Tribute to my Gameboy Camera

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Rewind to my childhood, somewhere around 1998 when I was about 12 years old. I had become a huge fan of Nintendo’s Gameboy system, one of my first real video game experiences. For this little handheld videogame system Nintendo released a most interesting accessory: a black & white (four shades of grey) 0.1 megapixel camera capable of storing 30 photos. This was my very first digital camera.

What did the photos look like? Well, I still have the thing! Through a complex series of steps and peripherals, you could get the thing to “print” to a parallel port on a computer and saved as an image, just like this one:

As a 12 year old, I got a very creative idea. How would I be able to take a colour photo from a black and white camera? Hmm. I remember around this age getting really close to a TV to try and figure out how it worked. Dad told me that each bit of colour was made up of red, blue, and green of different intensities, which sparked the whole idea. I also had tons of fun playing with those “3D” pages in certain magazines that required you to use the glasses with one blue lens and one red lens, isolating colours for each eye and producing an image with perceived depth. Blue things showed up black through the red lens, and red things showed up black through the blue lens!
So then, what would happen if I put a filter over the lens of the camera, one red, one blue, and one green to try and make a colour image?

I couldn’t figure out how. I got the three images, but I had no idea how to merge them into one image. It wasn’t until a number of years later that I fully understood image editing on computers and learned how to edit individual colour channels of an image. So, simply using each “filtered” image as a specific red, blue, and green colour channel produces…

Neat, eh? So that’s how you take a colour photograph with a camera that isn’t capable of it. Even though the original images were only four shades of grey, when combined they can produce a wide variety of colours. Once I figured out how to do it, I had some fun and tried a few others. Check them out!


  1. S.Schmidt
    February 1st, 2009 | 5:28 am

    on my way through the Net searching for who I can transfer GB Pics. to my PC I found this Site, cool. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    So I build a cabel -gblink 2 parallel- but I could not manage to transfer the pics wich the software I found online.
    Because the softwares are old and only works on win 98 or dos.
    So I emulated them but it also dont work. ๐Ÿ™
    Can you help me?
    Or do I have to build a win98 machine to transfer my pics?

    MfG.: Sebastian Schmidt

    PS.: Sorry for my maybe chuncky english, Iยดam from Germany. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. johney
    March 2nd, 2012 | 6:59 am

    by shooting 3 b&w pictures with 3 different color filters on the gameboycamera lens and then edit & combine those picture in the right colors proves that it is possible to get color out of a b&w image.
    i was alway’s believing that b&w can be converted into full color since b&w camera,s probabely captures from each color the grayscale values,so it should be theoritically possible to convert those grayscales into full color,as was intended by mothernature.
    however those colors should be first mapped into grayscales and put into a database,so once the computer find a match from whatever b&w recording,it should be apply the right color to it.
    this should be theoritically also possible for any sophia and even nightvision recordings once they mapped all those colors into different sophia colors and nightvision monochrome values and put into a database,to save time of guessingly colorizing it manualy.
    but as far as i know no one seems to ever had attempt this yet.
    i ,m amezed that even 4 grayscales are enough to do such amezing things!!!

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