|Fast facts on Game Boy Advance|
|Variants: Game Boy Advance SP, Game Boy Micro|
The Game Boy Advance (ゲームボーイアドバンス) or GBA is a handheld video game console released by Nintendo in 2001. It is a successor to the Game Boy line of handhelds, and was Nintendo's handheld platform of choice before the release of the Nintendo DS in late 2004.
The Game Boy Advance stands as one of Nintendo's most successful handheld systems, remaining virtually uncontested throughout its run (competitors included the short-lived Neo Geo Pocket Color by SNK and various iterations of the WonderSwan by Bandai) thanks to then-cutting edge technical might (for a handheld, anyway) and its large array of third-party backers. The GBA is fully backwards compatible with earlier iterations of the Game Boy, though is now held sideways, has a widescreen display and adds and buttons.
The Game Boy Advance was an extremely profitable venture for Nintendo, sporting high build quality, a large library of games and importantly for handhelds, a long battery life. Original models did not have backlit screens, something which was addressed in the late 2003 release of the flip-top Game Boy Advance SP, and the unsuccessful cost-cut Game Boy Micro (which cannot play older Game Boy/Game Boy Color games), released in 2005.
Contrary to popular belief, the Game Boy Advance was not the first Nintendo console to be supported by its old rival, Sega, but the company did make a strong impact with the likes of ChuChu Rocket!, Super Monkey Ball Jr. and the much anticipated Sonic Advance shortly after the system's launch. Roughly fifty games were published by Sega for the system in total, most of which were co-published by THQ in the west due to various financial and logistical issues.
Some of Sega's output, such as Crazy Taxi: Catch a Ride, is said to have pushed the Game Boy Advance hardware to the edge, and other big properties came to the system in the form of Jet Set Radio, Space Channel 5: Ulala's Cosmic Attack, Shining Soul and Sega Rally Championship.
Like most third-party publishers, Sega quickly moved to Nintendo DS development at the quickest opportunity, with support drying up entirely by late 2006/early 2007.