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GameBoy Advance 20th Anniversary

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the GameBoy Advance here in the US. I have some fond memories of that console and it’s a little hard to believe that it’s been 20 years already since it came out. I was already a big fan of Nintendo consoles at that point and had been anticipating the release of the GBA for a few years. My GameBoy and GameBoy Color where heavily used throughout my teenage and early adult years. I also picked up a SNES and later a Nintendo 64. I was ready for Nintendo’s new “handheld SNES” and was not disappointed. I still remember being shocked at how well Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 ran on this little battery powered device. I wasn’t as fond of the dimly lit screen, but this was a small price to pay for having this much power that could fit in pocket (back when we didn’t have iPods or smartphones taking up the space).

Little did I know at the launch that the GBA wouldn’t just be another fun game console to play, but it would also change my career trajectory. Through the GBA homebrew scene, I learned about game development, embedded programming, electronic circuits and ARM assembly. All things that I would end up doing professionally within just a few short years. The GBA is indirectly resposible for where I am today and for that, I want to raise a glass for this old friend and look forward to another 20 years. Cheers!

BTW – I’ve been playing with GBA programming again lately and plan to make some posts about what I come up with. The GBA is one of the earliest consoles that feels modern due to it having a 32-bit ARM CPU in it. It is still just as fun to write code for as it was 20 years ago.

Jun 11, 2021

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