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The Game Boy Advance marked a new direction for Nintendo and its popular line of handheld consoles. Released as part of the sixth generation of consoles alongside the Nintendo GameCube, the Sony PlayStation 2, and the Microsoft Xbox, 2001’s Game Boy Advance was a definitive improvement even over the 20th century’s immensely successful Game Boy and the Game Boy Color.

This is due in large part to the wide selection of games — some of which are the absolute weirdest Game Boy Advance games of all time. With over 1,500 different games made available for the Game Boy Advance over its seven-year lifespan between 2001 and 2008, not all of these games can be bona fide success stories.

Still, many game developers and publishers made big swings with their Game Boy Advance games. As a result, there were some truly weird titles to hit the handheld console throughout the 2000s. We’ve taken a look at them all and ranked the weirdest Game Boy Advance games below. Whether you played these oddities or not, they deserve a spot in the history books.

A Brief History of the Game Boy Advance

Before getting into the weirdest Game Boy Advance games of all time, it’s worth explaining what it was about the GBA that actually made it possible for these weird games to exist in the first place. These days, it’s not often you see weird games for current-gen consoles.

That’s because of the sheer amount of time, effort, and — most importantly — the budget that goes into PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X games. Game Boy Advance games had much more basic, much simpler graphics, which made it easier (and cheaper) to produce and profit from them.

There was a similar phenomenon with Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. The cartridges used to play games on the Game Boy, the Game Boy Color, and, subsequently, the Game Boy Advance were technologically advanced enough to handle add-ons such as gyroscopes and even cameras.

The Game Boy Advance made this even easier because the cartridges were about half the size of the ones for the Game Boy and Game Boy Color. Oddly enough, nearly 15 years after its discontinuation, indie game developers are still making Game Boy Advance games.

The low cost of the Game Boy Advance, the low production cost, and the reduced graphics of the games themselves lent their way to a whole slew of game types, formats, and genres alike. In order to stand out, both today and back in the Game Boy Advance’s heyday, there often needed to be a degree of strangeness or uniqueness to have an impact on the player.

How the Game Boy Advance Was Born

After the two previous Game Boy models — the Game Boy and Game Boy Color — Nintendo made the executive decision to flip the orientation of the screen from portrait to landscape. This decision led to the brand moving the action buttons to either side of the screen. (This differed from the Game Boy and the Color’s orientation, which placed the buttons below the screen.)

It was a change that reflected the attitudes of the time, as TV screens and computer monitors were also moving away from the 4:3 orientation of the past in favor of a widescreen look.

The Game Boy Color successor was officially announced on September 1st of 1999. Nintendo described the Game Boy Advance as a new and improved handheld console for the 21st century. It boasted cellular online connectivity, rechargeable battery packs, an infrared communications adaptor, and even an updated version of the obscure Game Boy Camera.

3D Graphics

Remember what we said about the weird add-ons the Game Boy Advance could handle? This was definitely one of them. The GBA officially hit stores in North America in June of 2001.

While most Game Boy Advance games were 2D, other developers — like some of the weirder, more daring ones — took a crack at 3D graphics. While these games pushed the rudimentary hardware to its limits, it was undoubtedly a way for them to stand out amongst the 1,500+ other games in the GBA library.

Another way to stand out? Well, by creating some of the absolute weirdest Game Boy Advance games of all time, of course. Here are our top seven picks for the crown, ranging from odd one-offs to surprisingly popular (and surprisingly strange) series.

Below are our seven picks for the weirdest Game Boy Advance games of all time. Did you ever play any of these? It’s possible they might’ve disappeared down the memory hole.

7. Shrek: Swamp Kart Speedway (2002)

Shrek Swamp Kart Speedway
  • Grab your bravest friends and race through fairylands you didn't even know existed. You've never seen your favorite ogre move this fast before! 8 playable characters each in their own special...
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PublisherTDK
Available PlatformsGame Boy Advance
DeveloperProlific Publishing, Silent Software, Inc.
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
ReleasedMarch 19th, 2002 (North America)

Movie tie-in games are (and always have been) a no-brainer for video game developers and publishers new and old. They come with instant recognizability and are inherently going to be as popular as the movie they’re based on.

Shrek: Swamp Kart Speedway has to be one of the weirdest instances of this, taking the popularity of the first Shrek film and the popularity of Mario Kart to create this ogre of a game. What a strange creative choice to make. Forget everything people love about Shrek and make the main characters race each other.

6. Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak (2003)

Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak
  • When a new Ham-Ham named Spat begins starting trouble, Hamtaro and Bijou will learn new Ham-Chat words and solve puzzles to save their friends from heartbreak
  • Explore a wide variety of locations from the Clubhouse to Fun Land and Sandy Bay
  • To solve puzzles and complete the levels, you'll have to master Ham-Chat - more than 80 word to learn, each with their own unique animation
  • Figure out the right words to use for any given situation -- this will reunite the squabbling Ham-Hams
  • Learn new songs and dances to cheer up the sad Ham-Hams and increase their Love Meter
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
PublisherNintendo
Available PlatformsGame Boy Advance
DeveloperPax Softnica
Mode(s)Single-player
ReleasedApril 8th, 2003 (North America)

Since they were part of a long-running video game series, the folks over at Pax Softnica can’t be blamed for wanting to take the Hamtaro games in a new direction. Based on the popular series of books and anime of the same name, Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak changes things up from previous entries by adding a partner for the main character (who also happens to have a crush on said lead).

In addition to your own relationship, you also have to work to maintain the relationships of other hamsters around you…all while facing off against Spat, an evil hamster who hates relationships. It’s weird, all right.

5. Spy Muppets: License to Croak (2003)

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01/29/2023 09:01 pm GMT
PublisherTDK Mediactive
Available PlatformsGame Boy Advance, PC
DeveloperVicarious Visions
Mode(s)Single-player
ReleasedNovember 18th, 2003 (North America)

Similar to the aforementioned Shrek: Swamp Kart Speedway, the Game Boy Advance was home to all kinds of TV tie-ins, as well. From That’s So Raven to Zoey 101, plenty of kids’ television programs ended up with a Game Boy Advance game.

No other game took the television show’s premise to such drastically different heights than Spy Muppets: License to Croak. Weirdly reimagining Kermit as a James Bond-esque super spy, License to Croak makes the most of its absurd premise.

Ultimately, it’s one of the weirdest Game Boy Advance Games that remains enjoyable in its own right.

4. Urban Yeti! (2002)

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PublisherTelegames
Available PlatformsGame Boy Advance
DeveloperCave Barn Studios
Mode(s)Single-player
ReleasedAugust 16th, 2002 (North America)

Of all the absolute weirdest Game Boy Advance games, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Urban Yeti! — the story of one yeti’s mission to find a mate in the big city. Played from a Grand Theft Auto-ish top-down perspective, Urban Yeti! has players controlling a yeti through missions and minigames alike in search of that coveted yeti partner.

You can even get your yeti a job, helping them to earn some money to explore new areas in hopes of finding a partner in different parts of the city. The game has equal parts defenders and detractors, but all can agree on its weirdness.

3. March of the Penguins (2006)

March Of The Penguins - Game Boy Advance
$11.95
  • Over 50 levels to enjoy
  • Animated in-game sequences
  • Expedition log allows for re-play of levels
  • Classic addictive-style game play
  • Three additional mini-game sequences
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/29/2023 06:51 pm GMT
PublisherDSI Games
Available PlatformsGame Boy Advance, GameCube, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2
DeveloperSkyworks Technologies, SkyRiver Studios
Mode(s)Single-player
Released2006 (North America)

It seems safe to say with absolute confidence that March of the Penguins for the Game Boy Advance is the one and only video game to ever be based on a documentary film. Winner of 2006’s Best Documentary Film at the Academy Awards, the synonymous penguin documentary inexplicably spawned a Game Boy Advance game.

It essentially borrows heavily from the gameplay of the Lemmings series, and is about as fun as a Lemmings game to boot. There’s no question why this one ended up in the #3 spot. It’s one of the weirdest executive decisions ever.

2. WarioWare: Twisted! (2005)

game boy advance
WarioWare: Twisted! was developed by Nintendo SPD with Intelligent Systems.

©openretro.org – License

PublisherNintendo
Available PlatformsGame Boy Advance
DeveloperNintendo SPD, Intelligent Systems
Mode(s)Single-player
ReleasedMay 23rd, 2005 (North America)

Remember what we said about weird Game Boy Advance accessories? emWarioWare: Twisted!/em might just have the weirdest of them all. The game cartridge featured a large bump on the back which contained a gyroscopic sensor.

Ingeniously, during the Wario minigames, you have to spin, rotate and twist the Game Boy Advance in order to succeed. Tasks include unraveling a toilet paper roll, picking a giant nose, dodging bird droppings, and more.

Not only is it one of the weirdest Game Boy Advance Games ever, but it’s also one of the best GBA games of all time simply for its innovation.

1. Elf Bowling 1 & 2 (2005)

Elf Bowling 1 and 2 - Game Boy Advance
$69.99
  • Normal - Line up, capture and meet your quota.
  • Tokoton - Level up for every 100 animals caught.
  • Time Attack - Score big within the time limit.
  • Score Attack - Reach 200,000 points as fast as you can.
  • Quest - Tackle 8 special challenges
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01/29/2023 12:11 pm GMT
PublisherIgnition Entertainment
Available PlatformsGame Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PC
DeveloperIgnition Entertainment
Mode(s)Single-player
ReleasedNovember 28th, 2005

While we’ve equated weirdness with goodness at several points throughout the course of this list, make no mistake here: When it comes to Elf Bowling 1 & 2, weird is definitely not good. As a matter of fact, weird means bad in this instance.

You play as Santa, who is — for some reason — bowling down elves with a bowling ball. To make things worse, the elves are on strike over the poor working conditions in Santa’s workshop. That’s right, Santa’s a union buster. With the oddity that is Elf Bowling 1 & 2, he tops his own naughty list.

The Absolute Weirdest Game Boy Advance Games of All Time FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

When did the Game Boy Advance come out?

The Game Boy Advance hit North American stores on June 11th, 2001.

When was the Game Boy Advance discontinued?

The Game Boy Advance was discontinued in the first quarter of 2008.

How many Game Boy Advances were sold over its lifespan?

There were more than 81 million Game Boy Advances sold between the years 2001 and 2010.

What was the best selling Game Boy Advance game?

With over 16 million copies sold, Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire were the best selling Game Boy Advance games of all time.

How many Game Boy Advance games were there?

There were 1,538 official Game Boy Advance games released for the Nintendo handheld console.

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