Game Boy Color

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

An Atomic Purple model of the Game Boy Color
Generation Fifth
Release date Japan October 21, 1998
USA November 18, 1998
Europe November 23, 1998
Australia November 27, 1998
South Korea 2000[1]
Discontinued Japan September 25, 2003
USA 2003
Predecessor Game Boy, Virtual Boy
Successor Game Boy Advance

Template:Quote2 The Game Boy Color is the fourth model of the Game Boy as well as its successor. It is similar to original Game Boy units, with its main differences being a full color display and a processing power at twice the speed. The Game Boy Color was released in late 1998.

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 and the Nintendo Entertainment System controller. 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.

Like the Game Boy, a select number of Game Boy Color games were released through the Nintendo 3DS's 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 Gray Varies from game to game
Game Boy Color cartridge (black) Black Varies from game to game
Game Boy Color cartridge (clear) Clear


This section is a stub. You can help the Nintendo Wiki by expanding it.

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

Name Description

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

Game Boy Printer
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 to view albums in Toy Box mode.

Mobile Adapter GB
Only available in Japan, the Mobile Adapter GB allowed certain games to connect to some Japanese mobile phones. It comes with an operation software, Mobile Trainer.

IR communication[edit]

A demonstration of the infrared LED in Super Mario Bros. Deluxe's multiplayer mode

Exclusive to the Game Boy Color 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 Pokémon Gold and Silver Versions and Pokémon Crystal Version, 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

Pale Yellow[5]/Pastel Mix[6]


A Button


Dark Blue

Dark Green
B Button
Dark Brown


Original Gray


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. Super Mario Land and Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins are two examples of games that use this feature:

On Game Boy
On Game Boy Color and later handhelds
On Game Boy
On Game Boy Color and later handhelds


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Game Boy Color.


  • 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.