Game Boy Color

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It has been requested that this article be rewritten and expanded to include more information.

"GBC" redirects here. For information about the Game Boy Camera, see Game Boy Camera.
Game Boy Color
GBC Atomic Purple.png
Generation Fifth generation
Released Japan October 21, 1998
USA November 18, 1998
Australia November 27, 1998
Europe November 23, 1998
South Korea 2000[1]
Discontinued Japan September 25, 2003
USA 2003
Predecessor Game Boy
Virtual Boy
Successor Game Boy Advance
“Get into it.”
The Game Boy Color slogan
GBC Logo.png

The Game Boy Color is the fourth model to the Game Boy and, in some ways, the handheld counterpart of the Nintendo 64. It is similar to its predecessors, the most notable differences being that it is lighter, it is capable of displaying multiple colors, and the processing power is twice as fast. It is the final handheld to feature 8-bit graphics.

Some games made for the original Game Boy display more colors if played on a Game Boy Color. Other games were made exclusively for the Game Boy Color. The older versions could not play these, but the Game Boy Advance, the Game Boy Advance SP, and the Game Boy Player could. It also had the shortest lifetime of a Nintendo handheld, as it was discontinued in 2003, and the last game was released later the same year.

The Game Boy Color has identical controls to that of the original Game Boy. These are A Button, B Button, Start Button, and Select Button buttons and the +Control Pad. There are no compatibility issues with games made for the original Game Boy being run on a Game Boy Color. All games, accessories that are programmed for a particular game (such as a Game Link Cable), and non-standard features (such as the camera protruding out of a Game Boy Camera cartridge) will work on a Game Boy Color. Playing games that did not have any color can now be played in color using a color palette by using a combination of +Control Pad and A Button, B Button, or no additional button being pressed to select presets, similar to the Super Game Boy how someone can change the colors into the typical monochrome display.

A device known as the Game Boy Horror, modeled after the Game Boy Color, appears in Luigi's Mansion.

Some Game Boy and Game Boy Color games are currently available through the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console service.

Hardware specifications[edit]

  • CPU: Zilog Z80 (customized)
  • CPU Speed: 8 Mhz
  • RAM: 16 kB
  • Resolution: 160x144 pixels (Same as Game Boy)
  • Colors: 32,768 (15-bit RGB)
  • Maximum number of colors on screen: 56
  • Maximum sprite size: 8x16 or 16x8 pixels
  • Maximum number of sprites on screen: 40 sprites, 10 per scanline (Same as Game Boy)
  • Maximum number of colors on sprite: 4 (Same as NES)[2][3]
  • Minimum/Maximum cartridge size: 256 kb - 64 mb[4]
  • Sound: 4 channels

Compatibility modes[edit]

All older cartridges are compatible with the Game Boy Color, but not always the other way around. Here is a chart to explain.

Example cartridge Usual color Game Boy mode Super Game Boy mode Game Boy Color mode
Original Game Boy cartridge Donkey Kong Game Boy Cartridge.jpg Gray Check mark.svg Varies from game to game X mark.svg
Game Boy Color cartridge (black) G&WG3 Cart.jpg Black Check mark.svg Varies from game to game Check mark.svg
Game Boy Color cartridge (clear) SMBDX Cart.jpg Clear X mark.svg X mark.svg Check mark.svg


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All official accessories compatible with the Game Boy are compatible with the Game Boy Color.

Game Link Cable[edit]

GBC Link Cable.png

The same link cable the Game Boy and its variations use can be used on Game Boy Color.

Game Boy Printer[edit]


The Game Boy Printer that was used to print pictures from the player's Game Boy. This accessory gained some extended support when the Game Boy Color was released, such as being used in Super Mario Bros. Deluxe in Toy Box mode viewing albums.

Mobile Adapter GB[edit]

Only available in Japan, the Mobile Adapter GB allowed certain games to connect to some Japanese mobile phones. The only strictly Mario games to utilize it were Mobile Golf and Mario Kart: Super Circuit, however the operation software that came with it (Mobile Trainer) features references to the Mario franchise. This peripheral was referred to as the Mobile Game Boy Adapter in a translated Iwata Asks interview.

IR communication[edit]

SMBDX IR Mode.png

There is an infrared LED, indicated by the black rectangle on top of the unit, that a Game Boy Color can use. This was the primary method in which Mystery Gift worked in the Generation II Pokémon games, but Super Mario Bros. Deluxe can make use of this feature by sending high scores and other data to other copies. This feature is exclusive to the Game Boy Color and is not present in later Game Boy devices.

BIOS colors[edit]

These colors will also work on a Game Boy Advance, a Game Boy Advance SP and a Game Boy Player when a Game Boy game is inserted.

+Control Pad up +Control Pad down +Control Pad left +Control Pad right
No input GBC Brown Palette.png
GBC Pale Yellow Palette.png
Pale Yellow[5]/Pastel Mix[6]
GBC Blue Palette.png
GBC Green Palette.png
A Button GBC Red Palette.png
GBC Orange Palette.png
GBC Dark Blue Palette.png
Dark Blue
GBC Dark Green Palette.png
Dark Green
B Button GBC Dark Brown Palette.png
Dark Brown
GBC Yellow Palette.png
GBC Gray Palette.png
Original Gray
GBC Reverse Palette.png

It has been requested that additional images be uploaded for this article. Remove this only when the image(s) have been uploaded for this article. Specifics: Super Mario Land and Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins are not the only games to have this functionality

SML B&W Title Screen.png
On Game Boy
GBC SML Title Screen.png
On Game Boy Color and later handhelds
SML2 Ladder Game.png
On Game Boy
Supermarioland2the6goldencoins bonus room.png
On Game Boy Color and later handhelds

The Game Boy Color will display a unique hardware-coded palette of colors for some titles using an internal list of original Game Boy games. Two such instances are Super Mario Land and Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins.


System gallery[edit]

Standard colors[edit]

Special editions[edit]

Game gallery[edit]


  • The Game Boy Color, the Nintendo GameCube, and the Wii U were all released on the same day of their respective years in the Americas.
  • This is Nintendo of Australia's first portable console.
  • Each letter from the word "COLOR" in the logo is displayed in one of the system's five launch colors.
  • In many English-speaking countries (e.g. Great Britain), the correct spelling for "color" is "colour". Despite this, the name of the console was never changed outside of America to reflect this difference.
  • The Chronicle in Super Smash Bros. Brawl does not treat the Game Boy Color as separate from the original Game Boy.
  • This is one of the systems to appear on the Nintendo Gateway System.


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