Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Nintendo DS vs. Game Boy Advance: which do you prefer?

Which did you prefer?

Nintendo DS 22 70.97%
Game Boy Advance 9 29.03%

Zelda Spirit Tracks and Phantom Hourglass > Minish Cap (even if PH does so only barely)
Mario Kart DS > Super Circuit
Mario Party DS > Mario Party Advance

GBA doesn’t have a real Mario platformer of it’s own and DS had Professor Layton. I admit I stupidly missed Metroid and Fire Emblem, which were excellent, on GBA but that was because I had already given up on GBA (and GC) at that point.

DS was better.

If however you’re including the many ports on GBA it makes a much stronger case because then you’ll have to consider A Link to the Past, Yoshi’s Island and Super Mario Bros. 3. Is DS still better then? Not sure.

3DS and GameBoy beat both though, no contest there.

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Darwinianevolution said:
Both are stellar systems, but the DS can play GBA games, so there's that.

This ^

Shiken said:
Darwinianevolution said:
Both are stellar systems, but the DS can play GBA games, so there's that.

But GBA can play GB and GBC games, so I guess it depends on which generations are most important to you.

I have the Game Boy Player and Super Game Boy for those. Actually, I played my GBA games mostly on TV, curiously enough

DS - and it's not even close.

(Note, I'm an oldtime gamer, I played all of Nintendo's handhelds extensively, and among the first games I ever imported was the English version of Final Fantasy Legend, the very first handheld RPG - GB didn't require a fire converter).


GBA was a bit crap, to be honest; it felt a little like "What if Nintendo didn't release the SNES until 1995?" rather than an adequate update. If you thought getting the right angle on original 3DS was bad, try getting the right angle of a lightbulb onto the GBA screen... especially with games like Circle of the Moon. I think people voting for the GBA are forgetting this frustration. GBA STILL needed you to replace the batteries!

GBA SP was a massive improvement, but the screen was still dim. Again, lighting was a big factor, as it had the opposite issue of the original GBA: if it were played in a sunlit room, the screen could not be seen. On the plus side, it actually had a rechargeable battery built in, although it was only about 5-8 hours despite being a fairly weak handheld... also you had to charge it for 3-5 hours (usually overnight) in order to get it up to the maximum; usually playing involved having it plugged into the wall. Last issue, the GBA SP looked like a baby DS, it was very small.

While DS wasn't the most aesthetically pleasing console, its screen was significantly better than the GBA, and it was substantially more powerful as a console with a significantly longer battery life of 2-4X the GBA. On the software side, it offered a much wider variety of games and was capable of polygonal graphics - launching with Super Mario 64 as a port, which was fairly fantastic at the time.

While DS Lite didn't have the same power-awe as the original DS, its screen was even better. The battery life was over 20 hours, the screen brightness had a wide range (brighter than the DS, you could light up a small room with it). It was sleek, the most attractive handheld gaming device of its time (arguably ever, though I'd be more inclined to argue the Switch in handheld mode). You might say it was liteyears ahead of any GBA model.

Last edited by Jumpin - on 31 December 2018

I describe myself as a little dose of toxic masculinity.

gba had 3 of my favourite games (redfire, ff tactics advance, mario and luigi superstar saga) so ill go for that one! (ds was a revolution tho)

The DS was much better imo.
Better overall game library, and much better rpg selection.

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It is a mixed bag for me.

I like the mountains of hidden gems on DS as far as creative game worlds, music, tone, art, etc. but I grew to loathe dual-screen gaming and touch-screen gaming by the end of 2007.

GBA had fewer gems, and I can only stand backlight screen/rechargeable GBA's nowadays a Modded OG GBA is more ergonomic, but I just owned a Backlit GBA SP.

But, I MUCH preferred the gameplay of a single screen with buttons, so I am more biased towards GBA.

PSP won me over in 2010 thanks to its library in the end.

Vita and 3DS was the same issues. I just wanted to play good games without touch-screen and dual-screen nonsense. 3DS had the games Vita had the right button layout (Vita even used way to much touch input and I went back to PSP in the end).

Android and iOS are prutrid dumpster fire.

I am much happier with how things are going with Nintendo Switch... I didn't buy Mario Party or Pokemon due to the motion control stuff, I felt complete with that stuff by the end of 2008 as well.