The Basscam

To your left you will notice the brand new block: ‘Basscam’. With the right tools, and about ten minutes, you can have one too.

What do I need?

The Basscam is my webcam… kind of. It’s the end product of using some technology that I had laying around the house primarily gathering dust.

How can I get one?

To create your very own, you will need the following:

  • One Game Boy Camera
  • One Super NES
  • One Super Game Boy
  • One TV Tuner
  • One Webcam Software Package
  • One Windows-based Computer and
  • One Place to Put the Images

Finding the Game Boy Camera and the Super Game Boy may be your most difficult tasks. Neither piece of hardware was particularly rare, but I rarely see them in most second-hand stores. Even Super NES systems seem to be getting slightly more difficult to find in my area.

Your choice of TV Tuner doesn’t really matter, as long as there are drivers for your version of Windows. My TV Tuner is a Hauppage WinTV model of some sort it was inexpensive when I bought it several years ago and it works reasonably well.

For software, I originally went with Yawcam, which hadn’t seen a proper update in quite some time and refused to work properly. I ultimately decided on Fwink. Setup was fairly straightforward. It detected my video device right away. The important things to pay attention to here are the FTP settings and the Video Source settings. The FTP Settings should point to some public site that you have access to. Getting that set up is beyond the scope of this article, however. You should make sure your Video Source settings are correct, i.e. if you have your Super NES connected to your Video Composite, select Video Composite, if it’s connected to the F-connector, choose the proper channel… unless you plan on broadcasting your local television across the internet. You can also use the various settings to do all kinds of neat effects like cropping, adding a time stamp, capture quality, etc.

Stick your Game Boy Camera in your Super Game Boy, stick your Super Game Boy into your Super NES, and plug your Super NES into your TV Tuner. You’ll probably notice that I also used my Super Advantage as the controller. That’s for style. I’m sure a normal controller would work too… Probably. Once that’s done, you should be presented with the Game Boy Camera menu. From here you’ll want to press the “A” button to bypass the title screen, then go to Shoot -> Shoot. You’ll be presented with the viewfinder. Adjust the contrast and brightness (with the D-Pad) to your liking.

And there you have it! An easy, do-it-yourself retro webcam!