Selling over 80 million units and with a legion of fans to back it up, the Game Boy Advance has long been considered one of the all-time great handhelds. This Nintendo console is no stranger to the modding scene, with countless fix-ups and features being created by talented members of the community. Considering the epic library of games and its perfectly portable design, it’s no wonder why the Game Boy Advance continues to see improvements long after manufacturing has ceased.
Today, I’m looking at the newest screen mod for this classic handheld as I install the fresh GBA ITA kit from FunnyGaming. As with all of my mods, you can check out a complete step-by-step video tutorial on my YouTube, which I highly recommend if you plan on installing the kit yourself. With a custom shell and laminated LCD screen, the FunnyGaming GBA ITA kit promises a great form factor with an even better screen. Let’s check out this fancy GBA kit and see what the installation process is like, along with the features you can expect.
"Overall, if you're thinking of upgrading your Game Boy Advance or repurposing the parts of a busted one, the GBA ITA kit is a fun and easy way to make the console feel brand new."
The New GBA ITA Kit is a Visual Wonder
As is common, if you’re looking to install the FunnyGaming GBA ITA kit, you’ll need a few parts to get started. First of all, you’ll have to purchase a custom GBA shell specifically designed for use with this kit, as the original shell won’t have the space to hold the screen. There are multiple colors to choose from, including a few clear variants, adding an extra layer of customization.
Of course, you’ll also need the laminated ITA kit itself, which includes all the extra bits you’ll need. I also chose to install the GBA USB-C rechargeable battery mod on my system, but this is optional. With all your parts collected, you’re ready for installation!
GBA ITA Kit Basic Installation Tutorial
It’s important to know what model GBA innards you’ll be using for this mod, as the process is different between the 32-pin model and the 40-pin model. My video tutorial covers the 40-pin model installation, which requires soldering, but the process is very similar and requires no soldering if you’re using the 32-pin model. I’ll cover the basic installation steps here, but please refer to the video tutorial if you plan on installing this yourself.
Before you start to assemble the mod, you’ll need to take some preparatory steps. If you’re using a 40-pin model, remove the C54 resistor from the GBA motherboard (this step is not necessary for 32-pin model boards). On the custom shell, cut away the excess plastic covering the port labeled “EXT”. Moving over to the screen panel, lift up the small strip of red tape and slide the included plastic bracket between the motherboard and screen, then seal it back up with the red tape. You can now put the screen into the shell and attach the correct ribbon cable to the motherboard, then drop in all included buttons and membranes.
From here, you can attach the GBA motherboard to the screen panel via the ribbon cable and secure it with the included screens. At the top of the shell, make sure you fold over the touch sensor and tuck it into the shell, leaving a gap between the ribbon cable and the touch sensor. With that completed, you can now attach the bottom portion of the shell and screw it in place, assuming that everything is working with a few batteries installed. Finally, remove the plastic that covers the screen and you’re ready to play! If there is any noticeable screen flickering, you can fix this by adjusting the potentiometer below the rear label with a screwdriver.
The Pros, Cons, and Features of the GBA ITA Kit
can adjust the screen brightness using the touch sensor at the top of the shell. Alternatively, with an extra step that requires soldering some wiring between the ribbon cable and the GBA motherboard, you can also adjust the brightness with a few combined button presses. Additionally, the shell is already built with the rechargeable USB-C battery mod in mind, so if you want to upgrade your console later on, you can easily swap out the included AA battery compartment.
In terms of pros and cons, the GBA ITA kit’s biggest benefit is, of course, the screen. Since it uses a lower screen from the Nintendo DSi, the kit offers a slightly more “retro” look that feels more authentic than other IPS panels. The only issue I came across involved the brightness touch sensor being triggered randomly, but this was resolved by adjusting the touch sensor inside the shell with some tape. Apart from that, this kit doesn’t have many cons to speak of.
Overall, if you’re thinking of upgrading your Game Boy Advance or repurposing the parts of a busted one, the GBA ITA kit is a fun and easy way to make the console feel brand new. Plus, if you’re using the motherboard from a 32-pin model GBA, it’s essentially a drop-in solution, requiring no soldering or advanced modding knowledge. The screen is sharp but still provides an authentic retro feel, while the touch sensor brightness controls and the ability to upgrade the battery compartment adds some modern flair. Generally speaking, I recommend this kit to anyone who wants to dabble with new screen mods and is looking for an easy installation.