Ever wondered which titles were the best GBA games of all time? Was it a personal favourite? Or, perhaps, it’s something you’ve never played.
The Game Boy Advance (GBA) was one of the greatest handheld consoles in the history of handheld consoles. There. I said it. It made up the sixth generation of video game consoles, alongside the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube. It was a dominant force in the market, selling over 81 and a half million units throughout its lifespan.
Everyone either had a GBA or wanted a GBA. Although the first model didn’t have an illuminated screen, the console soon became synonymous with late-night gaming on a school night and is still the subject of a number of memes. But, the question still remains… Have you ever wondered what the most popular GBA games were? Surely it has to be a Super Mario game, right?
In the list below, we’re going to go through the top 15 GBA Games. The ranking will be done on two factors: Units Sold and Metacritic Score. Sometimes a game sells a lot but it isn’t that good, right?
Best GBA Games Ranking
15. NES Classics Series: Super Mario Bros
Even on the GBA, Super Mario Bros remains a timeless classic. This game sold 2,270,000 units throughout it’s lifespan. It has a comfortably-high Metascore of 84 and a User Score of 8.6 to match.
14. Wario Land 4
The fourth entry into the Wario Land series snuck ahead of entry 15, even with just 2,200,000 units sold. Wario Land 4 has a Metascore of 88 and a User Score of 8.6. With the sales different so small, it still ranks lower than Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga on our list.
13. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team
One of the few Pokémon games to divert from the traditional turn-based combat, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon‘s Red-Team entry sold around 2,360,000 units. Heartbreakingly, Red Rescue Team only landed a Metascore of 67. It’s user score is 8.3, but these low scores put it behind Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga.
12. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
This Mario & Luigi title sold a respectable 2,150,000 units throughout it’s lifespan. Looking to Metacritic, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga has a Metascore of 90. It’s User Score sits comfortably at 8.9, too.
11. Pac-Man Collection
Waka Waka. The yellow, circular, ghost-killer is immortal! On the GBA, this collection sold 2,940,000 units. However, it only hit a Metascore of 79 and a User Score of 7.4. This means it sits in 11th place, as the gap in units sold is hard to ignore.
10. Namco Museum
Pac-Man not enough for you? Well, the Namco Museum was also available and sold pretty well. It managed to shift a few more than the Pac-Man Collection. 2,960,000 units sold. It also has slightly more favourable reviews. It got a Metascore of 79, but a User Score of 7.6!
9. Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3
Blem. That’s the sound Yoshi makes right? Well, either way… This entry in the Yoshi’s Island series sold a little better than A Link To The Past with 2,830,000 units. However, it only got a Metascore of 91 and a User Score of 8.9 meaning it sits in 10th, rather than 9th.
8. The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past
Any Legend of Zelda title is bound to be popular with Nintendo gamers. A Link to the Past on the GBA sold 2,820,000 units in it’s lifetime. A Link To The Past hit 95 on it’s Metascore rating with a 9.0 User Score. Comfortably, it takes the 10th spot.
7. Super Mario Advance
Another day, another Mario game. This one sold 5,520,000 unit’s in it’s lifetime, so a little more than the 4th entry. However, it only got a Metascore of 84 and a User Score of 7.3… Big, 16-bit oof Mario. Still, the box art is nice!
6. Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros 3
Yeah. Mildly confusing title. But, that didn’t stop people picking it up! This is the first real gap in sales as this one managed to sell 5,430,000 units in its’ lifespan. It also managed a Metascore of 94 and a User Score of 8.9, making it a comfortable 6th place entry.
5. Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2
This entry in the Super Mario World series is the highest sold on our list. It shipped 5,690,000 units on the GBA. It also has a Metascore of 92 and a User Score of 9.0. This places it in our number 5 spot, as the gap in sales is pretty significant.
4. Mario Kart: Super Circuit
The GBA’s Mario Kart entry has cemented it’s place as one of the best games on the GBA… And one of the most sold! It sold 5,910,000 units in its’ lifetime. It also hit a massive 93 on Metacritic’s Metascore. The User Score might be a little lower on 7.9, but it’s still going to rank as number 4 on our list.
3. Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen
I think we know where this is going. The gap between Emerald and FireRed and LeafGreen is huge in total sales. They sold around 12,000,000 units on the GBA. FireRed got a Metascore of 81 and a User Score of 8.6. LeafGreen got the same Metascore, but a User Score of 8.5. Apparently people don’t like Venusaur? Either way, if you divide things by two, Emerald sold a bit more and has a higher User Score so it sits just below that at third.
2. Pokemon Emerald
Ah… The ol’ see-through green cartridge. Rayquaza on the front. We all know it well, and for good reason. Pokemon Emerald sold a whopping 7,060,000 units on the GBA. It may have only got a Metascore of 76, but it’s User Score is 8.9 and the units sold is hard to ignore. It takes the second spot.
1. Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire
The GOAT is in the Poke-House! Ruby and Sapphire sold a huge 16,220,000 units in their lifetime. When you consider Emerald was a singular title, it performed better than FireRed and LeafGreen. However, Ruby and Sapphire still performed better than that. The Metascore for Ruby is 82, with an 8.6 User Score. There isn’t an entry for Sapphire on Metacritic, strangely… However, if we look at how FireRed and LeafGreen were judged, that would also be an 82 with a similar User Score.
So, there you have it. These are the fifteen most popular GBA games of all time. I think we all knew it would be dominated by Pokémon and Super Mario titles, but which one took you by surprise?