Game Boy Color

Game Boy Color
ゲームボーイカラー Game Boy Color
Game Boy Color.png
A Game Boy Color
Release dates
Japan: October 21, 1998
North America: November 18, 1998
Europe: November 23, 1998
Australia: November 23, 1998
South Korea: 2000[1]
China: N/A
Hong Kong: N/A
Taiwan: N/A
Technical specs
  • 160×144 pixel resolution
  • Shows up to 56 different colors simultaneously on screen from its palette of 32,768
  • 32 KB RAM.
  • Infrared communications port
  • Full list
Related information
Console generation: Fifth generation
Pokémon generations: I, II
Console type: Handheld
Atomic Purple*
Pikachu & PichuSp
External links

The Game Boy Color (Japanese: ゲームボーイカラー Game Boy Color) is Nintendo's 8-bit gaming handheld which succeeded the Game Boy; it was later succeeded by the Game Boy Advance. It is slightly taller and thicker than the Game Boy Pocket. The main feature of this model, as the name suggests, is the color screen. It is also the first Game Boy not to include a contrast knob. Its most popular games are Pokémon Gold and Silver, selling approximately 14.51 million copies in Japan and the US combined. The Game Boy Color was discontinued in 2003, shortly after the release of the Game Boy Advance SP.

Like all systems in the Game Boy family, it is not region encoded.

Console colors

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:


Several other colors include:

Atomic Purple*
Pikachu & PichuSp

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

Special Pokémon editions

  • Pokémon Yellow Game Boy Color: A yellow and blue GBC was decorated with Pikachu, Jigglypuff, and Togepi. It retailed for US$109.99.
  • Clear Green Pokémon Game Boy Color: A clear green GBC was decorated with Pikachu, Jigglypuff, and Togepi. It was sold in Taiwan.
  • Clear Blue Pokémon Game Boy Color: A clear blue GBC was decorated with Pikachu, Jigglypuff, and Togepi. It was sold in Hong Kong.
  • Pikachu and Pichu Silver Game Boy Color: A silver GBC that is decorated with Pikachu and Pichu
  • Pokémon Gold and Silver Game Boy Color: A gold faded to silver GBC that was decorated with Pikachu and Pichu was released in 2001 to celebrate the release of Pokémon Gold and Silver. It retailed for US$99.99.
  • Pikachu and Pichu Game Boy Color: A yellow version of the special Gold and Silver Game Boy Color was released and sold separately.
  • Orange and Blue Game Boy Color: An orange (front) and blue (back) Game Boy Color featuring Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle released to celebrate Pokémon's third anniversary (Japan only)
  • White Game Boy Color: A white Game Boy Color featuring Pikachu, Chikorita, Cyndaquil, and Totodile released to celebrate Pokémon's third anniversary (Japan only)

Color palettes used for original Game Boy games

When playing an original Game Boy game on a Game Boy Color or Game Boy Advance (including the Game Boy Advance SP and the Game Boy Player), the user can choose which Game Boy Color 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.

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.

Some licensed Game Boy games have a special default palette. Pokémon Red and Blue use primarily red and blue palettes, respectively.

Button combination Palette
Up + A
Up + B
Dark Brown
Pale Yellow[2]/Pastel Mix[3]
Down + A
Down + B
Left + A
Dark Blue
Left + B
Right + A
Dark Green
Right + B

Technical specifications

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.

Game Boy Color games cannot be played natively on the Nintendo DS or Nintendo DS Lite handheld. The Nintendo DS lacks the Game Boy's Z80-like microprocessor, as does the Game Boy micro. Game Boy Color cartridges also do not fit in the Game Boy Advance slot of the Nintendo DS.

Pokémon games

These are games made for the Game Boy Color. Non-Japanese Pokémon Yellow has Game Boy Color features, but is officially classified by Nintendo as an original Game Boy game.

Title Genre Release
Pokémon Trading Card Game Card game 1998
Pokémon Pinball Pinball 1999
Pokémon Gold and Silver Core series RPG 1999
Pokémon Puzzle Challenge Puzzle 2000
Pokémon Crystal Core series RPG 2000
Pokémon Trading Card Game 2: The Invasion of Team GR! Card game 2001

By backwards compatibility

Due to backward compatibility, all Pokémon games from the original Game Boy are also playable.

Title Genre Release
Pokémon Red and Green Core series RPG 1996
Pokémon Blue Core series RPG 1996
Pokémon Red and Blue Core series RPG 1998
Pokémon Yellow* Core series RPG 1998


Title Genre
Pokémon Picross Puzzle



Game systems with Pokémon games
Nintendo handheld consoles
GB (Pocket · GBL · SGB · SGB2) • GBCminiGBA (SP · GBm · GBP)
DS (Lite · DSi · DSi XL) • 3DS (XL · 2DS · New 3DS · New 3DS XL · New 2DS XL)
Switch (Lite · OLED)
Nintendo home consoles
SNES (BS-X · SGB · NP · SGB2) • N64 (DD) • GCN (GBP)
Wii (Family Edition · mini) • Wii U
Switch (OLED)
Sega consoles