The Game Boy Micro. Nintendo’s 2005 bid in the war for handheld dominance took the Game Boy series into the extreme style territory. Pausing for only a moment to gasp at the clarity of the tiny screen fused into the device, it’s the size of the unit that gets you going.
Sporting a sleek, silver design as default, the Game Boy Micro features customisable faceplates. Only four inches wide, two inches tall and 0.7 inches thick, the Game Boy Micro is no bigger than the average 2005 mobile phone and about the same size as the iPod Mini. The console weighs 2.8 ounces. “About the weight of 80 paper clips” stated the Nintendo press release. And so the Game Boy Micro lives up to its name.
The system supports play of all Game Boy Advance (GBA) games. However, unlike the GBA itself, it wasn’t backwards compatible with other Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles. The backlit screen is only two inches wide, but delivers incredibly clarity. The in-built lithium-ion battery reportedly offers seven hours of gameplay. That’s three hours less than the Game Boy Advance SP, but still more than any train ride you’re likely to take the system on. Although, it would certainly fall-short on the ten-hour plane ride this writer had to endure to witness the machine’s unveiling back at E3 2005.
Game Boy Micro – A New Standard for Handheld Design?
The Game Boy Micro features all the standard buttons seen on the Game Boy Advance SP. However, the L and R Triggers don’t feature the secondary click that the original Game Boy Advance and SP models demonstrate. The Start and Select buttons act as clicks and shimmer with the same shine as the rest of the system. The D-pad and buttons return to the original soft-pad design of the Game Boy Advance, as opposed to the click function seen on the Game Boy Advance SP and original Nintendo DS.
“We’re making the gorgeous Game Boy Micro for image-conscious folks who love video games, the ones who want the look of their system to be as cool as the games they play on it,” said George Harrison, Nintendo of America’s then senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications. “Because of its diminutive size and industrial-hip look, Game Boy Micro immediately identifies the person playing it as a trendsetter with discriminating style.”George Harrison, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications, Nintendo of America, 2001-2007
Nintendo’s target audience for the Game Boy Micro was clear. This was a system designed entirely for core Nintendo fans as a collectable. It was 2005’s answer to the recent Game & Watch style handhelds. It wasn’t a console that was meant for a long shelf life. Nor was it designed to revitalise the dwindling Game Boy Advance market. It was a one-shot product, intended as a holiday gift for that one season. Given that notion, you probably won’t be surprised by the numbers they’re fetching on the second hand market today.