There are quite a few ways to get the images stored on a Game Boy Camera on your PC or Mac. Some methods are commercial ready-to-use, while others are do-it-yourself and may require soldering and/or knowledge of Arduino IDE. Most of the solutions behave as a Game Boy Printer emulator and require you to print the photos while some others require you to dump the cartridge RAM.
Commercial (ready-to-use) Solutions[edit | edit source]
BitBoy[edit | edit source]
The BitBoy was released in 2015. While it is not the cheapest solution, it is very easy-to-use. It connects to a Game Boy using a link cable and acts as a Game Boy Printer emulator. Images are stored onto an SD card. It can save many Game Boy Camera images in sequence using the batch print function. BitBoy can also save images from other games with Game Boy Printer support. It has an internal battery and charges over micro USB so it's easy to use on the go.
Game Boy Camera WiFi Printer[edit | edit source]
The WiFi Printer was released in 2019. Similar to the BitBoy it operates as a Game Boy Printer emulator and supports batch printing. It serves a minimal web interface which can be accessed by connecting to its WiFi hotspot. The web interface allows applying some color palette changes and downloading the images to your local device. This WiFi Printer is not battery powered and requires external power over micro USB to run.
Cartridge Readers[edit | edit source]
Cartridge readers are generic devices that allow dumping the contents of a cartridge RAM (.sav) or ROM (.gb). In the case of the Game Boy Camera, the RAM dump (.sav) contains all of the save information including the photo data. One benefit of using a cartridge reader is you may be able to retrieve photos that have been marked "deleted" via the Game Boy Camera while the data has not yet been overwritten. The dumped .sav file can be processed to retrieve photos with a variety of tools including, the Game Boy Printer Web App (see below). Some cartridge readers have a dedicated function to dump Game Boy Camera photos. Most cartridge reader software runs on a PC so these devices are not a portable solution. These devices can also be used to backup other save games from other Game Boy games, so it can be pretty useful.
Submodule GB-01 - Clean software UI. Dedicated Game Boy Camera photo exporting. ROM and RAM dumping, no writing function.
insideGadgets GBxCart - More technical than others. Open community with a variety of software tools that support it including one for dedicated Game Boy Camera photo exporting. ROM and RAM dumping, supports writing to most flash cartridges.
BennVenn Joey Jr. - Simple dumping, device shows up as USB storage device. Dedicated Game Boy Camera mode which displays photos as BMP on the USB storage device. ROM and RAM dumping, and flash cart writing support.
Altane - Dedicated Game Boy Camera exporting. ROM and RAM dumping, some support for flash cart writing. No software updates in a long time.
Do-It-Yourself (OpenSource) Solutions[edit | edit source]
Arduino Game Boy Printer Emulator (Brian Khuu)[edit | edit source]
This project has been around since 2017, and has seen a lot of great improvements since then including supporting prints from every printer compatible Game Boy game. It is based around the Arduino IDE and can run on most Arduino compatible microcontroller development boards (Arduino, ESP, Feather). This project works by wiring a Game Boy link cable to the microcontroller board. You then connect the board to your PC via USB and the link cable to the Game Boy and print normally. The microcontroller monitors the data from the Game Boy and sends it to the PC via serial. On the PC you can monitor the serial connection (with the Arduino IDE for example) and paste the output into a decoder web page that's part of the same project.
While this method is very cheap (a compatible dev board can be purchased for less than $10), it is not portable and requires quite a few steps.
WiFi GBP Emulator & Web App (Herr Zatacke)[edit | edit source]
Started in 2020 as way to use the Arduino printer emulator code on-the-go using a WiFi enabled ESP8266 (D1 mini) development board outputting the serial data onto simple web page. Since then, the project has evolved quite a lot and now is a two part project consisting of the ESP based WiFi GBP emulator (print mode) and a very feature rich web interface, GBP web app (web mode). You can add an optional OLED to display the current device mode and details for how to connect to the web app.
Although technically two separate projects, they are designed to work together and are both developed by Herr Zatacke. The GBP web app allows importing prints stored onto the ESP via Game Boy link as well as RAM dumps (.sav) and even previously saved raster images (.jpg, .png, .bmp, .gif). The app can also be used as a standalone hosted app without the need for an ESP WiFi Printer device. Once imported, photos can have their color palette or frame changed as well as be tagged and renamed. When it comes to exporting, the GBP web app allows exporting in a variety of formats and with a variety of options including scaling factor, cropping out the frame and making images square (for Instagram use). Most recently the app has added the capability to sync settings and data to GitHub and auto export images to Dropbox.
Depending on the ESP development board used, it may have an option for battery power or require USB power. There is plenty of opportunity to get creative and come up with a design that is battery powered and perhaps make your own enclosure for it, like in the photo shown here. A WiFi GBP D1 mini shield PCB design is freely available which has a built in Game Boy link port and is wired up for use with this project including pinouts for the optional OLED display. The shield board can be ordered from PCB vendors like OSH Park.
Other solutions[edit | edit source]
Using original hardware[edit | edit source]
For the purists among us, it is possible to download the photos to your PC with original hardware. The result isn't great, and it's a lot of work though.
For this method you can put the Game Boy Camera cartridge in a Super Game Boy and use a Super Nintendo and a video capture card to make snapshots.