The Play-Yan (trademarked PLAY-YAN) is a media player for the Nintendo DS/Game Boy Advance. It uses SD flash memory to play MP3 audio files and H.264/MPEG-4 AVC video files. It can also play 13 bonus mini-games, all of which are available freely on the Nintendo website in Japan. It is designed for the Game Boy Advance SP and also compatible with the Game Boy Micro. Due to its power requirement, use with an original Game Boy Advance system is not recommended. Sales of the Play-Yan were discontinued on September 11, 2005. An updated version, the Play-Yan Micro (trademarked PLAY-YAN micro), was released two days later alongside the similarly branded Game Boy Micro, with features such as MP4 and ASF support built directly into the hardware. Play-Yan Garage Games are not supported in the Play-Yan Micro.
The Play-Yan is an MP3 and MPEG-4 player add-on for the Game Boy Advance SP, Nintendo DS, DS Lite, and Game Boy Micro. Music and video files stored on an SD memory card can be loaded into a slot on the right side of the Play-Yan, which resembles a Game Boy Advance game cartridge. The Play-Yan is loaded directly into the Game Boy Advance game slot of a compatible system. While the original Game Boy Advance is compatible, its non-illuminated screen and the Play-Yan's high rate of power consumption do not make the Game Boy Advance a very suitable platform. The Play-Yan is also compatible with the Game Boy Player, but compressed video does not play back as nicely on a television screen as it does on a small, portable screen. Therefore, the Game Boy Player is a somewhat unsuitable platform as well, at least compared to any standard DVD player. The adapter has its own integrated headphone port, but uses the parent console's power supply, controls, and display. The Play-Yan is advertised as offering sixteen hours of MP3 playback and four hours of MPEG-4 playback on a fully charged Game Boy Advance SP. In addition to multimedia playback, the Play-Yan offers support for minigames which could be downloaded from Nintendo of Japan's website.
The Play-Yan launched in Japan in February 2005 for approximately 5,000 yen (USD $47.47). Nintendo originally planned to release the adapter in the United States by the end of 2005,, but ultimately was not released outside Japan. However, since the Play-Yan (and its successor the Play-Yan Micro) is region-free, it can be imported to other regions and played on any Game Boy Advance.
To accompany the September 13, 2005 release of the Game Boy Micro in Japan, Nintendo released an updated version of the original Play-Yan called the Play-Yan Micro for 5,000 yen. The new version is compatible with all of the same systems, and it looks and works the same as the original, but there are a few noticeable differences. The Play-Yan Micro has the added functionality of MP4 and ASF playback, and it has an updated user interface and improved sound quality through its headphone port. Minigame support, however, was removed from the Play-Yan Micro. The Play-Yan Micro was only available through Nintendo of Japan's online store, and for an additional 1,000 yen, it came with a computer application on CD called "MediaStage Ver. 4.2 for Nintendo" for managing music and video files on a PC.
The stick figure seen in the Play-Yan's interface also appears in the Japan-only GBA game Rhythm Tengoku.