RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Jun 1st 2010 at 12:25:20 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under Game Boy Advance, Books

To celebrate the launch of the Game Boy Advance in 2001, Nintendo Power magazine decided to start a series of quarterly special editions known as Nintendo Power Advance. These quarterlies were significantly more expensive ($14.99) than the monthly magazine, and as you might have guessed -- focused solely on the Game Boy Advance. Sadly for we GBA enthusiasts only four volumes were ultimately released. And though certainly the reviews may have been a bit biased, each issue is actually a really awesome little time capsule of the year that was the GBA's first.

Generally speaking, each issue would feature in-depth walkthroughs and strategy guides for a handful of major releases. Then they would have a "buyer's guide" that would give half-page previews of upcoming titles. Sprinkled throughout would be various GBA-related news, advertisements, tricks & tips. So let us take a journey through the magazines' short lifespan.

Volume 1 (aka: the Premier Issue) (130 pages) was intended to announce the arrival of the Game Boy Advance system. Accordingly, the issue opens with an article entitled Introducing Game Boy Advance which offers an "actual size" picture of the new handheld, along with a breakdown of its specs, features and various accessories that were already available.

The featured games in this issue were:

Super Mario Advance
F-Zero: Maximum Velocity
Rayman Advance
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
Castlevania: Circle Of The Moon

The Buyer's Guide features:

Earthworm Jim
Super Dodge Ball Advance
Pinobee: Wings Of Adventure
GT Advance Championship Racing
Bomberman Tournament
Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2
Tweety And The Magic Gems
Hot Potato!
Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure
Fire Pro Wrestling
Top Gear GT Championship
Army Men Advance
ChuChu Rocket
Konami Krazy Racers
Iridion 3D

Volume 2's (130 pages) cover featured Mario Kart: Super Circuit. It also came with a subscription card that offered "Your Choice Free!" of either a Mario Kart: Super Circuit T-shirt, a pair of Nintendo Power Advance headphones or a  Pokemon Crystal Version Player's Guide. (Note:  If anyone has those headphones, I'd like them for myself.) This issue is of particular interest to me due to the inclusion of a full moves list for the entire roster of Super Street Fighter II, which is easily one my all-time favorite GBA releases.

The games featured in this issue were:

Mario Kart: Super Circuit
Advance Wars
Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival
Jurassic Park III: Park Builder
Lego Bionicle: Quest For The Toa

This volume also includes a section entitled Sports Arena which features:

ESPN Final Round Golf 2002
High Heat MLB 2002

The Buyer's Guide includes:

Mega Man Battle Network
Namco Museum
Jurassic Park III: The DNA Factor
Final Fight One
Klonoa: Empire Of Dreams
Tang Tang
Lady Sia
Lego Island 2: The Brickster's Revenge
Pac-Man Collection
Back Track
F-14 Tomcat
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius

Volume 3's (138 pages) cover is dedicated to Golden Sun, Nintendo's very own 16-bit RPG retro throwback. And if that doesn't get your RPG mouth watering, the issue also features a section on the GBA re-release of the SNES cult-classic Breath Of Fire. The issue comes with that same subscription offer (still want those headphones).

The games highlighted in this volume were:

Golden Sun
Wario Land 4
Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone
Breath Of Fire

Though the issue contained less featured games upfront, it seems appropriate due to the vast coverage required of two RPG's. The issue also added considerably more bulk to the Buyer's Guide this time out which included:

Tekken Advance
Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits
Disney's Donald Duck Advance
Jackie Chan Adventures
Spyro: Season Of Ice
Columns Crown
Tom And Jerry: The Magic Ring
Road To Wrestlemania
Spongebob Squarepants: Supersponge
Rampage Puzzle Attack
Cruis'n Velocity
Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder
Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX
Madden NFL 2002
Monster Rancher Advance
Midnight Club Street Racing
Planet Of The Apes
Mech Platoon
Alienators: Evolution Continues
Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2
Tiny Toons Adventures: Buster's Bad Dream
Super Bust-A-Move
Hot Wheels: Burnin' Rubber
ESPN Great Outdoor Games: Bass 2002
Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles

The fourth and final volume was unique in that it only featured one game. Volume 4 (130 pages) served as a complete strategy guide to Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2. In fact the first 100 pages of the issue were spent offering in-depth walkthroughs for each level and breaking down the enemies, power-ups and minutia of my personal favorite Mario Bros. sequel.

The final Buyer's Guide included:

Sonic Advance
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
The Powerpuff Girls: Mojo Jojo A-Go-Go
Razor Freestyle Scooter
E.T. The Extraterrestrial
Puyo Pop
Nancy Drew: Message In A Haunted Mansion
Moto GP
M&M's Blast
Batman Vengeance
The Flintstone's: Big Trouble In Bedrock
American Bass Challenge
An American Tail: Fievel's Gold Rush
Motocross Maniacs Advance
Broken Sword: The Shadow Of The Templars
Salt Lake 2002
NBA Jam 2002
Inspector Gadget: Advance Mission
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear
Jonny Mosely Mad Trix
Disney's Peter Pan: Return To Never Land
Ecks Vs. Sever
Bomberman Max 2: Red Advance and Blue Advance
Mike Tyson's Boxing
Monsters, Inc.
Planet Monsters
Zone Of The Enders: The Fist Of Mars
Guilty Gear X: Advance Edition
High Heat Baseball 2003
Breath Of Fire II

Sadly there was no Volume 5. Looking back it's unclear why. Perhaps it was the elevated price tag, considering that the same games were probably at least somewhat featured in the far cheaper monthly Nintendo Power magazine? Perhaps there weren't enough people like me who were interested in free Game Boy Advance headphones? Whatever it was, it wasn't a waning interest in the GBA system, as an overload of games would be released for the handheld over the following six years. And these four brief volumes of Nintendo Power Advance serve as a great overview of a year when one of the absolute greatest handhelds of all time was still in its infancy.

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I have been keeping my eyes open for these magazines. Nintendo gave me the third issue as a bonus with my subscription to Nintendo Power. I loved that issue and would love to add the other three to my collection! The GBA has seen many games, but the ones that are outlined in these four magazines were truly amazing games, and I appreciate the depth of coverage in these issues.

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