October 5th, 2005, 21:46 Posted By: wraggster
It was odd to think that there was a time when Nintendo didn't rule the portable world. When the original giant grey Tetris machine came out, we all bought one and fell in love. Sure it was pea green and it blurred to hell and back when a game scrolled, but it was ours. We couldn't get the Tetris tune out of our head. We bought every Mario game that came out for it. Pretenders came and went—the Game Gear, the TurboGrafx. They had color, they had nice screens, and they didn't last.
Then the updates began. First the Game Boy Pocket. Then the color, then the Game Boy Advance. Then came the Game Boy SP, and the brighter screen. I remember buying them all when they came out, and each one was slightly better than the last. Maybe not enough for an upgrade for most people, but at least Nintendo never rested on its laurels. They kept making the systems better and better, until the original grayscale blurry system was all but unrecognizable.
Now they face a challenge though. Sony's PSP is incredible looking and challenging Nintendo's supremacy in portable gaming. With the iPod, Apple redefined consumer electronic chic. The Game Boy was a ton of things, but it was never sexy. With the Game Boy Micro Nintendo wants to give us what Apple gave us. They wanted to sex up the Game Boy line.
Beauty is only cardboard deep
The new way of thinking is first evident in the packaging. This looks nothing like what we're used to for videogame system packaging. For one, you can see the unit through the plastic. It looks like it was meant to hang in upscale electronics stores, not the back wall of a chain video game store. The packaging is sleek and it grabs the eye. You also clearly see the two face plates you get with the system. The whole thing doesn't feel like a video game product, which is I think a win for Nintendo. They want to get you looking at it even if you've never had your eye caught by a portable video game system before. Yet another box wouldn't do that, and this accomplishes everything they set out to do.
Some nice packaging from Nintendo
When you open it up you see everything the unit comes with. Lately, I've been impressed with what Nintendo includes with its systems, but this is kind of a letdown. You get the unit, two faceplates, the charger, a tool to help you pop out the faceplates, and a small sock to keep it in. Its not exactly a bad spread, but I would have liked to have had a neck strap or at least a wrist strap. The system is designed almost to be worn as much as played, and having to buy that sort of thing separately was a pain in the ass. C'mon Nintendo, give us a necklace.
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