Gameboy Printer – Retrospectively – is it any good?

The Gameboy Printer…the not so must have accessory for the original Gameboy. Though the printer was supported by a good few games, it wasnt really much more than a gadget.

But…the big question is, is it any good?

The printer’s main use is in conjunction with the Gameboy Camera

The camera was essentially a gameboy cartridge which had a small and very low res CMOS camera on it. For the time, I suppose it wasn’t bad at taking pictures, and probably pretty much pushed the small dot matrix of the gameboy about as far as you could. Sure, a Game Gear camera would’ve been a sight to behold. It might have been colour, even!

So, to give this printer a run for its money we need this setup:

On the left, I’ve chosen a Gameboy Color console, purely and simply because I couldn’t get enough batteries to hand for a brick DMG gameboy.

You also need the cable, pictured, which incidentally is the same as a 2 player link cable, the printer, some paper for the printer, and, *gulp* 8 batteries. Yes, 8. If you want to use a brick DMG-01 gameboy then you need a whopping 10 batteries. Bear in mind that rechargeables weren’t THAT common back then, or that high performance, so thats a lot of landfill for the sake of some printing fun!

Anyways, once we have our kit set up and powered up and connected, we have a simple “menu system”, which I find a little too simple to be honest. But, I suppose it predated the wave of digital cameras that we’re now used to, so I suppose it probably was complicated enough for the average user, back then. Let’s take a picture shall we!

Now, take my word for this, that picture looks a LOT better than it does in real life. It almost looks coloured, but it’s not. It’s monochrome. But, the camera cannot lie, so that is the picture as taken from the Gameboy Camera. It’s not that bad. As expected really.

*drumroll please* – here comes the printout. Printing is as simple as choosing the print menu from the “view” photos section of the camera. It takes about 30 seconds…

Yes, I know what you’re thinking here. I agree. It’s not particularly distinguishable. Not at all.

You think that’s bad? That was printed on brand new paper. Try it on old, broken paper:

Left: Good paper, right, bad paper.

So, once you put the disappointment aside, the printer IS pretty good at some things, more recognisable, higher contrast items. It’s also pretty good with faces, the most common use for the setup, I guess. Here’s something better:

And the bonus is, you can peel the back from the printout, and stick it to random objects.

Now, about that paper. It does come in a choice of three colours, which are quite different when they print, because the “ink” is a different shade too. Those colours are blue, yellow and white. The paper is still available, and while you can use any thermal paper if you cut it down, the original paper is best, and still reasonably priced too (we actually sell it here, and guarantee it’s “good” paper and not *bad* paper)

Finally, If you want a better quality printout, there’s an answer: is a diagram of a cable you can make to connect your gameboy to a PC for printing instead of a gameboy thermal printer.

So, there you go. Answer to the question “is the gameboy printer any good?” is probably “yes, for the time, and it’s quirky and fun. But don’t expect too much”.

One Response to “Gameboy Printer – Retrospectively – is it any good?”

  • Eric Bailey says:

    Weird — I seem to recall my old Game Boy Printer printing a bit better than that. Is it possible that my memories are viewed through rose-colored glasses?!

    … yes, yes it is possible…

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