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Game Boy Color

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Game Boy Color (also referred to as GBC) is Nintendo's successor to the Game Boy and was released on October 21, 1998 in Japan and in November of 1998 in the United States. It features a color screen and is slightly thicker and taller than the Game Boy Pocket, but smaller than the original Game Boy.


The Game Boy Color was a response to pressure from game developers for a new system, as they felt that the Game Boy, even in its latest incarnation, the Game Boy Pocket, was insufficient. The resultant product was backward compatible, a first for a handheld console system, and leveraged the large library of games and great installed base of the predecessor system. This became a major feature of the Game Boy line, since it allowed each new launch to begin with a significantly larger library than any of its competitors.


The processor, which is a Zilog Z80 workalike made by Sharp, has a clock speed twice as fast as that of the original Game Boy. The Game Boy Color also has three times as much memory as the original. The main difference between the Z80-like part found in Nintendo's machines and the actual Z80 is that Nintendo's machines do not have index registers.

The Game Boy Color also featured an infrared communications port for wireless linking. However, the feature was only supported in a few games, and the infrared port was dropped for the Game Boy Advance and later releases. The console was capable of showing up to 56 different colors simultaneously on screen from its palette of 32,768, and could add basic four-color shading to games that had been developed for the original Game Boy. It could also give the sprites and backgrounds separate colors, for a total of more than four colors. This, however, resulted in graphic artifacts in certain games; a sprite that was supposed to meld into the background was now colored separately, exposing the trick.

  • One such trick occurred in Pokémon Red and Blue. Players were supposed to navigate through Koga's gym by feeling around invisible walls and encountering rival trainers in the gym. On the Game Boy Color and Super Game Boy, these walls could be seen clearly as dots.
  • In Super Mario Land, there are many hidden sprites (and thusly exposed enemies/opportunities) exposed by using a multicolored palette. These and other "spoilers" can be avoided by using the monochromatic color palette as described below.


Game Boy Color games came in a clear plastic cartridge with a raised bump. Nintendo also made black cartridges that were compatible with the Game Boy Color, the older Super Game Boy and the original Game Boy. The black color distinguished these special cartridges from the grey Game Boy carts and the transparent Game Boy Color carts. The black cartridges had notches in the corner like old Game Boy cartridges, allowing an original Game Boy to be turned on when they were inserted, while the Game Boy Color cartridges did not. Special Game Boy Color palettes were built into the black carts, making it impossible to change their palette.

Color palette

When playing an original Game Boy game on a later system, the user can choose which color palette is used. This is achieved by pressing certain button combinations while the Game Boy logo is displayed on the screen. It is also possible to use a monochromatic color scheme that preserves the original look of the game.

The palettes available for use when an original Game Boy game is played on a later Game Boy system are as follows:

  • Up: Brown
  • Up + A: Red
  • Up + B: Dark Brown
  • Down: Pastel Mix
  • Down + A: Orange
  • Down + B: Yellow
  • Left: Blue
  • Left + A: Dark Blue
  • Left + B: Monochrome (Original Colors)
  • Right: Green
  • Right + A: Dark Green (Default Palette)
  • Right + B: Inverted Monochrome

In addition, most Game Boy games published by Nintendo have a special palette that is enabled when no buttons are pressed. Any game that does not have a special palette will default to the Dark Green (Right + A) palette instead.



  • The Game Boy Color's screen is smaller than those of all other Game Boys, with the exception of the Micro.
  • The Game Boy Color had the shortest lifespan out of all the Game Boy's.
  • The Game Boy Horror used in Luigi's Mansion is modeled after the transparent Game Boy Color.
  • The last Game Boy Color games released were Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (November 2002) in the United States and Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite (January 2003) in Europe.
  • The last Game Boy Color game released in the United States that was also compatible with the Game Boy and Super Game Boy was Dragon Warrior Monsters 2 (September 2001).
  • The last Game Boy Color game released in Japan that was also compatible with the Game Boy and Super Game Boy was From TV Animation - One Piece: Maboroshi no Grand Line Boukenhen! (June 2002). This gave the original Game Boy (1989-2002) one of the longest continuous lifespans of any console, only bested by the Atari 2600 (1977-1992), the Famicom (1983-2003 in Japan), and the Neo-Geo (1990-2004).
  • The word Color in the title is spelled the same way in all territories; there is no Game Boy Colour.
  • The colors of the letters of the "COLOR" logo are the five standard colors of the Game Boy Color. There are various others as well, including translucent models and at least two Pokémon-themed models. One of these is yellow and blue and features various Pokémon and a Poké Ball, the other shifts between gold and silver, and features a Pichu and Pikachu, the latter with its cheek as the power light.
  • The original Game Boy took four AA batteries, while the Game Boy Color took only two. The Game Boy Pocket required two AAA batteries.

See also

  • List of Game Boy Color games
  • List of Player's Choice games
  • Game Boy Advance
  • Game Boy
  • Game Boy Printer
  • Zilog Z80


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