How to disable 3DS upscaling on GBA games

By Alice O'Connor, Dec 19, 2011 11:45am PST

Nintendo 3DS early adopters received ten exclusive free Game Boy Advance titles on Friday, as promised, but found the classics have been stretched to fit the higher-resolution screen of the 3DS, losing that crisp pixely loveliness.

The Game Boy Advance's screen had a resolution of 240x160 but the games are being scaled up to 400x240 for 3DS, meaning they fill the whole top screen but are somewhat blurred. If this vexes you mightily, fear not; there is a solution.

As with regular Nintendo DS games and NES titles on the 3DS Virtual Console, 1UP notes, you can play the GBA titles 'windowboxed' in their original resolution simply by holding down Select or Start when you launch the game, until the black boot screen ends.

Our own Steve Watts points out that the worst offender is Yoshi's Island, considered "almost unplayable" without utilizing this trick.

The free games are part of Nintendo's 3DS Ambassador program, started to placate owners who saw the price drop by a whopping $80 only four months after the handheld launched. Ten NES games were given free in August, released for Ambassadors before the hoi polloi could buy them, and these GBA games will never be available to others.

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