The Game Boy Camera is a fantastic low-res art tool

Last year, I found a retro Game Boy Camera and printer attachment. These products debuted in 1998, and I love to use them to take and print photos. The Game Boy Camera (GBC) plugs into the top of the handheld Game Boy console. The camera can shoot grayscale photos and has a feature to edit them. The lens has a 180° swivel range that allows users to take selfies or front-facing photos.

From Wikipedia: The GBC's cartridge contains minigames based on Nintendo's early games such as the arcade video game Space Fever and the Game & Watch handheld game Ball, and a chiptune music sequencer. Guinness recognized it as the world's smallest digital camera as of 1999, and photographers have embraced its technological limitations as artistic challenges. 

The Pocket Printer uses thermal technology to print out the photos (no ink required). They come out on what looks like a miniature roll of receipt paper. The printer uses six AA batteries and will fit 38 mm wide thermal paper. Originally, the thermal paper sold for the Pocket printer came with adhesive backing and could be purchased in red, white, yellow, or blue. For my printer, I just purchased a standard roll of thermal paper and cut it to size, which worked fine.

I've been addicted to these awesome gadgets ever since I discovered them, and I'm not alone. There's an active subculture that keeps this obscure tech alive. Here are some cool Instagram accounts that showcase photos taken and printed with the GBC and Pocket Printer: gameboycamerabrasil and thegameboycamera.

The grainy, low fi quality of the photos is a huge part of what attracts me to them.  If you'd like to take photos that resemble the ones created with the Game Boy Camera but don't want to buy the parts, there's a web-based Game Boy Camera that works on smartphones and web browsers. 

An extra bit of history about the camera: these creepy images of people's faces were pre-loaded on Nintendo cartridges.

You can find used Game Boy Cameras on eBay for around $30.