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Games Entertainment

GBA Internal Light Ready? 124

Dark Paladin writes "Looks like Portable Monopoly , the internal Gameboy Advance light, is finally ready to move beyond Vaporware and launch. The price for the kit? $35. Finally - me, a dark night, and my GBA. " Perhaps with this, we can revoke GBA's current title holder as "Worst Screen Ever". Still, Golden Sun is a great game.
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GBA Internal Light Ready?

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  • ...Nintendo sues the poor guy for making an "unlicensed" GBA add-on?
    • by Hnice ( 60994 ) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @10:09AM (#3006642) Homepage
      No, no, you want real pain, and a smack in the face to all of us -- as well as this guy, of course, who's been doing this for months

      How soon before Nintendo, who just dropped the gba price to $80, starts marketing a new model, with a light like this one, to re-sell to everyone who purchased one of the current crap-screen models, simultaneously revealing their plan to screw us, and rendering this great work a nice experiment but nothing more?

      • I'd give this a 90% chance... it is bound to happen. Why the price-drop on something that has been selling so well, and has no competition? I'd say a fair guess is to reduce stock before the new version is launched.
      • It's very likely. But there are a great many people who already own a GBA who will not wish to purchase another. In my case, I actually consider the $42 price (shipping included) to be worthwhile. I pay half the price to have the same product. If the site is to be believed the risk involved in modding the GBA is small and I'm pretty sure my 90 days are up anyhow. I'll be happy to pay the money for something cool like this. Naturally, if I get another GBA, for some reason, it'll be the properly lit version.
      • by Eccles ( 932 )
        How soon before Nintendo, who just dropped the gba price to $80, starts marketing a new model, with a light like this one

        Nintendo is brain-damaged when it comes to providing lights. They could have sold millions of Gameboy Colors with a built-in light for $50 more than the base GC, but never did. Likewise, they could have made a killing selling a deluxe unit with better speakers and a larger screen, but nope.

        Also, the PM guys may be trying to patent their lighting system just to discourage Nintendo from taking their design and selling it themselves. (Although I doubt PM would discourage a nice profitable licensing arrangement.)

        • The PM guy should IMHO patent this thing. Nothing would prevent him from licensing the design to Nintendo and still make a fuckwad of money on that, in addition to his own direct sales. That's what patents are for, to extort money from others with your ideas.
      • Well, that may very well be what Nintendo is planning. If so, great! I personally cannot wait for a lit version, but for the millions of current "dark screen" GBA owners who don't really have much choice (myself included) this will at least provides us with some options. Either they will get this kit by paying an extra $35US (+s/h) or shell out another $100US+ just to get a lit version. I think the first option is better for a lot of current owners. Then again, maybe Nintendo is not coming out with a lit version. Instead, it's only one with a better/brighter screen. If so, then that's all the better for Adam Curtis at
      • Nintendo produced a backlit Gameboy for the Asian market in the days of Gameboy Pocket. The Gameboy Pocket's screen was more efficient at using energy, so adding a light to it and using AA batteries with it (instead of Pocket's AAA) gave nearly the same play time as the original. Nintendo has a great aftermarket of licensed products in the US. In Asia no one wants to lug around all that extra gear (smaller is better even if it is lesser quality), so a backlit Gameboy was appropriate for that market.

        The reason why Nintendo took so long to come out with a color unit was because of power drain. They aren't going to release a backlit unit anytime soon unless the drain on power is insignificant.

        Incidentally, Nintendo has a history of refusing to use available technologies until they have matured to the point of transparency. Another example of this is disk technology. It was available in Japan for the Famicom (NES) and the N64. But Nintendo said that load times were too long for a worldwide release. (Gamecube games have similar load times to cartridges).

      • Locally, two major retailers have the GBA at $69.99, and one of them is throwing in a free case on top of that too. GBA is already extremely successful, and the price is dropping so drastically so soon after launch? I've heard nothing officially about a new modified model, but something is getting me excited over the prospect of these babies coming out some time soon.

        Personally, I'm very satisfied with my current GBAs...they have worked great under reasonable lighting conditions (someone else posted this: reading light is more than adequate), even with the older first-generation screen. I've heard rumors that the neweer GBAs come with Panasonic (not Sharp) LCDs, and are somewhat brighter, but I've never noticed any difference in screen quality between newer Japanese black/orange GBAs and my older models.

        Still, on a totally unrelated note, Golden Sun is a great game. <snicker>

        < tofuhead >

        • Does anyone have sales statistics? I would agree with the hypothesis that they are readying a newer model, but its also possible that the recouped enough R&D money on the unit and they are looking to boost sales. Many people this previous holiday season spent large amounts of loot on new consoles so maybe sales have hit a plateau or even slumped.

          If it wasn't for a lack luster manufacturer warranty I wouldn't consider buying this aftermarket internal light. But since they only have 90 days of confidence in their product I might as well buy one and give it a whirl.
    • ...Nintendo sues the poor guy for making an "unlicensed" GBA add-on?

      Nintendo has previously lost lawsuits over that idea. They lost a lawsuit pertaining to Game Genie (CodeMasters) for the NES, for "unlicensed" games made by Tengen (a former division of Atari), and over cartridge "back up" units. Video game systems have been classified computers, as far as the US courts have are concerned, so a license to create software for it is not necessary (although you will not get the Seal of Approval, and it may void your warranty if you use unlicensed HARDWARE with it) and it is perfectly legal to make a backup (as fair use laws are still being upheld pertaining to video game systems) as long as it follows copyright laws (it's for your use only, and you own, or HAVE OWNED the game).

      As an unrelated sidenote, it's fascinating that in the computer world, you don't even own the physical media the software came on, all you actually own is the license to use it, but in the video game world, you own the media, and there is no license. At least that's the legal precedence I have followed.

  • by .sig ( 180877 ) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @10:03AM (#3006610)
    The GBA is simply highly dependant on the art on Feng Shui and contortionism. All you have to do is position it in the right manner, especially in relation to any light sources in the room, and it becomes clear as a bell. It's even easier outside, just make sure that there are no large objects preventing the suns rays from striking the screen.

    It's not just a game, it's applied art!

  • I'm getting one... when I have money ;)

    Still, it doesn't change that the GB(A|C) should never have been released with such a poor screen.

    • The existing screen isn't bad. It's fantastic in sunlight, better than a backlit screen would be.

      The only thing that's bad about it is that everybody expects to use it in the dark or near-dark. People are using it in less-than-ideal lighting conditions, which is bad for your eyes anyway, like trying to read a fine-print book in the dark, only the words are in different colors and are moving around the page. With a front-mounted internal light, you get the best of both worlds, for reasons I stated in another post [].

      < tofuhead >

  • I can finally justify getting a GBA... now, the question is, is it too late? Is something bigger/better coming in the next few months?
    • Much like the PS2 vs. X-Box...

      The GBA is backwards compatible and has more games out than any new comer. So I'd buy this... you can't go wrong.

      And with the addition of this backlight, I'd ACTUALLY think about buying one of these (played it in Target (that's TAR-JAY! to you) and hated the screen... played Tony Hawk with my little cousin, and still hated the screen)

      Now what *I* can't wait for is when people start buying GBA's in bulk, buying the Portable Monopoly backlight in bulk, put 'em together, and sell 'em on E-bay for a quick killing...

    • Re:FINALLY (Score:4, Insightful)

      by iapetus ( 24050 ) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @10:56AM (#3007154) Homepage
      Is something bigger/better coming in the next few months?

      No. And if it were, it probably wouldn't make much of a difference - GBA's predecessors have seen off superior technology in the past without blinking. If you think MS has a monopoly on the OS market, it's nothing compared to what Nintendo has in handheld gaming. :)

      About the only thing that could make a dent in that would be Sony and/or MS entering the handheld market, and that isn't going to happen for a while, if at all.

      • Actually I think the sony psone combo unit (the little white unit thats battery powered and comes with a 5 inch lcd) is sonys testing of the waters so to speak. If I hadn't wanted FFX so bad, I probably would of bought one of those. I mean think about the psone combo, its quasi handheld, it already has 600+ games and can also be plugged into a television. Damn cool gadget.
        • I predicted the early 2002 launch and $200 price of the PSOne LCD combo unit in a /. post last year, but I've come to realize that it's still not worth it for the price, especially if it's being compared to the GBA or Dreamcast. It's about 4x bulkier than a GBA without a battery (walkman-sized unit, screen w/speakers, controller(s), and power cable), it has problems with shock, and if you consider that the 5" screen costs $130 on its own, the PSOne in the combo is still $70 (which is $20 more than a superior Dreamcast base system).

          Sony's marketing mantra of "wherever, whenever, forever" regarding the PSOne seems to be indication that Sony really wants the PSOne to remain a competitive platform, but IMO it's just a ploy to milk as much from this now obsolete platform as possible. (By "obsolete," I refer to the fact that PS2s are backwards-compatible, just as GBA is backwards-compatible with GBC, another "obsolete" platform.)

          < tofuhead >

      • They had a GBA-like device called the Wonderswan that could interface with PSX games like GBA will be able to with GameCube games (and the Sega Dreamcast VMUs could with the Dreamcast).

        As far as I know, it realy hasn't set the world on fire.

        If anyone else has more details, please post!

        Jon Acheson
        • Incorrect. The Wonderswan (and Wonderswan Color) doesn't interact with the PSX. I believe you're thinking about the PocketStation--which is very similar to the Dreamcast VMU.

          The Wonderswan is along the name lines as the Neo-Geo Pocket...simply a GameBoy competitor. (Both of them were released before the GBA but never managed to gain enough market share to fend off the GBA's release frenzy.)

          Both the Wonderswan and NGP have been beaten into the ground by the GBA for no other reason than that Nintendo's got the handheld market in the bag.

          • He may also have been confused by the fact that the NeoGeo Pocket Color could also hook up to the Dreamcast (Capcom/SNK games, etc), similar to what the original poster had thought about the WSC and PSX.

            < tofuhead >

        • I believe it was called PocketStation if memory serves me correctly
        • More details sure.
          The Wonderswan isn't made by sony but by BANDAI and it has nothing to do with a PSX
    • I can finally justify getting a GBA...

      Is the screen's darkness that bad that you would base your entire decision to purchase a Game Boy Advance solely on whether or not it can be hacked? Last I checked the screen brightness was an issue of hardware. And as every gamer knows, it's not the hardware, it's the software (games) that should drive your purchasing habits...
      • Hold on. The games are great, fine, but many are saying that the screen was bad (I don't think so). That's a valid reason for some people not to buy one. I personally have several, because this issue, while valid for others, is irrelevant to me.

        Will I be buying an add-on screen? Maybe, but I want to witness one in action first (and use other people's experiences as QA). Would I buy a new officially-released GBA with a switchable light already built-in? Yes, but not because I'm dissatisfied with my old units...I'd buy it for the additional ability to play in otherwise total darkness. If people want to wait until such mechanisms are standard before making their buying decision, that sounds sensible to me.

        < tofuhead >

    • Is something bigger/better coming in the next few months?

      Yes. [] But it might take more than a few months to get here.
  • Golden Sun (Score:1, Informative)

    by lw54 ( 73409 )
    Here's some great info for all the Golden Sun fans
  • by boris_the_hacker ( 125310 ) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @10:14AM (#3006673) Homepage
    This is great, I can now go old school and play on my GBA under the covers of my bed. Just need to make sure the girlfriend doesn't get wind of it, or even better get her a GBA, and a copy of Mario Kart and Advance Wars. Only today I was in a queue for tickets and was gagging for this - the lighting was less than wonderfull, I had to relegate Tony Hawk to my bag.

    But seriously, I hope that this is very successfull and Nintendo take note of the the popularity and get's it sorted in the future, as the screen is great most of the time but there are always times when it could be JustThatLittleBitBetter(TM). Even so the GBA is an awesome toy :-)

    I just hope they start shipping soon, otherwise I am sure the Pocket Game Cube will be out =P
    • Not that it has much to do with the topic, but it DOES have to do with this post.

      boris hit the nail on the head why Gameboy is so popular and Nintendo has the handheld market cornered: chicks dig it.

      i.e. Tetris, Super Mario DX, Pokemon. 'nuff said.

  • Hurray (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Yay, getting Linux on a GBA was hard enoughin the dark, i'll tell ya. Now i can actually SEE what i'm doing! Yay.
  • Tired of GBA-bashing (Score:5, Informative)

    by PowerTroll 5000 ( 524563 ) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @10:17AM (#3006691)
    Admittedly, the screen is small, and not backlit, but I've been able to play it for extended periods of time by folowing a simple rule for reading.

    Plenty of ambient light. Yes, the very same light one uses for proper book reading is more than adequate for GBA-playing. I've played it comfortably on airplanes, on my couch and yes, even on the can.

    The small screen lends itself to problems, but that's what makes it portable. It's a trade-of at this point, until LCD screen technology imporves.

    The bottom line: I spent $100 a while ago, and have enjoyed it plenty since.
    • Every time the GBA is mentioned there is a vocal minority that springs up to badmouth the screen. I really don't get it: Unless you are a little kid trying to play your GBA past bedtime, a reading light/desk lamp/etc is more than adequate. I think the reason you don't hear from the (majority) of people pleased with the GBA's screen is because we are too busy playing Golden Sun to have time to post rants on Slashdot ;)
    • I've played it comfortably on airplanes, on my couch and yes, even on the can.
      Sounds weird to those that are GBA-less, but the bathroom really is one of the better places to play... plenty of light (either natural or artificial) in an enclosed area with light colored walls (think albedo). Just remember not to get too excited while playing... you might drop it(!) or risk a few strange looks from others after doing your business.

      Anyway, I can't wait for the internal light... it's been months since I've played Castlevania.

  • I've only used the GBA a handful of times, and must admit the lighting is awful. All I want to know is who Nintendo had test this before it went to market. A pack of rhesus monkeys? Unlike the Gamecube, PS2, or X-Box, it isn't like there is huge competition for the handheld game market, and they already had a near perfect brand name to build on. Why did they rush out an otherwise fine product out with that one major flaw?

    With this internal lighting now available, I might finally plunk down the $$$ for my own GBA.

    • "Why did they rush out an otherwise fine product out with that one major flaw?"

      You just answered your own question earlier:

      "it isn't like there is huge competition for the handheld game market, and they already had a near perfect brand name to build on."

      Competition is good, you see. They probably considered putting in their own backlight, but said "fsck it, they'll buy it anyway." So they get to say the GBA runs a ton of hours on a single battery charge, but in reality people have to use uncomfortable lighting situations or portable lights that drain the batteries much faster.

    • Nintendo actually considered the use of a some sort of lighting system, but decided against it as it would use the batteries too quickly and increase the price of the system.

      See this link [] for more details.
  • by TRACK-YOUR-POSITION ( 553878 ) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @10:20AM (#3006706)
    If you think it's the worst screen ever, play the original game boy again. There, now do you remember how blurry it would get whenever the screen scrolls? Now put an original game boy or color game boy cartridge in your GBA. Amazingly visible!

    It's not the screen that's the problem: it's only with certain games (Castlevania, Circle of the Moon being the biggest offender).

    • The game boy color is not blurry. I would say its screen is in every way superior to the GBA (well, besides being smaller).

      But no doubt...short memory.

      The Game Gear would be the worst COLOR portable system screen...were it not for THE BACKLIGHT.
      • I said original game boy. The game boy color certainly isn't blurry. Pocket might not be either, never saw it--I'm talking about the huge one that needed 4 AAs.

        In any event, if I put Game boy color games in my game boy advance, they look just as if it they were in my game boy color, except that I have the option of stretching it (with the L and R buttons)

        So, the game boy advance screen is strictly better that the game boy color screen.

        • Okay then...Not that I think the option to stretch the GBC games (haven't played GBC on a GBA myself, so I only THINK I know what you're talking about there) has anything at all to do with the screen's quality so much as it's aspect ratio.

          I was wondering why you were bringing up the game boy color if you didn't mean to suggest it's screen was inferior. (IMO, it is slightly easier to see in low or glaring light, therefore better)
        • BTW, disregarding it's lack of color, the GB Pocket was somewhere between the original and the GBC in terms of visibility. It was a little blurry, IIRC, but no where near the greenish smudge that was the original's screen.
          • Game Boy Pocket had one of the best screens IMO on all of the GBs. It was probably the clearest out of everything except for GBA, and it was also the largest (square) screen.

            Then again, I never got a Game Boy Light (Special GB released in Japan after GBP and before GBC)
        • Hehehe, the original gameboy wasn't huge... I remember back in the day being glad my gameboy wasn't as big as a gamegear, and my mate with the gamegear was glad it was nowhere near as big as a lynx :-)
    • It's not the screen that's the problem: it's only with certain games

      It is the screen that's the problem. Games attempt to compensate for its deficiencies by brightening the sprites, but it's still abysmal for even the brightest of games in less-than-perfect light, and the angle of light falling on it has to be perfect.

  • by Skirwan ( 244615 ) < minus punct> on Thursday February 14, 2002 @10:23AM (#3006721) Homepage probably have no idea what the point is here.

    For the uninitiated, the GameBoy Advance lacks the internal backlight present in the older non-advance GameBoys. This makes it very difficult for some people to play in some lighting conditions.

    Such as, for instance, everyone, everywhere.

    Visual Aid []

    Free the Pink Halfling!
    • The only Gameboy that ever had a light was the (B&W) `Gameboy Lite', which as far as I know was never sold outside of Japan. The Gameboy Lite has a switchable backlight that sucks batteries like crazy while it's turned on. I own one, and never use(d) the light, because it's just too annoying to have the batteries keep dying.

      It did come in cool case colors (silver & gold) though...
    • There was a backlight in older Game Boys? That's news to me.

      I believe there was only one Game Boy that had backlighting and it had a very limited run (might've only been in Japan actually - I believe it was called the "Light Boy" and had a backlight that could be toggled on and off).
    • The GBC didn't have a backlight either, and neither did the original gameboy. The only model to come with a built in light was a model called the "Gameboy Light" that was only released in Japan
    • For the uninitiated, the GameBoy Advance lacks the internal backlight present in the older non-advance GameBoys.

      The Game Boy didn't have a backlight. The colored-case Game Boys didn't have a backlight. The Game Boy Pocket didn't have a backlight. The Game Boy Color didn't have a backlight. The only backlit Game Boy systems were the Game Boy Light (released only in Japan, not in America or Europe) and the Super Game Boy (which required a Super NES and a TV and did not have a link port unless you got the rev.2 model, which again was sold only in Japan). You're confusing the Game Boy Color with the Sega Game Gear.

      Now that the GBA is backlit, and Sonic the Hedgehog is appearing on GBA, does that make it a Game Gear Advance?

      • There is no backlit GBA yet either, and I hope there never is one. Since the GBA screens are reflective they require an external (front) light source. The internal lights that [] and [] (different folks!) are talking about are front light sources, although for a while .NET and .COM were using different technologies (the .NET guy has since ended his plans of competing with the .COM guy...dumb story).

        Basically, a GBA __with its current reflective screen__ and an internal switchable front light is the ideal portable gaming solution for many reasons, far better than a backlit system. Reflective screens fare better in sunlight than backlit screens, reflective LCD screens use less power than backlit LCDs and are inexpensive, and in the presence of ample lighting, you can turn the internal light off to conserve power (you can't turn the backlight in a backlit LCD off and really expect to be able to see anything). Nintendo perhaps should have done this from the beginning, but they made the trade-off in order to cut manufacturing, design, and support costs.

        < tofuhead >

    • As about 400 people have replied to you and said, the game boy didn't have a backlight. :)

      However, with the traditional gameboy, either because the res wasn't as good (not sure if this is true), or because it was only grayscale, a light wasn't necessary for most people.

      However, with the new GBA, the "everyone, everywhere" thing definitely applies.

      • It's the color that kills the viewing on a color LCD, from what I understand. Instead of going through a single (black/white) layer of reactive liquid crystal, you have to get light though three layers on a color screen. even worse, without backligting, you just have the reflective back to help you. The light goes through every layer twice, which gives a total trip of six layers of crystal.

        Aside from the color, GBA screens are remarkably better than the original GB. Compare the contrast of an original GB to a GB Pocket. The color is better, the contrast is better, and the screen is actually shades of gray instead of yellow to green.
      • No, things weren't any better in original Game Boy land. First thing I bought after Super Mario Land was a Nuby "frontlight".

        I think the best thing about this portablemonopoly jive is that the light isn't going to burn a hole in your retina, a la the Worm Light.

        I'm still getting over the fact that I'm replaying 10 year old games on a brand new system that's designed to play them (which distinguishes it from, say, playing the 2600 on OS X).
    • I can't believe everybody is replying to this post with "Dude, none of the other Game Boys had lights, either..."

      It was supposed to be a joke. Pointing out the irony in everyone's complaint that the GBA has no light, when NONE of the other Game Boys ever have, either.

      I have a Game Boy Color and the screen is usable in the right conditions. I've toyed with getting the Advance and I can honestly say that in the right lighting it's not THAT much worse.

      Still, seeing this Kit makes me want to get an Advance so I can install the Kit. It's got a certain geek charm... or at least it will until I run into some 10 year old who modded his GBA also...
      • The defining characteristic of a joke is that it is funny, not just incorrect.

        With that knowledge under your belt, it should be easy to see where the confusion came from.
        • I think it's called being sarcastic.

          The problem is that it isn't easy to add a sarcastic overtone to plain text post (compared to just speaking out loud).

          Another thing. Finding a joke funny or not is an opinion and changes from person to person. Yes the defining characteristic of a joke is that it is funny, but funny to who? Some times jokes are only funny to the person who tells them, or maybe a small group of people.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Finally - me, a dark night, and my GBA.

    . . . they have gay pr0n for the GBA now?!


    Forgive me, I couldn't resist.

    • they have gay pr0n for the GBA now?

      The GBA has a JPEG viewer library. You're free to construct your own slide-show program and either burn it to a flash cartridge or send it over the link cable. See gbadev [] for more details.

  • I wonder if their patent idea ever panned out for them. When they were first starting out with this project they made noise about some of the delay being due to a patent application for the process. I always wondered: Patent for what? Cutting a piece of off-the-shelf (albeit specialized) plastic and shoving it into another company's product? Always sounded kind of egotistical and greedy to me.

    Nice to see the released product is reasonably priced. It's a shame Nintendo didn't bother with it themselves. The GBA screen is a travesty.

    • Hiya Lawrence,

      You of all people should know that the screen isn't the problem (it uses little power, looks better in sunlight than a backlit screen would, etc.); it's the fact that Nintendo didn't include a switchable internal front light of their own. I'm fine with it, but I keep hearing about how the screen sucks, and it just doesn't IMO.

      Unless, by "travesty," you mean, "travesty relative to other reflective LCD screens," I think there's a little bit of an oversight being made here. IMO, the PCE-GT/TurboExpress screen sucked (because individual pixels burned out easily and the backlit LCD drew lots of power), but I'm willing to bet that there are people here that would claim the opposite, just because they could play the thing in the dark. Same thing goes for the GameGear and Nomad, although I've never seen either with a dead pixel.

      < tofuhead >

  • Wow. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2002 @10:27AM (#3006752)
    Makes me wish I had some sort of manual dexterity so I could install it.
  • I checked the faq and unless i'm missing something, i did not see any mention of effects on battery life.

    Any idea how long it a pack of batterys would last? I believe the GBA runs for around 15 hours without any backlight.
    • by kvandivo ( 207171 ) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @10:44AM (#3006987) Homepage
      You're missing something.

      One of the FAQ items was: How does this affect battery life?

      and the answer was 30-40%. They have been seeing around 10 hours of life using the light all the time.

      • Yes, of course it will affect battery life.

        But on the other hand, it will of course have an on-off switch.

        Why in their glorious wisdom, Nintendo chose not to include it, with an on-off switch so that battery life would only be affected when the we, lowly GBA users, deemed fit, well...

        I for one aim to support the portable monopoly project, whether a new GBA with internal lighting is launched or not.

        ConSumAh PoWaHH!

        ..or something to the effect.

        It won't make much real difference, but I'll positively feel the amount of Real Karma (TM), flowing towards me from the neverending universe.


    • The FAQ said it reduces Battery life by about 30-40%, not bad considering how long batteries last in the GBA!
  • More GBA modding (Score:2, Informative)

    by pacc ( 163090 )
    Combine this with the TV-out modification
    and you will have the coolest GBA available. ?c ategory=6&products_id=1496&

    Anyone with an overclocking kit?
  • The $35 price tag is very reasonable when you compare it to $1000 for lasec surgery.
  • The Screen is OK (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tom7 ( 102298 ) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @11:01AM (#3007207) Homepage Journal
    Let me put in my vote against the common conception that the GBA screen is horrible. In fact, it is nicer than all of the previous Game Boy screens. Some games (Castlevania) have made the mistake of having really dark graphics -- but this was true even on the GBC (Paperboy?).

    I can see my GBA fine as long as there is a light on or I'm outside. I might get the backlight for playing in the dark, but I've had plenty of fun playing through several games with its screen as it is!
  • by spacedx ( 458227 )
    The GBA has a reflective LCD screen, hence the reason it needs a direct lighting source. And had you bothered to read the PM FAQ, you'd know that this mod is a frontlight, not a backlight.
  • Warranty be damned! Having to sit under a direct light source all the time is such a hassslleee. My only worry is how much it sucks out of the battery life.
  • by Svet-Am ( 413146 ) on Thursday February 14, 2002 @11:39AM (#3007555) Homepage
    The light is not ready. They are finalizing info with the manufacturers and wont even be shipping until mid-April.

    Of course, I'm buying one, but get the info straight. Maybe that should be the job of the slashdot editors: double check the accuracy of info before they front-page it...
  • This topic has been beaten beyond death already, so I'll make this brief. As stated before, the GBA's screen is darker and harder to see because Nintendo used a different screen (presumably one that sucks less power, though in my experience that's not the case). So, in some games, such as Castlevania:COTM, Columns Crown, and older GB/GBC titles, the screen appears darker than initially intended. The selection of games which do not suffer from this problem is increasing every single day-- for example, Sonic Advance, Advance Wars, and Super Dodge Ball just to name a few are very vibrant and easy to see regardless of where you are positioned.

    Furthermore, it isn't exactly a wise idea to be playing games in the dark anyway. It's hard enough to focus on the small screen, and having it be the brightest thing in your field of vision will definitely screw up your eyes fast, regardless of how well-lit the screen may be (this I can say from experience; playing Mario's Picross on a GBC while running movie projectors for a year prompted the need for new glasses).

    So, to recap what was said close to six months ago, don't play in the dark. Play outside, if you can, or by a window. A product like this, while admittedly nifty, is ultimately counterproductive.

    Oh, and yes, I am aware of the cynic's truth that now Nintendo will probably release a backlit version, but the easiest way around that dilemma is to simply not buy the backlit version. That will either teach Nintendo to get it right on the first try, or us to stop complaining.
  • More technical details about this mod can be found at www.portablemonopoly.NET []. This includes some of the photos of the frontlit GBA screen that was previously up at www.portablemonopoly.COM [].
    To me, the screen looks eerily washed out (though this is always conviniently blamed on photographic technicalities, I'll believe it when i see it). Also, a slight portion of the right side of the screen is cut off to make room for the lightning strip. About 10 pixels or so are missing, which to me would be quite annoying, particularly with side scrollers.
    It's also amazing to me that Adam (the guy) is even TRYING to patent this... he is simply using a pre-existing lighting system developed for PDAs. A light guide sheet of plastic over the reflective screen guides a side light to light down at the screen.

    Also, FYI, the site is actually a rip off of a IGN Pocket Boards [] attempt at creating their own frontlight [] without having to wait for Adam to get his out.
    IGN Pocket Boards is also where Adam's project got started. It was pretty much a group effort documented by Adam on his site till he decided to patent and cash in and took basically all the technical info off the site.
  • and other Asian retailers have been selling cold cathode lights for the GBA for several months now. I imported one awhile back and have been in love with it ever since. Zero glare, plugs into the external port, and radiates a perfect soft-on-the-eyes light... WITHOUT having to open up your handheld. The best part? Only $8.99. - John
  • The sole reason I go to my Visual Basic class. The room has near-perfect lighting - you can even play castlevania in there.
  • When i first saw the Gameboy Advance come out i thought it would be great. From what I've heard its pretty good. But I never got my self to buy because of the light issue. I have a Gameboy Color and i think its ok. Now that I saw the Portable Monopoly light I'm thinking of buying a Gameboy Advance. And I was also wondering what good games it has. For some reason I can Never manage to pick out a good game. Whenever i go out and buy a game it turns out to be a crappy one. So what are some good games out for the Gameboy Advance? And is it worth it?
  • I can't believe how many people are complaining about the screens. None of the Game Boys ever had a back light because they would have consumed ridiculous amounts of battery power. They've always *wanted* to put the light, but it's never been practical. Look at the Game Gear, which did have a light but consumed horrible amounts of batteries. I don't know how this new thing will deal with this problem, but I'd be interested if it's an energy-guzzler.

"You can have my Unix system when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers." -- Cal Keegan