The Game Boy Camera was one of the more interesting accessories designed by Nintendo for their handheld consoles. It let gamers snap small, grainy, grayscale photos with their Game Boys, though those were of limited use. But it was one of the first digital cameras to sell in significant numbers on the consumer market and it even had a 180° swiveling camera lens to facilitate selfies — a type of photo that hadn't even been named yet. However, an original Game Boy Camera is pretty bulky, which is why Christopher Graves built this Game Boy Mini Camera.
From the user's perspective, the Game Boy Mini Camera works just like the original Game Boy Camera. It slides in like any other cartridge and launches the interface like a game, giving the user access to very rudimentary controls. But the Game Boy Mini Camera is much sleeker — essentially the same size as a standard cart, but with a small hump for the lens. That does eliminate the swiveling lens and therefore makes selfies more difficult to capture, but the package is very attractive. It will fit with other cartridges in conventional storage cases, making it far more portable than the original.
Under the hood, this borrows a lot from HDR's Gameboy Camera Flashcart design, which is a custom cartridge PCB that puts the camera interface ROM into flash storage. Graves reworked that to create a new PCB that combines a flash cart with an original Game Boy Camera mapper chip and image sensor. To keep the package slim, Graves used a lens and lens cover from an iPhone XR. The new board designed by Graves fits into a standard cartridge enclosure, but this one is a custom job to integrate the camera lens. It also has a custom label that looks nice and professional.
From a photography standpoint, this has very little appeal — the photo quality borders on unusable. But for those with an interest in Game Boy modding, the Game Boy Mini Camera is quite alluring. It doesn't seem that Graves has shared the design files yet, but that might change in the future.