Gameboy Camera Becomes Camcorder

[Furrtek] is a person of odd pursuits, which mainly involve making old pieces of technology do strange things. That makes him a hero to us, and his latest project elevates this status: he built a device that turns the Nintendo Gameboy camera cartridge into a camcorder. His device replaces the Gameboy, capturing the images from the camera, displaying them on the screen and saving them to a micro SD card.

Before you throw out your cellphone or your 4K camcorder, bear in mind that the captured video is monochrome (with only 4 levels between white and black), at a resolution of 128 by 112 pixels and at about 14 frames per second. Sound is captured at 8192Hz, producing the same buzzy,  grainy sound that the Gameboy is famous for. Although it isn’t particularly practical, [Furrtek]s build is extremely impressive, built around an NXP LPC1343 ARM Cortex-M3 MCU processor. This processor repeatedly requests an image from the camera, receives the image and then collects the images and sound together to form the video and save it to the micro SD card. As always, [Furrtek] has made all of the source code and other files available for anyone who wants to try it out.

For those who aren’t familiar with his previous work, [Furrtek] has done things like making a Speak & Spell swear like a sailor, adding a VGA out to a Virtualboy, and hacking a Gameboy Color to control electronic shelf labels.

13 thoughts on “Gameboy Camera Becomes Camcorder

  1. Nice job. I still have a stash of these cameras waiting for the right project. This may be it.

    The camera itself had a limited number of gray levels, but I seem to remember the level coming out of the sensor is analog so it’s capable of many more. One of my first microcontroller projects was doing gray scale captures with one of those sensors removed from a Gameboy camera.

  2. If I remember correctly, while the original Gameboy Camera hardware only outputs dithering of 4 or 5 shades, the camera sensor and chip itself is capable of detecting and outputting far more shades, might be worth it to try to dig around for more levels.

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