Game Boy Color

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File:Game Boy Color logo.png
Game Boy Color logo

The Game Boy Color is Nintendo's 8-bit gaming handheld which succeeded its earlier model. It is slightly taller and thicker than the Game Boy Pocket. It was released on October 21, 1998 in Japan, in November, 1998 in North America, and November 23, 1999 in Europe. The main feature of this model, as the name suggests, is the color screen. The first Pokémon game to be released on the Game Boy Color was the English version of Pokémon Yellow. It and the Game Boy combined have sold 118.69 million models worldwide, with its most popular games being Pokémon Gold and Silver Versions, selling approximately 14.51 million copies in both Japan and the US combined.

The processor, which is a Z80 work-alike with a few extra (bit manipulation) instructions, has a clock speed of approx. 8 MHz, twice as fast as that of the original Game Boy. The Game Boy Color also has four times as much memory as the original. The console boasted an impressive palette of 32,768 colors and was capable of simultaneously displaying 56 colors at once. It could also add basic four-color shading to games that had been released for the ordinary Game Boy. Additionally, a new palette-change feature was added for original Game Boy games; by holding the B button and any one of the directional arrows, the user could change the basic color palette for the game. The original Game Boy is also able to play some Game Boy Color games in monochrome (most notably Pokémon Gold and Silver.)

The Game Boy Color was later succeeded by the Game Boy Advance.

Game Boy Color games cannot be played on the Nintendo DS or Nintendo DS Lite handheld. The DS lacks the Game Boy's Z80-like microprocessor (as does the Game Boy micro). GBC cartridges do not fit in the Game Boy Advance slot of the DS, but it can be played with an emulator.

Colors produced

The logo for Game Boy Color spelled out the word COLOR in the five original colors in which the unit was manufactured. They were named:

  • Strawberry
  • Grape
  • Kiwi
  • Dandelion
  • Teal

Another color released at the same time was "Atomic Purple", made of a translucent purple plastic.

Other colors were sold as limited editions or in specific countries.

Color palettes used for original Game Boy games

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, namely either A or B (or neither) and a direction key while the Game Boy logo is displayed on the screen.

Key combination Palette Key combination Palette Key combination Palette
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 Grayscale
Right Green Right + A Dark green Right + B Inverted

These palettes each contain up to ten colors. In most games, the four shades displayed on the original Game Boy would translate to different subsets of this 10-color palette, such as by displaying movable sprites in one subset and backgrounds, etc. in another. The grayscale (Left + B) palette produces an appearance essentially identical to that experienced on the original Game Boy.

Pokémon games for Game Boy Color

Although the English Pokémon Yellow has GBC features, it is officially classified by Nintendo as an original Game Boy game.

Special models

Many different Pokémon-themed Game Boy Colors were released over the console's tenure.

  • Game Boy Color: A yellow and blue GBC was decorated with Pokémon and packed in with Pokémon Yellow. It retailed for $109.99 USD[1]
  • Game Boy Color: A gold faded to silver GBC that was decorated with Pokémon from the Gold and Silver edition game packs was released in 2001 to celebrate the release of Pokémon Gold and Silver, it retailed for $99.99 USD[2]
  • Game Boy Color: A yellow version of the above special GBC was released and sold separately[3] or bundled with Pokémon Crystal[4]
  • Game Boy Color: Pokémon 3rd Anniversary in Orange and Blue (Japan only) [5]
  • Game Boy Color: Pokémon 3rd Anniversary - in White (Japan only) [6]
  • Game Boy Color Accessory: A special edition link cable was released. The box was decorated with Pokémon[7]


  • Like the Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo DS, the Game Boy Color is not region-encoded. This means that a player could theoretically play a Game Boy Color game from any region in their own locally purchased console.
  • Although the walls in the Fuchsia Gym in Red, Blue, and Yellow are normally invisible, the Game Boy Color exposes them when using a multi-colored pallette.

Game systems with Pokémon games
Nintendo handheld consoles
DS (LiteDSiDSi XL) • 3DS (XL2DSNew 3DSNew 3DS XLNew 2DS XL) • Switch (Lite)
Nintendo home consoles
SNES (BS-XSGBNPSGB2) • N64 (DD) • GCN (GBP) • WiiWii USwitch
Sega consoles