Did You Know The Game Boy Advance Could Make Video Calls Back In 2004?

Back in 2004, the idea of making a video call with your mobile phone felt like the future. 3G was just taking off and several phones were sold on this feature alone – even though the image quality was often terrible and it was impossible to get a signal strong enough to use it often. Although it wouldn’t be until much later than ‘Face Time’ calls became the norm, one company tried to make video calling on the GBA a reality in 2004 – with mixed results.

Japanese firm Digital Act released the Campho Advance in 2004, a bolt-on camera that allowed you to make video calls using your Nintendo handheld. With a 1.1 megapixel camera and 5fps performance, it wasn’t exactly a smooth experience – and that’s before you factor in that you have to be connected to a power supply and telephone while using it. Hardly what you’d call elegant. And the price? 19,000 yen was, back in 2004, the equivalent of around £164 / $222, so it wasn’t cheap, either.

Only 10,000 units were ever made available in Japan and it seems the Campho Advance pretty much sank without trace. However, The Retro Future has managed to find a brand-new one and has spent some time getting to grips with it. Obviously, there’s no scope to use it for a phone call – you’d need a second Campho Advance to do that – but it’s interesting nonetheless to see this thing in the flesh.

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