The old video game hardware lying around in our collective basements is proving to be more useful today than anyone could have expected.
Case in point, this guy who rigged a Game Boy Camera to function as a webcam for Zoom calls.
The engineer, @bernardcapulong, described his approach as “the nerdiest way imaginable,” but it's really a thing of beauty.
In case you have one of these old devices sitting in a drawer somewhere and want to hook it up to your computer for a crystal 8-bit pixel display, here's everything you need to turn your Game Boy Camera into a webcam.
Theoretically, there are multiple ways to tackle this issue. This method plugs the Game Boy Camera into an SNES console through the Super Game Boy adapter.
The Super Game Boy was a Super Nintendo add-on that let users play Game Boy games on their TV via the SNES. It also added color to those grayscale games.
The Super Game Boy 2 adapter seen in the video was the superior second version of this add-on, but it was only available in Japan, so a regular Super Game Boy will work just fine.
Depending on where you look, you can find a Game Boy Camera for around $10, a refurbished Game Boy for $70, and a Super Game Boy for $20.
Super NT Console
Using an original SNES for this entire process might cause issues with the video quality.
Your best bet is instead to get a Super NT by Analogue, which offers more power than the old systems and, most importantly, a convenient HDMI output so you can hook it directly into a monitor.
Unfortunately, the Super NT will cost $190.
After hooking up the Game Boy Camera to the Super NT, you then need to run the signal through a capture card (a boxy device used for capturing video game streams and feeding them into computers).
You can use an HDMI cable to plug the Super NT into the capture card, then a USB-C cable to plug the capture card into your computer.
These you can buy either cheap or super expensive. This mid-range capture card costs $75.
External Mic and Light
Because the Game Boy Camera doesn't have any audio inputs, you need to connect a microphone to your computer, and it's not a bad idea to have some lights on hand to help with the camera's poor quality.
Go as big or small with the lighting and sound budget as you want.
Luckily, the Super NT's controller lets you wirelessly adjust the brightness and contrast of the Game Boy Camera, so that's kind of fun.
Once you have everything hooked up, just open Zoom and choose the Game Boy Camera input as your webcam.
Then get ready to explain to everyone why you would spend so much time and money building a webcam system that works only slightly better than a pile of rocks.