Upon the release of the Game Boy Advance in June 2001, a vast number of gamers complained about the screen's poor visibility; with no internal backlight or frontlight the LCD was only visible in direct light, too much of which would cause glare. Adam Curtis, creator of Triton Labs, put forth the solution in the form of a frontlight kit that allowed the screen to be seen in any environment, even in total darkness.
The Afterburner greatly improves screen visibility at the cost of 25% to 30% battery life reduction, though this can be remedied with the use of a brightness control and extra capacity batteries. Due to the construction of the Game Boy Advance case, the Afterburner light is slightly too narrow to illuminate the screen evenly. This creates what is called the "trapezoid effect": a trapezoid-shaped pattern of light across the screen. The Game Boy Advance SP does not suffer from the "trapezoid effect", though its integrated battery makes the power drain more significant.
"In a way, though, it also reminded us of exactly how many users really wanted to see some kind of light in their Game Boy Advances. It was an impetus for us to devote the time to figuring out how to finally just do it. So, in that aspect, it helped us during SP development as well."