GBA Heaven!

March 28th came and a small silver box arrived on my desk"boy was that a good day! I opened my box and brandished my brand spanking new GBA SP aloft, Zelda style. I didn't get a cool "brrring" noise like Link does though.

People in the office gasped and cooed at the tiny, gaming wonder. "It's so smaaaaall," they whispered in awe-struck amazement. Admittedly my office consists of a bunch of PR girls who's worlds revolve around ER and Friends, so handheld gaming is not top of their agenda, or gaming in any form for that matter {sigh}.

But, that said, I reckon the gasps of wonder incurred carry even more credence for the universal, chic styling appeal of the new GBA. It's official: GBA is the new cool. It might even make people want to have sex with you, no"wait, that's Haagen Daas ice cream and Levi's – sorry, my bad.

Anyway, I sat patiently whilst my SP charged itself up. Two hours later I slipped a game in with trembling hands, flipped up the screen I'd only seen on websites and switched it on.

It was like a miracle"I could see EVERYTHING.

It is a gaming revelation of epic proportions. After being without my beloved GBA for so many months (see column entitled "GBA Missing In Action") and now to have a replacement worth every 12 pack of AA batteries I ever bought and so much more. Words fail me quite frankly.

All I need is my SP and a copy of Castlevania and I'm happy – I don't even need light any more, that's how completely awesome back lighting is!! Switch off the back light and you will guffaw at the black screen you once convinced yourself was actually quite clear if you tilted the screen forward by 64 degrees, thus contorting yourself into some long-necked hunchback. Many more years of that and the whole evolutionary path of humankind's physical make-up would have taken a weird and grotesque turn.

Wave goodbye to the days when you wished your own head would stop blocking your only source of light for the screen.

I couldn't wait to whip out my SP on the bus and wow onlookers"I whipped it out, but they weren't wowed, stoopid onlookers.

Then of course came the piece de resistance!! I had to go to bed"stick with me people, hey you at the back, quit doodling, this is the important bit.

So, back to my piece de resistance… Let me set the scene, it's night, I've had an evening's worth of DOAX, look at the clock".9:30, jeez, must be time for bed, yawn, stretch. Anyway, teeth brushed I slip between the bed covers and turn out the light. {click} All of a sudden my face is bathed in a heavenly blue white light. No I'm not having an out of body experience, I'm playing my GBA in the DARK!

I proceeded to test my GBA's new night-vision in the darkest of dark places I could find. The results were conclusive, it's real cool playing in the dark – heh, heh.

And I'm not the only one who's convinced by the power of SP. Here in the UK you can't find one for love nor money. Nintendo reports that over 330,000 units were sold in the UK in its first two days of release, beating PS2 to the number one hardware spot. According to the same figures, the average age of the SP buyer was 23 with a male/female split of 80/20. And 55% of SP owners have never had a handheld before. I can vouch for this figure. On showing my new purchase to countless friends, I was surprised at the number of handheld converts. Nintendo have managed to elevate the GBA from ‘toy' to ‘gadget' status.

Once I've rattled through Castlevania, which shouldn't be too long, then I've got Aria of Sorrows to look forward to. News on the Konami Boy grapevine is it's not as good as Harmony, but I have a feeling it'll still be better than the usual GBA schlock we have to endure. And then we have Kojima's adventures in SP land to look forward to. But in the meantime I have Metroid to keep me busy {happy sigh}.

It's good to see Nintendo enjoying some success with the SP, which is more than can be said for GameCube. Hopefully, SP sales will keep Nintendo fanboys quiet, so we don't have to listen to them bleating on about the injustice of it all, blah, blah. But let us not dwell on such things"

What I want to know is, if there are 30,000 units floating around the UK and not a sign of any going spare in shops, where are they all? Konami Boy and I travelled to Leicester (English town in the midlands, famous for a big-eared footballer and the manufacture of potato chips) and back last weekend, SP's in tow and didn't meet a single kindred spirit!? So where are all the SP players and where do they play? It's one of life's mysteries I guess.

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