Capturing new friends with the Game Boy Camera

Reader submission by Alain Elliott

I never really enjoyed school. It came as a surprise to me as an adult when I discovered that some people actually did but this was not my experience. You wouldn’t think video games could save that experience but my Game Boy Colour got me through my free periods in sixth form time and time again. Sure, I should have been spending the time actually doing school work or revising for exams but they’d be plenty of time for that, video games were much more important.

The Game Boy Colour was great because I could play my old Game Boy games even if I couldn’t afford too many new colour games. But I did splash out on the Game Boy Camera and printer! Using the camera now, in 2022, it’s hard to wonder why it was so popular. You can barely recognise the person in the photo. This is not high definition. Before the age of digital cameras or anything even like them, when it comes to instant photos (no-one owned a Polaroid camera that I knew), the Game Boy Camera was very exciting. At least to me and my friends anyway. 


Well, I say my friends but it was even more popular with people I kind of knew but didn’t call friends. Anybody that knows me will not be surprised to know that when these people – ones I had one or two classes with – asked if they could borrow the camera one lunch time, I said it was fine. I was the type of anxious kid that couldn’t say no to them! Initially I was worried that I had made a really bad decision and would never get the Game Boy or camera back. But on the first day I had lent it out, just before lunchtime had finished they did indeed bring it back. The same thing happened the next day and the next and the next. In fact it continued for a good few weeks and extended to not just lunch time but various free periods as well.

The other students could not get enough of the Game Boy Camera and looking back I’m still not entirely sure why (although I did get a photo of someone’s naked rear end on one of the days so there was some comedy element to it). This meant that I was getting less and less time actually playing games and I was very unsure how to change that. Too nervous to tell them I wanted to actually play on my own Game Boy, I opted to just not bring it in. After a few days my new friends realised they would have to buy their own and I don’t think they ever did. Obviously, I used the lack of a video game console to actually do some school  work… well not exactly. I just bought in video game magazines to read, no-one wanted to borrow them.