Game Boy Color

Last updated

Game Boy Color
Game Boy Color logo.svg
Nintendo-Game-Boy-Color-FL.jpg
The Atomic Purple version of the Game Boy Color
Also known asGBC / CGB-001
Developer Nintendo Research & Engineering
Manufacturer Nintendo
Product family Game Boy family
Type Handheld game console
Generation Fifth generation
Release date
  • JP: October 21, 1998
  • NA: November 18, 1998
  • EU: November 23, 1998
  • AU: November 27, 1998
Lifespan1998–2003
DiscontinuedMarch 23, 2003;17 years ago (2003-03-23)
Units shipped118.69 million (including other Game Boy systems)
Media Game Boy Color Game Pak
CPU Sharp LR35902 core @ 4.19/8.38 MHz
Display TFT LCD 160 (w) x 144 (h) pixels, 44x40 mm [1]
Online servicesMobile System GB [2]
Best-selling game Pokémon Gold and Silver, approximately 23 million units
Backward
compatibility
Game Boy
PredecessorGame Boy
Successor Game Boy Advance [3]

The Game Boy Color [lower-alpha 1] (commonly abbreviated as GBC) is a handheld game console, manufactured by Nintendo, which was released in Japan on October 21, 1998 [4] and to international markets that November. It is the successor to the original Game Boy and is part of the Game Boy family. [3]

Contents

The GBC features a color screen rather than monochrome, but it is not backlit. It is slightly thicker and taller and features a slightly smaller screen than the Game Boy Pocket, its immediate predecessor in the Game Boy line. As with the original Game Boy, it has a custom 8-bit processor made by Sharp that is considered a hybrid between the Intel 8080 and the Zilog Z80. [5] The American English spelling of the system's name, Game Boy Color, remains consistent throughout the world.

The Game Boy Color is part of the fifth generation of video game consoles. The GBC's primary competitors in Japan were the grayscale 16-bit handhelds, SNK's Neo Geo Pocket and Bandai's WonderSwan, though the Game Boy Color outsold them by a wide margin. SNK and Bandai countered with the Neo Geo Pocket Color and the WonderSwan Color, respectively, but this did little to change Nintendo's sales dominance. With Sega discontinuing the Game Gear in 1997, the Game Boy Color's only competitor in the United States was its predecessor, the Game Boy, until the short-lived Neo Geo Pocket Color was released in North America in August 1999. The Game Boy and the Game Boy Color combined have sold 118.69 million units worldwide making them the third-best-selling system of all time, [6] [7]

It was discontinued on March 23, 2003, shortly after the release of the Game Boy Advance SP. Its best-selling game is Pokémon Gold and Silver, which shipped 23 million units worldwide. [8] [9]

History

The release of the Game Boy Color was a response to pressure from game developers for a more sophisticated handheld platform, who said that even the latest iteration of the original system, the Game Boy Pocket, was insufficient.[ citation needed ] [10] The resultant product was backward compatible with all existing Game Boy software, a first for a handheld system, allowing each new Game Boy family launch to begin with a significantly larger game library than any of its competitors.

On March 23, 2003, the Game Boy Color was discontinued. [6]

Hardware

Technical specifications

The technical specifications for the console are as follows: [11]

Sizeapproximately 78 mm (3.1 in) x 133.5 mm (5.26 in) x 27.4 mm (1.08 in) (WxHxD)
Weightapproximately 138 g (4.9 oz) [12]
Screen2.3 inch reflective thin-film transistor (TFT) color liquid-crystal display (LCD)
  • Maximum sprites: 40 total, 10 per line, 4 colors per sprite (one of which being transparent)
  • Sprite size: 8×8 or 8×16
  • Tiles on screen: 512 (360~399 visible, the rest are drawn off screen as a scrolling buffer)
Display size 43 mm (1.7 in) by 41 mm (1.6 in) [12]
Framerate 59.727500569606 Hz [13]
Powerinternal: 2× AA batteries
external: 3V DC 0.6W (2.35mm × 0.75mm)
red LED indicator
Battery lifeup to 10 hours of gameplay
CPU4.194304/8.388608 MHz (effective speed 1.0485 (speed of original Game Boy) or 2.097 MHz) Sharp Corporation LR35902 (based on the 8-bit Zilog Z80)
Memory32 kiB RAM; 16 kiB VRAM
Resolution 160 (w) × 144 (h) pixels (10:9 aspect ratio; same aspect ratio and resolution as the original Game Boy)
Color supportPalette colors available: 32,768 (15-bit)
Colors on screen: Supports 10, 32 or 56
Sound2 square wave channels, 1 wave channel, 1 noise channel, mono speaker, stereo headphone jack
Input
  • Eight-way control pad
  • Four action buttons (A, B, Start, Select)
  • Volume potentiometer
  • Power switch
  • Serial I/O ("Link cable"): 512 kbit/s with up to 4 connections in serial
  • Infra-red I/O: less than 2 m distance at 45°
  • Cartridge I/O

Game Paks manufactured by Nintendo have the following specifications:

Without additional mapper hardware, the maximum ROM size is 32kiB/256kib.

The Game Boy Color motherboard Nintendo-Game-Boy-Color-Motherboard-Bottom.jpg
The Game Boy Color motherboard

The processor, which is a Zilog Z80 workalike made by Sharp with a few extra (bit manipulation) instructions, has a clock speed of approximately 8 MHz, twice as fast as that of the original Game Boy. The Game Boy Color has three times as much memory as the original (32 kilobytes system RAM, 16 kilobytes video RAM). The screen resolution is the same as the original Game Boy at 160×144 pixels.

The Game Boy Color features an infrared communications port for wireless linking. The feature is only supported in a small number of games, so the infrared port was dropped from the Game Boy Advance line, to be later reintroduced with the Nintendo 3DS, though wireless linking would return in the Nintendo DS line using Wi-Fi. The console is capable of displaying up to 56 different colors simultaneously on screen from its palette of 32,768 (8×4 color background palettes, 8x3+transparent sprite palettes), and can add basic four-, seven- or ten-color shading to games that had been developed for the original 4-shades-of-grey Game Boy. In the 7-color modes, the sprites and backgrounds are given separate color schemes, and in the 10-color modes the sprites are further split into two differently-colored groups; however, as flat black (or white) was a shared fourth color in all but one (7-color) palette, the overall effect is that of 4, 6, or 8 colors. This method of upgrading the color count results in graphic artifacts in certain games; for example, a sprite that is supposed to meld into the background is sometimes colored separately, making it easily noticeable. Manipulation of palette registers during display allows for a rarely used high color mode, capable of displaying more than 2,000 colors on the screen simultaneously. [14]

Color palettes

Color palettes used for Game Boy games

Alternate color palettes
Directional padAction button
None (default)AB
UpBrownRedDark brown
DownPastel mixOrangeYellow
LeftBlueDark blueGrayscale
RightGreenDark greenInverted

For dozens of select Game Boy games, the Game Boy Color has an enhanced palette built-in featuring up to 16 colors - four colors for each of the Game Boy's four layers. [15] If the system does not have a palette stored for a game, it defaults to a palette of green, blue, salmon, black, and white. However, at power up, one of 12 built-in color palettes is selectable by pressing a directional button and optionally A or B while the Game Boy logo is present on the screen.

These palettes each contain up to ten colors. [16] In most games, the four shades displayed on the original Game Boy translate to different subsets of this 10-color palette, such as by displaying movable sprites in one subset and backgrounds in another. The grayscale (Left + B) palette produces an appearance similar to that experienced on the original Game Boy, Game Boy Pocket or Game Boy Light.

Illustrated color-samples of the palettes for the different key-combinations. Any color crossed out will be present in palette RAM, but rendered as transparent. GBC keypad palettes.png
Illustrated color-samples of the palettes for the different key-combinations. Any color crossed out will be present in palette RAM, but rendered as transparent.

Partial list of games with special palettes

Game Boy Color color palette reference
0x000x10
0x010x11
0x020x12
0x030x13
0x040x14
0x050x15
0x060x16
0x070x17
0x080x18
0x090x19
0x0A0x1A
0x0B0x1B
0x0C0x1C
0x0D0x1D
0x0E0x1E
0x0F0x1F

Hi-Color Mode

A few games used a programming technique to increase the number of colors available on-screen to more than 2,000. This "Hi-Color mode" was used by licensed developers including 7th Sense. Some examples of games using this technique are The Fish Files, The New Addams Family Series, and Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare. [14] Cannon Fodder uses this technique to render full motion video segments in the introduction sequence, ending, and main menu screen. [17]

Cartridges

The clear cartridge for exclusive Game Boy Color games. Nintendo-Game-Boy-Color-Cartridge.jpg
The clear cartridge for exclusive Game Boy Color games.
The black cartridge is for Game Boy games that takes advantage of the Game Boy Color's increased palette but not the increased memory or processor speed. These games can be played on the original Game Boy in grayscale. Nintendo-Game-Boy-Cartridge-Black.jpg
The black cartridge is for Game Boy games that takes advantage of the Game Boy Color's increased palette but not the increased memory or processor speed. These games can be played on the original Game Boy in grayscale.

Game Boy Color exclusive games are housed in clear-colored Game Pak cartridges. [18] They are shaped differently than original Game Boy Game Paks. Notably, these cartridges lack a notch that prevented the original Game Paks from being removed while the original Game Boy was powered on due to a plastic piece attached to the power switch, which would slide over the notch, locking a cartridge inside the system during gameplay (although some special cartridges like Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble [19] do include this notch). The lack of this notch keeps original Game Boy systems loaded with Game Boy Color cartridges from powering on. Similarly, Game Boy Pocket, Super Game Boy, Super Game Boy 2, and Game Boy Light will power on when loaded with a Game Boy Color cartridge, but will refuse to load the game and will display a warning message stating that a Game Boy Color system is required. This same warning message can be viewed on an original Game Boy as well if the piece that slides into the notch is cut out of the Game Boy. Some Game Boy cartridges such as Chee-Chai Alien [20] [21] and Pocket Music [22] cannot be played on Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Advance SP systems. When inserted and powered on, these systems will exhibit a similar error message and will not load the game.

Model colors

The logo for Game Boy Color spells out the word "COLOR" in the five original colors in which the unit was manufactured: Berry (C), Grape (O), Kiwi (L), Dandelion (O), and Teal (R).

Another color released at the same time was "Atomic Purple", made of a translucent purple plastic similar to the color available for the Nintendo 64 controller. Other colors were sold as limited editions or in specific countries.

Games

Due to its backward compatibility with Game Boy games, the Game Boy Color's launch period had a large playable library. The system amassed a library of 576 Game Boy Color games over a four-year period. While the majority of the games are Game Boy Color exclusive, approximately 30% of the games released are compatible with the original Game Boy.

Tetris for the original Game Boy is the best-selling game compatible with Game Boy Color, and Pokémon Gold and Silver are the best-selling games developed primarily for it. The best-selling Game Boy Color exclusive game is Pokémon Crystal .

The last Game Boy Color game ever released is the Japanese exclusive Doraemon no Study Boy: Kanji Yomikaki Master, on July 18, 2003. The last game released in North America is Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets , released on November 15, 2002. In Europe the last game released for the system is Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite! , on January 10, 2003.

Launch games

Title JP NA EU Notes
Centipede Dark Red x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgMonochrome game made by Accolade
Dragon Warrior Monsters Green check.svgDark Red x.svgDark Red x.svgPortable role-playing game in the Dragon Quest series
Game & Watch Gallery 2 Dark Red x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgSequel to the 1995 Game & Watch Gallery for the original Game Boy
HexciteGreen check.svgDark Red x.svgDark Red x.svg Puzzle game
Pocket Bomberman Dark Red x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg Platform game in the Bomberman series.
Pocket BowlingGreen check.svgDark Red x.svgDark Red x.svg Sports game
Tetris DX Green check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgPort of the 1984 puzzle game
Wario Land II Green check.svgDark Red x.svgDark Red x.svgSequel to the 1993 platform game, Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3

Sales

The Game Boy and Game Boy Color were both commercially successful, selling a combined 32.47 million units in Japan, 44.06 million in the Americas, and 42.16 million in other regions. [6] [7]

In 2003, when the Game Boy Color was discontinued, the pair was the best-selling game console of all time. Both the Nintendo DS and PlayStation 2 have since outsold the Game Boy and Game Boy Color and are now the third-best-selling console and the second-best-selling handheld of all time.

See also

Notes

  1. Japanese: ゲームボーイカラー

Related Research Articles

The Game Boy family is a line of handheld game consoles developed, manufactured, released and marketed by Nintendo, consisting of the Game Boy and its revisions, the Game Boy Color and the Game Boy Advance family. The product line has sold over 200 million units worldwide.

Game Boy Advance Handheld video game console by Nintendo

The Game Boy Advance (GBA) is a 32-bit handheld game console developed, manufactured and marketed by Nintendo as the successor to the Game Boy Color. It was released in Japan on March 21, 2001, in North America on June 11, 2001, in Australia and Europe on June 22, 2001, and in mainland China on June 8, 2004 as iQue Game Boy Advance. The GBA is part of the sixth generation of video game consoles. The original model does not have an illuminated screen; Nintendo addressed that with the release of a redesigned model with a frontlit screen, the Game Boy Advance SP, in 2003. A newer revision of the redesign was released in 2005, with a backlit screen. The final redesign, the Game Boy Micro, was released in 2005.

Handheld game console Small, portable video game console

A handheld game console, or simply handheld console, is a small, portable self-contained video game console with a built-in screen, game controls and speakers. Handheld game consoles are smaller than home video game consoles and contain the console, screen, speakers, and controls in one unit, allowing people to carry them and play them at any time or place.

Neo Geo Pocket handheld game console

The Neo Geo Pocket is a monochrome handheld game console released by SNK. It was the company's first handheld system and is part of the Neo Geo family. It debuted in Japan in late 1998 but never saw an American release, being exclusive to Japan, Asia and Europe.

Game Gear handheld game console developed by Sega

The Game Gear is an 8-bit fourth generation handheld game console released by Sega on October 6, 1990 in Japan, in April 1991 throughout North America and Europe, and during 1992 in Australia. The Game Gear primarily competed with Nintendo's Game Boy, the Atari Lynx, and NEC's TurboExpress. It shares much of its hardware with the Master System, and can play Master System games by the use of an adapter. Sega positioned the Game Gear, which had a full-color backlit screen with a landscape format, as a technologically superior handheld to the Game Boy.

WonderSwan handheld video game console by Bandai

The WonderSwan is a handheld game console released in Japan by Bandai. It was developed by Gunpei Yokoi's company Koto Laboratory and Bandai, and was the last piece of hardware Yokoi developed before his death in 1997. Released in 1999 in the fifth generation of video game consoles, the WonderSwan and its two later models, the WonderSwan Color and SwanCrystal were officially supported until being discontinued by Bandai in 2003. During its lifespan, no variation of the WonderSwan was released outside of Japan.

Game Boy Advance SP handheld video game console

The Game Boy Advance SP, released in February 2003, is an upgraded version of Nintendo's 32-bit Game Boy Advance sixth-generation handheld game console. The "SP" in the name stands for "Special". It was followed by the Nintendo DS and the Game Boy Micro.

Neo Geo Pocket Color handheld console

The Neo Geo Pocket Color is a 16-bit color handheld video game console manufactured by SNK. It is a successor to SNK's monochrome Neo Geo Pocket handheld which debuted in 1998 in Japan, with the Color being fully backward compatible. The Neo Geo Pocket Color was released on March 16, 1999 in Japan, August 6, 1999 in North America, and on October 1, 1999 in Europe, entering markets all dominated by Nintendo, competing with Nintendo's Game Boy Color.

Super Game Boy add-on for the SNES video game console

The Super Game Boy is a peripheral that allows Game Boy cartridges to be played on a Super Nintendo Entertainment System console. Released in June 1994, it retailed for $59.99 in the United States and £49.99 in the United Kingdom.

<i>Pokémon Yellow</i> 1998 video game by Nintendo

Pokémon Yellow Version: Special Pikachu Edition, more commonly known as Pokémon Yellow Version, is a 1998 role-playing video game developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy handheld game console. It is an enhanced version of Pokémon Red and Blue, loosely based on the anime and is part of the first generation of the Pokémon video game series. Along with the release of Pokémon Yellow, a special edition yellow Pokémon-themed Game Boy Color was also released.

Nintendo DS Nintendo handheld game console

The Nintendo DS or simply DS, is a dual-screen handheld game console developed and released by Nintendo. The device released globally across 2004 and 2005. The DS, an initialism for "Developers' System" or "Dual Screen", introduced distinctive new features to handheld gaming: two LCD screens working in tandem, a built-in microphone and support for wireless connectivity. Both screens are encompassed within a clamshell design similar to the Game Boy Advance SP. The Nintendo DS also features the ability for multiple DS consoles to directly interact with each other over Wi-Fi within a short range without the need to connect to an existing wireless network. Alternatively, they could interact online using the now-defunct Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service. Its main competitor was Sony's PlayStation Portable during the seventh generation of video game consoles.

Game Boy Micro Handheld game console developed by Nintendo

The Game Boy Micro is a handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It was first released in September 2005 as a smaller, lighter redesign of the Game Boy Advance. The system is the last console in the Game Boy line, alongside the AGS-101 model of Game Boy Advance SP. Unlike its predecessors, the Game Boy Micro lacks backward compatibility for Game Boy and Game Boy Color games.

Virtual Console, also abbreviated as VC, is a line of downloadable video games for Nintendo's Wii and Wii U home video game consoles and the Nintendo 3DS handheld game console.

Game Boy 1989 portable video game console

The Game Boy (GB) is an 8-bit handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. The first handheld in the Game Boy family, it was first released in Japan on April 21, 1989, then North America, three months later, and lastly in Europe, over a year later. It was designed by the same team that developed the Game & Watch series of handheld electronic games and several Nintendo Entertainment System games: Satoru Okada, Gunpei Yokoi, and Nintendo Research & Development 1.

This is a list of video game accessories that have been released for the Game Boy handheld console and its successors. Accessories add functionality that the console would otherwise not have.

Nintendo video game consoles Wikimedia list article

The Japanese multinational consumer electronics company Nintendo has developed seven home video game consoles and multiple portable consoles for use with external media, as well as dedicated consoles and other hardware for their consoles. As of September 30, 2015, Nintendo has sold over 722.22 million hardware units.

This is a list of accessories for the Nintendo 64 video game console.

The Game Boy Advance family of battery-powered handheld game consoles by Nintendo consists of the Game Boy Advance and its revisions. As of June 30, 2010, 81.51 million units have been sold worldwide. Part of the Game Boy line, it was succeeded by the Nintendo DS line.

The Nintendo DS family is a family of handheld game consoles developed, manufactured, released and marketed by Nintendo.

References

  1. "Technical data". Nintendo of Europe GmbH.
  2. "モバイルシステムGB". Nintendo (in Japanese). Retrieved September 23, 2015.
  3. 1 2 Umezu; Sugino. "Nintendo 3DS (Volume 3 – Nintendo 3DS Hardware Concept)". Iwata Asks (Interview: Transcript). Interviewed by Satoru Iwata. Nintendo. Archived from the original on July 25, 2015. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
  4. "Game Boy Color hardware". www.nintendo.co.jp.
  5. "The Nintendo® Game Boy™, Part 1: The Intel 8080 and the Zilog Z80". RealBoy. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  6. 1 2 3 "Consolidated Sales Transition by Region" (PDF). Nintendo. April 26, 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 27, 2016. Retrieved October 23, 2016.
  7. 1 2 "A Brief History of Game Console Warfare: Game Boy". BusinessWeek . McGraw-Hill. Archived from the original on May 9, 2007. Retrieved March 28, 2008.
  8. "Japan Platinum Game Chart". The Magic Box. Archived from the original on December 13, 2007. Retrieved September 27, 2007.
  9. "US Platinum Videogame Chart". The Magic Box. Archived from the original on April 21, 2007. Retrieved September 27, 2007.
  10. Umezu; Sugino. "Nintendo 3DS (Volume 3 – Nintendo 3DS Hardware Concept)". Iwata Asks (Interview: Transcript). Interviewed by Satoru Iwata. Nintendo. Retrieved March 7, 2011.
  11. "Nintendo Game Boy Color Console Information – Console Database". ConsoleDatabase.com. Archived from the original on July 2, 2011. Retrieved February 19, 2011.
  12. 1 2 "Technical data". Nintendo of Europe GmbH. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  13. "TASVideos / Platform Framerates". tasvideos.org. Retrieved February 29, 2020.
  14. 1 2 "First Alone in the Dark Screenshots for Game Boy Color". IGN . August 4, 2000. Retrieved March 24, 2015.
  15. "Disassembling the GBC Boot ROM".
  16. "Changing the Color Palette on Game Boy Advance Systems". Customer Service. Nintendo. Retrieved January 4, 2009.
  17. Albatross, Zen. "Game Boy Games That Pushed The Limits of Graphics & Sound". Racketboy. Retrieved March 24, 2015.
  18. "Game Pak Troubleshooting - All Game Boy Systems". Nintendo of America customer support. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  19. "Kirby Tilt & Tumble - Cartridge". www.vgfacts.com. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  20. "プレイ日記 ゲームボーイ最強伝説 ちっちゃいエイリアン 近所のオバチャンに聞いたら「あのメグ・ライアンが絶賛した」とか言っていた!??". valken.obihimo.com. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  21. "中古 [ゲーム/GB] ちっちゃいエイリアン (ゲーム... - ヤフオク!". ヤフオク! (in Japanese). Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  22. "Gameboy Genius » Blog Archive » Pocket Music GBC version GBA fix". blog.gg8.se. Retrieved June 28, 2018.