Color (Generations I–II)

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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 is played in monochrome (either in grayscale, or using a set of tones of the same color). The color values are stored as 4 tones (2 bits) used by the entire game.

Game Boy models and their monochrome palettes:

  • In the first Game Boy model (DMG-01) with a green screen, there are 4 shades from to black to light green.
  • In the Game Boy Pocket (MGB-001), there are 4 shades as well: black, dark gray, light gray, and white.
  • In the Japan-only Game Boy Light (MGB-101), there are 4 shades from black to cyan.

Compatible games:

Incompatible games:

  • Pokémon Crystal and the Korean Pokémon Gold and Silver are unable to be played on the Game Boy.

Super Game Boy and Super Game Boy 2

050Diglett.png This section is incomplete.
Please feel free to edit this section to add missing information and complete it.
Reason: Add list of SGB color palettes

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System using the Super Game Boy or Super Game Boy 2 is compatible with games from the original Game Boy. It is not compatible with Game Boy Color-exclusive games.

Using these SNES accessories, there are several predefined color palettes that can be applied to the monochrome Game Boy games. There are also some Game Boy games with in-game data for Super Game Boy color palettes.

Compatible games (in-game color):

  • All Generation I core series games have in-game color data compatible with these systems.

Compatible games (monochrome):

  • Except for Korean, all other languages of Pokémon Gold and Silver can be played as monochrome games (or with hardware-based color palettes applied) on these systems.

Incompatible games:

  • Pokémon Crystal and the Korean Pokémon Gold and Silver are unable to be played on these systems.

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

050Diglett.png This section is incomplete.
Please feel free to edit this section to add missing information and complete it.
Reason: Add list of GBC color palettes and the related button combinations

The Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo GameCube with Game Boy Player are compatible with both Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, but they are incompatible with Super Game Boy color palettes. These game systems are also able to apply several predefined color palettes to the monochrome Game Boy games.

Compatible games (in-game color):

Compatible games (monochrome):

  • With the exception of international Yellow, all the other Generation I games (including Japanese Yellow) are played in monochrome or with hardware-based color palettes applied.

Game Boy Tower

050Diglett.png This section is incomplete.
Please feel free to edit this section to add missing information and complete it.
Reason: Confirm if Gold/Silver/Crystal are played in color on the Pokémon Stadium (Japanese)

The Game Boy Tower feature from the Pokémon Stadium series games (available using the Game 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.

Virtual Console

The Nintendo 3DS's Virtual Console is compatible with color palettes from the Game Boy Color but not from the Super Game Boy.

The monochrome games are played by default as grayscale, but there is also a green monochrome version 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 some 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 (in-game color):

Compatible games (monochrome):

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

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 comprised 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.

Overworld

In the Generation I, a single color palette is applied to the overworld depending on the place. This color palette is shared by all features, including all houses, objects, and Pokémon. 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.

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.