Nintendo made the Game Boy and then the Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Advance SP, and some rumor of a Game Boy Micro that I simply don't believe in.

Sadly, the Game Boy Ultimate - y'know, the one where instead of going back to making it impossibly difficult to hold and play, they simply put a backlight in the original GBA to make it better - was never released... well, at least not as a single unit, but today Imma gonna teach you how to cook one up yourself.

The list of items and tools looks daunting, but some of the items are optional or more convenient.

Black-lit Game Boy Advance with Glass Screen (GBA Ultimate)

Prep time: 5 minutes if you just click my links and hit 'buy'. Otherwise varies.

Cook time: 40 minutes for the experienced chef. More like 6 hours for the average joe on a weekend.


Total cost for a good price is about $40 + $15 + $17 + $12 + $13 + $3 = $100.

For references, it costs about $150 to $200 to buy the pre-rebuilt "GBA Ultimate" (as I call it) from the same Chinese sellers that sell you the parts individually.


Before we begin

Since a crazy number Game Boy SPs on the market are refurbished, sometimes the printed model numbers or colors are a lie (meaning they don't correspond to the official nintendo model). Here's a tip:

  • The Game Boy Advance SP AGS 101 is always backlit. The light button switches between brightness modes.
  • The Game Boy Advance SP AGS 001 is optionally front-lit. The light button turns the front light on or off.



  • Don't pay more than $7 for a GBA AGB-001
  • Don't open the glass screen yet
  • Don't take apart the GBA SP AGS-101 yet


You can figure out how to unscrew some gameboys, no one needs to tell you that, so I'll just cover the highlights of the gotchas.

  1. Take apart the (wide format) GBA AGB-001 completely
  2. There's no way to know whether you have a 40-pin or 32-pin without taking it apart. If the ribbon says 40, you're good. If you count and lose track somewhere past 32, you're good. Otherwise put in another $5 to buy another.
  3. Don't forget to pop out the plastic screen - even if you're not doing the glass.
  4. Take apart the GBA AGS-101. It's difficult to wriggle the screen's ribbon cable out. Try twisting it tighter and then having a 3rd hand pull it back slightly and then push the hard part through the slot.
  5. Store the AGS-101 screen somewhere where it won't get the dust you're about to create on it.
  6. Lay the screen in the new housing. Note that all of the raised plastic that it touches needs to be cut away. That means the two mini walls to the bottom and right, the larger wall to the bottom, and the corners of the walls on the bottom. Use the X-acto chisel blades or the chisel blade in the phone repair kit. This will be easier (and safer) with the screen cover popped out.
  7. Note that the metal enclosure alone of the AGS-101 screen is thicker than the enclosure and both sets of padding for the AGB-001
  8. Use the X-Acto to cut and peel away all of the foam and padding from the AGS-101 screen. Be very careful not to scrape the screen or cut the ribbon (or yourself)
  9. Place the AGS-101 screen in the housing (after you've blown it out). Underneath it should have no raised walls whatsoever. It should all be completely flush with the base of the housing.
  10. Attach the 40-pin adapter so that the dark side (not the shining gold side) is the side you push into the locking slot.
  11. Attach the 40-pin adapter to the motherboard in the opposite fashion (shiny gold side gets pushed in)
  12. (todo pic of where to solder red wire)
  13. Fold the brightness switch straight back and crease it firmly.
  14. Start putting everything back together, taking care that all of the additional ribbon lengths are as flush as possible with the motherboard (don't let the red wire run over top the microchips, but rather around them).
  15. Put the glass in very last, being careful not to touch the back side.

TODO: Link video, expand instructions, include pictures.

Serves hours and hours of fun


Or, if you wanna be a little more hardcore...

By AJ ONeal

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(you can learn about the bigger picture I'm working towards on my patreon page )