GBA Video was a certainly interesting idea at a portable video format but the limitations of a Game Boy Advance cartridge meant any videos on the format were compressed to the point of barely being watchable. Let’s look at barely above animated gif version of TMNT, Pokemon, Dragon Ball GT and Shrek!
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It’s not everyday you see a video format that looks worse than early FMV games on the Sega CD.
I decided to check some of the video files I have from iTunes. A single 30 minute animated show is about 300 MB, so each of these has been compressed to abou 5% of what the file size would normally be.
I have some of the UMD movies for PSP myself, but even though that was better quality, there’s something about watching movies and TV on a screen that small that just doesn’t work.
The random assortment of video formats form the early 2000’s is crazy. You have stuff like Gameboy Advance Video and UMD which tried there best to make movies portable. But then you have stuff like HD-DVD trying to make better in home movies.
I used to have a PSP and a Gameboy Advance but I never had any movies on either. I had the GBA first and when I saw these cartridges in store I thought it would be cool to be able to watch Spongebob on my GBA. I’m glad I never bought any given how disappointing the TV shows look. I did use to download videos onto my PSP, mainly Daft Punk music videos from Interstella 5555, and they didn’t look all that bad. So I’d imagine that UMD movies wouldn’t have been any worse.
These odd video formats and devices were such a fun novelty when you got your hands on them back in the day, but unless they took off and gained any kind of wide support, it was just that – a novelty.
That era is over, really for the better – we have HD video streaming on our phones now – but it was fun living through that and seeing all this stuff evolving.