Game Boy Color Pokémon
Image: Damien McFerran / Nintendo Life

Remember, several of these Game Boy Color titles are playable on Switch. Enjoy!

It was 1996 in Japan and 1998 in North America (and a year later in Europe) when the ageing Game Boy got an unexpected shot in the arm thanks to a little game named Pokémon. Nintendo's granddaddy of handheld gaming suddenly had a new lease on life, but in the West the release of the game was followed just weeks later by the arrival of a new console — the Game Boy Color — and it was on that wonderful system that many of us caught our very first Pocket Monster.

A colour update to the original DMG-001 — which had previously been revised in the smaller form of Game Boy Pocket — was a long time coming, but after nine years Game Boy Color finally gave handheld Nintendo gamers the proper upgrade they'd been waiting for.

GBC launched, appropriately, in a range of eye-catching colours and was fully backwards compatible with the existing Game Boy library. Many dual 'black cart' games would also play perfectly well on the original monochrome console, although the sexier Color-exclusive games came on clear cartridges which let you glimpse the board inside. The GBC soon built up its own great software library before the Game Boy Advance came along in 2001. Three years is a relatively short life span, especially compared to its predecessor, but we're big fans of this gorgeous system and its impressive, oft-forgotten library.

Mario Golf GBC
Hang on, we gave this a 7?? Staff meeting!Image: Gavin Lane / Nintendo Life

We've previously assembled Top 50 rankings for every other Nintendo console, each and every one based on User Ratings submitted by readers, and this list of the Best Game Boy Color games ever is the last to go live. Thank you all for contributing, to this list and all the others.

Remember, though, that just like the others, this ranking is not set in stone. The list will continue to evolve automatically based on user scores submitted to the Nintendo Life game database. If you missed out on 'voting', you can still do so right now by simply scrolling down and rating them, or hunting down a game that's missing via the search bar below. Games require a minimum of 10 ratings to become eligible, but once that threshold is reached (and if it scores highly enough) it will appear below.

Ready to take a look? Grab yourself a fresh pair of AAs, sit back, and relax as we take you on a tour of the 50 best Game Boy Color games of all time...

Note. In order for games to become eligible, they need a minimum of 10 User Ratings in total.

50. Prince of Persia (GBC)

Handled by Ed Magnin, the same programmer behind the regular GB release, the Game Boy Color version of Prince of Persia is an alright port, though it is marred by a handful of small annoyances. If you don't have any other options (which seems unlikely all these years later), it might entertain you for a while, but the other ports fare much, much better. This one was also available on the 3DS Virtual Console.

49. Yu-Gi-Oh! Dark Duel Stories (GBC)

The third game in the Duel Monsters series, Konami's Yu-Gi-Oh! Dark Duel Stories was the first Yu-Gi-Oh! game to release in the West and (evidently) the first in this particular series of trading card battlers. With eye-catching art and link cable multiplayer, the series would grow into a very successful and very long line of games based on the manga.

48. Mr. Driller (GBC)

The arcade game shrunk down on a handheld, Namco's simple, addictive gameplay (drill down to destroy blocks piling up beneath your feet) and clean, colourful visuals work very well on the GBC. The home console versions might look prettier, but Mr. Driller felt right at home on Nintendo's portable.

47. Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams (GBC)

Visually, Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dream it is a big step down from the arcade original — as you'd expect — but this is a fairly good-looking port considering the hardware. Gameplay is the most important thing and luckily it feels like a Street Fighter game despite the occasional irritation of an unintended special move. As a single player experience, this is a decent little fighter that will keep you occupied for quite a while, but some extra modes would have been welcome. Sound effects are straight-up bad and an ending bug also annoys, but the lack of two-player mode is the big disappointment here. If you can't rub a pal's face in it, what's the point?

46. Mega Man Xtreme (GBC)

Mega Man Xtreme is an interesting curio, but its ambitions exceed its abilities. As fantastic as a portable Mega Man X game sounds on paper, in practice Xtreme is little more than a lesser imitation of the console originals. Little in the way of unique content, copious spelling errors, and inferior visuals and audio — as well as control issues, too-frequent loading screens and repetitious padding — mean that all its big ideas are better handled elsewhere.

45. Perfect Dark (GBC)

Rare did a great job on squeezing so many features and technical magic into the little cart, and this GBC rendition of Perfect Dark certainly looks impressive considering the hardware, but this focus on the tech seems to have had an averse effect on the gameplay. It's not a bad game by any stretch, but as a stealthy Metal Gear-alike, it's lacking a little in the 'Fun' department. If you're forgiving of its flaws, you might have a pretty good time with it, but it's far from Perfect.

The non-backlit Game Boy Color screen provides plenty of Dark, mind.

44. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone (GBC)

Bucking the trend of low-quality movie-licensed tie-ins on handheld platforms, Harry Potter and The Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone was a wonderfully solid little RPG and, in our opinion, legitimately in the running for Best Harry Potter game ever — certainly in the top three. Not that the series boasts a host of stone-cold classics, but still.

Its turn-based RPG gameplay fit Harry's spell-filled wizarding world perfectly and it remains one of the best interpretations of the source material in video game form. Flipendo!

43. Toki Tori (GBC)

Toki Tori is a game many players probably missed the first time around, though it's easy to catch up with the game these days on Switch. With forty increasingly challenging main stages and several optional hard stages, you're likely be entertained for a good amount of time before reaching the end of the GBC original, and there's something to be said about experiencing this fun puzzle platformer on the system it was originally designed for.

42. Bionic Commando: Elite Forces (GBC)

Bionic Commando: Elite Forces has some problems (a few dull boss battles, forgettable music and it could use a few more of the well-put-together sniper sections) but for the most part it's an entertaining, challenging title with enough swinging action to keep you busy for some time. Once cleared it may be a while before you feel the urge to go back to it, but it's a decent entry in Capcom's series and a good choice for people who consider jumping overrated.

41. Ms. Pac-Man: Special Color Edition (GBC)

This edition of Midway's celebrated Ms. Pac-Man, which is more highly regarded than the original in many quarters, bundled in a port of Super Pac-Man for good measure. Beyond that, it's just a solid handheld version of one of the best pill-munching puzzlers ever made.