The Game Boy Color (JP) (abbreviated as GBC) is a handheld video game console developed by Nintendo. Originally released in late 1998, it is the successor to the original Game Boy, and is slightly larger than the Game Boy Pocket and significantly smaller than the original Game Boy. This was set out to replace the original Game Boy Pocket, and nullified Sega's taunts at the "Puke Green Screen" that the original Game Boy (DMG-001) and Game Boy Pocket featured. This helped set the Game Boy far above competition. The contrast dial was also removed, as the Game Boy Color now has a color screen. It is also the final Nintendo handheld to have 8-bit graphics.

The system was discontinued on September 25, 2003, following the release of its successor, the Game Boy Advance, in early 2001, which has backwards compatibility with both Game Boy and Game Boy Color games.


The most significant feature of the Game Boy Color is that it allows gameplay in full color. A maximum of fifty-six colors can simultaneously appear on the screen, unlike the Game Boy, which only had a palette of four colors. In addition, it supports more powerful hardware than the Game Boy Pocket, with a processor that is twice the speed and quadruple the memory. A large number of games were released to exploit the capabilities of this new console, which was also backwards compatible with every previous Game Boy game with only a handful of exceptions, making it the first Nintendo handheld to have backwards-compatibility. There is also a variety of 12 selectable color palettes to choose from when an original Game Boy is played on a Game Boy Color. Like the Game Boy Light, the Game Boy Color requires two AA batteries.

The Game Boy Color has an infrared wireless link-up port. Seldom used by any software, it was consequently dropped for the Game Boy Micro (but not the Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Advance SP), the Nintendo DS line of handhelds, and Wii U. However, it was reintroduced with the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console.

Some were surprised that Nintendo released such an apparently underpowered system, as the Game Boy Color was not even as powerful as the Game Gear, which was released way back in 1990. However, the Color, as with its predecessors, was notably more portable, more affordable, and had a greater library of games than any of its competitors, as well as many years of carefully-built brand recognition behind it. As such, it dominated the market and destroyed all competition. Despite being 8-bit, the Game Boy Color has 32,786 color palettes available compared to the Game Gear's 4,096 palettes.

Hardware Specifications[]

  • Main processor: Sharp Corporation LR35902 (based on the 8-bit Zilog Z80)
  • Processor speed: 4.194304/8.388608 MHz
  • Resolution: 160x144 pixels (10:9)
  • Palette: 15-bit RGB (32,768 colors)
  • Colors on screen: 10, 32 or 56 (8 4-color background palettes, 8 3-color sprite palettes)
  • Maximum sprites: 40 (10 per scanline)
  • Size of sprites: 8x8 or 8x16 pixels
  • Tiles on screen: 512
  • Audio: 2 square wave channels, 1 PCM 4-bit wave sample (64 4-bit samples) channel, 1 noise channel, mono speaker and stereo jack headphone
  • Maximum ROM size: 8 MB
  • RAM: 32 KB
  • VRAM: 16 KB
  • Cartridge RAM: 16 KB
  • Power:
    • Internal: Two AA Batteries allowing thirty hours of play.
    • External: 3V DC
    • Indicator: Red LED
  • Input:
    • 4-way D-pad
    • 4 buttons (A, B, START, SELECT)
    • Volume Potentiometer
    • Power switch
    • Serial I/O
    • Infrared I/O
    • Cartridge I/O
  • Dimensions:
    • Metric: 75 mm x 27 mm x 133 mm
    • Imperial: 2.95 in x 1.06 in x 5.24 in

Notable games[]

Top ten best-selling GBC games[]

Launch titles[]

See also[]


  • Outside of the United States and some other countries, color is spelled as "colour". Despite this, the system was still branded as the Game Boy "Color" in other English-speaking cultures.
  • Sometimes, this console was possibly one of the cheapest handheld consoles from Nintendo, with a price of approximately seventy dollars.
  • The five colors (red, purple, green, yellow, blue) in the logo are the same as the five systems at launch.