I was fiddling with my Revo K-101 GBA clone today (well just now) and I was struck by how Nintendo almost always got the form factor right for their portable consoles. Sure it was easy to do in the 80’s because there wasn’t any reference point. They slipped up a few times, but I think the pinnacle of handheld perfection is the original GBA. It is comfortable in the hand (no matter the size), and it has well placed button layouts that don’t make you learn something new just for the portable console. The only thing missing is a backlight. I wouldn’t mind spending the money on a kit, but unless I were to buy 3 or 4 GBA’s, I’d not have the confidence I wouldn’t fudge it up royally. The problem with pre-modded GBA’s is the price. I’ve seen them for as high as $200, but most hover between the $120-$180 range. I’d like to have one, but only after the price comes down.
Another reason the original GBA was so great was the batteries. No fancy rechargeable nonsense here. Just plain old fashioned AA goodness (rather like every other Nintendo portable up to that point.) I don’t mind rechargeable batteries, but I really don’t relish trying to replace them. It’s so much easier with the GBA. 🙂 Of course it might be harder for some people because the one thing missing on eBay auctions of GBA’s is the battery cover. I fail to grok why, though.
So if you have a tendency to be in bright places (or have $150 lying around), give yourself a treat and get Tetris Advance and an original GBA. It’s not only fun, but comfortable fun for long marathons of falling blocks. 🙂
Me? I’ll stick with my Revo K-101. It’s a close second in comfort, but more importantly it has a backlight.