Game Boy Advance SP
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Game Boy Advance SP Gameboy advance SP logo.svg
A Cobalt Blue front-lit version of the Game Boy Advance SP.
Manufacturer     Nintendo
Product family     Game Boy line
Type     Handheld game console
Generation     Sixth generation era
Retail availability     

    JP: February 14, 2003

    NA: March 23, 2003

    PAL: March 28, 2003

Introductory price     US$99.99
Discontinued     May 15, 2010
Units shipped     Total (Worldwide): 81.51 million
GBA and Micro: 37.94 million
GBA SP: 43.57 million
(as of December 31, 2015)
GBA Micro: 2.42 million
(as of March 31, 2007)
Media     ROM cartridges
CPU     32-bit 16.78 MHz ARM7TDMI
8 or 4 MHz Z80 coprocessor
Display     TFT LCD, 240×160 pixels, 40.8×61.2 mm
Best-selling game     Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, 13 million combined (as of November 25, 2004)
Pokémon Emerald, 6.32 million (as of March 31, 2007)
compatibility     Game Boy, Game Boy Color (GBA & GBA SP only)
Predecessor     Game Boy Advance (concurrent)
Successor     Game Boy Micro (redesign)
Nintendo DS (successor)

The Game Boy Advance SP (ゲームボーイアドバンスSP Gēmu Bōi Adobansu Essu Pī), released in February 2003,[9] is an upgraded version of Nintendo's Game Boy Advance. The "SP" in the name stands for "Special". The SP is accompanied by the Nintendo DS (released in November 2004) and the Game Boy Micro (released in September 2005).

Technical specifications
Main article: Comparison of Nintendo portable consoles

    Size (closed): Approximately 8.4 × 8.2 × 2.44 cm (3.3 × 3.23 × 0.96 inches).
    Weight: 142 grams (approximately 5 ounces)
    Screen: 2.9 inch Reflective TFT Color LCD.
    Light source: Frontlight integrated LCD.
    Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery.
    Battery life: 10 hours continuous play with light on, 18 hours with light off; needs at most 3 hours recharging.
    Hardware colors: Onyx, Flame, Platinum Silver, Cobalt Blue, Pearl Pink, Pearl Blue, Graphite, Midnight Blue, Charizard Fire Red, Torchic Orange, Venusaur Leaf Green, NES classic design, and Pikachu Yellow. A limited gold edition with a Triforce and the Hyrule Royal Family crest was available in Europe which included a copy of The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. In 2003, Toys "R" Us sold an exclusive gold edition (without any Zelda symbols) in the US starting on Black Friday of that year, initially with a Super Mario Advance 4 game. In September 2005, a Blue edition was sold through Best Buy. A special Pokémon Emerald pack contained a limited edition Green Rayquaza SP and the Emerald game. A limited edition backlit edition exists. There is also an All Blacks edition. An Orange and red version was made as a prize for a speed run competition for Metroid Zero Mission. A red SP with a circle with an M in it was created, modeled after Mario's cap, it also came in a bundle that included the game Mario Vs. Donkey Kong.
    Main article: List of Game Boy colors and styles § Game Boy Advance SP

The GBA SP is slightly more than half the size of the GBA when closed and roughly the height of Nintendo's Game Boy Color when open. This model of the Game Boy can play all Game Boy cartridges including Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance carts. The clamshell (or laptop design) protects the screen from scratches and dust, reminiscent of two-screen Game & Watch units. However, the casing is made from a different material, making it more prone to scratches than previous Game Boy systems. The slot for cartridges has been moved to the bottom of the system, facing down. This makes using special cartridges, such as the Game Boy Camera and Kirby: Tilt and Tumble, very difficult.

The GBA SP AC adapter comes with the package to recharge its lithium ion battery, something previous Game Boys did not have (they usually used commercially available batteries). This adapter is also compatible with the original version of the DS. The software library and general hardware specifications are identical to those of the Game Boy Advance.

In Japan it was released in a variety of standard colors and special packages. In most other regions it was released in Platinum Silver and Charcoal Black. Later, a Flame Red version was released. Six special editions have also been released: a NES Classics model with the same color scheme as a classic NES controller (and designed to resemble a NES deck when closed), a SpongeBob SquarePants model, a Pikachu model, and a silver model with a tattoo design printed on it, known as the 'Tribal Edition'. In other regions, such as Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, additional colors have been released, such as Pearl Green and Starlight Gold. Additionally, two new special versions have been released in Asia exclusive to that region.

Nintendo was planning to have the SP be 3D-compatible, but the resolution of LCD was too low, resulting in Nintendo scrapping it.

    CPU: 32-bit ARM7TDMI with embedded memory.
    Co-processor: 8-bit Zilog Z80
    Memory: 32 kilobyte+96 kilobyte VRAM (internal CPU), 256 kilobyte DRAM (external CPU).
    Resolution: 240 × 160 pixels.
    Color: 16-bit RGB (16-bit color space using 5 bits depth per channel), capable of displaying 512 simultaneous colors in "character mode" and 32,768 (215) simultaneous colors in "bitmap mode".
    Software: Compatible with all Game Boy and most Game Boy Color games. Game Boy games can be played using the same selectable color palettes as on the Game Boy Color.

Headphone jack
Headphone adapter for Game Boy Advance SP

Nintendo removed the TRS headphone jack from the SP, which had been included on all previous Game Boy models. Headphones designed specifically for the GBA SP can be purchased, or standard headphones can be attached with an optional, stereophonic[16] adapter that plugs into the same port as the AC adapter.

As both AC adapter and headphones use the same port, it is not possible to charge the SP and listen to headphones at the same time with the Nintendo brand adapter. There are, however, third-party solutions, such as an adapter that "splits" into two different cords; the power jack on one side, and a TS headphone jack on the other.
Backlit Model (AGS-101)
The pearl blue AGS-101 GBA SP model that featured an improved backlit screen.

In September 2005, around the time of the Game Boy Micro's release, Nintendo released an improved version of the Game Boy Advance SP in North America, featuring a brighter backlit screen instead of the previous version's frontlit screen. The new model can be distinguished by the following features:

    The box states "Now with a BRIGHTER backlit screen!" to distinguish the new model from the older, frontlit models.
    The backlit SP has the Model Number AGS-101 on the label on the bottom of the unit, whereas the original frontlit SP has the Model Number AGS-001
    The mini button at the top center of the console's lower face is now referred to in the manual as the "Brightness Switch" and selects between two levels of brightness, "Normal"(Low) and "Bright"(High) with no off setting. On the frontlit models this button turned the frontlight on or off only. With the backlight set to "Normal"(Low) the brightness still surpasses the original AGS-001 with the frontlight on.
    When powered off, the backlit model's screen is completely black, but the frontlit model's screen is noticeably lighter.

The North American backlit version comes in three standard colors: "Pearl Blue", "Pearl Pink" and "Graphite" (a greyer version of Onyx Black). There were also two Toys "R" Us exclusive backlit models; a "SpongeBob SquarePants" model and a "Limited Edition Pikachu" model.

In 2006, the AGS-101 backlit model also saw a very limited release in Europe. Few models made it to market, likely due to the release of the Game Boy Advance-compatible Nintendo DS one year prior. The European version was released in "Surf Blue" as well as re-issued "Pink" and "Tribal" editions.

Unlike the North American release, the European box does not feature any prominent text to distinguish the backlit models from the older frontlit models. In addition, only the "Surf Blue" color was unique to the AGS-101, the other two colors "Pink" and "Tribal" had already been released as frontlit models - for these reasons it can be very difficult to identify a European backlit SP. Apart from the AGS-101 model number on the base of the unit, the only other obvious distinguishing feature of the European backlit model is the large picture of the Game Boy Advance SP featured on the front of the box. (The European frontlit models of "Pink" and "Tribal" only feature small pictures of the Game Boy Advance SP on the sides of the box and Flower/Tattoo patterns on the front respectively.)

"M. Wiley" of IGN called the Game Boy Advance SP "a step in the right direction for Nintendo", praising the system's new redesign over the original GBA and highlighting its inclusion of a backlit screen and rechargable battery, although minor criticism went towards the system's omittion of a headphone jack. Engadget gave it a global score of 84 out of 100, also praising the new features of the redesign while noting the system's lack of a headphone jack.
Sales information

As of June 30, 2009, the Game Boy Advance series has sold 81.48 million units worldwide, of which 43.52 million are Game Boy Advance SP units.
Life-to-date Number of units sold Date     Japan     Americas     Other     Total
2003-03-31     0.82 million     0.83 million     0.46 million     2.10 million
2003-06-30                 4.84 million
2003-09-30     2.33 million     4.32 million     2.38 million     9.04 million
2003-12-31     3.14 million     7.82 million     4.34 million     15.30 million
2004-03-31     3.68 million     8.78 million     4.70 million     17.16 million
2004-06-30                 19.33 million
2004-09-30     5.02 million     12.46 million     6.21 million     23.68 million
2004-12-31     5.94 million     16.13 million     8.67 million     30.73 million
2005-03-31     6.00 million     16.69 million     9.10 million     31.79 million
2005-09-30     6.16 million     18.08 million     10.08 million     34.32 million
2005-12-31     6.35 million     20.40 million     10.64 million     37.40 million
2006-03-31     6.42 million     20.95 million     10.86 million     38.23 million
2006-06-30     6.46 million     21.30 million     11.08 million     38.84 million
2006-09-30     6.48 million     21.95 million     11.37 million     39.79 million
2006-12-31     6.50 million     23.06 million     11.78 million     41.33 million
2007-03-31     6.50 million     23.47 million     11.95 million     41.92 million
2007-06-30     6.50 million     23.78 million     12.14 million     42.43 million
2007-09-30    6.51 million     24.01 million     12.31 million     42.82 million
2007-12-31     6.51 million     24.01 million     12.51 million     43.02 million
2008-03-31     6.51 million     24.00 million     12.71 million     43.23 million
2008-06-30     6.51 million     24.00 million     12.89 million     43.41 million
2008-09-30     6.51 million     24.00 million     12.97 million     43.49 million
2008-12-31     6.51 million     24.00 million     13.00 million     43.52 million