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GameBoy Advance SP Classic NES Limited Edition – RIP

RIP 2004(?) - 2010

GameBoy Advance SP Classic NES Edition

Today, we say goodbye to the beloved GameBoy Advance SP Classic NES Limited Edition. Cause of death – the battery will no longer charge.


When I was maybe four or five years old, my parents drove me to Rice Lake, Wisconsin, to Toys ‘R Us, to allow me to buy myself an original GameBoy with my birthday and Christmas money. I think my dad may have chipped in to buy me a game, but the purchase was all mine. This was my first true video game console. And I loved it.

That gray brick lasted for years. I think I had it working up til about 2000. It survived countless falls as well as two younger brothers. I remember sitting in the backseat of my parent’s minivan playing countless hours of Super Mario Land, Kirby’s Dream Land, and Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, all of which I beat multiple times. Suprisingly, I never owned Tetris, playing it instead on the PC. Sometime in 2001 or 2002 I purchased an original GameBoy Advance before going on a trip to visit grandparents in Colorado; in previous years, I had always brought my GameBoy with me, and convinced my parents to buy me a new game (at discount) every time we traveled. If you’ve never played the Gameboy version of Return of the Jedi, I recommend it. Probably my favorite original GameBoy game was Kirby’s Pinball Land; the game is so good I actually bought a copy off ebay a year or two ago just so I could play it again.

The GameBoy Advance was similar to the original Nintendo DS in the sense that it was an ok piece of hardware, but a far superior version came shortly after. As soon as Nintendo announced that a limited edition version of the backlit (revolutionary!) GameBoy Advance SP was coming, I sold my GBA and traded in for the new edition. That was a great day, receiving both a hardware upgrade as well as a really cool piece of nostalgia. If I remember correctly, I also picked up a copy of Metroid: Fusion that day; loved that game, played it constantly. The best thing about the GameBoy Advance SP was that I had a current generation system that was also backwards compatible, meaning it could play original GameBoy and GameBoy Color (a minor colorization of the original GameBoy) games as well as all current GBA games.

compare the two, look how freaking cool they are!!

GBA on left, classic NES controller on right

Three years ago, when I was working at Costco during a year-long break from school, I purchased for my mom and my youngest brother Nintendo DS Lites as well as copies of the same game. Their birthdays were a few weeks apart, with moms birthday coming first; at first, she didn’t understand why I had bought her something that she had disliked me having for years (or rather, it was the whole “I’m not going to buy you anything, you should pay for it yourself” aspect, plus anything that takes away a child’s attention from a parent’s call is forbidden), but also playing Puzzle Quest for a few hours, she was hooked. My brother was probably really disappointed and envious of her…until a few weeks later when he got his own. (That’s something you should know about me – I love making people happy and giving them gifts that surprise them.)

The really cool thing about the Nintendo DS, which for all intents and purposes is the successor to the GameBoy hardware line (despite Nintendo’s once statement that GameBoy would continue), and besides the dual screens and touchscreen abilities, is the fact that it has built-in Wi-Fi, which means two people can play each other if they both have the same game. Since my mom and brother both own copies of the original Puzzle Quest, they could battle each other in a Bejeweled type of game. This proved extremely popular in our household, and even my parents took turns playing each other.

However, since there are two systems in the house, I’ve never felt like I had to buy my own. After a year or so I grabbed mom’s DS and pretty much retained control of it unless she remembered to wonder where it was. This past Christmas however I bought mom and dad another DS game (one of those card collections), and I have plans to buy them at least one other game they’d enjoy, so I had to give up control of her DS.

And then I found out my old GameBoy Advance SP Classic NES Limited Edition (so awesome) wouldn’t charge anymore.

I want to play so bad now!

Kirby's Pinball Land title screen

It looks like I’m now in the market for a Nintendo DS Lite. I’m going to buy the Lite because it’s currently only $120, and it supports all games that come before it as well as DS games. Yes, there have been newer Nintendo DS systems, such as the DSi (which adds a camera, useful for some games) and the DSiXL (which is basically just a super sized DSi), but neither are backwards compatible. In the next few months Nintendo will release the Nintendo 3DS which contains revolutionary technology that allows for a 3D image minus glasses (but with a 3-5 hour battery life), but once again it won’t be backwards compatible and will cost upwards of $300-$350. So for now, the Nintendo DS Lite is what I need.

I love portable gaming, even though I’ve done less and less of it in recent years. Currently I have copies of Golden Sun, Golden Sun: The Lost Age, Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga, Chrono Trigger, and Castlevania: Portrail of Ruin sitting around that need to be played or finished, so that is a mixture of GBA and DS games. New games such as Radiant Historia and Dragon Quest IX are coming out that I want to play. Portable gaming is far from dead.

So long, GameBoy Advance SP Classic NES Limited Edition. I will remember you fondly.

Hello, Nintendo DS Lite!…

Gotta catch them all...

Every GameBoy Ever Made

5 Comments leave one →
  1. 02/07/2011 4:33 pm

    glad to be one of many visitants on this awesome internet site : D.

  2. 03/01/2011 7:36 pm

    What a cool story. Sorry to hear about your GBA SP battery finally going out. Does your GBA SP work when plugged in? If so, you can still get replacement batteries for the GBA SP.

    • stuartblessman permalink*
      03/01/2011 11:32 pm

      I ordered a replacement battery off of amazon, just got it yesterday…haven’t taken the time to put it in yet. Hopefully it is just the battery that was dead and not anything else. Still want a DS Lite though…

      • 03/01/2011 11:40 pm

        Cool on ordering a replacement battery. I just tried my theory of using the GBA SP with just the charger and no battery. Results, it doesn’t work, so you do need a battery in the system, however you can use it with the charger and battery while it’s charging. Wow, that was a mouth full 🙂

        I too have a DS Lite. It’s a pretty awesome handheld. Let me know how it goes with your replacement battery in your NES GBA SP.


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