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Buyer's Guide:    Best Video Games for Kids: GameBoy Advance 

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A new feature at EdutainingKids.com, our Buyer's Guides help make buying choices easy for consumers. We test hundreds of children's products and strive to keep up to date on the latest releases. Of course, every family is unique. We can't please everyone. However, we are able to select some special titles that are at the top of our "edutainment" list--those that have that extra edge in the categories of design, entertainment, education, and play value. 

Besides the letter grades we give most products, reviews on this site often come with a rating bar chart--a visual breakdown of how the product rates in a number of categories. If you'd like to know more about how software products are rated, click here.

As we test new software and products, we will update these buyer's guides to reflect current availability and up-to-date recommendations. These guides are intended to help parents make sense of the overwhelming choices available to them.

Video Games for Kids: GameBoy Advance

A wider screen than the GameBoy Color, nice graphics, and highly convenient portability are some of the many advantages of the GameBoy Advance. The games we recommend stand out for multi-level and extensive gameplay or ease of use. 

 

Ages 3-6

 


I Spy Challenger 

coverThis is an unusually educational title for the GameBoy Advance. Well, not in a direct, 3 R's kind of way...but in a brain-challenging sense. 

It's a great game to take in the car for "edutainment" during both short and lengthy trips. 

I Spy Challenger is filled with I Spy riddles that encourage reading and creative/logical thinking. There are 100+ levels to the game, various variations on activities, bonus rounds, timed challenges, and other such exciting things. 

Recommended for: Preschoolers to age 5-6, children who enjoy find-it games and puzzles.

Why do we recommend this game? It's educational and entertaining at the same time. The challenge level is appropriate for children ages 4-6. 

[For more information, or to buy: I Spy Challenger at Amazon.com]

 


Dora the Explorer: Search for Pirate Pig's Treasure 

coverMany GameBoy Advance games that are based on preschooler shows are too challenging for preschoolers! This one is far more age-appropriate, although it is not without its challenges. Older siblings and adults might have to assist once in a while.

However, the controls are simple and the theme is fantastic. There is nothing here to make little ones nervous -- there are no lives to lose, for example. It's just plain fun. The only real downside is that it may not last for too, too long--but it is a great introductory game for young children clamoring for a turn on the GameBoy Advance.

Recommended for: Preschoolers to age 5-6, Dora the Explorer fans, children who enjoy simple puzzles.

Why do we recommend this game? This game is MANAGEABLE for preschoolers. It's preschooler-friendly both in theme and challenge level. Although older kids and adults may need to help out once in a while, this game is close to ideal as an introductory video game. 

[For more information, or to buy: Dora the Explorer The Search for Pirate... at Amazon.com]

 

Ages 6+

Pokemon FireRed 

coverBoth Pokemon FireRed and Pokemon LeafGreen are multi-layered and detailed games. Players return to Kanto, the setting for Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue.

The new games are set in Kanto, the region where Pokémon first took root and exploded into a major phenomenon, and the latest titles stuff in tons of exciting new features. Some of the special features include more impressive graphics and a free GBA Wireless Adapter. As other wireless Trainers come within reach of the range of a player's adapter, they will be able to communicate and play games together. As players leave the range, they'll vanish from a player's wireless network. 

The graphics are improved and compelling. These versions allow players to capture all of the Pokemon that weren't available in Ruby and Sapphire versions, which pleases our testers. Once players complete certain tasks in the LeafGreen and FireRed games, they are able to trade Pokemon between these new games and Ruby/Sapphire as well as Pokemon Colosseum. One veteran Pokemon gamer feels that these new versions are more challenging than the Ruby and Sapphire editions.

Recommended for: All Pokemon fans! Children ages 8-13. There are "battle" themes, but those families who approve of the Pokemon show will approve of this game.

Why do we recommend this game? This program is engrossing and certainly deep enough to justify the price tag. Pokemon LeafGreen and FireRed versions are involving games with loads of appeal. Best of all, the games contain extensive gameplay opportunities.

[For more information, or to buy: Pokemon FireRed with Wireless Adapter and Trainer's Guide at Amazon.com]

 

Pokemon LeafGreen 

coverBoth Pokemon FireRed and Pokemon LeafGreen are multi-layered and detailed games. Players return to Kanto, the setting for Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue.

The new games are set in Kanto, the region where Pokémon first took root and exploded into a major phenomenon, and the latest titles stuff in tons of exciting new features.  Some of the special features include more impressive graphics and a free GBA Wireless Adapter. As other wireless Trainers come within reach of the range of a player's adapter, they will be able to communicate and play games together. As players leave the range, they'll vanish from a player's wireless network. 

The graphics are improved and compelling. These versions allow players to capture all of the Pokemon that weren't available in Ruby and Sapphire versions, which pleases our testers. Once players complete certain tasks in the LeafGreen and FireRed games, they are able to trade Pokemon between these new games and Ruby/Sapphire as well as Pokemon Colosseum. One veteran Pokemon gamer feels that these new versions are more challenging than the Ruby and Sapphire editions.

Recommended for: All Pokemon fans! Children ages 8-13. There are "battle" themes, but those families who approve of the Pokemon show will approve of this game.

Why do we recommend this game? This game is engrossing and certainly deep enough to justify the price tag. Pokemon LeafGreen and FireRed versions are involving games with loads of appeal. Best of all, the games contain extensive gameplay opportunities. Slightly more challenging than the Ruby and Sapphire editions.

[For more information, or to buy: Pokemon LeafGreen with Wireless Adapter and Pocket Trainer's Guide at Amazon.com]

 


Pokemon Sapphire 

coverBoth Pokemon Sapphire and Pokemon Ruby mark the series' entrance to the GameBoy Advance platform. These are multi-layered and detailed games. The object of the game is to explore the world of Hoenn, searching for wild Pokemon to catch, tame, and battle.

Now players can bring two Pokemon into battle at once (and they can actually help each other out) and they can enjoy improved graphics. Best of all, Ruby and Sapphire not only include many familiar Pokemon creatures known to date, they introduce 100 more. There are also multiplayer options and a rich trading aspect to the game, which can be enjoyed only with a link cable. 

What is the difference between Ruby and Sapphire Versions? As with previous Pokemon games, certain Pokemon creatures can only be found in one of the versions. In this case, Ruby's unique Pokemon include Seedot, Mawile, and Solrock. Additionally, there are some Pokemon common to both games, but that are rare in one version and common in the other. For example, Volbeat is hard to find in Ruby yet common in Sapphire, while Illumise can be easily found in Ruby and not very common in Sapphire.

Recommended for: All Pokemon fans! Children ages 6-13. There are "battle" themes, but those families who approve of the Pokemon show will approve of this game.

Why do we recommend this game? This program is engrossing and certainly deep enough to justify the price tag. Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire versions are involving games with loads of appeal. Best of all, the games contain extensive gameplay opportunities.

[For more information, or to buy: Pokemon Sapphire at Amazon.com for approximately $19.99 US]

 



Pokemon Ruby 

coverBoth Pokemon Sapphire and Pokemon Ruby mark the series' entrance to the GameBoy Advance platform. These are multi-layered and detailed games. The object of the game is to explore the world of Hoenn, searching for wild Pokemon to catch, tame, and battle.

Now players can bring two Pokemon into battle at once (and they can actually help each other out) and they can enjoy improved graphics. Best of all, Ruby and Sapphire not only include many familiar Pokemon creatures known to date, they introduce 100 more. There are also multiplayer options and a rich trading aspect to the game, which can be enjoyed only with a link cable. 

What is the difference between Ruby and Sapphire Versions? As with previous Pokemon games, certain Pokemon creatures can only be found in one of the versions. In this case, Ruby's unique Pokemon include Seedot, Mawile, and Solrock. Additionally, there are some Pokemon common to both games, but that are rare in one version and common in the other. For example, Volbeat is hard to find in Ruby yet common in Sapphire, while Illumise can be easily found in Ruby and not very common in Sapphire.

Recommended for: All Pokemon fans! Children ages 6-13. There are "battle" themes, but those families who approve of the Pokemon show will approve of this game.

Why do we recommend this game? This program is engrossing and certainly deep enough to justify the price tag. Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire versions are involving games with loads of appeal. Best of all, the games contain extensive gameplay opportunities.

[For more information, or to buy: Pokemon Ruby at Amazon.com]

 

 

Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3 

coverThis is a fantastic platform game with broad appeal. 

Players take on the role of Yoshi in this superb and detailed game, and they actually go "back in time" to return baby Mario to his parents! Players go through level after level of fun adventure.

Excellent replay value and an imaginative story line set this game apart.

Recommended for: All children who enjoy adventure-style platform games, ages 6-up.

Why do we recommend this game? This is an imaginative adventure-style program with an involving story line that seems to go on forever...which means the game will last. Excellent game with broad appeal.

[For more information, or to buy: Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3 at Amazon.com]

 

 

Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak 

coverThe only problem with this game is that there is a bit of an age mismatch in terms of the appeal of the show and the challenge of this game. This is best for older fans of the Hamtaro show! Bijou and Hamtaro need to restore love to Ham-Ham pairs, like Oxnard and Pepper, collect and learn Ham-Chats (for example, "bluhoo"=sad), "rubrub" collected gems, compose and perform "Ham-jams" (song and dance), play dress-up, and unlock and explore different worlds in the game. Challenging but rich in game-play!

Recommended for: Older fans of the Hamtaro show! Children who enjoy a challenge, can read, and are old enough to strategize. May be better for girls because of the theme, but our boy testers enjoyed the rich gameplay involved.

Why do we recommend this game? It has more life than most programs (extensive game-play) and original activities. Too challenging for young fans of the Hamtaro show, but excellent for children ages 8-up. 

[For more information, or to buy: Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak at Amazon.com]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

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Amazon's Holiday Toy List




April 2003 
 

 

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