On the Game Boy’s (Belated) 25th Birthday, Let’s Celebrate the Craptacular Game Boy Camera

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chris-littlechild - August 6, 2014

Last week, the illustrious and chunky-ass Game Boy turned 25. That's a quarter of a century of handheld gaming dominance, right there. In that time, we've seen touchscreens, microphones, and some rather sexy default color schemes (purple? Why the eff not?). We've also seen competitors, ranging from the eight-seconds-of-battery-life Sega Game Gear to Sony's rather spangly PSP and Vita.

Some manage to compete relatively well. Others hardly got a sniff of the handheld success pie. The Vita, as great as it is, is one of the latter. It's a little like one of portly Brit monarch Henry VIII's servants, sucking on a chicken bone the fat bastard discarded on the floor. Which isn't, y'know, ideal.

Yep, the 3DS's early days were pretty damn rocky, but that's another story.

Bonus fact-tacular: Ageing rock-dude Neil Young had his daughter shoot the album art for 'Silver & Gold' with a Game Boy Camera. Yep, that's a thing that happened.

Anywho, yes, Nintendo have an iron fist firmly clamped around the gonads of the portable market. Not to mention the horrendous-plastic-shit-from-the-depths-of-the-Devil's-ass-we-can-attach-to-our-portables market. Weird light up things, enormous battery packs that weigh as much as the average apartment building, clip-on covers like Nokia phones used to have... all of these could be yours.

But today, brace yourself for a look back at the mother of Game Boy-branded shite. Hold on to your butts, it's the Game Boy Camera.

Look at the damn thing. You're probably thinking, Isn't that what came out of Cartman's ass in that old South Park episode about the visitors? No, no it isn't. excuse the creepy eye-lens, this is just what digital cameras looked like in 1998.

Yep, this peripheral was designed for those of us who knew there was only one thing missing from the console: the capacity to take tiny, woefully piss-poor monochrome photos and print them on weird sticker paper an inch square. Whoever those mad, mad bastards were.

This big ol' chunky mofo (once in the Guinness Book of Records as ‘smallest digital camera in the world'; doesn't technology make you want to foul your undercrackers?) protruded horribly from the cartridge slot. It could be swiveled about to photograph yourself, a decade before selfies were a thing.

Man, this thing was weird.

It had software that allowed you to place amusing stickers (pig snouts and silly mouths and such) over your pictures. It had laughably rudimentary games. It also had what appears to be Shigeru Miyamoto dicking around, aping Game and Watch classic Ball. It had everything.

If by everything you mean pure, unadulterated sucktastic. Sure, this is the kind of futuristic weirdery Nintendo are known for. That Game Boy Printer compatibility? That was amazing stuff that blew the balls off of our childhoods, right there. It was a funky little toy, full of funny touches and easter eggs, but it's aged worse than that yoghurt we found in the back of the office fridge. The hairy one with the 1989 expiration date.

In short, this is quite the blast from the past, and it's best for everyone that it remains there. Still, how often do you get to superimpose your face on a pair of creepy stumpy legs and mash the button to try and outrace a mole? Not very often. Thanks, Game Boy Camera.

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