The folding Gameboy Advance SP was a significant improvement over the original Game Boy Advance, if only because it introduced a side-lit screen that could actually be seen in bright sunlight. As a result, the team at the YouTube channel Macho Nacho Productions gave the GBA SP a much-needed upgrade, which includes some modern technological conveniences. While it wasn’t perfect (Nintendo included some strange design quirks), it was a welcomed change.
The battery life of the original GBA SP was not particularly impressive, considering that it contained only a 600 mAh battery. In order to fit even more upgraded junk in the trunk, the modders at Macho Nacho Productions created a spacious 3D-printed replacement backshell, increasing the battery capacity to 1,600 mAh, which will provide hours of additional gameplay. However, while the new shell adds approximately 10mm in thickness to the bottom half of the GBA SP, what the console loses in portability, it makes up for in additional functionality.
As an alternative to using the GPA SP’s proprietary power adapter, the upgraded battery can be recharged via a newly added USB-C port or a wireless charger. In addition, the modders were able to incorporate a Qi-compatible coil into the add-on. Various third-party companies have developed USB charging cables that are compatible with Nintendo’s various handhelds over the years, but with the switch to USB-C, you can simply use the ever-growing pile of cables you probably already have stashed away in a drawer.
If there was one thing about the GPA SP that was worth criticizing, it was the absence of a built-in headphone jack. This was in addition to the GPA SP’s lackluster side-lit LCD color screen, which Nintendo eventually replaced with a backlit panel in later models. As a result, players had to use a headphone adapter that was connected to the GBA SP’s power port, which meant that they couldn’t charge the handheld while also wearing headphones. Although it was a bizarre design decision on Nintendo’s part, the addition of a headphone jack (at some point) and a Bluetooth module that allows the handheld to work with wireless headphones helps to rectify the situation.
Machine Nacho Productions has released a fairly detailed breakdown of how the GBA SP THICC mod was put together, including an extensive list of the parts and tools that were used in its creation. The only thing that appears to be missing is a 3D model of the expanded replacement backshell, which would allow anyone to 3D-print their own replacement backshell. Due to the fact that the incorrect part was ordered, the video does not go into detail about how to install the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack. As a result, a follow-up video will most likely be released that (hopefully) includes everything necessary for anyone to perform this upgrade themselves..