It’s a bit of hardware that doesn’t do anything my DS doesn’t do already. It has a tiny screen, it’s so small that it may cause my hands to cramp into tiny little claws, it’s more expensive than a GBA SP (which would also play Gameboy Color and Gameboy games) and is essentially just another cynical attempt by Nintendo to flog the same ageing product again to the remaining few that don’t already own it in one form or another. Naturally, I had to get one.
It’s not as bad as I’ve made it sound. To be honest, this new model isn’t even aimed at the likes of me; with its tiny form factor and changable face plates it’s aimed squarely at the casual/new gamer, at people who would be unlikely to buy a PSP or DS but would be inclined to buy something they can easily slip into a pocket alongside their phone.
The Gameboy Micro was never aimed at people who already owned a DS or a GBA SP — in fact the SP itself has also been updated to give it a better, backlit screen, so that market is catered for. Nintendo themselves were saying “It’s ok, paul, you don’t have to get this model. It is not for you. It is for the hoi poloi, the fashionistas that won’t even bother buying real games like Astro Boy or WarioWare.”
Except, they released a special version of it. Styled in copper and red to look like the classic Famicom controller, stamped with a ‘Happy! Mario 20th’ logo and complete with packaging thanking me for buying the damn thing. Motherfuckers.
There never really was any choice.
I might have got it anyway, when it was released in the UK, but you know how much of a sucker I am for a nice bit of Limited Edition. And it’s actually really, really nice; the screen is small but the quality of it is so great that it doesn’t matter; better than the frontlit GBA SP, better even than the DS screen. I’ve tested it out on a number of games and even though none were designed to run on a screen this small, they’re all completely legible, clear and bright.
Despite its size, it’s also comfortable to hold — more so than the SP in my opinion — and is light enough to slip into your pocket and forget it’s there. Mind you, the portability of it for me takes a bit of a knock as I have to use a the power supply it comes with (a dinky fold-up Japanese 2-pin job), a stepdown power convertor (a great big steaming brick) and a Euro -> UK plug adaptor in order to charge it up. When it’s all plugged in, you can actually hear the electrical hum across the other side of the room.
Changable face plates don’t really interest me (and the face plate removal tool isn’t even included in the Japanese release package). A nice idea in principle but so far all the face plates I’ve seen suffer from the same problem mobile phone face plates suffer from — they’re all shit. Having a limited edition face plate also does remove your inclination to remove it and swap it with another (unless I can get hold of the even-more limited edition ‘Controller II‘ face plate, only available to Japanese players via the Club Nintendo loyalty store, curse them.)
So, yeah, it’s a portable system that requires me to carry around a bag full of plugs to recharge it, with a changable face plate that I will never change — it’s arguable that I haven’t really thought this through, but that’s ok by me — it’s Limited Edition, after all.