Over the years, Nintendo fans have retrofitted all the company’s handhelds aside from the Game Boy Color with backlit displays. That has finally changed with a new hardware mod, which you can see come together in a video from Colin Wirth at the YouTube channel This Does Not Compute.
Wirth used a backlight setup provided by Ben “BennVenn” Grimmett, a longtime Nintendo hardware tinkerer. The mod swaps out the Game Boy Color’s built-in screen for the backlit LCD of the upgraded Game Boy Advance SP, the AGS-101 model, which was released about two and a half years after the original GBA SP’s debut. The heart of Grimmett’s kit is a $40 custom-made ribbon cable that converts the GBC’s output so that the GBA SP’s display can read it.
Because the SP’s screen is larger and thicker than the GBC’s display, Wirth wasn’t able to get everything to fit inside the original shell of the GBC. That was even after he took steps like scooping out a whole bunch of plastic and shaving down contacts on the circuit board. However, Grimmett left a comment on Wirth’s video to explain that he had come up with a solution that worked perfectly — it just required an even more drastic elimination of material from within the shell.
“Removing a lot more plastic is a must with this build,” Grimmett wrote. “You need to take off nearly a mm of width from the front [shell]. Removing the LCD metal frame also makes a huge difference.”
Thankfully for prospective modders, Grimmett now sells pre-modified shells for $20. Wirth said he spent upward of $140 in all, but Grimmett is taking orders to do the whole job for you for $200. (He’s sold out for now, though.) Of course, that sounds like a lot of money to spend on a backlit Game Boy Color, but then, most people who’d be interested in this would probably be doing it for love of the game, y’know?