Getting a GBA SP. Game Advice Needed

Hi there, guys, how are you? I’m writing because I’ve worked hard, paid off a lot of my debts, and am going to reward myself with a Gameboy Advance SP. I’m saving up for that cool looking NES anniversary edition SP coming out in a couple of months. The first game I’ll be buying is Mario Golf Advanced Tour (since I adored Mario Golf on the GBC). That being said, some other games I want include:

Advance Wars 1 and 2
Final Fantasy Tactics
Tacitcs Ogre
Fire Emblem
Sword of Mana
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
Wario Ware Minigame Mania

Are there any other games I should keep an eye out for, or any games on this list which I shouldn’t get? Thanks in advance for any advice you may have.

I would avoid Sword of Mana, but Warioware is a must-buy.

Pinball of the Dead.
I enjoyed the Metroids, and played them through multiple times, but they can be beaten in three hours. The Castlevanias were pretty good too, for something in the same vein but a little more RPG-y.
Wario Land 4 is a great, overlooked platformer.
Yoshi’s Island is one of the greatest 2D platform games ever made, though they kind of raped the port a little.

If you like Sword of Mana or Diablo-esque games, I can recommend The Return of the King. It’s fast paced action with characters who play pretty different from one another, detailed character advancement in that you can assign points in attributes and skills, and random item generation. I had a good time with it, and it seems to have been more or less totally overlooked by the gaming community (odd, given it’s killer license).

Of course, YMMV

Mark L.

Make sure to try and get this one -

Actually, This is the one I want:

I got a GBA SP last week for Advance Wars 2. Nintendo’s designers are so not fucking around; this is the most usable little artifact I’ve ever seen.

I might consider buying the NES games if they all came on one cartridge. But $20 for Donkey Kong? Not likely. I’ll just play it in Animal Crossing.

I have to agree. After playing with one at my store several times, I must color myself impressed. It’s comfortable, usable, and well designed. I like how it protects its own screen.

You’ve mentioned Wario Ware, which has so far–I picked up a SP last week–singlehandedly justified the purchase. I’ve barely touched Fire Emblem so far because of it.

And I definitely agree, it’s an amazing little gadget. I’ve been stunned by the battery life; I haven’t timed how much I’ve used it, but I haven’t recharged it since the first day when the initial partially-charged state it shipped with ran down after a couple hours, and it’s still going strong.

This may be what we who have owned a Gameboy since the original puke-green, drunk blur model have experience. That is…

drum roll


Seriously, this may be an effect of how various portable systems use batteries differently, but for a long, long time, its been my experience that if you don’t use the GB(A) for a while, then the battery like recharges without you recharging, even if they’re disposable. Honestly. I don’t know what it is. One time I’ll stop and it’ll be close to deading out on me, and the next time the light won’t even be red and it will take an hour or so to become that way.

Maybe I just don’t know much about batteries, but my MD player, cellphone and pencil radio certainly never do that. Until somebody explains this wonderful mystery (don’t! It would be like killing Santa Claus) let us all praise the miraculous nature of the…


Oh, also you might want to check out the newest Kirby platformer when it comes your way. If you like platformers at all, this is yet another superbly made inventive original by Nintendo on the platform. Brimming with cute creativity and ingenuity, its a great example of they are the king of platformers. Hopefully, with the recent announcement of Legendary Starfi 3, Nintendo will see fit to localize one of them too. Boktai, which is already out, solar sensor or no solar sensor, is a damn fine adventure game and the best on the system (yes, even over A Link to the Past). Don’t miss it if you’re scared on getting bilked by the sun, its too brilliant for that. Also, if you’re looking for older GBC games…

Speaking of Gameboy in general, hear the recent one about Cube Wars? ;)


Yeah, I saw that rumour. I’m actually more thrilled about that than the GC Fire Emblem, even though I like that series better. I figure it will be a lot harder for Intelligent Systems’ weak 3D artists to screw up tank and chopper models. Hopefully it’s true, and hopefully it’s online - or at least LAN-enabled so you can fudge it.

Good choice on Mario and Luigi - solidifying Tom Chick’s rapidly escalating reputation as the bra-burning disestablishmentarianist buffoon of the video game revolution, he hated this game. That’s absolutely incredible because it is probably the most charming game I’ve ever played. The entire experience is just wonderful: I could gush on about how witty and colorful and upside down exclamation point fun exclamation point it all is but instead I’ll just mention how brilliant I think the primary gameplay conceit is. The entire game almost feels like a Mario side-scroller: Mario’s usual moves are elegantly pulled off in the overworld map, but I’m blown away by how - instead of traditional weapons - all of Mario’s overworld moves (used to surmount obstacles in the gameworld) are utilized in the Final-Fantasy style turn-based combat mode as attacks. It all comes off as just a perfect fusion between the design motifs of the best side-scrollers and the best console RPGs ever made. And did I mention how honest to god funny it is? There hasn’t been a second where I’ve been playing this game with anything other than a ear-to-ear grin slapped up on my mug. Chick’s crazy.

Warioware is also pretty incredible. If anything proves that wumpus deserved to be banned and possibly sent to hell to float in an churning ocean of maggots, it was his irrational panning of Warioware. Even though I’ve basically beaten this game and unlocked almost every aspect of it, (except for one nebulous minigame in the last tier which has eluded me for over ten hours and makes me suspect the entire cart is bugged somehow) I can’t help but put a few rounds in every day just to see if I can beat my previous scores. The only problem I have now is I can’t find a puzzle game of similar quality to play on the GBASP, which I guess isn’t much of a problem, because it means in the meantime I just play some more Warioware.

I’ll also second the Warioland 4 recommendation, which is a fun little platformer. Metroid: Zero Mission is, in my opinion, the best Metroid game ever released, so that one too. Aria of Sorrow’s also a must have. Boktai seems like a neat little RPG if you live in a country that has sun and is consequently not Ireland. Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town is the title that not only spawn the most irrelevant trainwreck in this forum’s history but also single-handedly captured my obsession five hours a day for two weeks: probably best diagnosed in smaller doses. I’d buy either Advance Wars 1 or Advance Wars 2, but not both right away - to my eyes, Advance Wars 1 somehow looks better and 2 is more puzzly by nature. Ninja Five-Oh not only has the best title ever, but it is also a remarkably entertaining throwback to Ninja-Gaiden-esque Sega Platformers. Fire Emblem I have not been able to get into at all, with the caveat that I haven’t played past the first four tutorial missions - I hear it is great, but what an ugly game.

By the way, I would recommend picking up a flash cart with your GBASP. There are some really amazing things you can do with these things, from playing NES, SMS, GG and now even SNES roms on your GBA to watching full format video with sound (it looks like you can fit about two 2 hour movies on a 512mb flash cart) or transfering your save games between an emulator and a GBASP. There’s also a pretty rich home-brew game scene for the GBA. Or you can put back up your carts and then slap them all up on to a flash cart so you don’t have to switch them out or carry all the carts with you. I have the X-Rom 512, which allows me to put about six games on a cart, and I couldn’t be happier with it. There’s tons of neat stuff that you can do with these things even from a non-piracy standpoint.

No, I didn’t hate it. I just didn’t think you’d dig it. I’m glad I was wrong. Personally, it didn’t work for me, but I can understand its appeal. You can read my review on Games Domain if you’d like a more rounded perspective.


Mere spin-doctoring from the Winston Smith to Yahoo’s gray, oppressive Big Brother. Your review says it got an 8. Doesn’t your corporate sponsor Yahoo! sell out its arbitrary numeric scores anyway? Couldn’t Nintendo fork out for the numeric score Mario and Luigi actually deserves, a million? Or is Dave Long not buying enough stock?

I kid - actually, that’s a great review, and I’m sorry to have misunderstood your position on Mario and Luigi. I’m gonna give some time to Sword of Mana right after I beat M&L, Tom, I promise!

Aria of Sorrow is one of the best games ever made, on any platform.

Also don’t miss Ninja 5-0. Klonoa is also good if you’re looking for a keen platformer.

I’d add to your list Mario Kart: Super Circuit and remove Final Fantasty Tactics Advance. With Fire Emblem, Advance Wars, and Tactics Ogre, there’s no reason to play a mediocre tactical game on the GBA.


As far as GBA Tactical Strategy Games go, play them in the following order, so you don’t ruin the experience by playing the best one first:

  1. Tactics Ogre
  2. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
    once you get sick of FFT:A’s law system,
  3. Advance Wars 1
    then, depending on whether or not you want a change of pace, mix the order here:
    4/5) Fire Emblem and Advance Wars 2

Warioware and M&L: Superstar Saga are completely inspired genius, IMO.

Megaman Battle Network 2 & 3 are quite good as well for somewhat action-y RPGs. Not in the same league as M&L:SS but an interesting fusion of RPG and card-game style dynamics.

There’s a bunch of off-the-radar GBA games that are difficult to find but got some really good reviews… I dropped some dough on ebay and some more obscure online stores to pick up copies of Ninja 5-0, Car Battler Joe, Pinball of the Dead, and Mech Platoon among others. I’ll let y’all know how the experiment turned out in a few weeks… :)

Is Boktai worth playing if you only play GBA games at late night or on the GBA Player / Gamecube contraption?

Wow, Car Battler Joe looks like my type of game. DEFINITELY looking that one up. Thanks!