Monday, May 4, 2015


We wish you a merry Life Day.
(Now try getting one.)
Happy Geek-O De Mayo*, folks! I hope Jabba Claus brought you what you wanted. I mean, aside from Princess Leia in a metal bikini.

WARNING: This product may
be hazardous to your retinas.
Off that subject, I just wanted to mention that I finally got my hands on that backlit Game Boy Advance SP I always wanted. Actually, I've got two of them now, counting the one I purchased at a Goodwill in Tucson and the one I received in the mail from a member of CheapAssGamer. I'll be talking about this system in greater detail after I've spent more time with it, but for the moment I can say that it's already threatening to put my Game Boy Micro into permanent retirement. The screen is larger, it's more comfortable to hold, and the backlight is just incredible. The standard brightness setting is already better than anything the AGS-100's milky display can dish out, but hit a button under the hinge and the screen shifts into overdrive, drowning every detail in dazzling reds, greens, and blues. The colors, Duke, the colors! 

This brightness setting probably takes a toll on the SP's battery life, but I'm willing to make that sacrifice when it makes every game look this good. As an added bonus, the SP plays games the Micro and DS won't, including titles from the Game Boy and Game Boy Color library. Several months ago, I called the PSP-3000 the ultimate evolution of that handheld. Even at this early stage of testing, I think I can safely say the same thing about the AGS-101.

Somewhere under all those scratches is a
Game Boy Advance SP.
There was just one downside, however. I was warned by the seller that the SP was "pretty scratched up," but that hardly does its condition justice. This thing is WRECKED, man. It looks like it was owned by Wolverine before he fed it to his pet wolverine. Not only is the front and back of the unit covered with scratches, the L button seems like it had an unfortunate encounter with the business end of a cigarette. I wasn't terribly concerned because it came with an AC adapter and the SP I found at Goodwill didn't, but this system will need a new case before I'm comfortable taking it out in public.

Oh, but it gets better! I went to another Goodwill (that scuzzy one in Nogales) and found a GameCube for a quite reasonable five bucks. I already have two of them back in Michigan, but what the hell, for the price of a Big Mac I could always use another. However, popping open the case revealed a nasty surprise, which I'll share with you now...

I'm not sure what all those brown spots are, honestly. I desperately hope that they're coffee stains, because I'd rather not consider the alternative. What I can say is that they were a little slice of hell to remove, dried into every nook and cranny of the machine. It took a handful of cotton swabs, a generous amount of alcohol, and a whole lot of scrubbing to get this thing even close to clean, and I still feel like I've got work left to do on it. 

How do people even let their consoles get in this condition, anyway? Okay, the Game Boy Advance SP has always been a little scratch-prone, but it's frustrating that someone did a spit-take inside this GameCube (possibly after discovering the price of Smash Bros Melee on eBay) and just left it that way. Come on, people, this stuff is history. Show it a little respect!

* Yes, this is coming from a bitter Trekkie who doesn't have his own holiday.


  1. I wouldn't necessarily retire the Micro. It may not have GB/C support or as colorful a screen, but its compact size makes it great for a quick Advance Wars/puzzle game/jRPG/Game & Watch Gallery 4 fix. I only wish the Micro had come out like a decade later so it could hold lots of digital games instead of one physical game.

    Anyway, while I liked the brighter screen model of the GBA SP a lot, it has the complete opposite of the problem the original GBA had. It's great for indoors play, but you can't see jack outside in the sunlight. Basically, if you ever wanna play the Boktai games you're better off with the original GBA/SP or cheating the sensor with a black light.

  2. Those poor systems! I'm glad they found a nice home with you, though, especially since you love them despite their hideousness :) Also, you've reminded me that I need to pick up one of the SPs with the better backlight someday. SOMEDAY!

    1. What the heck keeps happening to my replies?!

      Er, anyway. Those systems won't stay hideous for long if I have anything to say about it. I've already cleaned up the GameCube (...more or less) and am considering a new shell for the Game Boy Advance. It WORKS well enough; it just needs a fresh case, which can be procured on eBay for a reasonable price.

      The only issues with that Cube are that I don't have a Game Boy Player (which I consider standard equipment for that system) or any of the cables to use it. It's not a huge deal, as I've got two Cubes at home, but it's slightly annoying as I may never know if it actually works. These systems are tough old birds, though... I wouldn't be surprised if it DID work once I powered it up.