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Micro machine

October 27, 2006
by

micro-gold.jpg

Any handheld owner who didn’t have shit for brains would tell you that the GBA is top of the heap for portable play. Specifically, the Micro or (new) SP, but really the Micro. I’d be one of those people. I own a Micro, it’s great, and the used GBA section of Gamestop is the main saving grace of that store.

While it’s great for all this, Micro didn’t really take off, did it? Back when Reggie was pushing it, he wanted the tight-jeaned hipsters to buy them. That didn’t work, for obvious cost and pretentious hipster reasons, even though it’s a slick little pocket rocket. I got it about a month after it released, regretted it, and then grew to like it after the 100 bones it sapped from me lost their effect on my budget. Clearly a destined million seller.

It’s been about a year since i bought the thing, and early on, i really wanted to trick this out into more than a GBA. The faceplate and size things opened a few doors to creative types. I had wanted to put it on a neck chain with a game or video playing (via Play-Yan) to see if i would start the next “G-unit spinning G” thing and have wannabe rappers bite my style. I wondered why they hadn’t thought of it, really. A video chain, how dope, right? Well, i never did it, but it was an interesting idea.


I remember, earlier this year, someone threw a rumor out there about this little hole that it has under the faceplate [pictured, above the a button] was put there by Nintendo for expansions. Mostly what they speculated was a cell phone, which woulda been badass. It looked like a tiny faceplate-installed antenna could fit in there. And this was around the time that there was news of some guy who made an NES controller into a cell phone (that could only receive calls, but still), so it wasn’t like it was an out of this world idea. Then someone tested the hole, turned out it generated no electricity. It was dead. After that, the rumors died too.

Now, after a recent article by one of the bigger tech/game sites that proposed a Game Boy visit to the guillotine since DS was now queen, people are pondering that proposition. First off, let me say that these guys are stupid. Micro was a limited run thing, it wasn’t a failure even though it sold less than expected, and they never intended it to be the next big thing. It’s a refreshed version of the hardware; the select few who bought it loved it and those were the people it was meant for. They used GBA to mess with portable hardware design safely without the gamble of doing it with their next hendheld.

There are a few ways to handle the Game Boy line, but i’ll talk about them separately. This time i’ll speak on the current State of the GB.

Let’s get back on subject now. Micro. It does what it does well. But Nintendo’s left it in the hands of the consumers. What to do? A couple things. Nintendo still owns the damn thing, so they might as well cooperate with my proposition.

Slash the price and i mean slash that damn price. $100 is too high for 5 year old tech. (Let me just glance at Wii for a sec….ok i’m done.) If Nintendo didn’t try to make it such a hip item with that price, they coulda actually sold as much as they wanted had they priced it as much as an SP. Different people prefer one over the other, usually, and the SP can play old GB games, so why they thought the Micro selling for 20 bucks more was a good idea i’ll never know. From day 1, people were saying how they’d buy it if it were $50 or $60 or $70, but not a hundred.

Now the owners. What could they do? I dunno, maybe something useful. A voip application, or cell functionality, using a cart for the app and hardware modding for the phone. Make it so that you dial numbers in with the dpad and buttons and save them to cartridge memory. Then, put a mic anywhere on it. The tiny speaker will do, and it’s right at the end so a mic can sit on the other. It’s smaller than one of them Chocolate phones, and can look even better depending on your faceplate. Give it a slick but simple interface that resembles Wii’s or Apple’s. Don’t clog it with features, keep it basic.

That was easy. Another easy one: MP3 player. Well, this one was a lot more appealing before the Nano came along, but i guess there’s still something to it. Once again, a Wii or Apple style interface with back and forth controls for a and b. Simple navigation and simple visuals. Give it a sleep mode or hold mode. Visualizations? If you want, i don’t care. Come to think of it, this is only good if you can get a good substitute to a dedicated player without giving up too much sound quality and for cheap. Knowledgeable types know where to find those all-in-one flash carts, which do other things on top. You know what, fuck this one altogether. Buy yourself a DS-Xtreme, i hear those are good.

Well i’m plumb out of ideas. You guys are the modders. Surprise me.

But you know what i’d really like?

supermicro2.jpg

I’m digging that. Maybe it’ll have to wait for the next GB…?

Get on it!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 27, 2006 4:00 am

    I think the GB line is dead and has nowhere else to go, so I’m dying to see what you think they can do with it. It just never made sense for me to buy a GBA/SP/micro when a DS Lite could play GBA games as well. Sure, the micro’s smaller and sure you can get them in famicom colors, but so what?

  2. October 27, 2006 5:23 am

    Guess it’s just not for you, but in another article i expand on something i wrote for Infendo a while ago. Has to do with the jibber jabber about GB dying and whatnot. To you it’s dead, but dead it aint.

    How many GBA games do you play on your Lite? Not many i reckon. It doesn’t really encourage it. Micro is another ballgame. I-man can tell you the rest.

  3. October 27, 2006 1:51 pm

    Something about that black, blank screen at the top or bottom of the DS as it plays games not really meant for it irks me like nobody’s business. GBA is the way to go for GBA games, even if I don’t own an overpriced Micro.

  4. October 27, 2006 3:14 pm

    A topic after my own heart…

    I was excited about the micro right away, then started playing my phat DS and put my micro away. But, like Rollin, a couple months later some really good GBA games started coming out, got hooked again, and didn’t make sense to carry the DS brick along when I could just take my gaming along in a micro without noticing it. Plus, it looked damn cool when I took it out in public.

    When the DS Lite was about to come out I thought that was going to spell doom for my micro usage. But the GBA catridge sticking out the Lite like a sore thumb was in good part what makes me still prefer my micro for gaming-on-the-run.

    There are many games that look fantastic on the new DS hardware, but there are also many that don’t need the graphics/online/stylus boost, and look and feel much better on the micro.

    Many people have also commented that the Wii’s Virtual Console will kill the GBA, but frankly, I’m not one who will play many retro games on the big screen. I feel like we’ve waited over fifteen years for a miniaturization like the one offered on the micro! Why haven’t more people fall for it, I wonder? Nintendo didn’t seem to have invested too much on advertising for it, maybe that’s why, but I’ll bet you that, if more adults knew about the micro, they would definitely make it their portable console of choice!

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