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Nintendo updates GBA

Game Boy Advance Advance

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gamesindustry.biz logo Nintendo today announced the new Game Boy Advance SP. Much as sources have been speculating over the last few months, the GBA SP boasts an updated clamshell design, improved backlighting, rechargeable batteries and a folded size of three inches square and one inch thick.

Otherwise it's functionally identical to the original GBA, with D-pad, A, B, Start and Select buttons on the lower half and the cartridge slot behind and beneath the controls. Our only concern is the way the L and R buttons are secreted behind the screen when unfolded – hopefully our RSI will be up to the task.

The console weighs in at 143g (virtually the same as the current console), and the Lithium-Ion battery will clock up 10 hours of gameplay with the toggleable backlight turned on, 18 hours with it turned off, and that recharging the battery entirely will take three hours. It will appear in three colours – silver, black and blue.

Nintendo plans to have the GBA SP on the market more or less instantly. In Japan, the system launches on Valentine's Day, February 14th, with a US launch set for March 23rd and a price tag of $100. The other good news is that European gamers will not have to wait overly long for the console, as it should debut in Europe priced between €129 and €139 on March 28 – just five days after it appears in the US.

We currently have no reason to suspect that GBA SP will introduce regional complications to the handheld market, so in-keeping with GBA, GBC, GB, NGPC and various other handhelds over the years, you should be able to import a Japanese one at the earliest opportunity and play whatever you like on it. With this in mind we’ll certainly be keeping our eyes on our favourite importers over the next month.

Ooh Megaton!

And in closing, we'd just like to point out that despite the connections that will be drawn, GBA SP is not the fabled, rumoured, hyped and generally fantastical 'megaton announcement'. As V-Jump, the magazine which started the fuss (before over-zealous Western news websites leapt on it, blew it out of proportion and then attempted to trademark it), has finally unveiled, the so-called megaton announcement is little more than a Cube version of a comic popular with V-Jump's readers. So there you go.

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