Nintendo is moving to incorporate support for the GBA into several new GameCube titles, in order to send new users in both directions. The first title to show signs of this is Nintendo Puzzle Collection, which is on display at demo kiosks all over Japan.
The nifty part though is the ability for gamers to download one-use copies of games like Dr. Mario from the kiosks to their GBAs. The software disappears when the GBA is powered down, but the campaign has already started to attract gamers.
It sounds like a fantastic idea to us. Imagine popping into the lounge to load up Dr. Mario before hopping on the train to work, or just freeloading off some unfortunate shopkeeper down the road...
XenGamers has pictures of the system in action at an Ito Yokado store in Tokyo.
That's pretty rocking stuff... I like the synergy between using the GameCube as the device which downloads the game to your GBA. The kiosk idea is phenomenal also... I can very easily imagine seeing these in your local toy store or record store. I can also see Nintendo using their new online service as a delivery vehicle not only for interconnected GameCube games, but for downloadable GBA games as well. Right now it looks just like a test of the idea and service, but I can see it being a real success. (Bye the way in the photos above, those are definitely Japanese hands. My hands envelope the GBA... these photos make it look huge, and it's really not).
It won't be long before you can do something like this with your mobile phone. But you won't need a kiosk. Walk into a cafe, attach to the WiFi or Bluetooth HotSpot, check out the menu of games, grab one and play. Yeah - you can do that over the internet also, but the fact is that HotSpots will allow faster data rates for some years to come. Also, having games tied to the local cafe is an opportunity for promotions, etc. ("Come grab a coffee and play one of our three new portable games!"). McDonald's is already starting something similar to this in the U.S. with GameCubes in restaurants...
While I'm on the subject of GBAs, check out these photos of the new GBA SPs that were on Slashdot last week. Wow, that's a really nice looking game machine! The back light kicks ass. I'm running out of freakin' plugs in the house, though, so I can't believe it's another rechargeable device. But I can easily see myself first in line to pick one of these bad-boys up. Actually, the shape is much more like the original Gameboy which I've found is more comfortable than the GBA's design, which makes tapping the shoulder buttons really difficult for my meat-cleaver hands.