Retrospecs Review (iPhone App)

Retrospecs App Review

As I was playing my Game Boy the other day, I thought about purchasing a Game Boy Camera. I never had one when they originally came out as I was just a kid, and spent what ever money I had on games. It was one of those non-essential items of interest like the Nintendo Power Glove or  R. O. B., which over time with increasing levels of nostalgia, has seemingly become… essential!

I spent some time on eBay and the prices were reasonable. The only doubts I had in my mind were: “how do I replace the ink and paper from the printer?” and “Surely there’s not any refills nowadays?”. I’m probably wrong, and with a little bit of research I could find the answer, but the thing is I recently made a wonderful discovery; Namely, the Retrospecs App for the iPhone!

This App is similar to Instagram in a way, as you can take a photo and apply a number of filters to it. Retrospecs has chosen to go for a retro pixel/computer/console niche and has filters such as the BBC Micro, Sinclair ZX, Commodore 64, Colecovision, IBM EGA, and… the Game Boy Camera! (In the words of Monty Python; “…There Was Much Rejoicing“).

Retrospecs Gameboy Camera

Retrospecs is easy to use, quick, responsive, and most importantly; fun! Once you’ve taken your picture or selected one from your library, you can choose a filter and then apply a few adjustments like dither, vibrancy and contrast, to tweak the final result.

For those of you who have a passion for pixel art and old technology, this will definitely scratch that nostalgic itch. Making beautiful pixellated photos with challenging technology restrictions (filters) is really enjoyable. Early 90’s and 80’s enthusiasts will definitely get a kick from this.

Retrospecs Example Filters

In the future I’d like to see a couple more filters that cater to 8-bit and 16-bit graphics, and an option to take photos in a square view that easily shows how they would then work/look in instagram. For now, as an alternative to the Game Boy Printer hardware, I’d say this is a great and “essential” purchase. Retrospecs allows you to create the same art in a more convenient and digital way. I highly recommend it.

Retrospecs is available now on the App store for £0.99 / $0.99.
Version Reviewed: 1.3

Matt has been hooked on games since he received his first console (a SEGA Mega Drive) for his 7th birthday. He now spends most of his time on the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Nintendo 3DS, but will use any excuse for a retro gaming night.


Posted on July 16, 2014 | Last modified: 15th January 2015