Friday, July 9, 2010

Nintendo Game Boy Micro - The Undiscovered Country

A curious thing happened while I was searching eBay for games that used to be in my collection. I came across a handheld system that I never knew existed. This wasn't just any random system from some obscure manufacture but a Nintendo handheld, the Game Boy Micro (GBM). It left me thinking how did I miss that whole scene? I guess there was a good number of years when I wasn't really following what was going on in the gaming space. I was content with my PS2 and found myself in a routine of simply buying the latest Pro Evolution Soccer came every Fall. It would come around like clockwork and I'd be there launch day ready to get stuck into another Master League season. Besides Pro Evo, or the odd random purchase (Wipeout Fusion) and some slight dabbling into PC gaming (Unreal Tournament) I wouldn't have considered myself that much of a gamer. I'd stopped buying Computer & Video Games magazine years earlier and with no broadband I didn't read any online press. It wasn't until Christmas 2006 that I entered the 'next' generation with the Xbox 360. So I guess it is no surprise that I didn't notice the GBM, especially considering it only seems to have attracted a small but enthusiastic following. At least that is what posts on NeoGAF would have me believe.

Anyway, I saw the listing for the GBM on eBay and it instantly struck me as a very charming little device. So apart from the simply wanting something for the collection that I didn't have what other reasons could I use to justify the purchase. Only one was needed really, the ability to play perfect ports of SNES classics like Super Mario World on the go. The original listing wasn't quite right but I did find another one that was in better condition, fully boxed and complete. Most importantly it was available for a very reasonable price. It is only when you are holding the GBM in your hand that you can fully appreciate just how small this device is. Micro truly is an apt name and obviously the screen itself is even smaller. Contrary to what you might think this is not really an issue. The screen on the device is simply awesome, vividly bright colours and a very high resolution provides you with a perfectly good viewing experience. Certainly far better than a screen of it's size would be expected to provide. The one real issue with the GBM is something that will be familiar to DS or PSP owners. The dreaded hand cramp. With the dimensions so small you really have to curl your hands into an extreme crab like position to play the device and after too short a time this becomes uncomfortable. To be honest this has put me off playing it for any great length of time, so beating Super Mario Bros. 2 is going to have to wait. Again.

The GBM is one of those items that is nice to have in the collection but is unlikely to get that much use. Just having it there is good enough for me. There is no real rationale for that statement, it just is. Getting the GBM was also the point at which the original idea of rebuilding my original collection went slightly askew. It wasn't something I'd owned before so that broke the basic premise of the idea but I feel it adds to the overall quality of the collection. Sure, who doesn't think the GBM is the coolest, tiniest handheld around?

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