So I am going to post something on the geekier side of things, which really has very little to do with Japan. I am going to review the Halo Light designed by Innovation.
So you may be asking, why am I reviewing a light kit in 2009 for for a game system (Gameboy Advance) that was released all the way back in 2001, especially with the release of the Gameboy Advance SP or even more noteworthy the Nintendo DS? The reason is because I pre-ordered my my regular GBA so that I would finally have a new system when it was just released so that I could get years of updated enjoyable play. Little did I know that the SP version with a built in front-light would come out less than 2 years later. In a sense it is my stubbornness that got the best of me and wanted me to keep my original GBA instead of trading it in for the GBA SP.
So anyway, lets get started...
I searched the internet for what was considered the best light for the GBA since I wanted to take it with me to Japan considering I can also play Japanese cartridges in my American GBA since there is no region coding. I found that the Afterburner Kit made by Triton Labs was the best choice, unfortunately I could not find one nor a Gameboy advance that is modded with one. So I decided to search around for the next alternative. From reviews from notable places such as gamezone.com were saying the Halo Light designed by Innovation was the next best thing, plus it is a snap to install. So I tried to find a place to buy it, and of course there is no other than eBay. I found one, even in my systems color, for $23 and with shipping coming to $29 (I know I could have just purchased a used Gameboy Advance SP **punches self in face**). Figured, not bad for something that should make the GBA the equivalent as the SP by adding a 3rd party front-light and also allow me to stay faithful to my 8 year old system which has been hardly used.
Shipping was fast, 3 days later it is at my doorstep. So I take it out of the box, and in about 5 minutes with no real problems except trying to remove some of the extra gunk from the screen protector, it is mounted and tada ready to try it out!
Damn, this sucks! First of all, all the colors are washed out and although the screen may be brighter it is just as hard to see as playing in the dark because details and color basically fade away! Besides this something is messed up with the screen, it has some weird angle that you can see lines or a pixelated something...hard to explain, but frankly the image just isn't clear. Obviously it wasn't an install issue, since there is really no way to mess up. Plus I even redid it hoping something would change, but no. Even when the light is off the viewing isn't so great, pixels are slightly cut off from the edges which can be annoying when trying to see a stat bar at the top of the screen.
Halo Light Installed (Tekken Advance Game)
Closeup in the Dark
As you can see from these images, it is horrible! To be fair the pictures add about 15% more white light glare, but honestly this is almost what it looks like to play the game. As I mentioned earlier it is about as clear as when playing the GBA normally in poor light except that it glows white, visibility still sucks either way.
So in the end, it seems like a waste of $30. For anyone that reads this, I would NOT recommend the Halo Light by Innovation. If you want a light on your GBA get the models that already have them such as the SP or Micro or just pick up one of the older models of the Nintendo DS for approx $75. Or you can just get a PSP so you can play Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops.
There is no doubt that the original Gameboy Advance was and in many ways is still a great system. One of my favorite systems by Nintendo was the Super Nintendo which offered incredible games such as Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World, which in my opinion are the two best Super Mario games ever made! The GBA is basically a Super Nintendo that you hold in your hand, and for that reason I like it. I may be old school but many of the new "interactive" type games that the Nintendo DS offer really aren't my style, although I would have to admit there is a handful that I really want to play.
Maybe one day I will turn in my GBA for a Nintendo DS, as long as I can still plug in my GBA cartridges and play like it is 2001.
But as a closing note, the GBA is great but the Innovation Halo Light is practically worthless and is only good at turning your money into disappointment.