25 years later the GameBoy Camera is back – but more refined

Gameboy Mini camera
(Image credit: @thegameboycamera)

Long before VR gaming and the Nintendo Switch, there was the humble Gameboy – a handheld, nonbacklit console with just four buttons and a directional pad. It was a phenomenon. Just under a decade after its release, Nintendo launched a pocket camera that enabled you to not only shoot greyscale photos – and print them if you also bought the Game Boy printer. Now, decades later, a diehard Gameboy fan has brought developed his own version, but this one looks like a Gameboy Mini cartridge.

This isn’t the first time a tech enthusiast has imagined up a camera. Last year someone who was after a Leica-M system created his own cheaper version – a Peica- using a Raspberry Pi and 3D printing, and the Gameboy has been targeted too – someone modded a Gameboy camera with a DSLR lens.

Christopher Graves, the creator behind the Game Boy Mini Camera made several distinct changes to the original model including adding an iPhone XR lens and making it much smaller.

• Check out the best cheap cameras – don't worry they'll all take much better photos than this Gameboy camera mod

The original Gameboy camera was fitted inside a round ball-shaped unit that sat on top of the console and had the ability to swivel through 180° – perfect for taking selfies, albeit very low res (arguably this makes the camera a bit of a first, as it predated the first phone with a selfie camera by a year). However, Graves had no desire to shoot selfies so removed this feature, opting for a smaller, more refined model to which he added custom retro-look branding.

As far as cameras go, it’s really not going to win any awards. It’s only capable of producing four-tone greyscale pictures, has a maximum resolution of 0.014 megapixels, and has one of the most basic sensor designs ever created. That being said, back in 1998 when it was first released, the idea of being able to take a photo with a gaming console was pretty far-fetched and the idea it could be integrated into certain games was even crazier. 

Unfortunately for anyone who wanted to invest in this latest Game Boy Mini Camera, it isn’t going to come to the mass market anytime soon. Graves' motivation was simply to find out if he could make a smaller, pocketable version and he did it with great success.

To find out if Graves recreates any throwbacks with a modern twist, you can follow him on Instagram, @thegameboycam. I can't imagine this will make a comeback like those crappy cameras from the past did all thanks to TikTok, but there is something nostalgic about viewing the world as black, white, and grey dots.

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.