For those unfamiliar with the Analogue Pocket, it’s a handheld device that looks like a modern Game Boy. Well, it basically is a Game Boy. It includes custom computing hardware to play any official Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance cartridge. It also works with carts from other handheld gaming systems, like Game Gear and Neo Geo Pocket Color. For those with no interest in gaming, don’t worry, there’s a digital photography angle on the way.
Back in February 1998, Nintendo released the Game Boy Camera in Japan. It arrived in North America and Europe in June of that same year. The accessory slotted into your Game Boy like a cartridge and included a swiveling digital camera. By today’s standards, the camera is, well, archaic. Even by 1998 standards, it was a very low-resolution digital camera. The Game Boy Camera has a 128 x 128-pixel CMOS image sensor that produces 128 x 112 images in four shades of gray. That’s a whopping 14.34 kilopixels, or 0.001434 megapixels.
However, don’t let the paltry tech specs fool you, the Game Boy Camera achieved something very few digital cameras did before the advent of smartphone photography. It made digital photography exceedingly accessible. The Game Boy Camera launched for $90, which is about what a Game Boy itself cost at the time, but it put digital photography into the hands of many children and adults alike. In fact, it was the first camera that some members of the DPR staff called their own.
It’s not clear how many Game Boy Camera accessories were sold, but its legacy lives on to this day. Not only did the Game Boy Camera work with some pretty interesting games, it even worked with another accessory – Nintendo loves accessories – the Game Boy Printer. This device allowed you to print Game Boy Camera photos onto small strips of thermal paper that were about the size of a postage stamp. The backing was adhesive, so you can attach your photos to your possessions. The Game Boy Camera even allowed for digital frames and effects to be added to your photos. This may all seem so trivial now, but it wasn’t back then. For lack of a better word, the Game Boy Camera was cool.
It still is for some visual artists. You can use the Game Boy Camera as a fun, weird, low-quality webcam. You can use it to create abstract digital art. And now, thanks to the Analogue Pocket, it will be significantly easier to work with the Game Boy Camera.
|The Analogue Pocket is available in black and white and is priced at $219 for new orders|
The Analogue Pocket includes a microSD card slot. When Analogue OS version 1.1 is released, users will be able to save Game Boy Camera images to the microSD card for easy retrieval. A common issue when working with digital cameras from the 20th century is incompatibility with modern hardware – outdated ports, weird cables, etc. The Analogue Pocket will boil down using the Game Boy Camera and getting its digital photos to a simple, common microSD card. The Game Boy Camera is back. That is if it ever truly went away.