The Five: Game Boy Advance Games


(Salutations! Journalist Maddy here as a new guest contributor to the JK Vision blog! I hope to get along with all of you, so let's get started!)

The Nintendo Game Boy Advance is said to have sold more than eighty million units worldwide since its creation in 2001. Add in the backwards compatibility of the Nintendo DS, and you had people enjoying its varied game library for more than a decade! These days, you can easily find emulators to throw on your computer or mobile device, so without further ado, here are my five picks (in no particular order) of GBA games you absolutely have to play in your lifetime.

Advance Wars (or Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising)
Category: Real Time Strategy
A reboot of the original Nintendo Wars franchise, you start off as a recruit working your way through Field Training. Upon completion, you become Advisor to the Orange Star army, on a campaign to liberate your people. This unveils a sinister plot by a grand force to turn the nations of Wars World against each other, and it's up to you to discover the real mastermind! In the sequel, you're pitted against that fighting force again, but this time around, you get to play as the other Wars World armies in the campaign (Blue Moon, Green Earth, Yellow Comet).

The two plots are relatively the same (it's not until the DS versions Dual Strike and Days of Ruin that things get a little more interesting). That said, each version has its perks. The original Advance Wars contains a much more challenging campaign mode, while the sequel gives you access to new COs, weapons and more unique mission types. Both games also allow you to create your own battle maps, for a completely unique match every time!

Sonic Battle
Category: Fighting

Dr. Robotnik (Eggman) is back, and this time he has unearthed the ultimate fighting robot! However, not understanding how the robot works, he is quick to discard it, and who's to find it other than Sonic the Hedgehog? When it's discovered that the robot can mimic any attack and absorb Chaos shards to increase its memory capacity, a grand storyline unfolds as everyone tries to use the robot Emerl for their own selfish aims.

The controls of this game are pretty tight (though it's better to play on a physical device), with a variety of physical and special attacks not unlike what you'd see in a Super Smash Bros. game. Where the game truly shines, though, is in the near infinite level of battle customization you have over Emerl, provided you have all the unlocks and enough memory to use them!

Mario Golf: Advance Tour
Category: Sports/RPG

In this version of Mario Golf, you play as Neil and Ella as they tag team their way through the Marion, Palms, Dunes and Links clubs. Only those who can best all four earn the right to enter the Mushroom Kingdom Open, for an opportunity to golf against the best of the best: Mario and his crew.

There is only one word which describes this game: PRACTICE. Every action you take as a golfer gives you experience which you can choose to distribute to your characters as you see fit. Meaning you can level up both characters equally, or at different intervals. It's up to you!

Yu-Gi-Oh! Worldwide Edition: Stairway to the Destined Duel
Category: Collectible Card Battle

As a new duelist in the city of Domino, it's up to you to make a name for yourself with the heart of the cards at your side! Defeat new opponents, gain new cards, and build the deck of legends! Compete in tournaments, and watch out for the Rare Hunters!

There were a lot of Yu-Gi-Oh! games which came to the Game Boy Advance in the mid-2000s. I never got to play all of them, but this one was more immersive than, say, The Eternal Duelist Soul thanks to its open-world approach. The selection of cards very much reflected that of the anime's third season (the fights against Marik Ishtar), so you had the ability to create some truly powerful decks. It's definitely worth a recommend.

Metroid Fusion
Category: Action-Adventure

This one is on the recommend list of most GBA players, and with good reason. For those unfamiliar with the Metroid series, it tells the story of Samus Aran, a bounty hunter who aims to bring peace to the galaxy through the defeat of the Space Pirate Armada and countless other calamitous threats. Metroid Fusion takes place toward the end of the chronological timeline, with Samus investigating an explosion aboard a satellite orbiting the planet SR388.

The GBA Metroid games are unique in that Samus actually narrates the events which transpire. In this rendition, she talks about her past as a recruit in the Galactic Federation Training Academy, as well as some of her darkest fears (which ultimately become realized as the game progresses). While the other games in the franchise all serve to spook the player with surprise attacks and other fast-paced events, this game uses cold-calculated nightmare fuel to keep the player immersed and absolutely terrified.

Note: With this last pick, the controls aren't as tight with an emulator as they were on the original GBA. I would recommend trying to play it through a physical device first.

(Thank you for reading this segment of "The Five!" If you liked this piece, feel free to check out my other works over at WLIA: Where Life Imitates Art, a blog where I discuss various elements of fictional media and how they connect to and influence real life.)

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