March 21st marked the 20th anniversary of the Gameboy Advanced. It was nice to see everyone else reminisce about what games they remembered the most that day. All the fond memories of all those amazing games that helped redefine handheld gaming and what would be the legacy of the GBA. The jump between the original Gameboy and the Gameboy Advanced was amazing. The fact that it could handle SNES games on a system that small, and that was just scratching the surface practically on what it could handle. It really was an amazing handheld system during it’s time.
From Golden Sun, Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap, Advanced Wars, Fire Emblem, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, and Mega Man Battle Network, there was always something great to play. Heck, I find myself brushing off my GBA SP and hoping into some of these classics from time to time. However, being reminding of all these great games got me thinking about what happened to some of these beloved games? Sure some games continued on like the Fire Emblem series which got a decent boost of fame in the US to help get the series going here; but what about games like Golden Sun, Advanced Wars, and Mega Man Battle Network? Heck, even some newer 2D Castlevania platformers along the lines of Aria of Sorrow. I know I’m not the only one who would love to see these series brought back on newer platforms.
Golden Sun was an amazing RPG and was one of the greatest looking games on the GBA in my opinion. I felt the gameplay style, while not exactly revolutionary, helped set itself apart from other RPG’s at the time and each one had stories that kept me engaged. The way they incorporated the summons that not only provided powerful attacks in combat, you could use their unique elemental abilities outside combat to get to hidden areas and open paths to new areas. I just really loved the story, characters, art style, and gameplay. True, it did have two sequels with The Lost Age releasing on GBA and Dark Dawn releasing on the DS, with the later releasing late 2010. It’s been almost a full 11 years since we have seen anything new from this series..
Advanced Wars was one of the first games that really got me into turn-based tactical RPG’s. I remember when the game was being promoted in Nintendo Power. I was a huge fan of Command & Conquer around that same time, so with this being military strategy, it was right up my alley. Just wasn’t sure about the turned-based part. Figured what the heck and gave it a chance as I liked the look. I was not let down. I loved Advanced Wars and quickly found out I also love turned-based tactical RPG’s. That game was perfect to me with a story that kept me engaged and strategy I was able to get behind to get through each map with least amount of units lost. It was a puzzle each time. Advanced Wars did get three sequels, one on GBA and two on DS. That last one being Advanced Wars: Days of Ruin in early 2008, so 13 years without a new entry.
Mega Man Battle Network was an interesting shift form the classic Mega Man platforming and is a real-time tactical RPG. To be honest, it was a little bit of a welcoming shift for me as I sucked at classic Mega Man platforming. In Battle Network, the game is split between a kid named Lan Hikari and Mega Man, who is a NetNavis (Network Navigators) named MegaMan.EXE, who only exists in the Net. Majority of the story content is played out by Lan, who then uses his MegaMan.EXE NetNavis to enter the Net where the real-time tactical RPG element comes into play. What is unique is that the combat takes place on a grid where you play a sort of chess match against the enemies. Depending on what grid space you put Mega Man on and what grid spaces the enemies are on will dictate which of your attacks can hit an enemy and if you can get hit by an enemy. Still being true to Mega Man, you can equip Mega Man with what are called battle chips to give him a unique set of attacks for an advantage in certain maps. It was an new and interesting take on Mega Man that I really enjoyed. So much so, I felt it needed a longer explanation. Unlike the previous two games I mentioned, this series got several sequels on the GBA with the last one being Mega Man Battle Network 6 in mid-2006 in the US, so almost 15 years without a new entry.
I know there are plenty of other games and game series out there that fall into this same boat for others, and not just GBA games. It just happened to be one of those days that got me thinking about all the fun I had with all the games I played on the GBA. Will we see new games or remakes of any of these series, I hope so, but I also know there is more than enough for me to play already. Have me go back down memory lane with some of the other consoles/handhelds and I can guarantee you there are other series I haven’t thought about in a while that I’d love to be brought back and made new. It’s fun to think about what studios might do with some of these IP’s on newer hardware, but I had my fun with them already. It’s always fun to hop back down memory lane though.