Today, Nintendo officially released Game Boy Advance to a hungry consumer market. After much success and numerous shortages in Japan, Nintendo was hoping to avoid the same problems in the US launch of GBA. However, shipping problems at virtually every retailer have proven that locating a unit on launch day can be almost as frustrating as trying to get your hands on a Playstation 2 last fall.

My first stop was at a local Wal-Mart, where displays for GBA were setup all over the electronics section of the store. However, no Game Boy Advance units were present. When I inquired about purchasing a unit, I was told that the release date was not until June 13. After trying to explain that today, June 11, was the official launch day, I decided to just go try another store, with management that had more sense.

My next stop was Target. Once again, the electronics section of the store was covered in Game Boy Advance promotions, with many GBA launch titles on sale. In fact, Target was even selling their systems for $89.99. However, when I requested to purchase a GBA, a manager told me that the official release date was not until Wednesday, June 13. Again, facing another ignorant employee of a major sales chain, I explained that today, June 11, was the release date. He refuted everything I said because he had “official Nintendo documents” that stated the release date was on June 13.

I drove a little further up the road and made stops at Best Buy, Toys R Us, Circuit City, and CompUSA֠However, all of these shops had the same answer for me-No GBA until June 13. While I was able to eventually find a K Bee Toys that had an extra unit at hand, the only other two stores selling on June 11, Electronic Boutique and Gamestop, only had enough units to cover their presales.

While it may be difficult locating a Game Boy Advance, once you get your hands on the system, you will be completely satisfied with your purchase. Even though the GBA Launch may not have been very successful, the games are good enough to ensure fun and enjoyable gameplay that will further drive the popularity of the system. Hopefully Nintendo will ensure that the GameCube launch goes a little bit smoother…

By Kaleb Rutherford – 01/09/02

Screenshots for GBA: Lets do LAUNCH!