Imagine a world in 1998 where digital photography was just starting to take off. Cameras were expensive, and the average person couldn’t afford them. But then came the Game Boy Camera.
This $50 add-on for your GameBoy allowed you to take pictures, just like a regular camera. It was a revolutionary idea and quickly gained a following.
Fast forward 25 years and we have Christopher Graves, a longtime fan of the original Game Boy Camera, who decided to create his own version called the Game Boy Mini Camera.
His motivation was simple – a more compact and pocket-friendly design, without the bulky selfie mode of the original.
The original Game Boy Camera had a unique look with its ball-shaped camera unit sitting on top of the handheld console. It even had a built-in tilt feature for better viewing of the screen.
The camera could also rotate for selfies, making it ahead of its time as a selfie camera.
Custom label designed by me, printed by allythunderhill on Insta. Uses an iPhone XR lens array and glass cover. Sticks out about 1.5mm. pic.twitter.com/c2U7X3JCF8— @[email protected] (@thegameboycam) June 29, 2023
Now, the Game Boy Mini Camera has a much smaller shell, about the same size as a GameBoy cartridge. To achieve this sleek form factor, Graves integrated the original 0.1MP sensor into an all-in-one board, using flashable camera schematics by Martin Refseth.
He also added an iPhone XR lens array with a glass cover that protrudes just 1.5mm. The result is a compact design that is convenient to carry around.
Despite its small size, the Game Boy Mini Camera retains the same charm as its predecessor. It produces four-tone grayscale pictures with a resolution of 0.014 megapixels.
While the camera may seem basic compared to today’s standards, there’s something about the pixelated black-and-white images that still captivate photographers.
Yes, it works in the DMG – notch is hidden pic.twitter.com/WOhXmLQWZ3— @[email protected] (@thegameboycam) June 30, 2023
In the past, one challenge Game Boy Camera users faced was transferring their pictures to another device. Nintendo offered a portable printer that produced tiny prints on thermal paper, but finding one now is difficult and expensive.
Thankfully, there are workarounds available today. One option is to use a cartridge like the JoeyJr by BennVenn, along with OTG cables to connect the Game Boy Camera to a phone or tablet for image transfer.
Another option is a Wi-Fi printer that stores the images and allows access via a web server. Both solutions cost around $40 and may require additional cables.
Now, you might be wondering when and where you can get your hands on a Game Boy Mini Camera. Unfortunately, Graves created this as a personal project, so it won’t be available as a ready-made kit. However, he plans to share DIY files in the future.
If you’re up for a super-interesting DIY project, keep an eye out for Graves’ files. Until then, let’s admire the creativity and ingenuity behind this unique camera.