(My article below from early 2000s lost all the original pictures due to switching servers. Sorry!)
Whenever a new handheld or console launches, there is always a flood of 3rd party peripherals and accessories that release with it. This category of gaming extras didn’t really start to peak until the GBA era and started to gain a lot of steam in the later GBC days. Blame it on the lack of a back-lit screen, the requirement for those extra battery packs, and the need to bundle everything together in one carrying case, but Nintendo’s handhelds have seen countless accessories. The DS, DSi, and 3DS are also no exception.
What exactly is a Mad Catz Roll Cage? Loosely put, it is a simple wireframe jacket thing that latches onto the GBA – and we are talking about the original wide GBA here, not the SP version. The goal of this product is to… well, that is the question. Just what the hell is this thing supposed to do? I guess it is supposed to stop the GBA from rolling…? But, the GBA isn’t exactly prone to rolling in the first place.
Besides rolling, perhaps this thing is designed to help prevent damage to the GBA if it accidently falls to the ground? Nintendo products are known for being very durable in the first place. Also, even if the GBA were to fall with this attachment, it would have to flat exactly flat on the ground to save it from any kind of damage since the sides are still exposed. And if this hits the corner of an end table or any other jutting-out surface, the screen is still liable to get nailed.
Just what the hell is this thing?!
I scanned the entire packaging for answers as to what exactly this blue rubber atrocity is supposed to do. No instructions; only three English bullet points on the back of the packaging: “Protects your Game Boy Advance”, “Alloy metal roll bars”, and “Rugged design.” These three facts were also translated into five other languages, which means the other ends of the world were exposed to this monstrosity of a gaming accessory.
When this thing is installed on the GBA, it might look like it has a purpose just because it fits snuggly on the GBA. However, if you want to play a prank on your friends, simply hand them the Roll Cage by itself and play the “guess what this thing is” game. Like when your buddy knows the words to a Lady GaGa song, you should immediately stick a swift and painful punch to your friend’s kidney for knowing such a worthless and unmanly fact.
Now you might be asking yourself, why did I spend money on such a piece of worthless crap? Well, the story of how I acquired two Roll Cages is a reflection of the product itself.
In the heyday of the original GBA model but before the SP launch, I made a random trip to a local Best Buy. There, I saw a couple GBA Roll Cages tagged on an end cap for $0.01, originally priced at $9.99.
Now let’s just think about this for one minute.
This means that someone in Best Buy management made the conscience decision to analyze the sales of this GBA accessory, then direct one of the employees to generate a new price tag, alter the price in the system, and reorganize the end cap to house these units. This is a lot of effort for a crappy product but at least Best Buy was acknowledging that they made a mistake by initially stocking their shelves with this device.
I encourage you to google the term “GBA Roll Cage” and see what pops up – there are message board postings of people seeing the $0.01 bin price.
Being the gaming enthusiastic that I am, I figured I could spare the $0.02 to purchase two units. (I also picked up a GBC Hip Clip for $0.01, but that is a story for another time.) Bringing my goods to the counter, the cashier thought something was wrong when she saw the 2 cent total. She then put a call in to make sure that the unbelievable $0.01 was accurate. After waiting for 5 minutes for this stock check (even more work involved with these badboys), I was on my way home to test out the product.
I opened one of the units can tethered it to my GBA. Then I asked the same question that I am asking now – what the hell is this thing for? For what it is worth, the thing is made with some thought as there is an open slot on the top for game pak insertion and leaves the link cable slot available, the rubber latch on the back is just plain strange, but the entire thing will need to be removed if need to get at the batteries. But man, this thing is pretty ugly. It is just this blue/metal bar thing. Really, I am just blown away by its ugliness and uselessness. It is like my GBA is giving me a teeth smile with a bad set of braces.
I would, however, feel justified of my one cent purchase if this thing somehow was listed into the World Record book for most questionable/pointless/confusing gaming accessory. At least then I can say that I own a piece of gaming history. I also tried selling this on Craigslist, hoping to lure in some sucker. Turns out, the only sucker was me. I want my penny back.
Not As Good As: The Worm Light
Also Try: dropping your GBA down the stairs (hint, it will be fine)
Wait For It: Mad Catz 3DS Nuclear Fallout Shelter – protect your unit Fallout style!