Hands-On with Game Boy Micro
We spend a few moments with Nintendo's redesigned mini-handheld.
Article by James Cunningham (Email)
May 25th 2005, 03:51PM
Nintendo's announcement of the Game Boy Micro was met with polite interest and little else. Another new iteration of the Gameboy Advance hardware wasn't exactly the big announcement about Nintendo's portables that people were hoping for, especially with the PSP still shiny and new in people's hands. Being game for pretty much anything, though, I trecked over to Nintendo's booth to see if it was worth the hands-on time. Surprisingly enough, it was.
While Nintendo's minature unit is obviously tiny, as indicated by its namesake, measuring 4" x 2" x 0.7" -- holding it in my hands and actually using it for the first time was surprisingly comfortable. The D-pad proved to be precise and responsive, while the A and B buttons (now featured in a lowercase type style) felt properly placed. Even the L and R triggers on top of the unit were remarkably easy to use. The only issue I found was that Start and Select are now trickier to reach than before, tucked away under the screen, but the unit is small enough that reaching over to them isn't exactly hard.
The big concern other than the peripheral's ergonomics was the screen, which isn't much bigger than a large postage stamp. The game I sampled was rather text-heavy, though the screen abundantly luminated and sharp enough to make the on-screen text easily readable. Whether this would be good for a multi-hour gaming session is debatable, but it should work well for smaller snatches of gaming on the go.
The Game Boy Micro's big draw, though, is one of style. It's small, sleek, and as close to being downright sexy as Nintendo has ever come in terms of console design. And they pretty much admitted at the pre-E3 press conference, that the Micro is all about the styling. Whether it's worth it to the gamer who already owns a GBA SP or Nintendo DS is a matter of personal choice, but Nintendo's focus for the unit is squarely on the "uber-cell phone/iPod Mini/mainstream/hip-gadget" crowd. They designed it well, but it remains to be seen whether that audience will be receptive to Nintendo's advances.