The Game Boy Advance was the 32-bit leap for Nintendo’s flourishing handheld business, bringing the graphics of the Super Nintendo to gamers on the go. While the Game Boy Colour had a substantial library of games that weren’t painted in green and black tones, it was the Advance’s palette that truly brought vibrant worlds to a portable system. It was also a departure from the previous blocky handheld design, with a curvaceous and wide look that screamed “this is the future!”. Indeed it was, as the Advance made a memorable impact on the gaming world, shifting over 80 million consoles during its seven year lifetime. The handheld market proved that it could continue to thrive without a blockbuster game like Tetris helping to sell the units, and so long as they weren’t battling with sun glare, people were loving it.
My infatuation with the Game Boy Micro has continued into 2014. Not content with the defeat of Final Fantasy V being the final use of this pocket portable, I recently jumped back into Kururin Paradise. The first game in the series, Kuru Kuru Kururin, was one of the very first Game Boy Advance games I played, thanks in part to the abundance of emulators and a console that wouldn’t arrive until Christmas time. It was great fun, but back then I was terribly inpatient, so I never completed it. Purchasing a Micro was first and foremost for tackling FFV, but hey, why not go for the nostalgia trip and purchase Kuru Kuru Kururin? A few days after starting, I’d beaten this puzzler.
If you’ve not played this game before, the concept is quite simple. You control a helicopter-like ship, which you only ever see from a top down perspective. What you must do is move through each level without touching the walls, or any other objects placed in the level to obstruct you. Using the d-pad allows you to move the ship, although the rotors are always moving at a fixed pace. This means you have to time your movements well, because you’re in for disaster if you’re inside a corridor and you rotate into the wall. It’s simple, fun, and devilishly difficult.
What I didn’t realise back in the day was that there was a GBA sequel, only released in Japan. While I cracked on with my FFV playthrough, I ordered it from a seller on eBay. I did play it a little when it arrived, but I was ultimately distracted by other games. Kururin Paradise eventually became a game I’d play in bed, conquering a few levels before sleeping.