The life of a gamer is one fraught with endless upgrades and constantly evolving technology. It’s unfortunate, but when the Playstation Vita releases your PSP is going to fall to the wayside, or at best, be traded in for some extra GameStop credit. That’s just the way it is – you have to keep up with the advances or you’ll be left behind.
Well, it doesn’t have to be that way, and it shouldn’t.
Take the humble Game Boy Advance. Think of the SP hardware here, not the ugly, barely playable first iteration. The GBA has a huge backlog of nearly 1000 games. With that number, you’re of course going to see a lot of licensed garbage and shovelware, but the system is also home to some of the deepest gameplay experiences you’re likely to find anywhere.
It’s especially a dream come true for turn-based strategy fanatics: You have the original Advance Wars, its sequel, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Riviera: The Promised Land and two Fire Emblem games. The brilliant Golden Sun series got its start on the GBA, and it’s been home to excellent remakes of Final Fantasies 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6, and the Super Mario Advance series.
There are even some great franchises on the system you might not necessarily expect. Did you know there is a Sega Rally game for the GBA? Guilty Gear? How about Grand Theft Auto? All of these games, though having debuted on arcades or consoles, are all much better than you would expect a portable port would have any right to be. There is even a perfectly competent port of the legendary Street Fighter Alpha 3!
Don’t forget, all original Game Boy games are compatible with it, too. A used GBA SP will run you about $40 at GameStop (this, aside from an independent game store or eBay, is most likely the only place you can still get one).