There were disastrous consequences to installing a backlight to my Game Boy Advance

Let’s take a moment and talk about what the Game Boy Advance is really there for. It’s what you use whenever you’re at a place you don’t want to be. Think about it: On a bus? In a long line? Stuck in an airplane? There you go!

When my girlfriend insisted that we have to go see Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, I knew that a two and a half hour chick flick would be the end of me. So I turned to my Game Boy Advance for solace. But here’s the deal: I have trouble seeing that damn screen in the daytime. There’s no way to play it in a darkened movie theatre.

Fortunately the Internet came to my rescue. You know you could buy little fluorescent Game Boy Advance backlighting kits off the ‘net? I had mine sent via rush delivery, since the Ya Yas were almost upon me. What I got was a box, a pile of parts, and a set of instructions that looked like a roadmap of Cambodia. It was like a step by step guide to brain surgery, without the easy-to-understand simplicity of the human central nervous system. There was no way I was gonna be able to install that thing myself. I can’t even clean the ball of my computer mouse.

It was clear I needed professional help, and that’s why I got back in touch with Raymond. He was this kid I went to university with back in the day. He overclocks all his appliances. There was a rumor that he overclocked his own DNA, shortly before going on to complete six PhDs. I went over to his house and saw that the lawn sprinklers had flooded the yard and shredded his aluminum siding; I knew I was at the right place.

Inside, he was sitting in a cardboard box peering at silicon wafers. His hair was on fire. He didn’t even say hello. He just spoke out loud as if to nobody in particular: “You know how fast you can overclock one of those new Pentium 4 2.53-GHz processors to?”

“No, how fast?” I asked.

“Eight point six two Zettahertz!” he boomed. “Mind you, the intense heat generated by the speed of those calculations almost instantly vaporizes the required transistors into white hot gaseous matter rendering the processor useless, but for a fraction of a nanosecond you have enough computing power to- HAIR ON FIRE.”

He dunked his smoldering head in a bucket of water.

“Can you install a backlight on my Game Boy Advance?” I asked. “Otherwise I’m gonna have to watch Secrets of the Ya Ya Chicks without any sorta protection. I have the instructions right here…”

Raymond grabbed the folded sheet of paper from my hand, snorting immediately. “Scrawlings!” he cried. “I’ve long since concluded that vowels are useless. Try it sometime. Don’t need ‘em. See?”

He ruffled through the pile of parts that came in the box. “Barbaric!” he snorted. “You give me half an hour alone with your Game Boy Advance and I will show you the true potential of this device.”

*       * One Half Hour Later *       *

“Done!” Raymond said, hopping out to his patio, still inside his cardboard box. “This switch will activate the improved luminescence. I needed a little extra juice so you should carry this car battery with you at all times. Be sure to connect the jumper cables at the proper terminals so that it doesn’t explode, self-explanatory really. Your LCD display has improved contrast. I also improved the button performance. Furthermore, the device is now capable of playing Xbox games, but because I don’t have a CD-reader you’ll have to program in the hexadecimal values of the game data in by hand each time you boot it up.”

I shook his quivering hand excitedly. “Thank you, Raymond!” I exclaimed. “If there’s anything I can do for you, let me know.”

“Vowels!” he said. “They must be destroyed at any human cost.”

Two days later, I drove my girlfriend to the movie theatre. We bought our popcorn and settled into the darkened seats: Her to uncover the divine secrets of the ya ya sisterhood, me to uncover the divine secrets of the Mario brotherhood. I waited until after the previews were over, the lights were out, and she had settled into place with her tissue in hand. It was after the movie had begun, but before the coma set in. That’s when I slipped out my Game Boy Advance.

The car battery was nestled snugly between the seats. I quietly attached the headphones and slipped them into my ears. I looked from side to side… was anyone looking? No? Now was my chance. I turned on the Game Boy, then flipped open the red-and-white-striped safety cover that Raymond had attached to protect the light switch. Eager for the gaming goodness to begin, I flipped the backlighting switch to the “on” position with a dull but ominous “click.”

The device began to hum in my hand, then whined the way a camera flash does as it’s charging. My girlfriend turned to me and asked, “What’s that noise?”

I stammered uncomfortably. “Just the capacitors warming up,” I said, recalling some details Raymond had given me about the initialization procedure.

“Capacitors to what?” my girlfriend asked.

Suddenly, with the deep bass thump like the sound of a 24-ton beanbag landing in a lake, the Game Boy Advance lit up. By “Lit up” I mean “Extinction Level Event.” The sheer strength of the white-dwarf column of light that erupted from my hands so superheated the air in the room that it pressurized and blew open all the exit doors. One of the theatre ushers standing at the entrance was propelled down the hall amidst a fiery hail of popcorn, the unpopped kernels exploding in midair. Paint bubbled and peeled from the walls. “Oh GOD MY EYES!” I cried out, the headphones shooting from my ears like corks from champagne bottles. The flash of light lasted about as long as a camera flash before the car battery was completely drained. A blackened silhouette of Luigi is still burned onto the theatre ceiling. Furthermore, in that fraction of an instant, as I turned my head away from the explosive photons, the man sitting in the seat behind me says he could see clearly the outline of my skull, arms, and teeth through the blinding light. Doctors say he’ll be able to remove the bandages from his head before the week is through.

The glass screen of my Game Boy had actually been vaporized during the blast, which explains why Raymond had recommended only looking directly at the Game Boy if you wore welding goggles.

Raymond and I have taken to selling our kits on the Internet to help pay off the lawsuits.


Victim Pic Small

Oh, my girlfriend? No … I haven’t seen her since. She may have looked directly at the light…


Score: 9.03; Total Votes: 2734 as of 2009-12-09.


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