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Gameboy Color FAQ

                              Game Boy Color FAQ
                                v3.00, 12/01/99
           Created and maintained by Utils (

Note: This document is NEITHER a Game Boy FAQ  nor is it a Super Game Boy FAQ.
      It's a  Game Boy CoLoR FAQ.  If  you  need  info on the Game Boy or have
      questions about it read  Marat Fayzullin's FAQ/s at If you
      have  any  Super   Game  Boy  inquiries  read  Jeff  Bogumil's  FAQ  at  You can also find another  GBC FAQ there by The Crippler,
      which inspired me to get off my lazy ass and update this FAQ =)

This FAQ is  Copyright (C) 1998-1999 Utils.  Permission is given to distribute
this  FAQ in whole (NOT in part),  given  that  NO PROFIT is  earned from  the
distribution  (whether considered minimal "Shareware fees" or otherwise),  and
proper  credit  is  given to me, Utils, the author of this FAQ. If you wish to
copy it in part or quote from it, or link to it,  please contact me by e-mail.
It's not as if I'll say no!  I would very much  like to be published anywhere.
But remember to ask me first! That way I can keep track of it all! Even a tiny
little quote!

                   Introduction )
Game  Boy  has been the  most  successful  game  system of all  time.  It  has
surpassed  many other game  systems in  terms of longevity (10 years in fact).
Game Boy  has been supporting  the  Nintendo company ever since  it's official
Japanese release in 1988.  It was released to the US in 89'. Game Boy has sold
over 65 million units worldwide and over 1000 (closer to 2000) games have been
programmed for it. That number grows steadily.

The  Game Boy CoLoR, although NOT  the conclusion to Nintendo's  long-standing
"Project Atlantis", it's pretty darn close wouldn't you say?  Project Atlantis
stands for a portable game system,  with color,  that fits in your pocket,  is
backwards compatible,  and has more than enough  power to put those 16-bitters
to shame.

I will not discuss it here but Nintendo has  just announced plans for a 32-bit
portable. If you ask me, they should stop this habit of releasing a new system
every 2 years.  Milk the GBC for all it's worth.  I mean,  their going to lose
their user base  if they keep bringing on the new.  I realize it's progress but
still.  Not everyone owns a GBC.  Shit I know  people who STILL  own their old
Fatty Game Boys!! Just thought I'd vent...

                       CONTENTS )
1. What's inside the Game Boy CoLoR (GBC)?
2. Does the GBC have any built-in support for Super Game Boy (SGB)?
3. Is it backwards compatible?
4. Are the new GBC games backwards compatible with the old GB?
5. What colors does the casing come in?
6. Any other features?
7. Is it possible to link a GBC to a GBP?
8. How do I link a GBC to a GBP?
9. Do Game Genie and Game Shark work with it?
10. I don't like any of the new colors, can I change them?
11. How do I change colors?
12. How much does it cost?
13. What is the IR. used for?
14. Does it come with any pack-ins?
15. Is it backlit?
16. Do the printer and camera work in full color?
17. What's the best palette to use with _____?
18. Links
19. Thank you
20. Credits
*@* Other Stuff

( *1* What's inside the Game Boy Color (GBC)? )
CPU:    4/8-bit Z80 work-alike at 8MHz (MAX); It has 2 modes, Single (4MHz)
        and Double (8MHz); designed by Sharp

RAM:    32Kb; For carts: 128Kb

ROM:    up to 64MBit

VRAM:   16Kb

Sound:  4 Channels FM stereo, Single mono speaker  (it turns off when you plug
        headphones in),  Stereo headphones jack (Author's Note: You might want
        to hack and amplify your sound or use phones cuz the sound SUCKS!  It
        was  better  on  the  Fatty models.  I swear GBC sound is hella weak!)

Video: Display - 160x144   pixels   (dots),    Highly   reflective   Thin-Film
                  Transistor (TFT)  color liquid crystal display made by Sharp
        Colors - 32,768 colors; Supports 10,32, or 56 colors on-screen at once
       Sprites - 40 sprites of either 8x8 or 8x16 [switchable]; 10 Sprites per
                 line;  Sprites  are 4 colors with one always  transparent  (3
                 diff colors max on 1 sprite);  larger  sprites  ARE  possible
          Tiles - 512 on screen (? in memory, I'll find out)

Serial:  512Kbps;  up  to  4up  at  a time; Do they still sell those adapters?

Power:               Indicator LED - it fades as the battery power runs low
         2 AA Batteries (Duracell) - 30+ hours (No Shit!!!)
             AC adapter (DC 3V IN) - Infinite (Till a blackout...)
   "Caution: Leaving used or dead batteries in the Game Boy Color for extended
             periods or time may result in damage to the system." 

Input:   8  way  D-Pad,  4  buttons,  volume  dial,  power switch, Serial I/O,
         Infared I/O, Cart I/O

IR:      Less than 2 meters at 45 degrees (Dude that sucks!)

Size:    Slightly larger than Game Boy Pocket (GBP)

( *2* Does the GBC have any built-in support for Super Game Boy (SGB)? )
I wrote to Nintendo with that question.  They said no.  It makes no use of the
SGB color presets. I think this was smart, it would be kind of redundant to do
so.  Instead,  most first-party SGB compatible games should have support built
into the GBC. Put in any Kirby cart, use default colors, and you'll see what I
mean. Do the same with Baseball, it's outstanding :)

( *3* Is it backwards compatible? )
Your old carts will work fine with the GBC. You can choose from almost 13 diff
color palettes (depending on what game you are playing),  to play them in. The
palettes range from 7-10 colors. Games designed for the Game Boy Color will of
course,  be more colorful than the 12+  presets.  I say 12+ because some games
can be recognized by  the system to use a palette OTHER than the presets. Once
again, play Baseball or Kirby to see what I mean.

( *4* Are the new GBC games backwards compatible with the old GB? )
I asked Nintendo. Here is what they told me:

"That depends. It is possible for developers to make games which work for both
systems,  but they will be limited in the amount colors that they can use.  To
take  full  advantage of Game Boy Color's capabilities,  some  developers  may
choose  to make  games which  only work with Game Boy Color.  Be sure to check
the  packaging for these compatibility  issues before purchasing a new  game."

(*5* What colors does the casing come in? )
1)Red 2)Purple 3)Yellow 4)Teal 5)Clear Purple 6)Clear 7)Pink 8)Bright Green
Not to mention all the other /Special/ versions. Go to EAGB for closure.

( *6* Any other features? )
It  does  a  lot of  cool things  for a Z80 run machine.  Raster  effects  are
possible.  They  were possible on the original Game Boy also. The old GB  also
did polygons but they weren't shaded, only REALLY slow vectors. They added IR,
read  section 13 for details on it.  As for the screen. It's designed to  last
longer on batteries and not drain them like Game Gear does.  It can connect to
the  Nintendo  64. I think  the GBP does too, not too  sure  about  that  one.

( *7* Is it possible to link a GBC to a GBP? )
Yes. I haven't had any trouble doing this so far, but there is a discretion in
the manual. It states:

      "Because of differences between the Game Boy Color and other Game
       Boy systems, a few two player  games may not work properly. Only
       connect the cable when you are using two player mode games."

( *8* How do I link a GBC to a GBP? )
Contrary to what people  say about a  Universal GameLink Cable (UGC),  all you
need is the cable you used to hook up to GBP. But if you don't have ANY cables
THEN you should  get the UGC.  Of course,  if you want to  hook up with an old
fatty GB, then a UGC is necessary.

( *9* Do Game Genie and Game Shark work with it? )
Game Genie does work with it, but on old games. Here's info on the Game Shark:

      "The Game Boy Color works fine with the Game Shark (at least with
       Pokemon).  You may have to remove the  battery cover  to prevent
       the Game Shark's cartridge slot from bending back when you insert
       a game."  -  Shannon Gates (

Thanx for the info Shannon!

(*10* I don't like any of the new colors, can I change them? )
Nope,  the 12  (plus the default),  palettes is all you  have to play with.  I
suggest you  use Left+A  which makes  the screen go back to it's original gray
color. You can't go wrong with gray :)

(*11* How do I change colors? )
You should read your game manuals, seriously. It clearly states:

      1. To change the color palette, first insert a Game Pack and turn
         on the power.
      2. When the  Game Boy logo appears,  press the + Control Pad  and
         button  combination shown below for the desired color  pallet.

Authors Note: You are not limited in time. You can keep rotating the D-pad and
pressing buttons till  the cows come  home and you'll still be  able to change
colors. But choosing a color should be a snap with  the chart I'm compiling in
section 17.
|Combo|    |Background|    |Sprite1|    |Sprite2|
Default     Green/Blue      Red          Red 
Up          Brown           Brown        Brown 
Up + A      Red             Green        Blue 
Up + B      Dk. Brown       Brown        Brown 
Left        Blue            Red          Green 
Left + A    Dk. Blue        Red          Brown 
Left + B    Original        Original     Original 
Down        R/B/Yellow      R/B/Yellow   R/B/Yellow 
Down + A    Red/Yellow      Red/Yellow   Red/Yellow 
Down + B    Yellow          Blue         Green 
Right       Red/Green       Red/Green    Red/Green 
Right + A   Green/Blue      Red          Red 
Right + B   Negative        Negative     Negative 

( *12* How much does it cost? )
         Canada  -  99.95  Canadian Dollars
          Japan  -  8900  Yen
         Sweden  -  850  Sek
          Spain  -  12,950  Peseta
         Taiwan  -  2690  NT
          U.S.A. -  64.99  Dollars
  United Kingdom - 69.99 Pounds
These prices might me less now. It has been six months since I last updated :)

( *13* What is the IR. used for? )
I asked Nintendo. They were quick to reply:

      "The Game Boy Color comes equipped with an infrared communications
       port located  at the  top of the case.  It allows you to exchange
       data  from one  Game Boy Color to  another without  purchasing or
       carrying  a Game Link cable.  It will be used for  such things as
       trading items,  sharing custom characters,  and  exchanging other
       types of  statistical  information.  The infrared  communications
       port will  only work with games  specifically programmed  to take
       advantage of it.  You will still have to  use the Game Link cable
       for  head  to  head  action,   but  the  cable  works  much  more
       efficiently on Game Boy Color than on regular Game Boy."

The manual also states the following:

      "Note: The systems must be kept between 1.5" and 2" (4-5 cm) apart
             for the communication to work properly.

       The triangular marks on  the front of the Game  Boy Color systems
       above the display must be aligned  and pointed toward each other.
       The infared connection  will be  more reliable if  both  Game Boy
       Color  systems  are placed on a stable surface such as  a  table.

      When using the Communications Port feature, please note the following:

    - No more than 2 Game Boy Color systems can be used at one time.
    - Do not use in direct sunlight, because the bright light will interfere
      with the infared transmission.
    - The lens over the communication port  must be kept clean and free from
    - Do not place tape or material such as  stickers over the communication
    - Do not place any object between the communication ports.
    - Do not use  around  any  other  infared  devices,  such as a TV or VCR
      remote, because they can interfere with each other.
    - If the batteries get low  on power,  the communication feature may not
      work properly. Replace the batteries if the Power Indicator LED starts
      to become dim.

( *14* Does it come with any pack-ins? )
All  I got was 2 crappy batteries,  a cheap assed  poster,  and a dumb plea to
subscribe to Nintendo Power. Nope, no pack-in :(

( *15* Is it backlit? )
Nope,  it's still reflective LCD  (TFT if you want to get technical).  Another
thing is the screen is smaller.  I don't know why Nintendo did this.  There is
a backlit  Game Boy called the Game  Boy Light if you REALLY feel like playing
in the dark.  I don't think it's sold in the U.S.  Try your local import shop.

( *16* Do the printer and camera work in full color? )
Well, I'm not sure.  I'm guessing at least the printer won't be in full color.
It's  black  and  white to begin with no?  The camera,  I guess  you  can have
colors,  but not like a real camera.  In other words the color  mode will work
like  any  other  old  cart  you  plug  into  the  GBC.  Somebody  fill me in.

( *17* What's the best palette to use with _____? )
Note: Game Boy CoLoR games are colored the same regardless of language.  So if
      I have a color game listed and it's  Japanese and you have  the American
      version it'll  work the same anyway.  As always there are exceptions  to
      the rule. For example, the Japanese version of Pokémon Yellow is /not/ a
      full color game, but the American version /is/.

      (J)  -  Japanese Version
     Auto  -  A different color than that of the default built into the GBC
              BIOS specifically for that game (i.e. Baseball).
    CoLoR  -  This game was programmed for GBC ONLY. You can't change colors.
     Both  -  This game was programmed for GBC and GB.
  Default  -  The color you get without pressing anything.
 * nameofgame - This means the game is bootleg (In other words, a homebrew)
** nameofgame - This means I played it from a '200 in 1' type cart and if
                the game has an automatic pallete I would not know.
|nameofgame|                       |CoLoR|   |Description|
** All Star Challenge               Left+A    Players have real skin tone :)
   Baseball                         Auto      Team1 = red; Team2 = blue; Amazing!!
   Bomberman Pocket(J)              Left      Blue BG, Green Bomberman
** Bouken Jima 2(J)                 Left      Do I always have to write something?
** Bubble Bobble                    Right+A   The hero is pink like he should be
** Bubble Bobble Junior             Up+A      Enemies turn blue when pissed off :)
** Chase HQ                         Left+B    Nothing works with this game, too dull
** Roger Clemens MVP Baseball       Right     Looks like Baseball to me :)
** Detective Conan 1(J)             Down+B    Dressed as he should be...
** Detective Conan 2(J)             Up+A      Same as Above :p
** Dodge Ball(J)                    Up        Technos makes the best games, I love SD
** Dodge Danpei(J)                  Up        Same as above :D
** Doraemon 2(J)                    Left+B    Doraemon is _supposed_ to be blue...
** Dr. Mario(J)                     Left+A    Clearer to see
** Felix The Cat                    Left+A    Sprites are better highlighted
   Final Fantasy Legend III         Up+A      Green Fighters
** GB Genjin 2                      Up+B      Well, rocks are supposed to be brown
   Kirby's Adventure                Default   Kirby=pink, Forest=green/yellow, Sky=blue.
   Kirby's Star Stacker             Auto      All Brown
   Kirby's Pinball                  Auto      Yellow/green BG, pink sprites
** Kureyon Shin 4(J)                Right     This game is the template of Bootleg SMario 4
** Maruko Dxsiata(J)                Left      Do I have to describe EVERY SINGLE ONE?
** Master Karateka                  Right+B   Black uniform, James Bond Looking :)
   Megaman II                       Down+B    Blue Megaman sprite!!!
   Mole Mania                       Auto      Slightly darker than default
   Nettou King Of Fighters 96'(J)   Up+A      P1 = green; P2 = blue
   Pokémon Blue(J)                  Auto      Red sprites, Blue BG
   Pokémon Green(J)                 Auto      Lighter than default
   Pokémon Yellow(J)                Auto      Yellow&Red Sprites/BG (like Down+A)
** Puzzle Bobble GB(J)              Right     The only combo that works, besides grey
** Real Bout Special 3(J)           Left      You're red... "BANG!! Blue Mary wins!!
** Rockman World 1(J)               Down+B    Same game as Megaman Diff. name
** Rockman World 2(J)               Down+B    Capcom has made over dozens of comics
** Rockman World 3(J)               Down+B    based on the adventures of Rockman and
** Rockman World 4(J)               Down+B    his sis Roll. In fact, she came from
** Rockman World 5(J)               Down+B    the comic book. Very well drawn too :)
** Sailor Moon R(J)                 Left      This palette seems to work the most
** Snow Brothers JR                 Left+A    Really looks like you are in the Arctic
** Sonic 3D Blast 5                 Down+B    Sonic is blue, what else is new?
** Space Invaders                   Right+B   White monsters, Black BG
 * Super Mario 4(J)                 Right     Clearer sprites, the trees flash
   Tetris Attack                    Auto      Sprite 2 blue, sprite 1 green
   Tetris DX                        Both      The demos are cool, great effects
** Ultraman Ball(J)                 Right     Looks like he does on the show :p
   Wario Land 1                     Auto      Flesh Colored Wario, Light green BG
   Wario Land 2 Color(J)            Both      Everything has been apropriatly colored

( *18* Links )
Luis Encinas(
 - Proved to us all how crappy the infared is :)

The Vintage Gaming Network             
 - The /authority/ on emulation. Lot's of great info here.

GameBoy (oh boy!)                
 - As far as I know, this site doesn't exist anymore. It was great though! All
   that remains are the boards...

Nintendo (Japan)                          
 - Better than the US site.

Nintendo (America)                          
 - For those who can't read Japanese. Their release list sucks!

 - A kickass Website for game info.

 - An excellent Game Boy site. A bit late with some info but still good. You
   can also find a copy of the FAQ there.

Freedom's Soapbox                   
 - This site is mad funny. This guy is not afraid to make fun of himself! Not
   game related though. Look for my own section to appear on this site soon.
   Don't worry, it's about video games, not about what /he/ chose to write...

( *19* Thank you )
Marat Fayzullin - My inspiration for writing this FAQ. Although it isn't as
                  detailed as his FAQ is, I hope to get more info in the future.

    Mom and Dad - Thanks for having sex that night :D It has nothing to do with
                  this FAQ but hey, ya gave me life!!

  Nintendo(US) - They helped me out a LOT in getting this info.

          Karl - Corrected my spelling errors and explained Raster effects and
                 Vectors to me.

       Everlyn - A girl that's into videogames as much as I am!! Hey, thanks
                 for explaining to me how to translate Japanese games!! And
                 also for haveing your friend translate Pokémon for me. Now I
                 can do it on my own! Kick Ass!!!

      GameFAQs - For letting me put up my FAQ and helping me out in over 100's
                 of games. I hope GameFAQs stays around forever.

        Arturo - For showing me Yo e-mail me. You can tell Mike
                 that I give him permission to give you the 10 ten bucks he
                 owes me. :)

           ??? - Who have I missed???

( *20* Credits )
    Daniel Bromley - Colors for kirby's Adventure.
          Ice Blue - Submitted the price of GBC in Taiwan.
Luis Angel Encinas - Submitted the price of GBC in Spain, just to name a few
                     things :)
    Michael Bungey - Submitted the price of GBC in the United Kingdom.
   Nicklas Larsson - Submitted the price of GBC in Sweden.
  Nintendo America - I got a lot of info by e-mailing them.
    Nintendo Japan - For info on the diff. GBC casing colors.
   Marat Fayzullin - Copied his format for displaying system specs. Got NES
                     info from his old FAQ.
          GBC Dojo - I got many of the questions from the Game Boy (oh boy!)
                     message boards.

( *21* Quotes )
      "For years,  our players have asked us for a Game Boy that could
       play their  favorite  games in color.  But  the technology, and
       the high demand  on battery  life,  made it impossible.  As the
       first  to  surmount  the  technical  obstacles,  we’re  able to
       introduce a whole new generation of color games to the millions 
       of people who love Game Boy."  -  Howard Lincoln, chairman, NOA

      "Since its initial  release in 1989,  Game Boy has dominated the
       worldwide  market  for  handheld video game units, selling more
       than  60  million  units in  less than 10 years time.  In North
       America,  Game Boy products claimed nearly 90% of all  category
       revenues in 1997."  -  Nintendo Of Canada, Ltd.

      "Note: a few monocrome Game Boy games may not work properly when
             used with the Game Boy Color system" - GBC Manual
     [Author's note: I'll try to find out which games these are.]

( *@* Other Stuff )
Oh yeah, and for those of you wondering, Game Boy /is/ two words.

Another thing, the Game Boy will NEVER display more than 160x144x56 colors.
I'm talking about that Ken Griffy Jr cart that supposedly displays more than
56 colors. To quote NOA, hundreds. That's BS. The technical term for what you
got going there is _gradients_. Plain and simple. I've seen demos for the NES
that basically do the same thing.

 FROM: Justin )

> Hi there

> Very nice FAQ, it answered lots of my questions regarding my Gameboy
> Color, however...I was wondering.  Can someone test this:

> Try a Japanese GAMEBOY COLOR game in a U.S Gameboy color (note...Gameboy
> Color game..not just a regular game).

> Does it work?


> Justin (

- Yes Justin, it works :)
 FROM: Zig )
> I wanted to point out that on screen because the screen is 18 x 20 tiles
> large the max nuimbers of tiles is 360 just due to viewing size the
> screen in memory is 256 x 256 though so these extra tiles really help
> out regardless the amount of tiles in memory possible is actually 768
> though only 512 of these are usable as sprites or background if you use
> 512 for sprites then you only have 256 unique tiles to use for
> background or vice versa if you have any other questions Im known as
> wombatman on undernet and sometimes efnet just whois me

- You learn something new everyday folks. Thanx zig! (

 FROM: Luis Angel Encinas )
I apologize by a little mistake:
Price in Spain is 12,950, NOT 13,500. I'm very sorry. At least, the error
is not big: less than $4.

To get your pardon, I'll share with you my last expericences about what yo
say at the FAQ:

>> Infared:  Have not tested the distance yet. Couldn't if I wanted to. 

I've developed an infared remote controller based on the CGB. Usable
distance is less than 2 meters at 45 degrees. My Stereo is about 3 meters
long from the sitting place, and I thought that was so stupid the need for
leaving the sofa ....   you understand, don't you?

After testing the CGB IR circuit, I discovered the Nintendo engineers
giving as little as 25 mA for the IR led. Usual IR remote controllers put
50 mA or more on the IR led.

The diode current could be easily raised selecting a lower value for R9,
but this increments the current draining from the +5V supply, causing the
DC converter to shut up (and reseting the Gameboy, of course).

The soluton is to feed the diode directly from the battery, using the same
transistor (Q3) and a 2,2 ohm resistor.

THIS WORKS! Tested! I can use it up to 5 meters at 45 degrees.

My only doubt is about the healthly operation of Q3 with 54 mA (or 84 mA if
you use 1,5 V batteries; I use rechargeable 1,2 V cells), and, the worst,
if some software puts the led on continously (IR remote signals are 40 KHz
pulses). This could burn Q3.

All this has been tested 10 minutes ago. I'll put it to normal work and see
what happens. And if I can get the transistor characteristics... could be
it supports the current!

If you're interested, I could send you the details (as soon as I have it
drawn). By the moment, here is a screenshot of the remote controller.
For those of you that are lost, this dude created a remote control emulator
with his Game Boy Color! That's pretty damn cool! Thanx a lot guy, I'd love
to hear more! Sorry but I lost that pic when I changed my e-mail. Damm, juno
kinda sucks.

Nintendo of America nor affiliates neither endorses This FAQ.  All information
is provided without guarantee, nor is the information under warranty. I am not
responsible  for any  damage  done  to  your Game Boy  or Game Boy CoLoR after
reading  this  FAQ.  All trademarks  and copyrights are recognized.  I take no
responsibility for any false information contained in this document. If any of
this information is false,  do tell me immediately.  My intentions are neither
to mislead nor to withhold the truth.

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