Game Boy Camera


The Game Boy camera was launched and presented to the masses in early 1998. In short, the Game Boy Camera was a game cartridge with attached camera, compatible with handheld Game Boy systems of the time. The camera could swivel 180 degrees, in essence making it a selfie camera. The device stored grayscale digital images at 112 x 128 pixels, in four glorious shades of grey.

Game Boy Camera

I bought my very own Game Boy Camera on eBay a couple months back, and have been having a blast with it ever since. I am absolutely smitten, and love the challenge of trying to take a decent picture using this antiquated tech.

Game Boy Camera Picture

A shot of my most retro CASIO watch..
snapped with my most retro digital camera

I never owned a Game Boy Camera back in the day, but borrowed one from a buddy who quickly got bored with it after owning it for only a couple of weeks. I in turn messed around with it for a few months or so, and absolutely loved it. Back in 1998 digital cameras cost around a thousand bucks, so a fifty dollar Game Boy Camera put digital photography within reach for those on a budget, albeit in very primitive form. This was a huge deal for kids, gamers and techies. Cell phones in the U.S. didn't even start adopting cameras until about 2002, so there really wasn't anything else like it at the time.

Game Boy Camera stores pictures at 112 x 128 pixels as grayscale digital images, in four glorious shades of grey. It was so hard to take good quality pictures, and after snapping many a dud, I found that bright lighting was not my friend when using the camera. A bright sunny day would wash out images that would normally be caught perfectly on film. I began experimenting and shooting pics with all kinds of lighting. I found mornings, late afternoons, and cloudier days to be my favorite times to take pictures.

Game Boy Printer
Game Boy Printer

I carried my friends Game Boy Camera around with me everywhere back in the day. My biggest gripe was that the unit only held 30 pictures max. At the time, the only way to get them off of the camera was to buy the Game Boy printer, which didn't do the digital images any favors during the thermal transfer.

Game Boy Camera street picture

Nowadays there are many hacks you can perform to retrieve your images off of the Game Boy. I am currently working on a way to do this, but for now am simply using my phone to grab images I'm particularly fond or proud of.  

I also hear you can use the Game Boy Camera as a webcam, making for some way cool looking streams and webcasting. This prospect excites me to no end, and I plan on trying this out. I'll keep you posted if I can pull this off with suitable results. I'll also be sharing photos I take around the Orlando area and in my travels.