The GBA Collector
Matt henzel on his love for Nintendo’s portable
when did you start collecting GBA games?
that would have been June
2001, (when it was released here in the Usa). i bought the original GBA along with the launch titles: Super Mario Advance, Castlevania: Circle Of The
Moon, F-zero: Maximum Velocity, Konami Krazy Racers, and Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2.
what is it that you like about the system?
it was one of the last mostly pure, 2d pixel art-based systems to come out. i always thought of it as a successor, of sorts, to the snes.
what’s the rarest game you own?
i’d say probably Castlevania: Aria Of Sorrow or Legend Of Zelda: The Minish Cap would be the rarest ones i own. i also have both of those factory sealed as well since i ended up playing extra loose copies.
what one game sums up the system and why?
Metroid: Zero Mission. it was an amazing port/remaster of the Nes original. it was a perfect choice for the GBA with its many save Rooms. this allowed for more flexible playtime.
Are there any titles you’re still looking for?
sure. i have a handful of games that i’d still like to get some day. some of them, such as Ninja
5-0, or Pocky & Rocky W/becky, with their $300-ish CIB value, i’ll likely never get. the ones i am still looking to buy though are: Double Dragon Advance, Final Fight One, Pinball Of The Dead, River City Ransom EX and Contra Advance.
why do you think the system remains so popular?
i believe it’s due to the GBA having a solid catalogue of games, as well as many of the games being of the hand-drawn pixel variety. it’s timeless, and that style just ages so much better than polygons, at least in my opinion. the fact that Nintendo also gave the ds and ds Lite systems full backwards GBA compatibility also helped it find another generation of gamers.
what’s your favourite version of the GBA?
i prefer the ergonomics of the original launch model, but unless you are playing under direct sunlight it can be very hard to see. the back-lit sp ags-101 model is so much nicer. so my answer would be an original 2001 model GBA retrofitted with an ags-101 LCD screen. i also didn’t care for how Nintendo removed the 3.5mm headphone jack on the sp. the fact that the original GBA uses two aa batteries also future proofs it a bit as well.
what advice would you give to anyone starting their own collection?
if they don’t already have a GBA system i would highly suggest the original model modified with an ags-101 screen. this would cover the full line of Game Boy games (GB-GBC-GBA). it might also be a good idea to stick to collecting loose GBA cartridges. the CIB versions of many are getting quite pricey lately.