Illuminator Pro Pak
After a long, glorious reign as the supreme handheld gaming system the ever popular Gameboy was replaced by the Gameboy Advance. The Gameboy Advance was greeted with open arms the world over and has been a resounding success. The console is good looking, very portable and already has it's fair share of classic titles.
Despite the millions of delighted gamers owning the Gameboy Advance the console has one serious flaw. You need to be in optimum lighting conditions to be able to see the game in all it's glory. I have frequently found myself angling the GBA towards a window or lamp in order to get a clearer picture. This swivelling of the console to see things becomes a right pain in the wrists and in the end you just give up.
Nintendo, for some reason didn't see fit to place a light in the console or at the very least provide a contrast switch. Some titles such as Golden Sun (which is a Nintendo game so they know the problem exists) provide a brightness slider but this does little to compensate for the problem.
Possible solutions have come thick and fast. They range from the silly little spotlights to actually opening up the console and fitting an internal light source. Until now the external solutions (where you don't have to open up your GBA) have proven fairly useless. One or two of the internal solutions (where you have to open up your GBA) do work but they can be expensive and unless you pay for an expert to fit them they will ruin your GBA, this is obviously a step many will not take.
Thankfully Joytech have come up with the Illuminator Pro. The Illuminator claims to utilise Fluorescevision Technology. It uses a powerful fluorescent light that beams it's light across a magnifying lens. Not only does this great gadget work and let you play games in the position you want to, it also enables you to play games in total darkness. The Illuminator gives off more light than most pocket torches.
We tested the Illuminator with Golden Sun, Advance Wars, Broken Sword, Crash Bandicoot and Pokemon Silver. All of these games looked fantastic and had a vibrancy about them that was previously unknown on the GBA. The clarity was amazing. The Illuminator also claims to magnify the screen by around 40% and while it doesn't make a big difference in your perception of the screen size, it certainly helps.
The whole package costs £19.99 and while it offers excellent value, and for me resurrects my interest in playing GBA games, Joytech went one step further and threw in an AC adapter and a rechargeable battery pack. You can even use alkaline batteries if you wish. For portable gaming though I would recommend the alkaline batteries over the rechargeable battery pak as they offer a far superior length of gaming time. It is a nice touch to have the option though.
The Illuminator simply clicks on to the GBA. The unit doesn't mark or in anyway harm your GBA. It takes only a couple of seconds to fit or remove, most importantly of all the unit is very secure when fitted. The Illuminator we received was identical in colour to the indigo GBA and looked very stylish once fitted. In case you're wondering the Illuminator, when folded down, is almost 4cm in height. From the feel of the GBA with the Illuminator fitted I would say the weight is increased slightly but it isn't heavy by any means. For those looking to eliminate the dark screen problem of the GBA the Illuminator Pro is the only external solution that truly works.
Overall Rating: 9.5/10 The Illuminator Pro Pak is a must for everyone who owns a GBA. The ability to be able to play a game in total darkness with perfect visibility is truly amazing. Once you've used one you'll never want to play your GBA without one again.
Special thanks to Alex Verrey for enabling us to review this marvellous device.