Advance Wars 1 + 2 game cartridges on top of Advance Wars 2 instruction manual.
Advance Wars cartridges and instruction manual

A little over a year ago, a friend of mine was moving out of the country. He gave me a bunch of his NES, GBA, and some PC games to hold on to for him. One of the games was Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising. I was familiar with the series but never really spent much time playing it. I think the first Advance Wars came out at the same time as Final Fantasy X, so I was much more interested in playing that.

Turns out Advance Wars is a really great series, and I should have tried it much sooner than I actually did. After playing a bit of my friend’s copy, I went out to buy the original Advance Wars for myself. I needed to reset the data so I could start fresh but could not find any way in the menus to do so. Ah, the lovely days of cartridge-based saved games, before memory cards.

Advance Wars Game Boy Advance menu screen
Advance Wars on Game Boy Advance

Luckily my friend also gave me a bunch of instruction manuals with his games. The Advance Wars 2 manual tells you a specific set of buttons you need to hold down while starting the game to get it into reset mode.

Press SELECT, START, and the A and B Buttons to reset the game.

This button combination also works on the original Advance Wars, so I was able to reset and get started right away. It’s pretty crazy to think that random button presses were actually the way to reset a lot of games even as recently as the Nintendo DS. I’m glad we’ve greatly improved that experience.