Why Are Gameboy Advances So Expensive?

The final iteration of Nintendo’s Gameboy line of handheld consoles, the Gameboy Advance brought many new features. Like the landscape form factor, with controls placed on either side of the screen. Released in 2001, the Gameboy Advance is still in demand today among gamers who want to play classics such as Double Dragon Advance and Gunstar Future Heroes.

But why are Gameboy Advances so expensive? A surge in the popularity of classic games combined with the recent pandemic has led to a lot of people buying old consoles. Several old-school gamers are trying to relive their childhood and an era of gaming that prioritized fun over everything else.

Sure, there are other reasons why Gameboy Advance consoles are so expensive these days. One reason is a shortage of functional GBAs, which drives up prices on the used market. Even though Nintendo sold over 81 million of these things between 2001 and 2008, finding a working unit with intact parts isn’t very easy.

Why Are Gameboy Advances So Expensive?

To understand why GBAs are so expensive today, I must talk about Nintendo as a company. You see, Nintendo doesn’t do remakes or reruns of its old games. They don’t market the next generation as “better”, nor do they provide discounts on copies of their old games.

As a result, Nintendo games don’t go down in value. And since they don’t do reruns or remakes, original game copies are always in demand. Plus, Nintendo has mastered the art of creating timeless games that age extremely well despite the actual console being slower than its rivals.

Consoles like the N64 and Game Boy Advance are old, very old. The GBA was released over two decades ago. And despite being a tough little bugger, age has started to catch up with these old handhelds.

The first thing that goes is the screen. Either that or the controls. Fortunately, battery life isn’t an issue because these old Gameboys are powered by removable AA cells.

People usually sell their old Gameboy Advance because they don’t use it anymore. Or because they lost their games. Talking of which, the shortage of original game copies is a big reason for the increase in GBA prices.

As I mentioned earlier, Nintendo doesn’t do reruns or remakes. They won’t even provide discounts on old games. And the only way to play a GBA cartridge without actually owning a GBA is with a DS.

So when the console dies, people either give away their old games or leave them to collect dust in some corner. If you find a GBA listing on the used market with a bundle of games and accessories, it is pretty much guaranteed to cost over $100. A refurbished or sealed GBA can easily set you back 200 dollars or more.

How Much Did Gameboy Advance Cost?

When it was released in 2001, the GBA cost just $99.99. That’s a sweet deal, considering some N64 games could cost nearly $80. And the average PS1 game was $40 to $50.

For twice as much as a PS1 game, you could get a full handheld console. Nintendo managed to keep prices low with a simple design that didn’t feature an LCD backlight or integrated batteries. The CPU was nothing special, and the display resolution was the same as the regular Gameboy.

Why Are GBA Pokémon Games So Expensive?

Pokémon games on GBA are some of the best in the series. They are simple, with Chibi-themed characters and enjoyable storylines. But you’ll find that these games are quite expensive these days.

It’s due to rising demand combined with high levels of nostalgia among old-school gamers who grew up on these games. Most people who own these old Pokémon games don’t want to sell them. And reruns or remakes of these old games don’t exist, so if you want to play them, you need an original copy.

What Is The Rarest Gameboy?

The Game Boy is not a very rare console, at least if you look at how many Nintendo has made. A large portion is either damaged or lying in a junkyard somewhere. Those that aren’t scrap plastic, still number in the millions.

Yet, certain limited-run models command an extremely high price due to their rarity. For example, there’s the Charizard Game Boy Advance SP of which less than 50,000 were ever made. On the used market, these Charizard GBA SPs can cost upwards of $1200.

Factory-sealed ones are 2000 dollars or more. However, the Charizard GBA SP isn’t the rarest Gameboy. That honor goes to the Pink Heart Game Boy, of which only one was ever made.

Until recently, most Game Boy collectors didn’t even believe that it existed. And the only proof anyone could provide of its existence was an image on Nintendo’s official site. Confirmation was provided by a Reddit user called “Jesuspunk”.

Jesuspunk made a post mentioning that this particular Game Boy was won by their mother in a 1990s gameshow. So if you want the Pink Heart Game Boy, you have to track it down by contacting the original seller. And I bet the price won’t be cheap.

Was The Gameboy Advance Successful?

It sold over 81 million units, so yeah- the GBA was very successful. It is the 10th best-selling console of all time and sold just 3 million units less than the Xbox 360. These are some very impressive sales figures for a cheap handheld with no backlit display that’s powered by two AA batteries.

How Do I Make My GBA Brighter?

Since the Game Boy Advanced has no backlight built into its LCD, you need a light source to see stuff. If you play it in a dark room, your screen will be nothing but a tiny black pit. Unfortunately, there is no brightness adjustment button or menu setting on the GBA.

If you want to make your GBA screen brighter, you’ll need to grab a soldering iron and source an IPS display. There are replacement kits for the GBA sold by various 3rd party groups, and these contain a much higher quality screen than the original console. Here is a detailed guide on how to replace the screen.


Perhaps this article helped you understand why Game Boy Advance consoles are so expensive these days. Despite its age, the console is quite fun to play and has hundreds of games that you won’t get anywhere else. The games themselves are quite rare, and Nintendo doesn’t reproduce or remake them which drives up GBA prices even higher.


As long as I can remember myself I always enjoyed video games. I had amazing moments playing them and that's why I became a game developer, to create amazing experiences for the players. Read More About Me

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