So I just finished backlighting my favorite portable console of all time: the Game Boy Pocket. But KIREEK, you're asking, why backlight the Game Boy Pocket when the Game Boy Advance SP exists? The answer to that question is quite simple. The Pocket was my first hand-held console. But it's more than that, it's actually a time traveling device.
I remember the cool November afternoon quite well. I was in my single-digit years basking the glory days of childhood. KB Toys had a local store in the town shopping district where my mother told me she needed to do some errands. Like an electron I would orbit around the place, marveling at the Star Wars action figures directly to the left of the front door. Very rarely was I afforded the opportunity to pick something up - it had to be earned.
On this particular day however, I was not prepared for what awaited me. After my mother finished picking up a copy of The New York Times from the local bookstore, we traversed up the street: my breath visible in the air illuminated by the golden fall sun as afternoon was slowly expiring into dusk. This moment, the moment where my mother led me, by hand down the sidewalk, where her footsteps slowed then stopped at the front of KB Toys is a something priceless to me.
You'll forgive me for not remembering the exact words but she said something along the lines of: "KIREEK, I love you very much and am very proud of how well you're doing in school." She told me to pick something from the store: anything. For a kid, this is a tall order. Anything? Really? My eyes grew wide with wonder and possibility.
I scoured the store. Past Lego set #6087, past the Kenner Millennium Falcon. I resisted the urge to even consider the Mortal Kombat figures that lined the aisle wall as I kept walking to the rear of the store. I paused at a waist-high (for an adult anyway - at that point it was my height) display case packed with sealed, packaged nostalgia. In the display case rested this box:
I looked at my mother for approval. She nodded. "That one", she said to the smiling man (who was probably my age as I write this). My heart began to palpitate with excitement. A game system! This was quickly becoming one of the best days ever. My thrills were momentarily paused when the KB Toys games department employee looked at me and asked:
"Would you like to have any games with that sir?"
My eyes darted back to my mother. She nodded. Oh man. Such excite! But oh! Decisions? So many choices! My eyes darted from Disney's Pocahontas, Jurassic Park II, Bonk's Revenge and several others. My choice was obvious:
"Pick one more" my mother said from behind me, "Don't you think you might get bored playing the same game for a while?" In retrospect I think my mother may have underestimated the endurance of Batman, but I digress. Wow. I was not prepared for any of this. At this point I did what any kid below the age of 10 would have done in my shoes. I picked the game with the coolest box:
So as I keep this piece relatively short I shall bring us back to the present. Today I modified a backlight into a Game Boy Pocket. Is it the original system? No, that one resides in a bedroom drawer at my childhood home. I bought this system (the custom buttons, the KIREEK pink backlight and the batteries too for that matter) with my own money. However, though I may be nearly 3,000 miles and many years away from that memory, the Pocket takes me back to that day. My two games of choice have also never left my side.
If anybody would be interested in a step-by-step guide to Game Boy backlighting I would be happy to make one as I plan on modding another Pocket very soon followed by a DMG (original Game Boy) after that one. I just felt compelled to write a cool personal story today :).