Color palette (Generations I–II)

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Palette redirects here. For the town, see Pallet Town.
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The Generation I and II core series games can be played in color or in monochrome (including grayscale), depending on the game system.

All Generation I games and non-Korean Pokémon Gold and Silver can be played either in monochrome or in color. However, Pokémon Crystal and Korean Pokémon Gold and Silver can only be played in color.

Compatibility

Game Boy

Pokémon Red on the Game Boy (DMG-01 model)

The original Game Boy plays games in monochrome coloring (either in grayscale, or using a set of tones of the same color).

The Game Boy's color values are stored as 1 of 4 tones (2 bits), which are then used to display the entire game. The system also provides three palettes of tones. One tone palette is used by the tiled layers, and the other two tone palettes are used by all sprite objects. Each palette holds 4 entires of tones, where it is possible for each entry to be a unique tone, or the same tone (with 1 to 4 tones displayed at any given time).

While all four tones in the background palette are displayed on screen, only three tones from each sprite palette can be displayed at once, due to their 'index 0' being mapped to transparency.

  • This transparency is what allows sprites to properly display in front of (or behind) backgrounds.

The system provides for two tiled layers - a moveable background, and a static "window" that can be overlayed on top. Both layers use the same background tone palette.

The horizontal interrupt programming technique was used to change a tone palette dynamically, during the middle of the screen being drawn on a given frame.

  • This allowed the same background to display what appears to be more than one tone palette in use at the same time, which was more commonly used in the Generation II games.
  • This is the same programming technique responsible for the scrolling effects when trainer battles or wild encounters are begun.

Regardless of the tone palettes and their tone entires, only 4 colors could ever be present on the screen of a Game Boy at any given time.

  • The first Game Boy model (DMG-01) features these 4 monochromatic colors: light green, green, dark green, black.
  • The Game Boy Pocket (MGB-001) features these 4 monochromatic colors: white, light gray, dark gray, black.
  • The Japan-only Game Boy Light (MGB-101) features these 4 monochromatic colors: light cyan, cyan, dark cyan, black.
Game Boy monochrome palettes
Model Color 0 Color 1 Color 2 Color 3
DMG-01       
0xB8F878
23 31 15
      
0x80B050
16 22 10
      
0x486828
9 13 5
      
0x102000
2 4 0
MGB-001       
0xF8F8F8
31 31 31
      
0xA8A8A8
21 21 21
      
0x585858
11 11 11
      
0x080808
1 1 1
MGB-101       
0x08F8F8
1 31 31
      
0x08A8A8
1 21 21
      
0x085858
1 11 11
      
0x080808
1 1 1

Compatible games:

  • All Generation I core series games are compatible with Game Boy systems.
  • Except for Korean, all other languages of Pokémon Gold and Silver are also compatible with Game Boy systems, where they are run in a "monochrome" mode.

Incompatible games:

  • Pokémon Crystal and the Korean Pokémon Gold and Silver are unable to be played on Game Boy systems, where a monochrome message regarding their incompatibility is displayed on screen.

Super Game Boy and Super Game Boy 2

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System using the Super Game Boy or Super Game Boy 2 is capable of running original Game Boy games and Game Boy Color games compatible with the original Game Boy. The color palettes used contain 4 color values sourced from the SNES's 15-bit RGB color space (2 bytes long, little-endian format). However, these accessories are not capable of running Game Boy Color-exclusive games.

The RGB channel values for red, green and blue are stored as 5-bits each, but are displayed on screen as 8-bits each.

Super Game Boy RGB channel values
5-bit internal value 0 (0x00) 1 (0x01) 2 (0x02) 3 (0x03) 4 (0x04) 5 (0x05) 6 (0x06) 7 (0x07)
8-bit displayed value 0 (0x00) 8 (0x08) 16 (0x10) 24 (0x18) 32 (0x20) 40 (0x28) 48 (0x30) 56 (0x38)
5-bit internal value 8 (0x08) 9 (0x09) 10 (0x0A) 11 (0x0B) 12 (0x0C) 13 (0x0D) 14 (0x0E) 15 (0x0F)
8-bit displayed value 64 (0x40) 72 (0x48) 80 (0x50) 88 (0x58) 96 (0x60) 104 (0x68) 112 (0x70) 120 (0x78)
5-bit internal value 16 (0x10) 17 (0x11) 18 (0x12) 19 (0x13) 20 (0x14) 21 (0x15) 22 (0x16) 23 (0x17)
8-bit displayed value 128 (0x80) 136 (0x88) 144 (0x90) 152 (0x98) 160 (0xA0) 168 (0xA8) 176 (0xB0) 184 (0xB8)
5-bit internal value 24 (0x18) 25 (0x19) 26 (0x1A) 27 (0x1B) 28 (0x1C) 29 (0x1D) 30 (0x1E) 31 (0x1F)
8-bit displayed value 192 (0xC0) 200 (0xC8) 208 (0xD0) 216 (0xD8) 224 (0xE0) 232 (0xE8) 240 (0xF0) 248 (0xF8)

Using these SNES accessories, 1 of 32 predefined color palettes can be applied to the monochrome Game Boy games as they are being run. A color palette with custom defined color values can be applied to the screen as an alternative. Each color palette works by mapping color over all of the monochromatic tones from the original game's display. However, only a single color palette can be used at any given time that a monochrome Game Boy game is being run, where the entire display gets colorized.

Super Game Boy predefined color palettes
Palette ID Color 0 Color 1 Color 2 Color 3
1-A       
0xF8E8C8
31 29 25
      
0xD89048
27 18 9
      
0xA82820
21 5 4
      
0x301850
6 3 10
1-B       
0xD8D8C0
27 27 24
      
0xC8B070
25 22 14
      
0xB05010
22 10 2
      
0x000000
0 0 0
1-C       
0xF8C0F8
31 24 31
      
0xE89850
29 19 10
      
0x983860
19 7 12
      
0x383898
7 7 19
1-D       
0xF8F8A8
31 31 21
      
0xC08048
24 16 9
      
0xF80000
31 0 0
      
0x501800
10 3 0
1-E       
0xF8D8B0
31 27 22
      
0x78C078
15 24 15
      
0x688840
13 17 8
      
0x583820
11 7 4
1-F       
0xD8E8F8
27 29 31
      
0xE08850
28 17 10
      
0xA80000
21 0 0
      
0x004010
0 8 2
1-G       
0x000050
0 0 10
      
0x00A0E8
0 20 29
      
0x787800
15 15 0
      
0xF8F858
31 31 11
1-H       
0xF8E8E0
31 29 28
      
0xF8B888
31 23 17
      
0x804000
16 8 0
      
0x301800
6 3 0
2-A       
0xF0C8A0
30 25 20
      
0xC08848
24 17 9
      
0x287800
5 15 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
2-B       
0xF8F8F8
31 31 31
      
0xF8E850
31 29 10
      
0xF83000
31 6 0
      
0x500058
10 0 11
2-C       
0xF8C0F8
31 24 31
      
0xE88888
29 17 17
      
0x7830E8
15 6 29
      
0x282898
5 5 19
2-D       
0xF8F8A0
31 31 20
      
0x00F800
0 31 0
      
0xF83000
31 6 0
      
0x000050
0 0 10
2-E       
0xF8C880
31 25 16
      
0x90B0E0
18 22 28
      
0x281060
5 2 12
      
0x100810
2 1 2
2-F       
0xD0F8F8
26 31 31
      
0xF89050
31 18 10
      
0xA00000
20 0 0
      
0x180000
3 0 0
2-G       
0x68B838
13 23 7
      
0xE05040
28 10 8
      
0xE0B880
28 23 16
      
0x001800
0 3 0
2-H       
0xF8F8F8
31 31 31
      
0xB8B8B8
23 23 23
      
0x707070
14 14 14
      
0x000000
0 0 0
3-A       
0xF8D098
31 26 19
      
0x70C0C0
14 24 24
      
0xF86028
31 12 5
      
0x304860
6 9 12
3-B       
0xD8D8C0
27 27 24
      
0xE08020
28 16 4
      
0x005000
0 10 0
      
0x001010
0 2 2
3-C       
0xE0A8C8
28 21 25
      
0xF8F878
31 31 15
      
0x00B8F8
0 23 31
      
0x202058
4 4 11
3-D       
0xF0F8B8
30 31 23
      
0xE0A878
28 21 15
      
0x08C800
1 25 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
3-E       
0xF8F8C0
31 31 24
      
0xE0B068
28 22 13
      
0xB07820
22 15 4
      
0x504870
10 9 14
3-F       
0x7878C8
15 15 25
      
0xF868F8
31 13 31
      
0xF8D000
31 26 0
      
0x404040
8 8 8
3-G       
0x60D850
12 27 10
      
0xF8F8F8
31 31 31
      
0xC83038
25 6 7
      
0x380000
7 0 0
3-H       
0xE0F8A0
28 31 20
      
0x78C838
15 25 7
      
0x488818
9 17 3
      
0x081800
1 3 0
4-A       
0xF0A868
30 21 13
      
0x78A8F8
15 21 31
      
0xD000D0
26 0 26
      
0x000078
0 0 15
4-B       
0xF0E8F0
30 29 30
      
0xE8A060
29 20 12
      
0x407838
8 15 7
      
0x180808
3 1 1
4-C       
0xF8E0E0
31 28 28
      
0xD8A0D0
27 20 26
      
0x98A0E0
19 20 28
      
0x080000
1 0 0
4-D       
0xF8F8B8
31 31 23
      
0x90C8C8
18 25 25
      
0x486878
9 13 15
      
0x082048
1 4 9
4-E       
0xF8D8A8
31 27 21
      
0xE0A878
28 21 15
      
0x785888
15 11 17
      
0x002030
0 4 6
4-F       
0xB8D0D0
23 26 26
      
0xD880D8
27 16 27
      
0x8000A0
16 0 20
      
0x380000
7 0 0
4-G       
0xB0E018
22 28 3
      
0xB82058
23 4 11
      
0x281000
5 2 0
      
0x008060
0 16 12
4-H       
0xF8F8C8
31 31 25
      
0xB8C058
23 24 11
      
0x808840
16 17 8
      
0x405028
8 10 5


There are also certain Game Boy games (and Game Boy Color games) with in-game data for the Super Game Boy, where multiple color palettes are simultaneously used to colorize the screen.

  • Up to 4 color palettes are used at once.
  • These multiple color palettes work by colorizing certain portions of the screen - regardless of background or sprite.
  • Because this coloring technique did not work well with scrolling effects, areas in games involving scrolling (such as the overworld) only used one palette, with multiple palettes used for non-scrolling portions (such as stat screens, battles and encounters).

Compatible games (with in-game color):

  • All Generation I core series games have in-game color data compatible with these systems.
  • Except for Korean, all other languages of Pokémon Gold and Silver have in-game color data compatible with these systems.

All compatible games can make use of the Super Game Boy's predefined color palettes, where the entire display uses 1 palette instead of 4 palettes. This effect can be switched off or on at any time while the game is being run.

Incompatible games:

  • Pokémon Crystal and the Korean Pokémon Gold and Silver are unable to be played on these systems, where a monochrome message regarding their incompatibility is displayed on screen.

Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and Game Boy Player

The Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo GameCube with Game Boy Player are compatible with all original Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. Like the Super Game Boy, the color palettes used consist of 4 entries for 15-bit RGB color values (2 bytes long, little-endian format). But unlike the Super Game Boy, these systems are incapable of displaying the Super Game Boy's color palettes, and instead utilize their own predefined color palettes for colorizing monochrome Game Boy games. In addition, the formula for displaying the color values is also different from that of the Super Game Boy.

The RGB channel values for red, green and blue are stored as 5-bits each, but are displayed on screen as 8-bits each.

Game Boy Color RGB channel values
5-bit internal value 0 (0x00) 1 (0x01) 2 (0x02) 3 (0x03) 4 (0x04) 5 (0x05) 6 (0x06) 7 (0x07)
8-bit displayed value 0 (0x00) 8 (0x08) 16 (0x10) 25 (0x19) 33 (0x21) 41 (0x29) 49 (0x31) 58 (0x3A)
5-bit internal value 8 (0x08) 9 (0x09) 10 (0x0A) 11 (0x0B) 12 (0x0C) 13 (0x0D) 14 (0x0E) 15 (0x0F)
8-bit displayed value 66 (0x42) 74 (0x4A) 82 (0x52) 90 (0x5A) 99 (0x63) 107 (0x6B) 115 (0x73) 123 (0x7B)
5-bit internal value 16 (0x10) 17 (0x11) 18 (0x12) 19 (0x13) 20 (0x14) 21 (0x15) 22 (0x16) 23 (0x17)
8-bit displayed value 132 (0x84) 140 (0x8C) 148 (0x94) 156 (0x9C) 165 (0xA5) 173 (0xAD) 181 (0xB5) 189 (0xBD)
5-bit internal value 24 (0x18) 25 (0x19) 26 (0x1A) 27 (0x1B) 28 (0x1C) 29 (0x1D) 30 (0x1E) 31 (0x1F)
8-bit displayed value 197 (0xC5) 206 (0xCE) 214 (0xD6) 222 (0xDE) 230 (0xE6) 239 (0xEF) 247 (0xF7) 255 (0xFF)

The Game Boy Color's method of colorization is also different than that of the Super Game Boy. Whereas the Super Game Boy colorizes different sections of the screen with up to 4 color palettes, the Game Boy Color applies color directly to the original Game Boy's three tone palettes. As a result, this method allows for sprites and backgrounds to contrast on screen more vividly than on previous systems.

Upon booting an original Game Boy game onto a Game Boy Color, one of 13 different color palettes can be applied. This only works on games with no in-game color data. Different palettes can be selected with combinations of the D-pad and A/B buttons, with 12 choices possible. (The 13th choice is with no combination pressed.) Unlike the Super Game Boy, it is not possible to change the color palettes once the game has started, and it is not possible to choose a color palette with custom color values.

  • Despite each palette containing 12 color values, only 10 of these colors can be displayed on screen at any time. This is due to both sprite object tone palettes using one entry each for transparency.
Game Boy Color predefined color palettes
Combination BG
Color 0
BG
Color 1
BG
Color 2
BG
Color 3
OBJ0
Color 0
OBJ0
Color 1
OBJ0
Color 2
OBJ0
Color 3
OBJ1
Color 0
OBJ1
Color 1
OBJ1
Color 2
OBJ1
Color 3
Up       
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFFAD63
31 21 12
      
0x843100
16 6 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFFAD63
31 21 12
      
0x843100
16 6 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFFAD63
31 21 12
      
0x843100
16 6 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
Up+A       
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFF8484
31 16 16
      
0x943A3A
18 7 7
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0x7BFF31
15 31 6
      
0x008400
0 16 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0x63A5FF
12 20 31
      
0x0000FF
0 0 31
      
0x000000
0 0 0
Up+B       
0xFFE6C5
31 28 24
      
0xCE9C84
25 19 16
      
0x846B29
16 13 5
      
0x5A3108
11 6 1
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFFAD63
31 21 12
      
0x843100
16 6 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFFAD63
31 21 12
      
0x843100
16 6 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
Down       
0xFFFFA5
31 31 20
      
0xFF9494
31 18 18
      
0x9494FF
18 18 31
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFA5
31 31 20
      
0xFF9494
31 18 18
      
0x9494FF
18 18 31
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFA5
31 31 20
      
0xFF9494
31 18 18
      
0x9494FF
18 18 31
      
0x000000
0 0 0
Down+A       
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFFFF00
31 31 0
      
0xFF0000
31 0 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFFFF00
31 31 0
      
0xFF0000
31 0 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFFFF00
31 31 0
      
0xFF0000
31 0 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
Down+B       
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFFFF00
31 31 0
      
0x7B4A00
15 9 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0x63A5FF
12 20 31
      
0x0000FF
0 0 31
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0x7BFF31
15 31 6
      
0x008400
0 16 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
Left       
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0x63A5FF
12 20 31
      
0x0000FF
0 0 31
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFF8484
31 16 16
      
0x943A3A
18 7 7
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0x7BFF31
15 31 6
      
0x008400
0 16 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
Left+A       
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0x8C8CDE
17 17 27
      
0x52528C
10 10 17
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFF8484
31 16 16
      
0x943A3A
18 7 7
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFFAD63
31 21 12
      
0x843100
16 6 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
Left+B       
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xA5A5A5
20 20 20
      
0x525252
10 10 10
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xA5A5A5
20 20 20
      
0x525252
10 10 10
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xA5A5A5
20 20 20
      
0x525252
10 10 10
      
0x000000
0 0 0
Right       
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0x52FF00
10 31 0
      
0xFF4200
31 8 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0x52FF00
10 31 0
      
0xFF4200
31 8 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0x52FF00
10 31 0
      
0xFF4200
31 8 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
Right+A       
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0x7BFF31
15 31 6
      
0x0063C5
0 12 24
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFF8484
31 16 16
      
0x943A3A
18 7 7
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFF8484
31 16 16
      
0x943A3A
18 7 7
      
0x000000
0 0 0
Right+B       
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0x008484
0 16 16
      
0xFFDE00
31 27 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0x008484
0 16 16
      
0xFFDE00
31 27 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0x008484
0 16 16
      
0xFFDE00
31 27 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31

In the event that a button combination is not pressed, the Game Boy Color will provide a default color palette based on the game itself. Similar to how the Super Game Boy had pre-defined default palettes for select games released before the system's release, the same is also true for the Game Boy Color.

  • The Game Boy Color has default color palettes for all Generation I games (excluding international Yellow).
  • Most of these color palettes are near-identical to button combination choices, with the exception of object palette 1 (which is only ever used by the star in the Game Freak logo).
Game Boy Color default color palettes
Game BG
Color 0
BG
Color 1
BG
Color 2
BG
Color 3
OBJ0
Color 0
OBJ0
Color 1
OBJ0
Color 2
OBJ0
Color 3
OBJ1
Color 0
OBJ1
Color 1
OBJ1
Color 2
OBJ1
Color 3
Pokémon Red       
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFF8484
31 16 16
      
0x943A3A
18 7 7
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0x7BFF31
15 31 6
      
0x008400
0 16 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFF8484
31 16 16
      
0x943A3A
18 7 7
      
0x000000
0 0 0
Pokémon Blue       
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0x63A5FF
12 20 31
      
0x0000FF
0 0 31
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFF8484
31 16 16
      
0x943A3A
18 7 7
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0x63A5FF
12 20 31
      
0x0000FF
0 0 31
      
0x000000
0 0 0
Pokémon Green       
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0x7BFF31
15 31 6
      
0x0063C5
0 12 24
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFF8484
31 16 16
      
0x943A3A
18 7 7
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0x7BFF31
15 31 6
      
0x0063C5
0 12 24
      
0x000000
0 0 0
Pokémon Yellow (Japanese only)       
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFFFF00
31 31 0
      
0xFF0000
31 0 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFFFF00
31 31 0
      
0xFF0000
31 0 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0
      
0xFFFFFF
31 31 31
      
0xFFFF00
31 31 0
      
0xFF0000
31 0 0
      
0x000000
0 0 0

Compatible games (monochrome):

  • With the exception of international Yellow, all the other Generation I games (including Japanese Yellow) are played on Game Boy Color using one of the above color palettes (button-combination or default).

Compatible games (in-game color):

  • The international version of Yellow and the Generation II games have in-game color data compatible with these systems.

As a result, the non-Japanese versions of Yellow, and the non-Korean versions of Gold and Silver support three separate coloring modes, based upon whether they are played on the original Game Boy, the Super Game Boy, or the Game Boy Color.

Game Boy Tower

The Game Boy Tower feature from the Pokémon Stadium series games (available using the Transfer Pak) is compatible with color palettes from both Super Game Boy and Game Boy Color. Therefore, all Generation I and II core series games have in-game color data compatible with the Stadium series systems.

  • Games with color data for both Super Game Boy and Game Boy Color will prioritize Game Boy Color data for usage in the Game Boy Tower.
  • Compatibility between Game Boy games and Nintendo 64 games is based upon language.
Coloring modes applied (International)
Game Pokémon Stadium Pokémon Stadium 2
Pokémon Red Super Game Boy Super Game Boy
Pokémon Blue Super Game Boy Super Game Boy
Pokémon Yellow Game Boy Color (with Super Game Boy border) Game Boy Color (with Super Game Boy border)
Pokémon Gold incompatible Game Boy Color (with Super Game Boy border)
Pokémon Silver incompatible Game Boy Color (with Super Game Boy border)
Pokémon Crystal incompatible Game Boy Color (with generic Super Game Boy border)
Coloring modes applied (Japanese)
Game Pocket Monsters Stadium Pocket Monsters Stadium 2 Pocket Monsters Stadium GS
Pocket Monsters Red Super Game Boy Super Game Boy Super Game Boy
Pocket Monsters Green Super Game Boy Super Game Boy Super Game Boy
Pocket Monsters Blue Super Game Boy Super Game Boy Super Game Boy
Pocket Monsters Pikachu Super Game Boy Super Game Boy Super Game Boy
Pocket Monsters Gold incompatible incompatible Game Boy Color (with Super Game Boy border)
Pocket Monsters Silver incompatible incompatible Game Boy Color (with Super Game Boy border)
Pocket Monsters Crystal incompatible incompatible Game Boy Color (with generic Super Game Boy border)

Virtual Console

The Nintendo 3DS's Virtual Console is compatible with color palette data designed for the Game Boy Color, but not for the Super Game Boy.

The monochrome Game Boy games are played by default with a grayscale palette (MGB-001). There is also a green monochrome palette based on the original Game Boy (DMG-01, which had a green screen), which is activated by holding L+R together and then pressing Y.

Unlike earlier game systems such as the Game Boy Color and the Game Boy Advance, the 3DS's Virtual Console does not have a variety of color palettes to apply on monochrome games (other than grayscale or green screen).

Compatible games (monochrome):

  • With the exception of international Yellow, all the other Generation I games (including Japanese Yellow) are played on the Virtual Console in monochrome (either grayscale or green).

Compatible games (in-game color):

  • The international version of Yellow and the Generation II games have in-game color data compatible with this system.

List of color palettes

Generation I

Main article: List of color palettes by index number (Generation I)

Almost all the core series Generation I games (including Japanese Pokémon Yellow) have a single set of color palettes, which is used for the Super Game Boy. The international versions of Pokémon Yellow are the only exception, because they have two sets of colors palettes: the one for Game Boy Color was added in the localization, in addition to the earlier one for the Super Game Boy.

Most of the Super Game Boy color palettes are the same in Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue, except the colors associated with their logos (like the "Red Version" text) is different between games, and the Rocket Game Corner slots also have different color palettes depending on the game.

Notable uses of color

All the Generation I and II core series games have in-game color data, although these colors can only be displayed on compatible systems. Therefore, different things like Pokémon species, places in the overworld, the HP bar, the slots, the game logos, badges, etc. have different colors.

Human characters (Generation I)

The same color palette (index number 0x10) is shared by the full body sprites of all Pokémon Trainers, including the Trainer classes, the player character Red, and the rival Blue, as well as Professor Oak (the last one at the new game cutscene).

  • In Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue played on the Super Game Boy, due to sharing the same palette, all those people have light pink and dark purple colors in their game sprites.
  • In Pokémon Yellow played on the Super Game Boy, the light pink has become lighter, and the dark purple was converted to dark pink.
  • In Pokémon Yellow played on the Game Boy Color, yellow and red are used instead.

If the Generation I games are played in monochrome, when Professor Oak appears in the new game, he remains completely visible. However, when playing in color, he is initially seen as a black outline (using the black color palette with index number 0x1E) which is then converted into the normal colors.

Pokémon (Generation I)

Main article: List of Pokémon by color palette (Generation I)

When the Generation I games are played with in-game color data, there are 10 color palettes available for Pokémon species, as seen in the summary, the Pokédex, and in battles.

Evolving Pokémon

When the Generation I core series games are played in monochrome, a Pokémon remains completely visible while evolving. For example, when Bulbasaur evolves into Ivysaur, the completely visible sprites of each species flicker in the transformation from one species to another.

However, when played in color, a completely black palette (index number 0x1E) is applied to the evolving Pokémon, effectively turning it into a black silhouette. Except the Pokémon's white features remain white (such as Poliwag's belly, Electrode's top half, and the eyes of several Pokémon).

In Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue, this black palette is composed of subtly different shades of black, and therefore the features of the Pokémon may still be seen to some extent. However, in Pokémon Yellow, those shades of black are converted into a single black tone, completely obscuring those features.

Pokémon with color palette 0x10

In particular, the color palette (index number 0x10) used by human characters is also used by Mew, Mewtwo, and Jynx. Therefore, those three Pokémon are dark purple and light pink in Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue, but they are red and yellow in Pokémon Yellow played on the Game Boy Color.

In the intro of Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue, there are some Pokémon with an unusual color palette seen together with the player character Red below the game logo. Those Pokémon include Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, Pikachu, Clefairy, Doduo, Gengar, Jolteon, Snorlax, etc. Specifically, they are also using the color palette 0x10 (the same color palette as the player), therefore they are seen as light pink and dark purple as well.

When Professor Oak introduces a Nidorino or Pikachu in the new game, that Pokémon appears with unusual colors because the 0x10 color palette is applied as well.

  • In Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue, the Nidorino introduced in the new game appears light pink and dark purple, while Nidorino in normal gameplay are completely purple instead.
  • In Pokémon Yellow, the Pikachu introduced in the new game has pink cheeks (in Super Game Boy) or red cheeks (in Game Boy Color). In normal gameplay, Pikachu have orange cheeks instead (due to using the color palette shared by all yellow Pokémon).

In the party screen, all the small Pokémon icons also share the 0x10 color palette.

Purple Jigglypuff (Pokémon Blue)

Due to an oversight, when Pokémon Blue is played in color, the Jigglypuff seen at the game intro (battling against Gengar) appears purple instead of pink. This is a leftover from the battle between Gengar and Nidorino, as both are purple Pokémon.

Jynx (Virtual Console)

In the international versions of Pokémon Yellow for Nintendo 3DS's Virtual Console, Jynx has a color palette with purple skin, owing to the controversies surrounding this Pokémon, instead of the black-skinned color palette seen in the Game Boy Color.

In the Generation I core series games, this version of Jynx for the Virtual Console is the only Pokémon with a palette consisting of five colors (including the purple skin), as opposed to four colors. This change of color palette did not affect Pokémon Red and Blue and the Japanese version of Pokémon Yellow, because these games are entirely played in black and white on the Virtual Console.

Transform color palettes

In Generations I and II core series games (when played in color), a transformed Pokémon retains its original color palette. For instance, Shiny Ditto and Shiny Mew are both blue Pokémon, so they will transform into blue versions of the target.

Most Pokémon can use Transform via Mimic, therefore other color palettes can be applied to arbitrary Pokémon as well. For more examples, if a Pikachu, Bulbasaur, or Charmeleon uses Transform (via Mimic), it becomes a yellow, green, or red version of the target, respectively.

In these generations, the Pokémon images and their color palettes are stored separately in the game data, so the palettes are able to be arbitrarily applied to each Pokémon. There is no need to store repeated Pokémon images with different colors in the internal data.

In Generation I only, the color loss glitch causes the transformed Pokémon to lose their original color soon after transformation, being replaced by Ditto's color palette (therefore, Ditto itself is unaffected by this). In Generation II, the transformed Pokémon retains its own color palette indefinitely.

Overworld

Generation I

In this generation, only a single 2-bit (4 colors) palette is seen in the overworld at a time. This color palette is shared by all features, including all houses, objects, and Pokémon seen in the overworld. The color palettes includes a blue shade for the water.

When the player goes from one place to another, the overworld completely changes it color palette at once. For instance, Cerulean City appears blue, while Cinnabar Island appears red. In particular, the same color palette (index number 0x00) is applied to all routes, resulting in white or green ground, blue grass, and blue water.

All human and Pokémon characters in the overworld have a color value for the transparency around them, as well as three available colors: black, white, and an additional color from the overworld.

Generation II

In this generation, each building and character in the overworld has its own 2-bit (4 colors) palette while they can still appear together on-screen. Like before, the characters have a transparency value around them and three available colors: black, white, and an additional color depending on the character's palette.

Unlike in the previous generation, the overworld does not change the color palette entirely when the player goes from one area to another.

HP bar

In Generation I and II, when the games are played in monochrome, the HP bar appears the same no matter how much HP the Pokémon has. When the games are played in color, the HP bar has three different palettes: green, yellow, and red HP bars.

Dark screen

Reflect
(battle animation 0xFD)
Flash
(battle animation 0xFE)

In Generation I, some moves temporarily cause the Pokémon battle to become dark, by using either the battle animations 0xFD or 0xFE. Some moves (such as Disable and Leer) use both battle animations.

  • Some moves use the battle animation 0xFD, which completely reverses all the color palettes.
    The color 0 (black) becomes the color 2 (light shade of the current Pokémon palette), the color 1 is unaffected, and the colors 2 (light shade) and 3 (white) become the color 0 (black).
    When played in color, this does not change the color of the HP bar (such as green or red HP), although it changes the outline of this bar to a light yellow. The text nearby (including Pokémon's nickname and level) also become light yellow.
    This causes the text at the bottom of the Pokémon battle screen (such as "<Pokémon> used <move>!") and the surrounding borders to appear with a black background and the color (light shade) of the player's Pokémon species. For instance, if the player is using a Lickitung, the text appears pink; if the player is using a Lapras, the text appears blue.
  • Some moves use the battle animation 0xFE, which applies a different color effect that appears dark as well.
    The colors 0, 1, 2, 3 are reversed, therefore they respectively become 3, 2, 1, 0.
    When played in color, this changes the HP bar into light yellow (no matter the color of the current HP bar) with a white outline. When played in monochrome, this changes the HP bar to a light yellow color (originally stored as the color 2).
    This causes the text at the bottom of the Pokémon battle screen (such as "<Pokémon> used <move>!") and the surrounding borders appear as white text on a black background.

In Generation I core series games, the Game Freak logo seen at the start of the game intro has its own color palette (index number 0x24), including the text and the large shooting star.

The small stars falling below the Game Freak logo take their colors from other palettes:

Slots

In Generation I, the slots at the Rocket Game Corner use several color palettes at once. The same color palette (0x1A) is shared by the reel icons. Three other color palettes (0x1B, 0x1C, and 0x1D) are used by the "3", "2", and "1" icons, respectively.


Project Games logo.png This game mechanic article is part of Project Games, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive articles on the Pokémon games.