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The GBA was basically SNES2 and the pinnacle of 2D game design - change my mind

pramod

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Not only that, the GBA probably had the most under rated and under appreciated gaming library of all time. If you look at this very excellent list of the Top 25 best GBA games, you'll realize the GBA was chock full of amazing 2D games of all types whose ingenuity and fun probably hasn't been surpassed yet. The GBA wasn't all just all Pokemon. It also had arguably the best 2D Metroid, Zelda, Mario, Dragonball, and Castlevania games ever made.


Here's just a sample of amazing GBA games people may not have heard of:


 
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pramod

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Heck, I'm playing Astro Boy right now and feel that it could be Treasure's best game. That's how good it is. It plays better and looks better than even Gunstar Heroes and Alien Soldier, IMHO.
 
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Chacranajxy

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Eh, I dunno. The graphics were worse, and the sound quality was abysmal. There's obviously quite a few good games on there, but there aren't that many standouts... at least for me. Even the highly-regarded stuff, like the Castlevania games, felt like imitations of dramatically better games.
 

SLoWMoTIoN

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Heck, I'm playing Astro Boy right now and feel that it could be Treasure's best game. That's how good it is. It plays better and looks better than even Gunstar Heroes and Alien Soldier, IMHO.
Gunstar Heroes is a 90s game though.
 

Belmonte

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I don't know about pinnacle of 2D game design, but GBA is my favorite portable console. It has sufficient power to go to places were it was impossible for Game Boy and no weak 3D to mess with the games artstyle like DS.

Zelda Minish Cap is, IMO, the most beautiful portable Zelda to this day because of that. We can argue if it will be dethroned by the new Link's Awekaning but it is more beautiful than ALBW and much more beautiful than DS Zeldas.

No touch screen experiments made the games more of my taste also.

3 great Metroidvanias, including Aria of Sorrow, 4 Megaman Zero, 2 original Metroids, Advance Wars, Fire Emblem, Zelda Minish Cap, Sword of Mana, 2 Mario & Luigi, 2 Golden Sun, and many other games. GBA is great!
 

pramod

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I won't bother to attempt to change your mind because opinions are opinions but in fact Sega Saturn had pretty much the strongest 2D output and even the Genesis I think pulled it off better in many ways,
Yeah Saturn definitely was the king of 2D, but I'm mostly focusing on original games and not arcade ports that Saturn pretty much ruled back in the day.
 
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Spukc

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i was a sega kid.
i missed the snes (well played at friends)
then years later i got my pink gba.

bought all the snes ports. Shit was cash.

a link to the past
super mario world
yoshi's island
breath of fire 1
breath of fire 2
final fantasy 6

and a fuck ton of instant classics.
my fave handheld ever.

and the last truly 2d focused console.






shit is crack
 
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dirthead

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Not even close.

GBA games were just low rent 16bit ports running at pathetically low resolutions.

Basically every game was better on the SNES just because it had more resolution.

I HATE the GBA Gunstar Heroes, too. It's objectively inferior to the Genesis game in every way.
 

Spukc

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Not even close.

GBA games were just low rent 16bit ports running at pathetically low resolutions.

Basically every game was better on the SNES just because it had more resolution.

I HATE the GBA Gunstar Heroes, too. It's objectively inferior to the Genesis game in every way.
you have bad taste no need to keep saying this but

okay
 
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dirthead

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Absolutely! For instance, this wasn't a "real game", right?

Not really. Super Metroid destroyed it. Felt like you were looking through a periscope in those games the resolution was so low. Even the SNES's resolution was close to the edge for platformers. The Genesis had a lot more horizontal resolution.
 

SonGoku

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The SNES had higher resolution that is true. But the GBA was superior in every other way.
Resolution aside Yoshis Island on GBA looks graphically inferior to the snes version
Secret of mana, Chrono trigger, Donkey Kong Country, Mega Man X2 and Mega Man X3, Super Mario RPG
Haven't seen any GBA game look as good as these.
 
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EightBit Man

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Not really. Super Metroid destroyed it. Felt like you were looking through a periscope in those games the resolution was so low. Even the SNES's resolution was close to the edge for platformers. The Genesis had a lot more horizontal resolution.
Well, I would argue it's pretty darn close to Super Metroid in terms of scope, detail, and atmosphere. The resolution is a very negligible argument since we're talking about a vastly smaller screen in comparison to a television. We're not going to agree on this, and that's fine.
 
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dirthead

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Resolution aside Yoshis Island on GBA looks graphically inferior to the snes version
Secret of mana, Chrono trigger, Donkey Kong Country, Mega Man X2 and Mega Man X3, Super Mario RPG
Haven't seen any GBA game look as good as these.
It's because they had to pick super bright palettes for the games to not look like complete dog shit on original GBA screens.

There are all kinds of ROM hacks that restore the palettes in those games to match the SNES versions. It helps a lot, but the lack of resolution is still devastating.
 

V4skunk

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GBA was sweet when it originally launched. I got one launch day and about a hundred people were in line waiting. It was a big deal back then going from gb/gbc to GBA.
 
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SonGoku

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GBA was sweet when it originally launched. I got one launch day and about a hundred people were in line waiting. It was a big deal back then going from gb/gbc to GBA.
It was my first console ever, so it holds a special spot in my heart
 

dirthead

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GBA was sweet when it originally launched. I got one launch day and about a hundred people were in line waiting. It was a big deal back then going from gb/gbc to GBA.
I distinctly remember people being really irritated by the original crappy dim screen and remember a lot of excitement around the GBA SP. That machine had a really nice form factor.

Well, I would argue it's pretty darn close to Super Metroid in terms of scope, detail, and atmosphere. The resolution is a very negligible argument since we're talking about a vastly smaller screen in comparison to a television. We're not going to agree on this, and that's fine.
Completely disagree. The music was terrible compared to Super Metroid's, which is like 33% of a Metroid game, the dialogue cut scene crap with the AI was irritating. The best thing about it were the legitimately creepy moments with the SA-X.
 
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SonGoku

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I distinctly remember people being really irritated by the original crappy dim screen and remember a lot of excitement around the GBA SP. That machine had a really nice form factor.
I had both and internal battery plus backlit was a game changer almost a new gen lol
 

DunDunDunpachi

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Okay, OP, I will try to change your mind.

I do agree that GBA felt like an SNES sequel. It preserved a lot of what made SNES so good. Plus, it was a handheld, and I've noticed that Nintendo doesn't put out as much b.s. on their handhelds. Games must be snappy and to-the-point, even RPGs and strategy titles. I spent many hours on the GBA. In particular, the platformers and the RPGs did a nice job of taking what worked for the SNES iterations in those genres and leaving behind the clunk and the fat. If you were are a fan of the SNES's platformers and RPGs, GBA was like heaven.

However, the pinnacle of 2d game design -- under these same criteria -- is the DS. As good as the GBA is, the DS had that little bit of extra hardware power to truly surpass what the SNES (and GBA) were capable of in terms of 2D design.

And I know that it doesn't relate directly to the graphics, but the bump in sound quality on a pair of headphones from GBA > DS was significant.

In an arbitrary "deserted island challenge" where I was only allowed to have one system and all of its 2D games, well... I'd probably pick a Saturn or a PS2, but DS would be my next pick. GBA would be somewhere in the Top 10 for me, to be fair.
 
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I don't think it was, both the Saturn and PSX had a much more interesting 2d lineup (for me at least). I find the resolution too low on the GBA, plus sound is of a lower quality than even the SNES (I usually prefer playing the SNES release of games that are also available on the GBA).

This is not mentioning the arcade and PC games from then and very long the GBA was even on the drawing board.

Oh, also modern pixel art games...

I'm on the phone, so no screenshots!😬
 
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Zog

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GBA's lower resolution, crappy sound and limited control scheme makes it worse than the SNES.
 
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Belmonte

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To be fair, GBA has one weak point. Only one and not enough for the GBA lose the crown of portable consoles, but a weak point regardless: no original Super Mario Bros. I was too happy playing classic Marios to be bothered but it is lame how there isn't any original one to be played. Game Boy had Super Mario Land 1 and 2 + Warios and DS has New Super Mario Bros.

Okay, OP, I will try to change your mind.

I do agree that GBA felt like an SNES sequel. It preserved a lot of what made SNES so good. Plus, it was a handheld, and I've noticed that Nintendo doesn't put out as much b.s. on their handhelds. Games must be snappy and to-the-point, even RPGs and strategy titles. I spent many hours on the GBA. In particular, the platformers and the RPGs did a nice job of taking what worked for the SNES iterations in those genres and leaving behind the clunk and the fat. If you were are a fan of the SNES's platformers and RPGs, GBA was like heaven.

However, the pinnacle of 2d game design -- under these same criteria -- is the DS. As good as the GBA is, the DS had that little bit of extra hardware power to truly surpass what the SNES (and GBA) were capable of in terms of 2D design.


And I know that it doesn't relate directly to the graphics, but the bump in sound quality on a pair of headphones from GBA > DS was significant.

In an arbitrary "deserted island challenge" where I was only allowed to have one system and all of its 2D games, well... I'd probably pick a Saturn or a PS2, but DS would be my next pick. GBA would be somewhere in the Top 10 for me, to be fair.
It is true that DS had more hardware power but in many cases it resulted in worse art because they put more in their mounth than the DS can chew.













 

HE1NZ

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To be fair, GBA has one weak point. Only one and not enough for the GBA lose the crown of portable consoles, but a weak point regardless: no original Super Mario Bros. I was too happy playing classic Marios to be bothered but it is lame how there isn't any original one to be played. Game Boy had Super Mario Land 1 and 2 + Warios and DS has New Super Mario Bros.



It is true that DS had more hardware power but in many cases it resulted in worse art because they put more in their mounth than the DS can chew.













Disagree. DS's 3D is 5th gen perfected. It allows for very specific cute artstyle. Your screenshot is blurred.
 

EightBit Man

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To be fair, GBA has one weak point. Only one and not enough for the GBA lose the crown of portable consoles, but a weak point regardless: no original Super Mario Bros. I was too happy playing classic Marios to be bothered but it is lame how there isn't any original one to be played.
Agree. I always hoped we'd see it in the Super Mario Advance line of games too, with the additional things in it. Also, with Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 we Westerners got a pretty cut down experience (e-Reader levels) until the game was re-released on Virtual Console some years ago.
 
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Merzbear

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Nintendo's best handheld system, still buying and playing games for it to this day. I got a modded GBA with a back light, an SP and GBA player on GameCube. The sprite work was peak.
 

ThePiddle

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You are right, nothing to argue.

I am also a huge fan of AA batteries vs. internal rechargeable batteries, as internal batteries inevitably deteriorate and it gets difficult to replace them. I recently obtained a modded backlit GBA (original design) so that I can get everything I want out of the greatest 2d generation.
 

Petrae

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The GBA made my wishes of having a portable SNES into a reality. Yes, the sound quality was a significant step down— but, back in the first half of the 2000s, that was a compromise that I was willing to make. All of the console Final Fantasy games (except III) on the go was HUGE for me, along with the Mario Advance and Donkey Kong Country games. I know that there were differences, but it was close enough.

I don’t know if I can buy the “pinnacle of 2D design” argument, but I will confidently say that the GBA remains a special platform for me based on the many hours of fun it gave me in its time— and some hours of fun still today.