Best gameboy for young child?
July 11, 2007 4:55 PM   Subscribe

Is a Gameboy Micro too small for a four year old?

I want to buy my four year old daughter a gameboy advance. I really disliked the original GBA because of the screen that was often hard too see. I know that in the US there was a version of the GBA SP with backlit screen, but not where I live. So, screen quality wise the Micro seems like the best option (a DS is too expensive and I do not think she is careful enough for a DS yet). I also like that the Micro is oriented horizontally, but I wonder if it is too small for a four year old. Any opinions? It has to be a GBA, not one of those "educational" handheld consoles that are designed for young children. She will play Dora and Mario games, at least for now.
posted by davar to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
The Micro's screen is significantly smaller than the SP's.

(Are you sure the SP isn't available in the Netherlands?)
posted by box at 5:18 PM on July 11, 2007

Okay, after a little reading, it looks like the second-generation SP isn't available in Europe. But even the first-gen SP has a backlit screen.
posted by box at 5:22 PM on July 11, 2007

You could always cut out something to the right dimensions and just have her hold it? I doubt the controls will be an issue, but the screen is pretty tiny (about two thirds the size of the gba sp). So eye strain during long term use might be a concern.

The DS was a bit too large for my niece (she had to use two hands press the A button and Right Shoulder button for Mario) but it is pretty durable. You might be able to get one used now that the DS Lite is out. The Dora gba game where she goes after the Pirate Pig's treasure is my niece's favorite, for what it's worth :)
posted by Gary at 5:25 PM on July 11, 2007

Probably my last comment: the SP supports Gameboy and Gameboy Color games, but the Micro does not.
posted by box at 5:25 PM on July 11, 2007

Response by poster: Yeah, I meant the second generation SP (argh!). So do you think the original SP is better than a Micro? I wonder about the controls and the screen. She won't use it for very long sessions though.
Used DS's are still very expensive here, so I'd really like to start with a GBA and then maybe "move up" to a DS in a few years.
Being able to play Gameboy Color games is a plus for the SP indeed. A plus for the Micro is that it is less expensive.
posted by davar at 5:40 PM on July 11, 2007

I think the original SP is better than a Micro. I suspect the hardware is more durable, and I think that the larger screen (and, whatever can be said about brightness and sharpness and dot pitch, I suspect that a four-year-old would just think that a larger screen is better) and backward-compatibility pretty much seal the deal. Pals of mine have a five-year old, and she plays a first-gen DS without any trouble. Unless you're interested in having the smallest device possible, or unless the SP costs three times as much or something, I think that the SP is probably the better choice.
posted by box at 5:53 PM on July 11, 2007

Get a used GBA SP on ebay.
posted by progosk at 6:58 AM on July 12, 2007

Maybe the best gameboy for a young child is none at all.
posted by 6550 at 10:56 AM on July 12, 2007

My son started playing the N64 at two years. He loved Mario 64, although his hands were too small to hold the controller and do the joystick and the buttons at the same time. But, he managed to get very good at the game - even beating levels within a couple months of practice just running around and swapping out hands.

He then started playing a GBA SP around age four, and didn't have any issues really. If anything, getting the hang of holding it right so he could push all buttons while playing (especially the shoulder L/R buttons).

My point being that even if the controller/GBA isn't the perfect size, they'll still have a fun time playing. When he could only do the joystick on Mario 64, he still loved just running around the castle.

But in general, the SP isn't that big, and I feel it is well suited to smaller hands than adult hands. Also, there's many games that are very simple that don't require a lot of complicated moves or button presses (like the Dora and Mario games you mention). So while the game may seem mundane and easy for an adult, it would most likely be challenging and fun for a child.
posted by JibberJabber at 11:19 AM on July 12, 2007

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