Playing Metroid Fusion last week, I realized that though I undoubtedly had a very powerful, portable system in the GBA, the only place I ever play it is in my house on the couch. I used to play it primarily in the bathroom, owing to the fact that bathroom lights are somehow the perfect illumination for the machine, but with the advent of the Afterburner I can play it even in a dark cave. Which I sometimes do.
Back to the first part though, the portability of the machine is not something that ever comes into play for me because I don't really go anywhere. I take maybe one well-publicized trip a year, and it certainly comes with me then, but in my mind the Game Boy Advance doesn't fill the role of a portable system so much as it is another regular console I own which vies for my affection. For the way I use the GBA, then, the new Game Boy Player peripheral is a nearly perfect fit.
In fact, as my cohort Gabriel and I have discussed, we think of it as being a modern re-launch of the Super Nintendo - and a growing roster of recycled content helps to maintain that illusion. I don't mean the term "recycled" in a pejorative fashion, either. From the first, we have seen the GBA as a nostalgia machine, a delicious anachronism. A return to a (perhaps) more civilized age, where games could be produced under reasonable circumstances by smaller groups for less money. We would also be fine if it were nothing but ports. We are easy like Sunday morning.
I haven't seen anyone audibly consider what this says about the rumored Game Boy Advance successor, which we were to see by Christmas. I suppose it's possible that enough wires were crossed to make some think that this device filled the role, but who knows. For my part, the very existence of the Game Boy Player seems to cast doubt on any imminent new iteration of Game Boy hardware. After all, the new Game Boy was to have (among other things) more RAM and other technical improvements - unless these additions are present in the Game Boy Player at launch, I find it hard to believe that a new GBA is anywhere close to market. Unless you believe that Nintendo is going to sell the GBP, then put out a new GBA right away to break compatibility, and then make a fancier GBP to play the new stuff all in the space of a few months. I mean, I loathe humankind and everything, but even I can't reach those airy peaks of cynicism.
I do believe that Nintendo has a sort of untreatable Peripheral Mania, however, and when I get a card reader or whatever from them I do feel some shame. They just have a way of combining novelty with necessity that makes me feel strange and wonderful.
Splinter Cell is here, at my house. It makes me tingle in my extremities, though I will be the first to admit that it might be due to poor circulation.
something still sticks in my throat