The Game Boy Advance was a revolutionary handheld gaming device released in 2001 by Nintendo. It quickly rose to become one of the most popular handhelds of all time, selling more than 81 million units worldwide. It was especially renowned for its library of sports titles, providing gamers with an unparalleled experience in enjoying their favorite sports games. In this post, we will take a look at the absolute best sports games for the GBA and why they remain some of the most beloved titles from the golden age of handheld gaming.
What Are Sports Games?
Sports games are video games that simulate a sport or athletic activity. They usually involve player movement, physical actions, and reactions. Examples of sports genres include baseball, basketball, football, golf, hockey, soccer, tennis, and racing. Some sports games even incorporate elements of strategy, management, and puzzle-solving. The emphasis in these types of games is on mastering the rules and techniques of the sport, as well as developing hand-eye coordination and reaction time. Popular sports games often include multiple gameplay modes and feature licensed players and teams. This allows gamers to play a realistic version of their favorite sport.
Was Game Boy Advance Known for Sports Games?
The Game Boy Advance is widely regarded as one of the most capable consoles for playing sports video games among those that were available at the time. Because it could play both the physical cartridge versions and the CD-ROM versions of newer and older sports games, it was extremely popular among people who were passionate about sports. Here are the 10 absolute best Game Boy Advance sports games ever released.
#10: Disney Sports Football
Disney Sports Football is a pair of sports video games published by Konami for the Game Boy Advancefun and unique visuals, smooth controls, and plenty of replay value. Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy are among the Disney characters in this game, in which they compete in the major leagues of American football.
Players choose a squad to play with and then compete in several different game modes, such as the Challenge, the Cup, the Exhibition, and the Practice, facing off against a wide variety of foes while also outfitting their group with a wide variety of magical items. The game has narration in its presentation.
|Available Platforms||Game Boy Advance, GameCube|
|Release||July 25, 2002|
#9: Baseball Advance
Baseball Advance is a sports game that offers a good amount of customization and variety, solid controls and visuals, and plenty of content to keep you playing for hours on end. The game was formerly known as Greatest Nine. When it was first released, critics overwhelmingly appreciated it. This game serves as the completion of The Greatest Nine series.
Four unique game types are available for players: Exhibition, Season, Playoffs, and All-Star Game. In the Exhibition, the user chooses a team from Major League Baseball to represent himself and can select which team the computer will play in the game. Season refers to the length of time a player controls one baseball team over an entire season. When the user enters the season mode, whether the player’s team breaks a record for the season or a single game, the new benchmark will be recorded as having been achieved in 2001. If the player’s team finishes in the top four, it will be able to compete in the postseason, and if it wins, it will go to the World Series.
In Playoffs, the player selects a club and competes in the postseason to advance to the World Series. The members of the other teams are selected at random. The player plays All-Star Game with the other players selected for the 2001 team and competes alongside them.
This classic arcade-style basketball game features an impressive selection of teams and players from the NBA in its heyday, along with classic power-ups like fireballs and turbo boosts that give you an edge over opponents. What sets this game apart from others is its fast-paced, entertaining gameplay – perfect for short bursts of gaming action while on the go
|Available Platforms||Game Boy Advance|
|Release||20 March 2002|
#8: Konami Krazy Racers
Konami Krazy Racers is a kart racing game like Mario Kart Super Circuit. At the start line of each race, eight racers line up in specific places. Each of the seven computers is positioned in the seven spots closest to the starting line; however, the player character always begins a circuit in eighth place. This spot could change depending on how well the racers do in the next race on the course. If the player comes in first, they will also come in first in the next race because the order of the racers is based on how they did in the last race.
The race is viewed from behind the player, and Mode 7 effects are used to simulate three dimensions. When the race starts, a timer will start counting down, and the player must press a button to speed up. The player can pick up money from the track to buy things in a shop, and depending on the character they are controlling; the player can try to spin out another player. Red and blue bells are placed in the races in a planned way. The red bells carry different goods, while the blue bell has an item that makes you move faster.
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|Available Platforms||Game Boy Advance, Wii U|
|Release||March 21, 2001|
#7: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 is a video game about skating that boasts some truly impressive visuals for a GBA title, with detailed character models and vibrant environments. The game takes place in a three-dimensional city heavily influenced by punk rock and hip-hop music. The user controls multiple skateboarders who either complete difficult skateboarding activities or gather various objects. The game features multiple modes of play, including a free-play mode (players can skate without any given target), a career mode (players are required to complete goals and evolve their character’s attributes using their earned profits), and a multiplayer mode (includes a variety of competitive games, and a level editor that allows the player to create their own levels).
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 was greeted with immense acclaim at its initial release, and it is now widely regarded as one of the greatest and highest-rated sports video games of all time. Reviewers commended the game’s interesting gameplay, expansive environments, detailed graphics, fluid and precise controls, personalization options, and soundtrack across all versions.
|Available Platforms||PlayStation, Microsoft Windows, Game Boy Color, Dreamcast, Game Boy Advance, Mac OS, Nintendo 64, Pocket PC, iOS|
|Release||September 20, 2000|
- Hundreds of new tricks
- Create your own skate parks
- Players have unique abilities early in the game
- Perform tricks at each game level to earn cash rewards
- Customize your own skaters
#6: Fifa Soccer 2005
FIFA Soccer 2005 is a football game that had a ton of content with multiple leagues, teams, and stadiums to choose from. You could create your own team, customize your players, and even purchase real-life footballers to join your squad. You could also play online against opponents from all over the world. There were different game modes like exhibition matches, tournaments, and seasons which all kept the gameplay fresh and exciting.
The graphics for the game were good for its time, with detailed players and crowds. The audio was also great, with realistic commentary and sound effects. Fifa Soccer 2005 was an impressive game that brought the console version of Fifa to the handheld console market.
|Available Platforms||Microsoft Windows, Consoles, Handhelds|
|Mode||Single-player, multiplayer, online multiplayer|
|Release||October 8, 2004|
- Console-Quality Controls - Play one-twos and through balls or call for defensive support and bring out your goalkeeper at the press of a button
- Scenario Mini-Game - Put your money where your mouth is and attempt to emulate your idols in historic games, or play your way out of preset match situations
- Comprehensive Database - More than 350 official team and league licenses, including selected lower divisions, add a new dimension to the handheld soccer game experience
- Multi-Year Career Mode - Take on the challenge on and off the pitch whether you're fighting off relegation, pushing for promotion, or attempting to add to your trophy cabinet
- Big Match Atmosphere - Experience team-specific crowd chants, brand new audio features, music tracks, and visual detail only seen before in console titles
#5: Madden NFL 2004
Madden NFL 2004 is the first game in the Madden series to be released for the Game Boy Advance and is also the first Madden game to be released on a handheld system. The game features updated teams from the 2003 NFL season and all their respective players, stadiums, and stats. Players can choose from different play modes such as exhibition, season, and playoffs.
The game also features an expanded play clock, which allows players more time to complete their passes; however, players will still have to wait until they receive permission from the referee before they are allowed to throw a pass. The game also features a new feature called a “Playmaker,” which allows players to complete long drives to earn bonus points for their team if they complete certain tasks during their possession.
|Developers||EA TiburonBudcat (PS & GBA)|
|Available Platforms||Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Xbox|
|Release||August 12, 2003|
#4: Mario Golf
Mario Golf for the Game Boy Advance (GBA) is a great sports game that is both easy to pick up and play, but still deep enough to provide plenty of challenges. Players can choose from a variety of characters, each with their own unique abilities and personalities.
The goal of Mario Golf is to complete the course with the lowest score possible. You can use a variety of clubs to make shots, as well as spin and power-ups to get more accuracy and distance. You can also customize your character’s clothes, clubs, and even swing styles. There are a total of 11 courses, with different tournaments, each with unique rules.
Mario Golf also has a single-player story mode, allowing you to earn coins, unlock new courses, and even become friends with other characters. The multiplayer mode lets you play against up to four players at once, allowing you to compare scores and even do team matches.
There are many other games to choose from, such as speed golf, ring shot, mini golf, and skins match. The game’s voice samples for each playable character can be used to provide commentary on your opponents’ plays.
|Developer||Camelot Software Planning|
|Available Platforms||Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color|
|Release||June 11, 1999|
- Play 18 holes with your favorite Marioland characters - Mario, Luigi, Peach, Donkey Kong and more
- Use power-ups and each characters' unique abilities to get past obstacles and improve your game
- Play through sandtraps, tall grass and other obstacles to unlock secret characters and challenging new holes
- It's the most fun you can have on a golf course!
#3: Super Dodge Ball Advance
Super Dodge Ball Advance is a fast-paced sports game for the Game Boy Advance. The game is a remake of the classic NES title, and it puts you in control of a team of dodgeball athletes competing in various tournaments around the world.
At the start of the tournament phase, you can only play as Team Heroes. However, you can play as other teams by completing more challenges. If the player beats all the dream teams, they will face a copy of themselves in the tournament’s final match. Eight people are on each team, but only seven are allowed to compete. Each team member is given a position by the player, with four on the inner and three on the outer.
The game’s goal is to use your dodgeball skills and strategies to defeat the opposing team. You can choose from either single-player or two-player mode, and there are plenty of options to customize your team and match your skills against other players. You’ll have to dodge, duck, dive, and block your opponents’ throws to be victorious. As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock new abilities and teams, as well as hidden items like rare dodgeballs and power-ups.
|Publisher||JP: AtlusNA: Atlus USAEU: Ubi Soft|
|Developer||Million Co. Ltd.|
|Available Platforms||Game Boy Advance|
|Release||March 21, 2001|
- If you've ever played the arcade classic, SUPER DODGE BALL, you're already familiar with the ferocious style that this update brings to the table.
- Choose from nine skilled teams, customize your squad, and then take your new unit into competition against the world's elite Dodge Ball forces.
- There are 13 different teams to defeat, and you'll have to employ a different skill set against each and every one.
- With infinitely better graphics than its source material, this update on the much loved, coin-operated contest gives you a list of more than 50 Super Throws to use to your advantage.
- With Dodge Ball (the actual sport) outlawed in virtually all school districts in the U.S., this is about as close as you can get to the real thing.
#2: FIFA Soccer 2003
FIFA Football 2003 is a game that features an expansive international roster of clubs and teams, realistic graphics and animations, and solid game mechanics. The game also includes a variety of gameplay modes, including single-player tournaments, multiplayer matches, and more. It is the ninth game in the FIFA series and the eighth in 3D.
Several new features have been introduced to make the current version superior to the previous one. Club Championship Mode was designed to allow you to compete against 17 of Europe’s finest clubs in their stadiums while their fans chanted their songs and chants. A television-style broadcast provides highlights at halftime and the end of the game and a comprehensive analysis. One of the most anticipated new features was EA Sports’ “Freestyle Control.” It enables the player to flip the ball and pass it to teammates. Some of the more well-known players, such as Thierry Henry and Ronaldinho, appear more realistically, and their replies are more lifelike.
|Developer||EA Canada, Exient Entertainment (GBA)|
|Available Platforms||PlayStation, Microsoft Windows, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2, XboxMobile phone|
|Mode||Single-player, multiplayer, online multiplayer|
|Release||October 25, 2002|
#1: FIFA Soccer 2004
If you’re looking for a great sports game on the Game Boy Advance, then look no further than FIFA Soccer 2004. This classic soccer game is just as exciting today as it was when it was first released. The gameplay is fast-paced and intense, and the graphics are impressive, considering the system.
Secondary divisions, which allow the player to lead lower-ranked teams in promotion efforts, are the biggest new additions. The new “Off the ball” gameplay element allows you to direct two players simultaneously for greater strategic depth. Another significant addition is Football Fusion, which allows Total Club Manager 2004 owners to engage in FIFA 2004 management simulation games. The opening song is Kings of Leon’s “Red Morning Light,” a European smash, and the opening titles were shot at St. James’ Park, where Newcastle United plays.
With over 500 teams from around the world to choose from, you can get your soccer fix anytime. You can also play a single match or engage in a full competition season. The control scheme is simple and intuitive, allowing for fast-paced action. There’s even a practice mode to sharpen your skills before jumping into a full match.
|Developer||EA Canada, Exient Entertainment|
|Available Platforms||Microsoft WindowsConsolesHandheld|
|Mode||24 October 2003|
|Release||Single-player, multiplayer, online multiplayer|
- play with the best more than 500 official licenses, including 18 leagues, 500 teams and 10,000 players are available
- ooff the ball control take command of players not in possession of the ball. Call in tackles, jostle for space, lose your marker, and send players on runs at the touch of a button
- be the ultimate player manager be your own player manager with FIFA's deep career mode build your franchise and guide your club to the championship by making calculated front office decisions
- in game management: prove your tactical genius on the fly, by making adjustments mid-game and calling plays in real time via d pad
- immersive environments more than 300 new crowd chants at an ever growing list of officially licensed stadiums help put you in the best seat in the house
When it comes to GBA sports games, there’s no shortage of classic titles to choose from. From the classic Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 to the ever-popular Mario Golf, the GBA offered something for everyone. With its ability to play on the go and intense graphics and sound, it was truly a system ahead of its time. While some of these games may have aged a bit, they still offer hours of fun and entertainment. Whether you’re looking for an intense sports simulator or an arcade-style game, there’s sure to be something here that’ll suit your needs. The Game Boy Advance sports library is full of classic gems that will continue to stand the test of time.