the e-Reader include cards that scan classic games like Donkey Kong and Excitebike onto the handheld ready to play, as well as a collaboration with Super Mario Advance 4.
  • Game Boy Advance Video': These cartridges contain two episodes of thirty minute cartoon programs. First released in North America in May 2004, these cartridges included cartoons such as Pokémon, SpongeBob SquarePants, Sonic X, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Yu-Gi-Oh!. The movies Shrek, Shrek 2, and Shark Tale are also available for Game Boy Advance Video and all three movies are full. Due to the Game Boy Advance screen ratio, the three movies are in their widescreen format. These cartridges display an error when inserted into a GameCube via a Game Boy Player. The Game Boy Advance Videos are no longer available at most major retailers.
  • Cleaning cartridge, a white cartridge that has a soft cloth inside so that it cleans the connectors of the Game Boy Advance when inserted. It can also be used to clean Slot 2 of the Nintendo DS or DS Lite.


Other accessories for the Game Boy Advance are

  • Afterburner: The Afterburner was an internal front-lighting system. The installation consisted of disassembling the system, removing some plastic from the interior of the case, attaching the lighting mechanism to the screen, and soldering two wires to the motherboard for power. Optionally, a potentiometer or an integrated circuit could be added to allow adjusting the brightness of the light. When the Game Boy Advance SP was released, it included a very similar lighting system.
  • Halo Light: The Halo light was an external front-lighting system that replaced the screen protector/lens of the GBA. The Halo had an external power adapter that connected to the link port, it featured on/off functions with a dimmer and a pass-through connector so other devices could be connected to the link port.
  • GBA Movie Player: The GBA Movie Player is a versatile gaming cartridge that allows users to play NES/Famicom games, watch movies, read .txt files, listen to sound clips, etc. The GBA Movie Player does not actually play MPEGS or MP3s directly, a freeware conversion software is needed, that converts an array of formats into GBM and GBS formats that are compatible with the GBA Movie Player. There are two forms of the GBA Movie Player with one using a CF (Compact Flash) card and one using an SD (Secure Digital) card, though different companies have made their own devices similar to the GBA Movie Player.
  • GBA TV Tuner: It makes the portable system into a portable television. There are several versions (made by different companies) available. The most popular TV Tuner requires a cartridge inserted in the Tuner to start up. The TV Tuners can store up to 99 channels.
  • GameShark: The Game Boy Advance version of the GameShark, programmed only to work with Game Boy Advance games as making the device take Game Boy Color cartridges too would have made it expensive. This cheat device allowed users to hack their games. Codes could be entered by hand or uploaded to the device itself with the provided USB cable and software.
  • Action Replay: A cheating device like the GameShark, sold mainly in Europe. Had a few extra features as well as an updated interface.
  • Action Replay MAX Duo: This was an update to the Action Replay for Game Boy Advance. Not only did it function as an Action Replay, but for DS users, it could hold premade game saves or "powersaves" that could be downloaded from the Action Replay site as well as user made saves. It did not, however function as a cheat device for Nintendo DS games; it was only for data backup.
  • Worm Cam: this device by Nyko attached to the top of the Game Boy Advance and connected into the link port of the GBA. This device functioned as a digital camera which allowed digital pictures to be taken. The snapshots could then be uploaded to a PC with the USB cable and software provided. This camera's strange shape prevented it from being used with the GBA SP.
  • DigiCam SP: This camera attachment was also made by Nyko and was essentially the Worm Cam for the Game Boy Advance SP. This add-on would slide on to the top half of the GBA SP (behind the screen) and a small plug would be connected into the link port.
  • DataBoy: This cartridge plugs into the GBA game slot and converts the Game Boy into an RS-232 data scope (also known as serial line monitor or protocol analyzer). Users can play GB games, GBC games, and GBA games on it.


Game Boy Advance SP[]

Main article: Game Boy Advance SP

Game Boy Advance SP - a clamshell version of the Game Boy Advance was released, which was also smaller and thinner. The non-light screen issue was also fixed, and unlike its predecessor, the Game Boy Advance SP has a rechargeable battery. Two variants of the Game Boy Advance SP's screen includes a frontlit screen version (AGS-001), and a backlit screen version (AGS-101). The AGS-101's backlit screen is a high quality version of the Game Boy Advance SP screen and the contrast is better than the AGS-001's frontlit screen which the contrast of the frontlit screen looks washed out. The Game Boy Advance SP was the final Nintendo handheld to play Game Boy or Game Boy Color games until the 3DS Virtual Console released in December 2011 allowed players to play GB, GBC, and GBA games.

Game Boy Micro[]

Main article: Game Boy Micro

Game Boy Micro - much after the initial release of the Game Boy Advance SP, a the smallest ever Game Boy was released. It was titled the Game Boy Micro. The Game Boy Micro is the final system in the Game Boy line. Unlike the original GBA and SP, the Game Boy Micro has no backward compatibility with Game Boy and Game Boy Color games (due to its small size), which means that the Game Boy Micro uses only Game Boy Advance game cartridges. Thus, the Game Boy Micro is not a backwards compatible system. The Micro did not sell well as it was overshadowed by its successors, the DS (which was released before the the Micro) and the upcoming DS Lite, which also played GBA games.