After years of dreaming, Nintendo is finally delivering the Live event fans have always dreamed of. The company was able to beat historically over-hyped expectations and deliver a memorable E3 2021 presentation, helping to salvage a weak show. From Metroid to Wario, it looks like Nintendo has lived up to some of the biggest fan expectations throughout the years. You know, a Nintendo show goes well when The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 not even the biggest talking point when all has been said and done.
The most surprising thing about the presentation was that it contained a very specific kind of nostalgia. It was a show for fans of the Game Boy Advance, and that set the stage for an all-too-long renaissance for the classic handheld.
For longtime Nintendo fans, the Game Boy Advance has become a criminally underrated system over the years. Portable launched in 2001 and has an extremely powerful game library. It was an era that saw Nintendo and other developers roll out some of their most revered hidden gems and help show that mobile gaming isn’t a gimmick.
While fans have fond memories of the Game Boy Advance days, Nintendo has been selective in preserving its library over the years. Currently, there aren’t many GBA games you can play on the Nintendo Switch… in fact, there aren’t any really. While the system is loaded with NES and SNES games, Nintendo rarely gives the GBA the same homage as its oldest systems.
That changed immediately during Tuesday’s excellent Live presentation. The influence of mobile devices is that all shows are 40 minutes long. At the end of 2021, players will receive suitable sequel for Metroid Fusion, a traditional Wario Ware game and a remake of the first two Advance Wars titles. It’s a custom-built program for gamers who have just missed the SNES era and are more advanced on the GBA. Twitter users Woney for Nothing joked about the fan reaction to the show, tweeting: “Nintendo E3 live level, based on your age: For those over 35: A-. For people under 25 years old: D+. “
It’s a nostalgic franchise of hardware that Nintendo has yet to get its hands on, which is what makes it so interesting. Going back to the GBA era opens the door to a whole list of revivals that have looked like pipe dreams over the past decade. Suddenly, it’s not too hard to think we could get a remake of a game like The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Hat Or is it a continuation of the series Golden Sunshine on a not-so-distant day. Maybe a localization Mother 3 even now has become a reality (OK, let’s not hope too much here).
It was a moment of hope for fans who feared that a once prosperous era of mobile game design would be lost. With the company moving away from handheld gaming and embedding it in its console strategy, there seems to be no space left for dedicated mobile experiences designed for small screens. After all, why produce a brand new 2D Metroid game when players will be able to experience the entire console like Metroid Prime 4 on the road? Games like Metroid Dread and Advance Wars 1 + 2: Re-Boot Camp shows that there is still gas in the flask for the portable classic.
Whether or not Nintendo continues to revisit its Game Boy Advance era, it’s unlikely that these titles will sell well this holiday season. If Wario Ware: Together Together! failed, it could signal that players with a more shallow nostalgia for the era would be better served with a GBA Classic-style release. However, if such titles can salvage Nintendo’s weak 2021, we could finally see the GBA treated with the same respect as the SNES.