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First Impressions - Hands on with the Game Boy Micro
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posted by: George Holomshek
publisher: Nintendo
date posted: 12:00 AM Thu May 19th, 2005
last revision: 12:00 AM Thu May 19th, 2005

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One of the biggest surprises at Nintendo's press conference this last Thursday was the unveiling of the Game Boy Micro?.  Please note, the Micro is not a successor to the Game Boy Advance, but is simply its newest incarnation.  As soon as Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo's Executive VP of Sales and Marketing, took the tiny piece out of his jacket, an odd hush fell over the crowd.  After the initial shock of Holy cow, its so tiny, what is it?? people began to wonder if this was indeed the rumored successor to the Game Boy Advance.  Reggie quickly laid this feeling to rest, however, stating that the new Game Boy Micro will play all current GBA games and not some new format.  But unfortunately the system also lacks the ability to play Game Boy Color or original Game Boy games.

With everyone begging to get an up-close-and-personal look at the Game Boy Micro, it was no surprise that the new toy was one of the top attractions in Nintendo's booth today.  So how small is the Micro?  Try 4 inches wide, 2 inches tall, and 0.7 inches deep.  And not only is it super small, it is also incredibly light weighing only 2.8 ounces.  I can promise that you will never get tired holding it.  That is unless you play for more than 13 hours straight.  No one is going to deny that the Micro's screen is a fair bit smaller than the GBA's, but the 2 inch screen itself is far better than that of the GBA.  As a matter of fact, it is the best screen Nintendo has ever put in a handheld.  It is crystal clear and displays colors so vibrant you have to see it to believe it.  Also, along with being fully backlit, the light itself is adjustable for the first time ever.  Going along with the new stylish look is also the ability for you to change the faceplate on your Micro whenever you please.

So enough about appearances, how does it play?  The surprisingly large A and B buttons are perfect for the little machine and they feel smooth, if not sexy, under your fingers.  The shoulder buttons are a little less convenient, however.  The micro is so small you are actually hitting the L and R buttons with the bases or your fingers.  I found this to be a bit awkward and may not be the best way to play very shoulder-button-intensive games.  You can expect to get approximately 10 hours of game play out of the rechargeable battery in the Micro, which also uses the same charger as the GBA SP.  Also, unlike the SP, you will be able to enjoy your games either through the Micro's built in speakers or via the now built in headphone adapter.

As was stated before, the Micro is not a replacement for the Game Boy Advance, but a new model.  It is still too early to tell what it will cost to get your hands on the Game Boy Micro, but one would hope for a price tag under three digits, seeing the DS's current $150 label.  Slated for release this fall, it will be interesting to see what kind of skins will be developed and if any small revisions are made to the unit.  Some may disagree with the release of yet another handheld by Nintendo, but I say bravo.  If Nintendo wants to give us yet another option for our gaming lives, so be it.  If you want a handheld that gives new meaning to the word portable?, get a Game Boy Micro.  Or if you just want to hold on to your classic GBA, go ahead.  The key here is What do you want??.  I was already looking forward to this holiday season for several reasons, and now I have one more.