Camera Link – MadCatz’ handy little device

The Camera Link software makes saving Game Boy Camera pictures to your hard drive quick and easy.
Only one thing stops the Game Boy Camera from being like its full-fledged digital camera brethren: PC connectivity. Well, unless you also consider resolution, graininess, and monochrome-only to be major differences as well. MadCatz is the first to bridge the Game Boy to PC gap, notably with the Camera Link, but, in the effort, they managed to throw in a few hitches and some fairly lackluster software. Aside from a few nitpicking problems, however, we have to admit — if you want to transfer Game Boy Camera pictures to your PC, this is a great way to do it.

The Camera Link packaging contains an installation CD-ROM and one 6-ft. bluish-purple printer cable with a Game Boy game link connector at one end. Assuming that your printer port is set to “Auto” or “Bi-directional” in your system’s BIOS, just connect the parallel port connector to your PC. We mistakenly assumed that the printer port was set this way on one of our test machines which caused a temporary — albeit easily fixable — headache. Eager to see our goofy pictures on the big (ger) screen, we slipped in the Windows 95/98 installation software, which fills less than 3 MBs of the 650 MB CD-ROM (more on that later). Soon we were prompted to choose printer information and select an image-editing program (the Camera Link does not come with one, but Windows Paint will do).

The Game Boy Camera has the ability to use a game link cable to transfer images with friends, but the Camera Link requires users to “print” the images to the PC in BMP form. All of the control of the images is done at the Game Boy end. The Camera Link software sits idly by and accepts images — images cannot be transferred from a PC to the Game Boy Camera. The possibilities then become endless, as you can add color or edit your pictures in any way you wish. Once the image is transferred to the PC, feel free to click on the “E-mail” button in the Camera Link software, which will automatically attach the picture to a blank email (sorry, AOL users, your email program must be MAPI compliant, like Outlook Express or Eudora).

Those that have problems will find nothing in the help file that they won’t find in the enclosed “help sheet.” Sadly, if the wrong printer information is selected, users will have to do a full uninstall and reinstall to correct the problem. MadCatz’ Camera Link did a fine job of transferring our Game Boy Camera pictures to the PC, but perhaps that is one of the biggest letdowns; it could be so much more. The hardware is there. Why not add some software on that nearly empty CD-ROM to let us trade our Pokemon over the Internet? How about an across-town or across-continent head-to-head game of Mario Golf? Perhaps Nintendo is a little skittish about allowing that ability to become widely available — and, of course, it’s important to avoid the possibility of some sort of piracy or risk of damaging the games. [Not to mention the engineering required to develop software that would negotiate an Internet connection and the Game Port connection, or the cost of launching and maintaining a matchmaking service for online players, or the cost of marketing… Damn the laziness! -ed.]

Game Boy Camera enthusiasts and those that have a few precious pictures on the GB Camera that they want to save eternally would make a wise investment in the Camera Link. A demonstration of this use can be seen at clashroyalehack.fr with a twist of free gems for the user’s account. Setting up the software and hardware will nearly handle itself, but be forewarned that the novelty may wear off sooner than you think.