The Televi De Advance is taking GBA enthusiasts by storm. So how does the device check out with Planet GameCube?
The first commercial GBA TV adapter (a device that allows you to connect your GBA to a TV and output the display to it) has been available for a couple months now but still many are hesitant to purchase it given the $70-$80 pricetag it carries.
One also wonders if such a device defeats the purpose of a portable game machine, but fear not, for those of you who are concerned with issues such as screen glare and the sometimes hard to see darker colors (Castlevania comes to mind), the Televi de Advance truly is a godsend.
The device requires a minor modification to your GBA, which involves opening it up (thus voiding your warranty). My GBA was imported from Japan so I had no qualms about doing this, but if you're having second thoughts now, I wouldn't blame you.
First, we'll discuss the performance of the actual adapter. As you know, the GBA has a fairly small 240x160 resolution. This looks fine on a small screen, but when blown up over a large 19" monitor, you start noticing things like the blocky rectangular pixels and colors that might appear washed out.
Composite mode of the GBA TV Adapter is almost unplayable. Washed out, blurry colors will take the fun out of the system fast. However if you have an S-Video input, the picture quality becomes dramatically better. Obviously not as good as emulating the system (or the Wideboy Advance), but definately the 2nd best thing.
The adapter allows you to set the screen at full-screen or 70%. Full screen will try to stretch/shrink the image over your entire screen. Since this does not match up with the 240x160 resolution, items such as text will appear distorted. This is not recommended. 70% sets the screen at roughly proportional to 240x160, as everything is readable and very much playable.
The sound will come out from the GBA's speakers, or you can connect it to use the TV's sound system. Now you can really hear the powerful music of Gameboy Advance!
The adapter requires attaching a small base behind it, and some might find it a bit bulky at first, but you definately get used to it quickly. I found this to not be a problem at all.
So this adapter now seems like the best thing for GBA enthusiasts yet, or does it?
The one key issue I have with the Televi de Advance is that either I am cursed, or the Adapter is easily damaged, sometimes to the point of no repair (luckily depending on where you bought it, you might have a lifetime warranty). The first time I installed my Televi De Advance, the device worked for a couple days, then suddenly when I was playing Tactics Ogre Gaiden, the picture washed out completely, and became distorted. It was totally unplayable. I tried everything from banging the adapter on the table to waiting a few days and turning it back on. It actually did start working again for a tiny bit, only to screw up again.
To make matters short, I opened my GBA up in an attempt to remove the adapter and place it back in to see if that would fix it, and ended up tearing the fragile ribbon cable. This resulted in me buying a new GBA (don't ask me to explain it) and sending my Televi de Advance back for a replacement.
And yes, the replacement worked... for a day. Now when I use the device, it will start up fine, but usually fade into a yellow tint after a few minutes/hours of usage. Sometimes it'll revert back to normal. I have no idea what causes this or what could have caused it.
Now, others i've spoken with have said the device has always worked great for them, so really, you're gambling when you buy a Televi de Advance. Do I recommend such a gamble? Well, just wait until you pop Castlevania in. You won't even think twice about going back to the small screen (unless you actually do take the GBA out for a ride).