Fun and games

1995-2000 Nintendo/Creatures inc./GAME FREAK inc. 2000 Nintendo/INTELLIGENT SYSTEMS

There's a new handheld game console in town. It's called the Game Boy Advance (approximately JY9800 plus tax), but unfortunately it won't be in stores until next year. On March 21, Kyoto-based game mavens, Nintendo, will release the new version of its popular system, sure to impress handheld game players and have other game makers shaking in their circuit boxes.

The reason for the delay? The current model, Game Boy Color, is too popular. Some of the parts for Game Boy Color are also used in Game Boy Advance, and its prevalence among gamesters means a monopoly on the components.

Game Boy Advance, originally meant to be sold in the Japanese market in August, will be able to run the thousands of existing games for Game Boy Color and the original Game Boy. There will also be games created that will only work on the Game Boy Advance, such as the eagerly anticipated Mario Kart Advance.

Game Boy Advance will not disappoint-features include a new horizontal configuration, a screen size increase of 50 percent, a screen resolution increase of 60 percent, a screen capable of displaying 32,000 colors simultaneously, and its processor runs 17 times faster than that of the Game Boy Color. There's also PCM stereo sound playback for great audio, a special cable to allow four people to play at the same time, and connections for a color camera and color printer, all in a nice 140g package.

2000 Nintendo

While you're waiting for the Game Boy Advance to be released, try a new game that is maximized for Game Boy Color but is also backwards compatible with Game Boy Pocket and Game Boy. Pokemon Puzzle League GB (Japanese title: Pokemon de Panepon, JY3800) was released in Japan last week, and will not be on the shelves in the US until February of next year.

The game is based on the same engine and mechanics as the previously released "Yoshi no Panepon" (US title: Tetris Attack). There are six single player game modes and three different two-player modes. Use your favorite Pokemon character from Pokemon Gold and Silver in this easy to understand, yet difficult to master block stacking puzzle game to match three blocks of the same color in a vertical or horizontal row. They will disappear, you'll get points, and all of the blocks above will fall down to fill in the gaps. The more blocks you can get to match and fall in sequence (a 'combo"), the more points you'll get-and the more neutral blocks your opponent will receive. The main point of the game is to defeat all trainers to acquire their badges in order to become the Pokemon Puzzle Master. Sound like fun?

Melanie C. Redmond

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