Game Boy Micro
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Game Boy Micro is a handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. The system is the second major redesign of the Game Boy Advance, and is marketed towards the "image conscious"  consumer, with emphasis placed on its small size and sleek design. According to Nintendo of America executive Perrin Kaplan, its codename during development was Oxy. The unit also has a model name of "OXY-001" on the back of the unit.
The Game Boy Micro was officially unveiled by Nintendo of America's (then) vice president of sales and marketing, Reggie Fils-Aime, at the company's E3 press conference on May 17, 2005. The system was released in Japan on September 13, 2005 and in North America on September 19, 2005. It was released in Europe on November 4, 2005 and Australia on November 3, 2005. It has also been released in China as "iQue Game Boy Micro" on October 1, 2005.
The system retails for US$89 in North America, compared to North American $79 for the Game Boy Advance SP. The system was originally available in black and silver, and a red 20th Anniversary Edition was later released. During the 2006 'Black Friday' sales, the 20th Anniversary Edition was sold for USD$39.99. In Canada, the Game Boy Micro retails for approx $119 CDN but has sold for as low as $49.99 CDN (July 2006). In Japan, the handheld runs for about ¥12,000, ¥2,800 more than the SP. The system sells for €95/£69 in Europe although as of September 2006 most major high street retailers in the UK at least are selling the system new for £39.99. In Australia, although its retail price is listed as AUD$149.95, it has been selling for as little as AUD$49.95. And in China, it sells for RMB¥880, RMB¥212 more than the iQue GBA SP.
Design and specifications
The Game Boy Micro retains most of the functionality of the Game Boy Advance SP, but with an updated form factor. It is smaller than previous Game Boy systems; slightly bigger and about two thirds the weight of an iPod mini. Additionally, it features a backlit screen with the ability to adjust the brightness so as to adapt to lighting.
The Game Boy micro features a removable face plate that allows consumers to purchase alternative designs.
- Dimensions: 50 x 101 x 17.2 millimetres (2 x 4 x 0.7 in). It is almost the size of an average credit card.
- Weight: 80 g (2.8 ounces) About the weight of 80 paper clips
- Processor: 32-bit 16.8-MHz ARM processor (ARM7TDMI).
- Colors: Various
- Screen: 51 mm / 2 inches (compared to 74 mm / 2.9 in. for the GBA), backlight with adjustable brightness. According to the Game Boy Micro's press release, the "best Game Boy screen ever".
- Battery: built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery( Up to 7 hours of battery life with the brightness turned up and the sound on max or 13 hours with both features on regular)
- Headphones: supports standard headphones without additional accessories.
The Game Boy micro has a two-way switch on its right side for adjusting volume up or down. By holding down the L shoulder button, the switch can also be used to adjust the backlight between five levels of brightness.
In keeping with the system's target market (the "iPod generation"), Nintendo has redesigned their Play-Yan music/video adaptor to better fit the Game Boy Micro. This device can play MP3 and digital video files from SD cards.
The Game Boy Micro is compatible with all Game Boy Advance cartridges, including Game Boy Advance Video cartridges. Unlike the Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Advance SP, however, the Game Boy Micro does not support games made for the original Game Boy or Game Boy Color. The e-Reader card series is also officially incompatible because the accessory cannot fit, but physically removing the link cable connector from the e-Reader will make it fit. However, the design of the e-Reader makes the "Select" and "Start" buttons difficult to access during gameplay, and its size and shape in relation to the system makes it awkward to hold. This can be avoided by removing the E-Reader from the cartridge slot after the game has loaded.
As with the Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Advance SP systems, there are no regional lockouts on software, so North American games can be played on Japanese hardware and vice versa.
In Japan, the handheld has been released in four colors and styles each. The four colors are black, blue, purple, and silver. The Game Boy micro also has four limited edition styles: one based on the original Famicom video game console's controller: a blue bodied model with a faceplate based on Final Fantasy IV , a red bodied and red faced edition for the release of the game Mother 3 and a red bodied model with a black faceplate containing the silhouette of the iconic Pikachu from the Pokémon franchise.
In the United States and Canada, the Game Boy Micro is available in two regular colors, each sold with three interchangeable faceplates included: silver with black, "Ammonite" and "Ladybug" faceplates, and black with silver, "Flame" and "Camouflage" faceplates.  A new "20th Anniversary" edition was released on December 5, which resembles the Famicom style Game Boy micro. However, it was only renamed and lacked the distinctive 20th Anniversary symbol featuring the iconic Mario. 
In Europe the handheld is available in four different colors, with one matching faceplate: silver, green, blue and pink. In Australia the colors are silver, black, blue, red and pink. 
There are reportedly no plans to sell additional faceplates in the US (as indicated in the letter page in issue 200 of Nintendo Power) or the UK  Nintendo of Europe cannot supply replacement faceplates of any kind, and the feature is omitted from the product's marketing, packaging, and manual in Europe. However, some thirdparties are manufacturing such faceplates for sale in the US and Europe, and some importers stock faceplates acquired from Japan. 
To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Mario, Nintendo recently released a Famicom edition faceplate that represents the famicom pad II. This faceplate is only obtainable through the Nintendo reward scheme in Japan only, although you can also purchase this faceplate at online stores. As well as the release of this faceplate, Nintendo also released a limited edition collection of various famicom mini games, which can be collected as a set along with the collector's album. Again, this is only obtainable through the Nintendo rewarding scheme or on online stores.
Release and sales
- The Game Boy Micro sold over 170,000 units during its first days in Japan.
- The North American release has fallen to criticism; with a formal release of September 19, 2005, many stores threw the date out the window and some had delayed it until September 26, 2005 or as late as September 30, 2005.
- According to the Nintendo's earnings release, 1.87 million Game Boy micro units had been sold worldwide as of September 30, 2006, including 590 thousand units in Japan, 470 thousand units in the Americas, and 800 thousand in other territories such as Europe and Australia.
Due to the Game Boy Micro being so small, it relies heavily on proprietary (nonstandard) ports. Due to the port on the Game Boy Micro being different from either of those that belong to the Game Boy Advance SP, it is not compatible with the Game Boy Advance SP's functions without special cables. While the headphone jack port has been restored, gamers must buy two link cables (Game Boy Micro to Game Boy Micro and Game Boy Micro to Game Boy Advance) to restore full multiplayer functionality. The Nintendo.com store lists the two cables at $9.95 and $7.95 respectively. Also, the GameCube-Game Boy Advance cable does not work with the Game Boy Micro. A gamer discovered how to hack the cables to restore such compatibility.
Additionally, the shrunken power port means that the SP/DS AC adapter cannot be used, so it is not as readily swappable or replaceable if the GBM adapter is lost, since some people may already own an SP or DS.
Consumer conversion to proprietary accessories is an idea that is no different from any other Game Boy release, as buyers generally had to upgrade their accessories along with the new unit for the releases of Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance. For an item that is considered part of the Game Boy Advance family, however, many of the differences were criticized as being too major. The SP was another upgrade, and although its design was radically different, it retained most of the original Game Boy Advance's functionality.
The near-simultaneous, albeit extremely low-key release of the backlit version of the Game Boy Advance SP has also drawn criticism over the purpose of the Game Boy micro. There have been concerns that Nintendo may cannibalize its own market. Some gamers who were hesitant to get the Game Boy micro due to the smaller screen and loss of back compatibility are opting for a newer version of the Game Boy Advance SP, which sports a backlight equal to the Game Boy Micro and has a screen of at least comparable quality , but retains the Game Boy Advance SP software and accessory compatibility.
Nintendo themselves have commented that Game Boy Micro Sales did not meet their expectations, commenting they "failed to explain to consumers its unique value and they concluded that Micro is not worth the price they have to invest."
The Game Boy Micro's A and B buttons are also much larger than any previous model, making them easier to use. Removable faceplates have been praised because they, "...allow for personalization and protect the high-resolution backlit screen.". 
The Game Boy Micro's backlit screen, which is superior to the Game Boy Advance SP's, has been praised for its visibility  . Due to a finer dot pitch, the screen is more evenly lit, and the brightness is adjustable. The smaller dot pitch has also improved the apparent sharpness of the display.
- ^ a b CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS (PDF) 28. Nintendo Co., Ltd. (2006-10-26). Retrieved on 2006-10-26.
- ^ Nintendo's Game Boy Micro Projects Dynamic New Image". Nintendo.com. May 17, 2005.
- ^ Final Fantasy IV (w/ Game Boy Advance Limited Edition. Play-Asia.com. (Out of print.)
- ^ Mother 3 GB Micro. Eurogamer. February 21, 2006. Retrieved April 20, 2006
- ^ Game Boy Micro (Pokémon Limited Edition). Play-Asia.com. (Out of print.)
- ^ "Stylish New Game Boy Micro Ships Sept. 19". Nintendo.com. August 17, 2005.
- ^ "Game Boy Micro launch date and price!". Nintendo Europe. August 17, 2005.
- ^ "McBacon". "No Micro Faceplates for Europe". January 4, 2006.
- ^ "Japanese Sales Charts, Week Ending September 18". Gamasutra. September 23, 2005.
- ^ "Troz1820." "Gamecube to Game Boy Micro cable instructions". Cheapassgamer.com. December 30, 2005.
- ^ Harris, Craig. "IGN: GBA SP Gets Brighter". IGN. September 21, 2005
- ^ http://www.nintendo.co.jp/kessan/060607qa_e/03.html
- ^ a b "Game Boy Micro Review". PCmag.com.
- Official North American website
- Official Australia website
- Nintendo.com's Game Boy Micro FAQ