Game Boy Music [GBA – Cancelled]

Game Boy Music [GBA – Cancelled]


GB Music was a music game for the Game Boy Advance, shown to the public at the Tokyo Game Show in 2001. By using the A and B buttons in combination with the D-pad players could push some serious tunage out of the GBA system. The game was to come packaged with a battery-powered Pocket Speaker and cable. To create the ultimate music, players were to be given access to as many as fifty sampled instruments. The title was eventually tabled and later brought back as Jam with the Band/Band Brothers for the Nintendo DS. – [Info from]

In the Iwata Ask interview, we can read more about Game Boy Music development, and they revealed that the project originally started on the Game Boy Color!

Iwata: You joined this company at the same time, didn’t you, Kyuma-san and Kitahara-san? Kitahara-san touched on a fraction of this game’s history in his previous comment, but planning for Band Brothers actually started during the Game Boy Color era. How long have you been involved with Band Brothers, Kitamura-san?

Kitamura: I started about 10 years ago, back when I was young and sprightly. (laughs) […]

Kitamura: That’s right, so I thought: “If no-one else will use her in a game, we might as well make a game ourselves”. Around that time, a new sound chip that could replicate natural instrument sounds really well had been developed, and we were asked if we would be able to make some software that utilised the chip…

Iwata: The music in the Game Boy Color era was all plinky-plonk electronic music, wasn’t it? So that was when you started developing Band Brothers’s predecessor, Game Boy Music.

Kitamura: But while we were making slow progress with that, the Game Boy Advance was developed, and we realised that it would offer us better sound quality.

Iwata: You could now produce natural sounds without having to borrow a special sound chip. However, the development of Game Boy Music had to be abandoned just before its completion.

Kitamura: We had various problems, but the main issue was the fact that for Jam Sessions (to play together in a group), every user had to buy their own copy of the software. […]

Iwata: And you weren’t the only one who felt that way. At the beginning of 2004, the year the Nintendo DS was released, I had the opportunity to meet Nintendo developers individually. I could feel how strongly all those who had worked on Game Boy Music shared the desire to release the software. Another incident that had occurred before development was cancelled also left a deep impression on me. I remember watching a video of staff members playing the game during its development. After they’d finished playing a song, they would all celebrate by high-fiving each other.

Kitahara: People don’t normally high-five each other after playing a game, do they?

Thanks to Celine for the contribution!


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5 thoughts on “Game Boy Music [GBA – Cancelled]

    1. monokoma

      We are lucky that this one was released on the DS, it’s an awesome game! Thanks for the images Celine, i’m going to update the gallery :)

    1. monokoma

      Interesting read, i love when they talk about beta / cancelled titles in the Iwata Ask interviews :) Thanks Celine! I wonder how much work went into the GBC version.. also, they say that they decided to port it to the GBA because of better sound quality… but even the DS game does not have good sounds, i wanted to like it but when i tried it, the sounds were not that good :(

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