Everyone loves a good discussion-creating article about the best of any given category, and Joey Davidson over at TechnoBuffalo has come up with a Top 3 list guaranteed to spark a debate. He's crafted a list of Nintendo's best three handheld systems from across all iterations of hardware. I'll forgive him for not including the Virtual Boy (red and black forever!), but what does he pick? Surely his choices and mine will line up at least once. Let's see what we have here...
The Game Boy Color
The Color represented a really great age for portable gaming. Pokémon was brilliant, sure, but players got a chance to play The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Ages as well, possibly two of the most under-appreciated Zelda games ever released.
The DS Lite
The DS Lite marks the best possible hardware update throughout all of Nintendo’s portables. The unit got smaller, lighter, a longer battery life, a bigger stylus and better buttons. Everything about it made sense, and Nintendo rightly deserves the praise they received. And, most importantly, this system retained the GBA backwards compatibility. When Nintendo released the DSi not too long ago, the handheld ditched backwards compatibility altogether, a major slight on its potential.
The NES Classic Game Boy Advance SP
This is what I consider the best handheld ever released. The NES Classic Game Boy Advance SP combined everything I wanted from a portable gaming device. It featured a geeky, retro look that spoke loudly to fellow fans. The design was spectacular, the clamshell feature was revolutionary and it made my friends jealous.
Hey, I don't own any of those! It's true. I have an original 1989 non-color Game Boy, the original 2004 era plain Nintendo DS, and I rely on that DS for my Game Boy Advance needs. It takes a lot for me to upgrade my hardware across the same basic platform, and in fact I have yet to spring for a revised model of anything to replace something that's still working (and not unsupportably obsolete). Even my Sony PlayStation Portable PSP-1000 model is "good enough" even with its dodgy analog nub. Still, from a perspective that doesn't involve my habits of clinging to working hardware, these are solid choices. They're all hardware iterations that represent the top of the line for each class when it comes to top quality gaming experiences. I'm curious which of these three systems will have to drop from Joey's list once the Nintendo 3DS has an opportunity to establish itself.