The Game Boy Camera, known as the Pocket Camera in Japan, was developed by Nintendo and released in 1998. It was one of the first affordable and widely available digital cameras. The photos it takes are very low quality, only 128 pixels wide by 122 pixels tall and are represented in only four grayscale colors. For reference, modern cell phone cameras take photos that are thousands of pixels wide and have millions of colors. The Game Boy Camera uses a process called 'dithering' to simulate more tones, which gives the photos their signature look. Additionally, within the interface of the camera, are tools to edit and transform the photos. Because the device requires a Game Boy to function, a large percentage of the initial users were children.
Another major limitation of the Game Boy Camera is that the device can only store 30 photos at a time. In the early 2010s I wanted to experiment with the Game Boy Camera and 30 photos at a time was simply not enough. I began to purchase more Game Boy Cameras online. However, when I received them I discovered that the previous owners had not deleted their photos. These photos were fascinating and hinted at unknowable stories. Who took these photos? Where and when did they take them? Why were these the 30 photos that they decided to save?
I wanted to see more of these photos and continued to buy more Game Boy Cameras online and at local gaming stores. My collection now has more than 70 Game Boy Cameras, and continues to grow. Even though the photos in this collection were never meant to be seen publicly, I wanted to show them to the world. The photos found in this project are all from this collection. The stories behind these Lo-Fi Memories are for you to consider.
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Stevie Boyar is an artist and musician who lives in Buffalo, NY. He is interested in the use of technology, both old and new, as part of the creative process. He has been a Nintendo fanboy for most of his life. Find out more about his work at stevenboyar.com.
This is picture of Stevie and his brother, Nathan, taken with a Game Boy Camera in the year 199X.