Nintendo's Double Dip
An "Advance" Screwjob
2003.1.12 - by The Angry Drunk

Well, well, would seem that Nintendo has finally done the right thing...


A few years ago, I bought Robocop on DVD. I was a perfectly happy camper until the Criterion Edition was released and I learned first-hand about the heartbreak that is "double-dip". This has sadly become commonplace in the world of DVDs, but now it has come to gaming systems.

As reported by Games,:
Nintendo announced this week that it will soon release an updated version of its Game Boy Advance portable console.

The new product, to be called the Game Boy Advance SP, will carry a retail price of $99.99. It has a clamshell folding design and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, as well as an illuminated screen.

"The new model is aimed at expanding the customer base for the Game Boy Advance by providing a more settled look and lower power consumption", said a Nintendo spokesman. He also added that Nintendo was hoping to attract older gamers with the new device.

So, FINALLY Nintendo releases a lit Gameboy. Finally they design a cool-looking and even stylish have got to be fucking kidding me.

BAD, Nintendo...BAD!!!

Gaming development cycles have been increasingly getting longer and with the still young age of the GBA, you KNOW that this new version, this "SP", was on the drawing board at the same time as the GBA. My question is, why the hell didn't they just release the SP in lieu of the current model? After YEARS of begging for some sort of lighting scheme, why didn't Nintendo listen to its fans and deal with it back with the Game Boy Pocket (yet another suspicious "double-dip" for the product)?

On paper, the SP is identical to the GBA in terms of processing power and ability. The changes include the new "look", the front light (the screen remains the same and requires a light source from the front rather than the back), and the new "multi-port" that it supposed to consolidate the systems connectivity (what it really means is that you'll likely have to pay $5 to $10 in order to get an adapter for HEADPHONES), and some suspicious rechargeable battery scheme. Oh, and it will cost about twenty dollars more (likely MRRP of $99).

This, my friends is a problem. It sends a foggy signal that our chums in Kyoto are tying to milk every dollar they can out of us so they can just try to do it again with every update and "revision".

Here's a solution, true-believers: if you have a GBA and you need a light, buy Nyko's Worm Light. It's about ten bucks and even when added to the current price of the system (about $70) you're going to be saving about ten bucks overall. There you go, a fine little handheld system, the light you so desperately desire, and enough green to get yourself a value meal for you and a chum. Aside from that, you can feel a little smug for not falling for this farce.

Therefore Nintendo, as much as it truly pains me to do this, I present to you the first-ever Golden Finger. For your lack of regard for your fans in the obvious attempt to squeeze them for every dollar that you can, might I suggest that you take this little device and and cram it...with walnuts.
Release a better system and I'll buy it. Repackage the same damned thing, and I'll write columns like this.

Further Analysis: Dumb...Nintendo is Thy Name

You'd think that a company with as long a history as Nintendo (over 100 years in total, you know) would find SOME way to stay current and...ummm...oh...I dunno...LEARN FROM THE PAST. I sure that this newest little critter from Kyoto will sell quite well, but that's not the point. They have had MANY generations of the system to fix the light issue and only now do they bother to address it.

Remember Gameboy Pocket? Why didn't Nintendo put a light in it? How about Color? Even after creating a nice little evolutionary change for the handheld, they didn't even bother to light it up. The advance comes along and STILL NO LIGHT. Now we have GBA:SP - finally a light and a "hip" look, but like I stated, why wasn't this addressed when the GBA was originally designed?

...because NINTENDO NEEDS YOUR MONEY. The Gamecube sales have been faltering both here and in Europe (where the release of X-Box Live will most certainly propel the green monster past the cube this year) and with their current strategy of paying lip service and the occasional game to the older player while releasing a slew of unchallenging games aimed at infants it stands to reason that the Big 'N may be facing the same fate as Sega. The GBA and this new abomination currently stand alone in the handheld market, but Nokia is acting fairly seriously about their own gaming designs and with built-in connectivity to a cell phone, it gives these little buggers a marketable advantage.

Here's my point: Nintendo has never been as innovative in terms of hardware and modern trends as they would lead you to believe. They scoff at the optical disk format with the N64. They release an overwrought "3-D" VECTOR-BASED system when there was zero market demand for it. They ignore the demand for a lit up Gameboy for YEARS. They continue to ignore the vast benefits that a well-worked online system could provide them in both revenue and fan appreciation. I shouldn't be so suprised and angered at this newest development due to their obvious history for this sort of thing, but as a LONG time fan (Game and Watch and their light-gun arcade game is where my fandom of Nintendo began) I can't help but feel frustrated and a little sad.

It's a given that Nintendo's games continue to be second to none, but if they keep this up with their hardware, then that's all they'll be doing.


This is my old project, THROWDOWN.

A group of friends and I put together this little project in 2003 as an outlet of out collective rage and anger about the subjects that each of us cared about. I was the editor-and-chief and games writer back then.

It was a blast to do and it to be involved in a great collaborative effort using the strengths of my friends was simply amazing. I hope you have fun reading our work as much as we had in creating it.
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