Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

As a twelve-year-old, my first brush with fashionable console gaming was with Nintendo’s Sport Boy Advance SP. It wasn’t the primary online game I’d performed, however rising up in India, it was uncommon to have entry to the newest and best consoles.

The Sport Boy Advance launched me to a brand new world of power-ups courtesy of Tremendous Mario, epic storytelling by way of Closing Fantasy IV, my very own quest to be the perfect because of Pokémon, and lots of of hours of leisure spent strategizing my subsequent transfer in Advance Wars. Nevertheless, as life goes, someplace alongside the road, my childhood companion acquired left behind for larger and shinier issues.

As destiny would have it, I stumbled upon my outdated console throughout a current residence renovation mission. Tossed away in a carton for a decade and a half, a number of home strikes, and a lifetime aside, it was clear that point had not been form to Nintendo’s best. A damaged display was simply the primary in a protracted line of points with the console. If you happen to’re something like me, you’ll perceive my nostalgia for old-school electronics and why restoring them has been a lifelong ardour for me. This offered the right alternative to carry the damaged Sport Boy Advance SP again to its former glory.

Have you ever thought of restoring a classic gaming console?

2 votes

Been there, performed that.


I am intrigued, however apprehensive about the place to begin.


No, I might relatively emulate the video games.


I desire fashionable video games.


A world of choices to revive or improve

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Repairing electronics of any form may be daunting, however the very first thing that it’s essential to find out about fixing up a gaming console is that it’s relatively like enjoying with Lego. Precision engineering signifies that, most of the time, you don’t have many cables and bobbins to determine. In lots of, however not all, instances, a restore generally is a easy swap. Nevertheless, that doesn’t imply it’s a stroll within the park, both.

Not like computer systems or smartphones, restoring a console often simply entails swapping modular parts.

Getting began with the console restore job, my first process was to establish the precise mannequin I had readily available. Most manufacturers are inclined to spruce up their TV and handheld consoles over their lifetime. The PlayStation’s slim variants, the upgraded Nintendo Swap with higher battery life, and the Sport Boy Advance SP with a brighter display are all examples of consoles which can be technically the identical, however totally different sufficient to require a cautious examine of the precise mannequin quantity.

With the mannequin quantity recognized, it was time to delve into the huge world of customization.

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Retro gaming as a interest has solely grown through the years and a long time, and a thriving group exists to serve the wants of customers who wish to restore and improve their consoles. Scouring by way of one of many foremost storefronts for console spares, Handheld Legend, it’s mindboggling to see the type of innovation at play.

Pristine and OG, or pimped out with RGB lights, the selection is yours.

Need to give your outdated handheld a glow-up within the type of a brand new shell and buttons? Simple. How about LED-lit buttons? Not an issue. Desire a USB-C powered Sport Boy Advance? Certain. How about including a coloration display to a console that didn’t even ship with one? You bought it!

In my case, I needed to maintain the expertise as near the unique as doable, so I made a decision to maintain the upgrades minimal and solely give my historic Sport Boy Advance SP a brighter display. I additionally determined so as to add contemporary buttons and a pointy new shell to the order, after which it was only a matter of ready a couple of weeks for the merchandise to ship. You may additionally want some specialised instruments readily available to get into your console of alternative. For instance, within the case of the Sport Boy Advance, or for that matter, most Nintendo consoles, you’ll want a particular tri-wing screwdriver readily available to pry it open. I’d advocate grabbing it off Amazon whilst you watch for the remainder of the parts to reach.

In case your console is just too far gone besides up, it is likely to be time to name within the specialists.

Coming to the precise console restore, the method may be pretty trivial or extremely concerned relying on what you are attempting to attain. It goes with out saying that in case your console is just too far gone besides up, it is likely to be time for some specialist assist.

Persistence is vital when repairing a console

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When you’ve opened up your online game console, one other factor to bear in mind is the situation of the screws. Deep into the puzzle-like technique of opening up a console, it may be relatively sophisticated to trace the place every screw goes. My suggestion? {Photograph} every step of the method, and hold screws segregated for every part of the console.

Older consoles are typically pretty modular in development, and swapping elements generally is a easy unplug-and-replace expertise.

Most consoles are pretty modular of their method. It is smart since corporations needed to ship tens of millions of them out on launch day. This makes unplugging and changing most parts comparatively straightforward. Nevertheless, you’ll wish to be particularly cautious round fine details like shoulder buttons and hinges. Many older consoles used tension-loaded springs, which may be astonishingly exhausting to position within the appropriate place. Be affected person, use a pair of tweezers, and don’t be afraid to take a break in case you’re discovering it too worrying. You undoubtedly don’t wish to be ready like mine the place you by chance scrape off a part on a motherboard or lose a spring, necessitating weeks of ready for a alternative. Been there, performed that. Caught someplace? Comply with a video information.

I’d minimize my enamel on repairing online game consoles as a interest and for pocket cash as a child, so it didn’t take me far more than an hour to strip down the console, give the internals a pleasant little bit of dusting, and change all of the exterior bits. The method is easy sufficient that it shouldn’t take a novice far more than a Sunday afternoon.

Is it well worth the trouble?

Now a few of you is likely to be questioning why I’d undergo the long-winded course of, and expense of repairing a long-dead piece of expertise. Nostalgia is a robust drug, and for me, having my first reminiscence of a online game console in pristine situation was reward sufficient. Nevertheless, there are different causes to get going with a retro console. For one, so far as among the finest online game console emulators have come, they will’t fairly replicate the imperfections related to consoles from a bygone period. For these of us who performed on the originals, these warts are part of the expertise, and the bit-perfect OLED expertise can usually take away from the appeal.

Emulation has come a great distance however cannot replicate the texture of a well-loved D-Pad, or the blocky perfection of a low-resolution show.

Then there’s the matter of controls, and on this case, portability. Maybe I’m wanting by way of rose-tinted glasses, however even the very best handheld controllers can’t fairly replicate the tactility of a well-loved D-Pad on an authentic controller. There’s additionally the small matter of carrying one more machine with you if emulation is your jam. Within the case of my Sport Boy Advance, the no-fuss, slide-in a cartridge and get-gaming method is a giant plus. No notifications, no distractions, simply gaming.

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The million-dollar query, after all, is whether it is price it. And the one reply to that’s, sure, for the best individual. Trendy-day emulation has gotten to some extent the place most informal players can be thrilled to load up a legally obtained copy of their favourite retro gaming, slap on a conveyable controller, and name it a day. Nevertheless, for many who need the true deal, old-school expertise, or wish to make a journey down reminiscence lane, solely the enjoyment of resuscitating a beloved piece of tech that has introduced them lots of, if not hundreds of hours of pleasure will minimize it. I do know which camp I’m in.

Now, on to fixing that different Sport Boy I picked up from a scrap yard.


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