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Flash2Advance is a piece of hardware designed by a Hongkong-based company,
   allowing to transfer data forward and backward  between a PC and a Gameboy
   Advance.  This  article will  give  you a quick  overview  of my  personal
   experience using it.

   I had been planning to buy this for months and  finally decided it was the
   right time to do it  as the dollar is quite low compared to the euro those
   days.  After browsing a few websites,  I decided to order mine directly in
   Hongkong as it seemed cheaper. The company I dealt with is called Success,
   and  the ordering process  went smoothly.  They use Worldpay  servers when
   you're  at the point of paying,  so Success don't  actually have access to
   your credit card details, or at least that's what they claim.  In my case,
   the delivery address  and the one on my credit card details were different
   as I wanted them to send the package at my workplace.  Obviously that must
   have sounded a bit suspect  to Success, and they asked me to mail/fax them
   a  copy of an  ID to ensure  I was the  actual owner  of the  credit card.
   Finally  the package reached England  after 4 days,  and since I chose the
   UPS-delivery,  I was  able  to track  the parcel  on  the internet  in the
   meantime.  Success  did really a  good job for me,  let's hope  they're as
   efficient for the rest of their customers...

So what's in the box? 
     - a USB cable that connects the PC to the external port of the GBA ;
     - a flash-memory cartridge, whose size depends on your wealth (from 64
     megabit to 256 megabit - 8 megabytes to 32 megabytes for us computer
     users) ;
     - and optionally another  piece of hardware called GB Bridge (not pictured
     here)  that connects  between the  console and the  flash cartridge.  It's
     necessary  if you want  to play Gameboy Colour games on your GBA or if you
     have a Gameboy Colour and plan to use the flash cartridge with it (in that
     case it seems you'll need a GBA anyway to flash the cartridge).

   On the  software  side,  the USB  cable  comes  with a CD-R  with  the USB
   drivers, the  flash program  and lots of freeware ROMs  (mostly games, but
   some scene  demos as well).  A CD-R?  Yep, that looks  a bit cheap,  but I
   guess as the software  evolves quickly,  they cannot afford to press large
   amounts of silver CD.  The installation went flawless, and after a reboot,
   the GBA is ready to run unofficial programs!
   The flash program is quite basic, but does the job.  You drag and drop the
   ROM files you wish to flash on the cartridge  and then launch the flashing
   process.  Once the programs are flashed on the cartridge, you cannot alter
   them...  For instance if you have  already 3 programs flashed  and want to
   copy a  fourth one,  you have  to reflash the whole  cartridge with  the 4
   programs.  Not really flexible,  but flashing  a new cartridge is not that
   tedious anyway: it takes around 5 minutes for 256 megabit.
   By the way,  in case you have  several programs on the cartridge,  a small
   menu appears  when starting  the GBA and you  can then choose  the one you
   want to run.  Games are usually  4 or 8 megabytes and demos generally much
   smaller, so you can fit plenty of them on the biggest cartridge!

PogoShell is  another  piece of software  that adds  a GUI and  multimedia
   features  on top of that.  So when you  boot-up the GBA,  not only you can
   choose which program you want to run,  but also display text-files (useful
   to  transform your  console into an e-book),  watch  BMP pictures  or even
   listen to soundtracker modules!  Moreover,  you can create directories for
   your files for  increased clarity.  As you can see  on the screenshot, the
   GUI is originally based  on Windows look,  but it's fully  customisable. I
   know  there's  a Workbench-like  version  available somewhere,  so nothing
   stops you to create a GEM-like interface!

   I've been using the whole kit for a month,  and I'm very positive about it
   so  far.  Games  or demos  work perfectly,  even within  Pogoshell.  It is
   theoretically  possible  to copy the  games saves  back  to the PC,  but I
   haven't really tried to do  it yet,  as it seems to be a bit tricky.  They
   are plenty  of quality games available,  be they commercial  or homegrown,
   and the quality  of GBA demos is  increasing steadily, the latest releases
   being quite impressive. I know GBA emulators on PC are nearly perfect now,
   but as usual,  nothing beats the real  thing! Moreover you will admit that
   watching good  demos on a device that fits in your pocket is somehow cool!

   Success ask approximately 25 euros for the USB cable,  and the 64, 128 and
   256 megabit cartridges  are respectively sold 36, 60 and 93 euros.  The GB
   Bridge costs 17 Euros.  Note that they sell bundles with everything if you
   want to save money.  Postage costed me around 25 euros,  quite expensive I
   admit,  but then it's with UPS and it's quick: it just took 4 days for me.
   Another thing,  a couple of  weeks after I  purchased my GBA kit,  Success
   started selling a new GBA flashing solution quite similar to Flash2Advance
   (even superior  on some points),  but around  20% cheaper...  Grrr,  quite
   typical!  The name is EZFlash,  but then I don't know how good it actually

In a nutshell, I'm really glad  I finally took the decision to invest some 
   money in a flash catridge,  as it dramatically  widen the potential use of
   an innocent Gameboy.  Indeed, in addition to  the hundreds of "free" games
   you can now enjoy,  it enables you to  watch demos,  listen to modules and
   read books on it!

   Finally some links you may find useful:

- Official Flash2Advance website:
- Success mail-order website:
- Pogoshell homepage:   

   Do not hesitate  to drop me a line  if you have any question that has been
   left unanswered by my article:

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