Game Boy Color

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"GBC" redirects here. For information about the Game Boy Camera, see Game Boy Camera.

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

Game Boy Color
Game boy color.PNG
Released Japan October 21, 1998
USA November 18, 1998
Australia November 27, 1998
Europe November 23, 1998
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 successor to the Game Boy, Nintendo's third handheld system, 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, capable of displaying multiple colors and that 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.

Like the original Game Boy, the Game Boy Color has the same buttons. These are A Button , B Button , Start Button , 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 didn't 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 the typical monochrome display.

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

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)[1][2]
  • Minimum/Maximum cartridge size: 256 kb - 16 mb (Same as Game Boy)
  • 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 Grey 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


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.

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

Game Link Cable[edit]

The same link cable that 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.

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.

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[3]/Pastel Mix[4]
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 is not the only Mario game 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

Sometimes the Game Boy Color can use an entirely different palette of colors. One such instance is Super Mario Land.

System gallery[edit]

Game gallery[edit]


  • Despite being Nintendo's first color-capable handheld, the Atari Lynx is the first color-capable handheld ever.
  • The Game Boy Color, the Nintendo GameCube, and the Wii U were all released on the same day of their respective years in the United States.
  • 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. Canada, Great Britain, and Australia), the correct spelling for color is colour. Despite this, the name of the console was never changed outside of America to reflect this difference.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ GBC Manual
  4. ^ GBA Manual