The Absolute Best Game Boy Advance Party Games of All Time

The Game Boy Advance stands tall in portable gaming history for taking sociable, party-style play to exciting new heights. Launched in 2001, the GBA built radically upon prior Game Boys with much greater graphics, sound and connectivity.

Most importantly, it expanded multiplayer from 2 to 4 players through Game Boy Advance link cables. This ushered in an outstanding era of handheld titles centered around passing, sharing and competing together in person.

Let‘s first understand what set the GBA apart before diving into the very best examples of party games it hosted:

The Game Boy Advance – A Technical Leap

Make no mistake, the Game Boy Advance represented a massive generational leap over the models preceding it. The specs tell quite a tale:

SpecGame Boy AdvanceGame Boy ColorGame Boy Pocket
Screen Resolution240 x 160 pixels160 × 144 pixels160 x 144 pixels
Display Depth32,768 colors32,768 colors4 shades of olive green
DimensionsApproximately 14 cm x 8.5 cm x 3.3 cm12 cm × 8 cm × 2.3 cm10 cm × 7.5 cm × 2 cm
CPU Speed16.8 MHz8 MHz4.19 MHz
Media FormatGame Boy Advance Game PaksGame Boy Color Game PaksGame Boy Game Paks
Multiplayer SupportUp to 4 systems via link cableOnly 2 systems via link cable2 systems via link cable

As is clear from the above table, the GBA overhauled Game Boy graphics with far greater resolution, color depth and clarity on a nicer display. More advanced internals drove the increased visuals while also enabling bigger, meatier games.

But most crucially for party gameplay, multiplayer went from 2 to 4 systems via linking – opening lots of new competitive and cooperative possibilities.

Game Boy Advance Link Cable Multiplayer Games

The Game Boy Advance library features over a dozen games with local 4-player multiplayer support using link cables. Party-minded players will find excellent competitive and co-op options across these top genres:

GenreTop GBA Party Games
RacingMario Kart: Super Circuit, F-Zero: Maximum Velocity
SportsMario Golf Advance Tour, Mario Tennis Power Tour, Super Dodgeball Advance
Action-AdventureLegend of Zelda: Four Swords, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
ShootersDoom II, Wolfenstein 3D
Puzzle/Mini-gameWarioWare Inc., Mr. Driller 2
RoleplayingPokemon Ruby/Sapphire, Lufia: The Ruins of Lore

From kart racers to arcade sports to shooters, the diversity of multiplayer-friendly games expanded greatly thanks to the GBA‘s capabilities.

Let‘s spotlight the absolute best Game Boy Advance party titles that shined when played socially in groups during the handheld‘s heyday…

Mario Golf: Advance Tour

Release Year: 2004

Mario Golf had brought arcade golfing action blended with Mushroom Kingdom zaniness to consoles. But Mario Golf: Advance Tour realized the concept‘s potential for portable multiplayer.

Up to four can tee off together across colorful courses populated by franchise faves like Yoshi. While you learn golf ropes via the story mode‘s academy, grabbing friends is where it truly shines.

With easy pick-up-and-play controls combined with unexpected hazards and surprises across holes, long evenings passing just one GBA cart between players is par for the course!

WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames

Release Year: 2003

WarioWare always focused on brevity through explosive microgames mere seconds long each. But the GBA original remains the series apex for multiplayer madness. With over 200 microgames testing wildly different skills, short attention spans stay rewarded.

Challenges bombard players as fast as you can pass control to the next person, hitting addictive "just one more try" notes while constantly surprising. Get a rollercoaster rush keeping up with whatever bizarre task appears next – from alien blasting to funghi feeding to nose picking! Provide lots of napkins to wipe sweat and tears from the ensuing hilarity.

Mario Kart Super Circuit

Release Year: 2001

The Mario Kart franchise translates splendidly to sprite-based graphics, never more so than in Super Circuit – custom built for Game Boy Advance. Vibrant courses explode with color that feels almost SNES-like compared to older Greys. 20 original tracks join 20 remixed retro tracks for ultimate package.

But it’s the fierce competition from linking four carts for simultaneous racing that certifies this as a classic party title. Nail a friend with a perfectly aimed shell just before the finish line for maximum satisfaction! Unlock extra cups and characters longevity goes long.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords

Release Year: 2002

In an ingenious twist, The Legend of Zelda became a snappy cooperative multiplayer romp with Four Swords! Visuals adopt renewed pixel-art distinction while gameplay expands for 2-4 swashbucklers.

Randomized level layouts and challenges galore always surprise. Work in harmony to uncover secrets and defeat wicked bosses. But other rooms deviously pit Links against one another in competitive tests for an extra layer.

This fresh take on the Zelda blueprint still oozes classic adventure charm yet feels distinct. And friend or foes can begin journeying together with one cartridge copy – now that‘s economical partying!

Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire

Release Years: 2002

No franchise has shipped more link cables than Pokémon thanks to engrossing creature collecting and trading core to the series. Ruby and Sapphire on GBA demonstrate Game Freak sticking to what works – rock paper scissors-esque battle balancing refined after years iterations.

Hundreds of new Pokémon to gather plus real-time competitive and cooperative battles over link cable. Have each player start with a different version for version-exclusive critters to trade between one another. Ruby focuses on land beasts while Sapphire leans aquatic.

While later GBA sequel Emerald arguably fine-tunes the package further, Ruby and Sapphire make perfect entry points for budding trainers. Just pick one then fight your friend who chose the other!

Kirby & The Amazing Mirror

Release Year: 2004

The long-running Kirby franchise returns to fine multiplayer form with a Metroid-styled adventure oozing charm. Vibrant graphics dazzle while retaining beloved Pink Puffball key traits – swallow enemies then mimic their skills for weaponized chaos!

Randomly generated level layouts mean exciting surprises every time. And drop-in cooperative multiplayer lets a second Kirby seamlessly join maze-crawling fray anytime to access new areas, secrets and boss battles!

LaterKirby games better fine-tune core concepts. But Amazing Mirror captures the old-school fun vibe with thoroughly modern visual pizzazz.

Mario Tennis: Power Tour

Release Year: 2005

Mario sports outings made for excellent multiplayer thanks to their pure arcade-like accessibility – and Mario Tennis: Power Tour Grand Slams GBA specifically. Signature Nintendo mascot polish means controlling tennis matches feels fantastic.

Liberal use of Mushroom Kingdom characters and locales further push its party game pedigree. Rallying across courts with friends reveals startling depth via abilities and power shots. Yet its still simple enough for short play sessions.

Support for up to four players ensures fierce but friendly competition abounds. If Wii Sports made motion controlled tennis popular, consider this its impressive portable progenitor.


The Game Boy Advance‘s technical leap empowered developers to bring couch party experiences to handheld gaming. Playing hot new releases huddled together fostered social camaraderie like never before on a portable.

From family game nights to dorm room study breaks to vacations and beyond, these seven GBA classics led the charge for enjoying gaming at its best – together with friends! Their winning formulas centered around viral fun still hold up wonderfully today.

So while modern online play enables connecting beyond the living room, going old school never felt so good. Just dust off your link cables and reconnect with good pals through these timeless GBA party luminaries!

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