Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Programme: Gameboy Advance Games Incoming!

The recent news regarding the 3DS Ambassador programme has got me thinking about my Gameboy Advance playing days; Mario Kart Super Circuit and the Super Mario Advance series in particular. Nintendo have announced that 20 free games are coming soon for all those who connect to the 3DS eShop before the 11th August; 10 from the NES from the beginning of September and, perhaps more interestingly, 10 from the Gameboy Advance too.

Whilst the line up of NES games is impressive enough, including Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong Jr., Balloon Fight, Ice Climber and The Legend of Zelda, I thought I’d take the opportunity to take a look back at the Gameboy Advance, the games that were available for it and what is, and may be, coming before the end of the year.

Gameboy Advance
The Gameboy Advance, or GBA for short, was the fourth in the Gameboy series, after the original and Pocket versions and the Gameboy colour. Released in it’s first form in 2001, the GBA went on to sell 81.51 million units worldwide, all versions combined, by the end of 2010.

With a 2.9 inch, 240 × 160 pixels (3:2 aspect ratio) screen, the GBA was backwards compatible with Gameboy and Gameboy Colour games, allowing the user to select between the original screen ratio of the Game Boy (160×144) and a stretched widescreen presentation of (240×144) using the L and R buttons.

Redesigned versions
In 2003 the Gameboy Advance SP was released, with a completely different, square folding open design that resembled the DS. This version had a brighter screen with an internal front light, and was the first handheld Nintendo console to include a rechargeable battery. This meant a release day upgrade for me, having struggled with the dark screen on the original GBA for a couple of years, as well as going through an untold amount of batteries.

2005 meant the 2nd re-release of the GBA, known as the Gameboy Micro. This reverted back to the wide, horizontal orientation of the original GBA and came in a number of different designs including one which was based on an NES control pad. A version I never owned unfortunately as the DS release meant that the Gameboy Micro passed me by a little.

Gameboy Advance Games
So, on to the games. I particularly remember a couple of great titles that I mentioned above, but the 3DS Ambassador programme means I get to experience a number of new titles, as well as those I remember fondly. To be honest, I think a large majority of these 10 games would have been must buys when they are released on the eShop later this year, and with the news that Nintendo currently has no plans to make these 10 games available to the general public on Nintendo 3DS in the future, I for one am glad I bought my 3DS when I did.

At the time of writing, Nintendo have already confirmed that Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island, Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion, WarioWare, Inc.: Minigame Mania, Mario vs. Donkey Kong and Kirby & The Amazing Mirror will be released to Ambassadors by the end of this year.

Classic Nintendo titles
I don’t know about you, but this list couldn’t be much better. With some classic Nintendo franchises Nintendo fans are more than covered:

Mario Kart: Super Circuit, with a collection of classic tracks from Super Mario Kart on SNES, plus 20 new tracks including Shy Guy Beach which has since featured in Mario Kart Wii, my girlfriend and I had a Gameboy Advance and a copy of the game each for some addictive multi player racing. If you’re a fan of the series you owe it to yourself to give this one a go.

Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island will be top of my download list. Originally released on SNES, this was, confusingly, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island released as the 3rd in the Super Mario Advance series. With it’s quirky, original visual style this was the first game to feature Baby Mario and Luigi.

Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, the 4th and final Mario Advance game in the series, is based on the Super Mario Bros. 3 remake that featured in Super Mario All Stars released on SNES and included the Mario Bros. mini game. Classic Super Mario gameplay; need I say more?!

Metroid Fusion will be a must download for me too, as a late comer to the Metroid Series I missed this one first time around unfortunately. The fourth in the Metroid series, this most closely resembles the visuals style and gameplay of Super Metroid on the SNES and received Universal Acclaim on Metacritic.

With some classic Mario vs. Donkey Kong action, the first in the Wario Ware series and Kirby classic platforming too, I don’t think anyone will be disappointed.

Something missing?
Oh right, there’s one thing I did miss of course! I said the list couldn’t be much better. But, I know what you’re thinking; where’s The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap? I for one hope this is one of the three remaining titles to be announced for release. I missed out on this one so an announcement soon will be the icing on what is already a very nice, tasty looking Nintendo cake.

What are you hoping to be announced for release as part of the 3DS Ambassador programme? Do let us know. Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga would be a welcome title, as well as Wario Land 4, Donkey Kong Country 2 or perhaps Advance Wars or Golden Sun? I’m sure we’ll find out soon!

Not got yourself a 3DS yet? The list of amazing free games above for everyone who connects to the 3DS eShop store before the 11th August not convinced you yet? Check out 4 other great reasons to pick up a 3DS in our article here.

(Statistics and technical details courtesy of Wikipedia).

22 Responses to “Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Programme: Gameboy Advance Games Incoming!”
  1. jimjamz says:

    Minish Cap was made by Capcom and is therefore not a true Zelda! That is all.


  2. Steve T. says:

    Might download Metroid Fusion. I own the rest from the GBA days. If Nintendo doesn’t have plans to remake them, and I’m sure they do, I wouldn’t mind seeing Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire in the service. But I’m sure they will eventually remake them. Love to see Snow Brothers get some love somewhere. Either this service or eshop or Wii ware remake. I must be the only one that really liked that game.


  3. Jassen Payen says:

    Looking forward to downloading everything and making good use of my 32gb sdhc card! The future is bright for 3DS owners!


  4. StealthBuda says:

    The original Advance Wars with network multiplayer functionality would be so so awesome.


  5. Marc Love says:

    For me, Metroid Fusion and Yoshi’s Island are the big draws. I missed out on them first time around and I won’t let them slip past again!


  6. Vince says:

    Pokemon Emerald is needed. And a Megaman Battle Network game.


  7. Wes says:

    Thanks everyone for your responses on my article. Glad to see it’s got everyone talking and I’m pleased to see everyone is excited about the content coming soon. GBA was a classic console, the one that had the most impact on me when it comes to handheld gaming for sure. We are all certainly in for a treat.

    Never got into Pokemon personally though, other than the very first Red one. Aren’t they all the same? I know that Emerald/Sapphire/Ruby were some of the biggest sellers for GBA so you could be right – it could well be one of the free titles. And anything multi-player would also be excellent.


    • Steve T. says:

      You’re right about the pokemon games being similar to each other. Only real differences are different pokemon to catch and different graphics. I’m really pulling for Blue or Silver to be made for the E-shop with wi-fi but I will settle for this too. This would make a “saving battery” not matter because my Ruby battery life is dead. If they made it a download, then no mess. It looks like they are trying to hit most of the major franchises in one way or another for the Ambassador program. Since pokemon sells, it might just be what Nintendo wants, a popular game being played.


  8. Neos109 says:

    I’m hoping for The Legend of Zelda: and the Minish Cap,Golden Sun 2, then either the other Golden Sun, or one of those classics that even though its immature, it’s still a classic and should be added to the list.


    • As most here’ll know I am a big fan of Minish Cap. Add that to the list Nintendo.. To be honest the selection is great by even to smallest expectations. It’s also showing that Nintendo has put their money where their mouth is, as they could easily make good money buy releasing them for download.


  9. Ej says:



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