One lucky Nintendo fan has managed to acquire what could be a rare prototype version of the Game Boy Advance SP labeled “Game Boy Advance DX” on its bottom. Reddit user dermowli, like many of us, decided they needed a new hobby to keep them busy whilst in lockdown this year. Their new hobby is buying old Game Boys, cleaning them, and fixing them up for their collection. This unusual Game Boy was a recent purchase for the collection, only costing around $30.
It seems that this Game Boy Advance DX is more likely an early version of the Game Boy Advance SP shown at press events. An IGN article from 2003 covered a hands-on experience with the console before it launched, and the article referenced the “Game Boy Advance DX” name on devices used at the event. Similar images to the ones posted on Reddit can also be found on The Video Game Project, where it is described as a pre-production version of the Game Boy Advance SP we all know and love.
Notably, the legal details on the device’s back sticker list a 2001-2002 copyright, and the Game Boy Advance SP didn’t launch until 2003. Most modern units actually do list 2002, but none that I can find list both 2001 and 2002.
The general consensus seems to be that this is a pre-production model sent to reviewers for early impressions of the system. Whether the hardware inside is any different is unclear though maybe also unlikely. It’s possible that dermowli will open it up in order to clean it, at which point we’ll get a good look inside. Until then though, all we know for sure is that this is a snapshot into the console’s history, a time when only a few lucky people were provided with a unit just like it. Those lucky people then told the world just how good it was before we all went out and purchased it.