Launching all the way back in 2001, the Game Boy Advance was the first radical redesign in the Game Boy line of systems with its move to a horizontal layout. Throughout its nearly 10 year lifespan we also saw multiple redesigns and revisions of the hardware.
It infamously launched with a non-backlit screen meaning it was notorious for being difficult to play in low light situations. This was remedied by third party add-ons, most famously the Afterburner and was later addressed by Nintendo with the launch of the Game Boy Advance SP which featured a front-lit display.
It was also of course the system that made GBAtemp possible and the reason we're here today thanks to a boom in piracy when an abundance of affordable and easy-to-use flash carts flooded the markets.
The GBA saw three major hardware revisions with the original, the SP and the Micro.
The Original Game Boy Advance
The original GBA launched on March 21 2001 in Japan and has sold over 81 million units to date. It's radical redesign in form factor sported a horizontal layout, shoulder buttons and 240×160px TFT LCD.
Games shipped on game paks that were roughly half the height of the original Game Boy cartridges and could hold up to 32MB of data (with Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories shipping on this size cartridge).
Game Boy Advance SP
The Game Boy Advance launched in 2003 and saw yet another change to the form factor of the handheld. It featured a clam shell design which enabled the screen to be protected when not in use, more importantly, the display featured a front-lit panel which enabled play in any lighting condition.
In terms of specs the system stayed the same but Nintendo added a rechargeable lithium ion battery and opted to remove the headphone jack (showing courage 13 years before Apple). They sold a separate adaptor for 3.5mm headphones that plugged into the multipurpose charging port. This also meant you couldn't charge the system and use headphones at the same time.
In late 2005 Nintendo released a revised version of the GBA SP (AGS-101) of which the major difference was the addition of a proper backlit and much brighter screen.
Game Boy Advance Micro
In 2005 Nintendo released the final GBA redesign in the form of the Game Boy Advance Micro. A miniature version of the system barely any bigger than the game paks themselves. Weighing in at just 80g the system sported a rechargeable battery and backlit display.
The screen was of course much smaller though it retained pixel resolution meaning games didn't look squashed or distorted. Interestingly enough for the size it also saw the return of the headphone jack and also featured removable, customisable face plates. Though it did lose backwards compatibility with legacy Game Boy cartridges.
What was your preferred model of the Game Boy Advance?