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Your Move: Remember The Game Boy Camera?

Sam McConnell

I’ve always been attracted to photography. My first camera was a little 110 film camera that added a Ninja Turtle to the corner of every photo. The problem with that was that, for a kid, film and developing were expensive and slow.

In 1998, Nintendo released a digital camera I could afford - the Game Boy camera. It was a cartridge for Game Boy that had a little round camera pod attached to the top. This camera could turn around 180 degrees, so you could take photos of things in front of you, or take some of the world’s first digital selfies.

The camera’s resolution is 128 by 128 pixels, a tiny fraction of a megapixel. And forget about color - the camera sees with the same palette as the Game Boy. That’s black, white, and two shades of gray. But the Game Boy camera was the most affordable entry into digital photography at the time, and at that point was the smallest digital camera in the world.

There’s no easy way to hook the camera up to a computer to get the pictures - instead, you could buy a small printer for the Game Boy that would print little postage stamp-sized pictures to share with your friends. You could also use your photos to play a few different games built-in to the cartridge, making your face into the boss of a shooting game.

By now, several people have developed interface boards to transfer images from the camera to computers, and one person has even designed a mount so you can use professional Canon lenses with the camera. The Game Boy Camera was the introduction to digital photography for a generation of kids, and even today a lot of those people share a fondness for those grainy, monochrome images.

Samuel McConnell is a games enthusiast who has been playing games in one form or another since 1991. He was born in northern Maine but quickly transplanted to Wichita.