The best GBA games of all-time are Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. First released in Japan on March 21, 2001, the games went on to sell over 16 million units worldwide. Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, enhanced remakes of the original Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue games are the second best-selling titles on the platform with sales in excess of 12 million copies. Pokémon Emerald, the enhanced version of Ruby and Sapphire, is third with sales of more than 7 million units. The top five is rounded out by Mario Kart: Super Circuit and Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2, each of which sold over 5.5 million units.
A total of 39 Game Boy Advance games sold one million units or more. Of those, eleven titles were developed by internal Nintendo development divisions. Aside from these, the developers with the most million-selling titles include Game Freak (three games), HAL Laboratory, Intelligent Systems, and Flagship (two games each). Nintendo published 31 of these 39 games. Other publishers with multiple million-selling entries include The Pokémon Company (five titles), THQ (three games), Konami and Namco (two titles each). The most popular franchises on Game Boy Advance are Pokémon (over 39 million combined units) and Super Mario (16.69 million combined units).
The 25 Best GBA Games Ever Made
The Legend Of Zelda: The Minish Cap
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap tops our list for a number of reasons: endless charm, brilliant overworld and dungeon design, smart puzzles, and even smarter puzzle mechanics. The Minish Cap told the backstory of Vaati, the main antagonist and important figure in Four Swords. After Vaati petrified Princess Zelda, Link rescued a magic sentient hat with a bird head that, when worn, lets him shrink down to a microscopic size just like the Minish, the tiny creatures that have worked tirelessly to help remove darkness from the world.
Camelot Software Planning, known for Shining Force and Mario sports titles, surprised everyone with 2001’s Golden Sun, a valiant attempt at delivering an original Final Fantasy-type experience to a handheld platform. And boy, did Camelot ever succeed. Golden Sun starred Isaac and three other adventurers in their quest to save the world of Weyard. It had all the trappings of a Final Fantasy game — a save the world storyline, random turn-based battles, and summons — but it also had a decent variety of overworld puzzles and much deeper story thanks to a wealth of dialogue and exposition.
Castlevania: Aria Of Sorrow
The third and final GBA Castlevania game, Aria of Sorrow showed that it was still possible for the series to reach the level of greatness shown in Symphony of the Night. That’s right. First, we said Metroid Fusion was better than Super Metroid, and now we’re putting Aria of Sorrow on the same pedestal as Symphony of the Night. Unlike its predecessors, Aria of Sorrow took the vampiric series to the future, placing users in the shoes of Soma Cruz, a teen with occult power who could bring about the reincarnation of Dracula.
It’s no surprise Metroid Fusion was developed by the same team who made Super Metroid. Fusion practically felt like an unrelated sequel when it launched in 2002. Fusion featured a similarly lengthy open-world to explore, letting players scour and uncover secrets and ways forward at their own pace. The team at Nintendo R&D1 refined the combat from Super Metroid and introduced numerous new power-ups and mechanics in the process. It may be blasphemous to say, but Metroid Fusion is not just one of the best games on GBA; it’s the best 2D Metroid ever made.
Best Selling GBA Games
Oh the times, they are a-changing. When the Game Boy line of hardware debuted in 1989, the idea of a device that could play fully-fledged games on the go was revolutionary. Now we have cell phones that allow us to talk to others, stream video, play games, and look up facts (like what year the Game Boy debuted) in the palm of our hands. But let us never forget these dedicated little machines, or the last of its lineage, the Game Boy Advance (GBA).
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
Before the GBA rolled around, Mario had a proven track record with approachable, well-executed RPGs in titles like Paper Mario and Super Mario RPG. But when dev AlphaDream focused its efforts on making the first portable role-player for Mario, the team kept that core gameplay but added a whole new element that gave the game its own unique edge. That X-factor was Luigi. The interplay between the brothers is fantastic, whether juxtaposing Mario’s courage with Luigi’s cowardice or using their numerous special abilities in and out of battle.
Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2
In 2001, Tony Hawk’s name still carried serious weight in gaming, so a handheld adaptation of THPS2 in the GBA’s launch library was a pretty big deal. It’s still a pretty big deal, actually, if you consider what a challenge it must have been adapting Pro Skater’s kick-flipping, rail-grinding 3D action to a 2D handheld. THPS2 pulled it off brilliantly, though, delivering an isometric, kinda-3D-looking game that felt uncannily like its console counterparts.
Best GBA Games Pokemon
The Game Boy Advance has gone from has-been to fond memory, to desirable old-school console. The DS predecessor was essentially a Super Nintendo you could cram in your pocket, and its library of games is one of the strongest in portable gaming. With so many incredible games, narrowing down the list to the top 25 was a harrowing task, but these are the games that stood out and stand up against the test of time.
For more modern Nintendo games, check out our list of the 25 best Nintendo Switch games, the 25 best Nintendo 3DS games, and if you’re looking to upgrade, here’s the best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles.