What? A back-light source for the Game Boy? Who-duh thunk it? Kayn gathers a few bucks and decides to venture forth into soldering, wire clipping, and other thangs of thang-ness.

When I first bought a Game Boy Advance, I purchased Castlevania: Circle of the Moon for compact gaming funs! However, I was very very very VERY very a lot angry that the GBA was hard to see, and there wasn't a good light source that was effective enough to make the gameplay enjoyable.


So, on my normal gaming nerdiness surfing nature, I came across the Afterburnar for the GBA. This basically takes the concept that Nintendo SHOULD have gone with, and goes all the way. So in a nutshell, you have to:

  • Have a Game Boy Advance
  • Loathe and hate the fact that you can't see your games
  • 35 bucks
  • Patience
  • A soldering iron, some wire cuttars, a 1/16th flathead or tri-wing screwdrivar, a plastic cutting tool (like a Dremel or some precision cutting tools
  • And the Afterburner Kit

After getting mad at staring at the annoying glare from the light boy thingy, and the fact that the games were still hard to see, I decided to try this out. I woulda have preferred sending my GBA to a professional to do this, but EVERY one of them had too many orders and weren't taking any more. Either that, or I have to wait a month to get my GBA back with the afterburner installed. BOO!

One Steeeeeep at a time...

Okay, I'm writing this review as I'm doing this, just to make sure I'm not going to forget anything. And I'm also doing this with the steps in the manual, so if any of you out there are attempting this, you can see where I may have messed up and become SMARTAR!~ (You can view all these steps, which come with the thingy, here.

Step 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5: Taking the GBA apart can be intimidating for anyone who hasn't seen electronics before, but being the computar builder guy that I am, I wasn't too scared. The 1/16th screwdriver I had was pretty good for this, however I did end up stripping the screws just a little bit. Ugh.

Removing the LCD screen was a bit of a process, because the grey foamy stuff that acts as a cushion for the GBA board and the screen was in the way. After slightly peeling it back, I slipped the black card in to remove the screen from the front casing, which wasn't too tough. Then after all that, I had the front cover off and away from the electronic type stuff.

Step 6 and 7: The step I'm on right now is cutting the plastic to allow the Afterburner to fit with the screen. This is a very cumbersome process without the Dremel thingy. I'm using some presicion blades to do this, and the plastic is kinda hard/thick. I got things started with some wire cutters, which cut a little uneven, but the precision blades are taking care of the rough edges thus far. I'm also doing this on a cutting board so I don't damage my desk! I are CAPTAIN GENIOUS!!11 This is basically the equivalent of using a hand saw to cut down a tree, rather than the good ol' chainsaw. Or, for fun, you can replace "tree" with "cow" and "hand" with "potato."

Argh, now that I finally got that done, I cut the "adhesive cushion" where indicated, and placed it back into the front casing along with the plastic screen cover. This was relatively easy, but I had to make sure that cushion was lined up right. This has to fit right into place, otherwise the screen won't lay flat, and your gaming experience will SUCKS!

Step 8 and 9: This looked to be a bitch. Step 8 was easy, but Step 9 is going to be one of those, "Has to be perfect" thingys. This is to avoid any bubbles where the lamination thingy to protect the LCD screen from evil things like dust and demons. It looked like I completed this with a bit of success, but I noticed a small bubble on the right. Didn't seem too bad.

Step 10 and 11: It was soldering times. HEH! I took out my newly purchases soldering iron and the nice batch of solder and got started. Now, keep in mind that they tell you, "This isn't a presision job." Bullshit.

If you are a beginner at soldering, like I are, than this gets intimidating. Upon soldering the two tiny wires in step 10 (which wasn't so bad, there was plenty of room), I started on step 11. Oh, that looks easy (and the sarcasm tidal wave ensued)! The little lead labeled 'S2' was really tiny, and you had to be precise. You can't let the solder drip on other leads. That can lead to DEATH DUMB STUPID! So, I spent a good hour trying to get a dooble of solder right where it needed to go. I ended up having to "remove" some extra solder that dribbled onto the other leads. GARF!

Step 12 and 13: Step 12 looks easy, but you gotta make sure all the dust is gone from the screen. Use lots of compressed air for this. No, NOT FARTING! DUMB! I went to step 13 because I didn't want a stupid brightness dial installed. That, and I didn't have a drill. This step was a little but of a bitch, especially when you had to solder the red wire to the resistAR! After a long while, I got it done.

Step 17 to end: (Steps 14 - 16 is installing the brightness dial, which I poo'd on. You have the option to install a dial, or not. I did not.) I reassebled my GBA as indicated in step 17 and 18. I became a little nervous, because I wasn't sure if it was going to work - my soldering job was less than stellar. I then put in my batteries and turned it on...


And alas! The light came on! Gradius (that's a game, stupid) came on nice and bright, and I saw the entire screen from one edge to the next. There were a few flaws - the little bubble I mentioned was bigger that I thought, and there were a few dust particles. Think of it as wearing a black shirt with florescent green lettering, then standing under a black light. The letters jump out at you. This is what the dust particles did, but it wasn't bad. I actually preferred it this way, because I can FINALLY SEE THE F*CKING GAME! Castlevania was even playable, FINALLY!

Gaming on the road is funnar now.

I am now happy. I can see my games, in full color brightness glory potato. We all know that Nintendo screwed up with the GBA because of the lack of backlighting. If joe-schmoe normal mayunn can come up with a backlight for the GBA, then why can't Nintendo? The eternal question.

Now I can travel everywhere playing my GBA, without worrying about a light source. Ahhh...bliss. Golden Sun = FUN!


Category Comment Rating
Gameplay Makes the game very playable! 5
Graphics The games graphics are now goodar! 4.5
Originality Original enough to buy and install! Installation is a little cumbersome without the exact tools they recommend. 4
Final Verdict: 4.5


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The following comments after this point are old comments. Yay!

some guy (Guest) verbalizes:

Smilie!show them to me

Rich (Guest) pizzas:

Smilie!(You can in fact not view all these steps, which come with the thingy, here.

Rich (Guest) absolves:

Smilie!(You can view all these steps, which come with the thingy, here.

Rawrb excretes:

Smilie!I can nut spel gud!

missionary (Guest) splats:


Hot Female (Guest) communicates:

Smilie!WHEE! I wish to reveal my breasts to the Kayn! Now I can see my boobs in teh dark as I play GBA with the afterburner!

Rawrb says in non-morse code:

Smilie!Damn I are teh mayunn! I can write reviews like no sweat! GIVE ME MONEYS!
Advance WARS?!@!
Mario KART!!!1
Mario WARLD!