Tourist uses video game relic to capture Halifax in pixelated perfection | Arts & Culture | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST
Programmer David Bosc captures cities across the country with his Game Boy Camera. He shot several landmarks in and around Halifax, including the lighthouse in Peggy's Cove, left, and the Halifax Citadel.

Tourist uses video game relic to capture Halifax in pixelated perfection

David Bosc photographs the city through the lens of a Game Boy Camera

A Winnipeg-based artist has captured Halifax in a whole new light—all thanks to a toy from 1998.

David Bosc, also known as pegcitypixels on Instagram, recently uploaded several photos onto social media of his most recent trip to Halifax, including shots of the nearby Peggy’s Cove lighthouse, the Halifax Citadel, and even a view of the waterfront, though it may be difficult to tell at first glance.

Bosc shoots all of his photographs with a Game Boy Camera, an accessory for the Game Boy line of portable game systems that would allow users to take pixelated, four-tone greyscale images to then be printed off using its companion accessory, the Game Boy Printer.

click to enlarge Tourist uses video game relic to capture Halifax in pixelated perfection
David Bosc / Instagram
The waterfront in Halifax shot with a Game Boy Camera, an attachment that allowed users to take greyscale photos with their portable video game system in the late 1990s.

Released in North America on June 1, 1998, the camera slotted into the Game Boy like any other cartridge with the camera itself attached to the top on a 180-degree swivel. The device could be used for a handful of games, but for most, it was simply a quirky piece of tech that swiftly went out of style, with its manufacturing ending in late 2002.

Bosc’s introduction to the camera wasn’t through childhood—rather, he bought it to continue a long-standing tradition with his brother during the pandemic.

“Every year for Christmas, I would get him a picture of me as a self-indulgent joke,” said Bosc in an interview with The Coast. “One year, during COVID, it was a little trickier to get something unique since I usually do them in an extravagant location. I figured I’d go on eBay, buy a Game Boy Camera, and take a selfie and give it to him that way.”

Using a Game Boy card reader, Bosc was able to extract the game data and use third-party conversion software to view the image on his computer.

Seeing the world in tones of grey

A programmer by trade, Bosc admits he was never much of an artist; however, the level of artistry he’s brought to the defunct accessory is rarely seen (although Neil Young beat him to the punch with the album cover of his 2000 record Silver & Gold, also taken on a Game Boy Camera).

Bosc’s photo of the Citadel, presented in glorious 128x128, is a shining example of his work. Using only four tones, black and white make up the dark entranceway and brightly lit sky respectively. Two grey tones define the stone brick architecture.

It also gives Bosc a reason to visit these landmarks, as he makes clear in his Instagram posts.

“Spent an entire day at the @halifaxcitadel, and here are the shots I took,” he wrote on May 9. “Was such a rich experience with the tour and history, and it always helps when the facility itself is part of the exhibit. So glad I took an extra day in Halifax just to check this out.”

Bosc said he intended to travel after graduating, but COVID prevented him from doing so. Instead, he took his camera out and about in Winnipeg, showing his colleagues photos of the places he would go.

One of those colleagues encouraged him to do more, and so he did. Once the borders reopened in 2021, he got to traveling with his Game Boy.

Out of his photos from Halifax, Bosc says his favourite is of the ‘Origin’ statue outside of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

“That was such a unique thing, and I thought it turned out super cool because it was a completely matte-black object, but like, the way the light hit it, and how the Game Boy Camera only has such a limited colour palette, it just turned out super cool. It stuck out to me as, like, the most interesting thing I’ve taken a picture of in a long time.”

Halifax was not Bosc’s first stop on his photography adventure in Canada. He already has photos from across the country — Signal Hill in St. John’s, Granville Island in Vancouver, and the Walterdale Bridge in Edmonton, just to name a few.

Also of note, his camera and Game Boy are completely unmodded. It’s typical for modern users of retro consoles to replace their old screens with LED varieties that don’t need an external light source; however, Bosc does all of his photography on his childhood Game Boy.

click to enlarge Tourist uses video game relic to capture Halifax in pixelated perfection
David Bosc / Instagram
Bosc opts to use his childhood Game Boy Colour without any modifications to shoot with his Game Boy Camera.

“I do a lot of leaning. If my back is in the sun, I can’t see anything,” he said of previewing the photos. “It harbours back to being a kid when you’re told to go play outside but you bring your Game Boy and just play your Game Boy outside instead.”

With Halifax photographed, Bosc is on to another adventure with “Next up, Fredericton,” written at the end of his latest Instagram post.

Bosc’s art can be found on Instagram at @pegcitypixels.

Brendyn Creamer

Brendyn is a reporter for The Coast covering news, arts and entertainment throughout Halifax. He was formerly the lead editor of the Truro News and The News (New Glasgow) weekly publications. Hailing from Norris Arm North, a small community in central Newfoundland, his aversion to the outside world has led him...
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