33 years later, there’s finally a capture card for recording Game Boy games
If you needed more proof that the 33-year-old Nintendo Game Boy still has a devoted fan base, Sebastian Staacks has created a simple plug-and-play device that allows gameplay from the handheld to be streamed to a computer via USB and recorded, without requiring any modifications to the console.
This isn’t the first time we’ve covered Staack’s prowess in making the Game Boy do things it’s never done before. Earlier this year, they created a custom cartridge that allowed the handheld to stream video wirelessly, which they demonstrated by showing Star Wars playing on the Game Boy’s ugly green and gray screen. It was followed up with a hack that turned the classic Nintendo handheld into a game streaming device capable of playing modern titles such as Grand Theft Auto V.
These hacks ultimately gave Staacks the idea for a device that Game Boy fans probably didn’t realize they needed. Although it wasn’t a feature at launch, there are now a few ways to capture Game Boy gameplay footage. The original console can be modified with a video output, or players can choose modern options, such as the Analogue Pocket, which can be connected to a capture card via HDMI. The easiest solution is to just play classic Game Boy titles through a software emulator that runs natively on a PC, but for competitive gamers or speed runners hoping to set official records, the original Game Boy hardware is a must.
The GB Interceptor is reminiscent of the Game Shark and Game Genie devices of the past, which interfaced between a console and a game cartridge to facilitate cheating or other game modifications. You insert the GB Interceptor into a Game Boy cartridge slot, insert a game cartridge into the GB Interceptor, and then connect it to a PC with a USB-C cable. The PC treats the signal from the GB Interceptor as a signal from a webcam, allowing Game Boy gameplay to be recorded or even streamed over the internet. Yes, that means you can use the Game Boy camera as a webcam for Zoom meetings, if you want.
For those unfamiliar with the inner workings of the Game Boy, there is no video information being sent between the game cart and the console for the GB Interceptor to… intercept. Instead, what it actually does is intercept game commands entered through the Game Boy controllers, then replicate them perfectly through a custom Game Boy emulator that Staacks created. So what is streamed over USB-C is a perfect real-time copy of what the player sees on the Game Boy’s native screen.
In its current form, the GB Interceptor has a couple of limitations. It only works with original Game Boy games, although the custom cartridge can be used on Game Boy Color or Game Boy Advance units – only with OG games. It also cannot reproduce a game’s audio, so it must be recorded separately using the Game Boy’s headphone jack. If that’s not a dealbreaker, Staacks has provided all the necessary code and source files to build your own on GitHub (plus a detailed build video shared on YouTube), but unfortunately doesn’t seem to have any plans to mass produce and sell these .