The Camera M project from Chris Graves is a clever modification of a Game Boy Pocket, turning it into what looks like a classic rangefinder film camera.
Yes, the black camera in the above photo is a Game Boy and Game Boy Camera crafted into a stunning new… device… console…. work of art?
I believe that’s an appropriate label.
And it took a lot of incredible work from Chris to make all of this happen. All driven by their lifelong love of the Game Boy.
So let’s take a look at how the Camera M project all got started, and where it is headed.
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Who Is Chris Graves?
Chris Graves is a non-binary Game Boy enthusiast from Iowa in the United States.
Their love for the Game Boy goes back to the impressionable age of 8 when they received an original DMG Game Boy for Christmas.
When the Game Boy Camera and Printer were released, Chris rushed to purchase them at their local game store on launch day.
And the rest is history, as they say.
Like a lot of us, Chris is now entirely obsessed with the Game Boy with a particular focus on the Game Boy Camera.
Chris also mentioned that they have a love of notebooks, stationary and pens. And noted how that might be contradictory to their love of tech.
But to me, that makes a lot of sense…
Game Boys, cameras, and stationary are all little reminders and ways to record memories of our journey through this life.
It doesn’t matter if we are collecting those memories on paper or some digital format.
I might be stretching (and certainly projecting), but that makes a lot of sense to me as a fellow collector, photographer and memory saver.
Game Boy Camera M Details
Chris said that concepts for a “Game Boy Camera Camera” had been running around in their head for years.
And they spent a few years in the Game Boy modding community tinkering with consoles before they felt like their technical skills were at a point to fulfill some of the imaginative concepts they had.
And of course, there is no shortage of technical mastery happening here in the Camera M project.
To make the Camera M come to life, it took Chris a ton of time to dissect a broken Game Boy Pocket and create the many custom pieces necessary to convert it to a horizontal camera-like form factor.
Modifications and Custom Pieces
Five custom circuit boards were made to relocate many of the existing Game Boy components and buttons:
A controller/power board, custom power switch board, top A-button board, link port board, and contrast wheel board.
The original Game Boy’s A-button is now located on the top where a normal camera’s shutter release would be.
And Game Boy Advance SP “clicky” tactile buttons were used for the other buttons to allow for a smaller overall size inside the new shell.
It’s also got a backlit IPS screen, a Lipo battery, and USB-C recharge. So pretty much… Chris thought of everything.
The final result is a Frankenstein’d Game Boy Pocket in the form of what would appear to the common eye as just a regular old film camera.
Where it starts to get even more tricky is in the custom Game Boy camera that features a CS/C lens mount inspired by Leica rangefinder cameras.
This custom rangefinder Game Boy Camera is one of the my favorite pieces to the whole puzzle.
The front facing game cartridge slot can accommodate unmodified Game Boy Cameras as well. Oh… and games!
Still A Game Boy
And let’s not forget… this is still a functioning Game Boy.
All of the original Game Boy buttons are still there, and you can actually still play games on this if you wanted.
It’s got me wondering which games could with well with that button configuration.
Even More Coming
Chris is not finished with their journey in the Game Boy modding world.
They indicated that a Camera M 2.0 is already in the works.
And If you take a look at their website, Gameboycamera.com (wow, what an awesome URL snag!), there’s even more incredible projects.
I’m happy to give our readers a closer look at the work of Chris Graves, and you will most definitely be seeing more from them in the future!
And thank you to Chris for being so open to discussing their history, projects, and for contributing so much to the Game Boy modding scene.
Happy to share this niche community with awesome people like you!
Are you into the Game Boy Camera? We also showed off Chris’ work in our article about the Game Boy Video Camera.
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Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.