The Only Way to See This Art Exhibit Is on a Game Boy ROM

The virtual gallery space showcases artists who use the decades-old Game Boy Camera—and yes, it runs on the original Game Boy.
Janus Rose
New York, US
Game Boy Camera Gallery
Screenshot courtesy of Cat Graffam; Image by Zoe F. Wolfe

While crypto hustlers continue to shill NFTs as the future of the art world, some artists are creating digital art by going backwards to the dawn of handheld console gaming.

The Game Boy Camera Gallery is exactly what it sounds like: a virtual gallery exhibit that showcases photos taken with the decades-old Game Boy Camera.


The virtual gallery was created and curated by Cat Graffam, an artist and professor based in Portland, Maine, who said they were inspired by artists like Zoe Wolfe who still use the ancient hardware.

“The Game Boy Camera has an iconic aesthetic that is unmatched by any other camera from the time and actually has some incredibly powerful features built into it, but hasn't really been viewed as a legitimate art making tool,” Graffam told Motherboard. “All of the pieces were curated from submissions to the game on the amazing Game Boy Camera Club discord, which is full of amazing pioneers of the crazy mods and tools for the Game Boy Camera.”

Game Boy Camera Gallery

Screenshot courtesy of Cat Graffam

Released in 1998, the Game Boy Camera was a first-of-its-kind hardware attachment that let users take pixelated photos on the Game Boy’s monochrome display. Decades later, the tool has undergone a small resurgence, with artists using it to make zines and other projects that work within the hardware’s limitations. 

Some have even created tools that make the platform more accessible. Graffam’s gallery game was created using GB Studio, a software suite that makes it easier to develop for the Game Boy. “I taught myself the basics in 2 weeks after not even knowing what a sprite sheet or an asset was,” they said.

While a demo of the Game Boy Camera Gallery is available to play in web browsers, Graffam is accepting name-your-price donations for access to the game’s ROM, which can be run on Game Boy emulators. In the coming months, they are also planning to offer the “authentic experience” by releasing the gallery on a physical Game Boy cartridge, which will work with the original Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance. 

Graffam also hopes to curate more virtual galleries featuring creators who work with the ancient hardware, making the exhibit an annual event.

“It is an extremely dedicated community with amazing folks from around the world all with a passion for the same niche peripheral from 24 years ago,” they said.