Nintendo's Game Boy Color was first released in Japan 21 years ago today on 21st October 1998.
A successor to the original beast that was the Game Boy, the Game Boy Color unsurprisingly featured a colour screen, giving Nintendo's handheld games a whole new lease of life. While we sadly don't have exact figures for each of the two consoles separately, the Game Boy and Game Boy Color sold a whopping 118.69 million units between them, with 501.11 million games being sold, too.
The total puts it ahead of the original PlayStation and even the Wii in terms of sales, with only the Nintendo DS and PlayStation 2 selling more units overall. Tetris DX, Wario Land II, and a rerelease of Pocket Bomberman all arrived as launch titles for the Color, but its backwards compatibility made it a particularly tempting machine for those wanting their first gaming handheld. Some original Game Boy games - such as Pokémon Red and Blue and Super Mario Land - even had special colour palettes when used with the new console.
The Game Boy Color was eventually discontinued in 2003, with the Game Boy Advance and the Game Boy Advance SP becoming Nintendo's shiny new handheld toy. As for the best-selling game for the system? That would - of course - be Pokémon Gold and Silver.
Did you have a Game Boy Color? Do you have any fond memories of the system and its games? Feel free to share them with us below.
My see through purple with Link's Awakening DX still in it is the best
Selling battery covers for these became it's own business.
I literally got a replacement battery cover for my old atomic purple Game Boy Color last week, haha.
Now it won't be illegal to clean it with rubbing alcohol.
I think the gameboy color is the best looking gameboy, especially in its transparent colours
I’ve just started another play through of LA DX on my turquoise GBC, and then I’m move onto OoS / OoA. Happy Birthday, old chap!
@Bunkerneath Still got mine as well. Same color, and in near mint condition. The only part I ever replaced was the screen protector, because over the years, it had accumulated too many scratches on it.
Then again: I kept it in a soft pouch back then, now it's stored in a appropriately sized aluminium case, with interior padding.
Just down pour alcohol on it to try to get it drunk, things won't turn out well.
I have so many fond memories of it. It was my first Game Boy, I actually got it before the original which my older cousin gave me when they thought it was broken (I fixed that one, it just had a bent spring for the battery slot)
I still have the Game Boy Color too, it is the neon green one. I put countless hours into it. Had it taken away by a teacher once for playing in school (something that apparently is no long allowed for teachers to do in many schools) traded Pokemon over a link cable. Played in the back seat of the car on long road trips, huddled under a blanket with a flashlight thinking my parents actually believed I was asleep... Once I even played by candlelight during a long 3 day power outage!
Good memories to be sure! And the GBC and original Game Boy have many many fantastic games! But not long ago I tried to use it again for fun, and it actually hurts my eyes, going back to a non-backlit screen for any amount of time. While I treasure the memories, still love the games, and like having it as a collector's item, it has not aged well itself.
I'll be interested in that Analogue clone console to play all my retro cartridges at some point - or maybe Nintendo will speed up their retro Switch online releases and give us more there.
With optimal lighting, the GBC screen is gorgeous! I have a GBAs with AGS 101 screens, but I still play on GBC when I know i'll have enough light.
I had a see-through Atomic Purple Game Boy Color. It was actually my first Game Boy, and I got a copy of Pokemon Red when I got it. So I actually never played the Pokemon games on the original green screen Game Boy. I also remember loving The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Seasons, which was my second game!
Game Boy Color was my first handheld. My brother got Red and I got Yellow. He was obsessed with discovering and researching every glitch possible in the game, from catching Mew and Missingno and assigning unlimited stats, to even visiting a glitched town. He exploited so many glitches that he literally bugged the entire Game Boy Color, and would corrupt any other game that was played on it thereafter.
I on the other hand was just content with beating the Elite Four. Great memories.
The GBC was my first handheld (or console for that matter) so it will always hold a special place in my heart
Awesome console which I purchased so many games for, still have a few now.
@Heavyarms55 well played during the power outage. I did a similar thing. It was also a three-day power outage and I used my original-model GBA to help pass the time. I first bought it in a bundle that came with one of those worm lights and it came in handy then. Some people consider the original GBA as inferior because it takes AA batteries, but that was a huge advantage in that situation.
My first system ever was a Silver Special Pikachu Edition Game Boy Color that I received for my birthday at age 10, complete with Pokemon Gold. I still have the system and, while it's definitely been through some wear and tear (mainly paint wear, and the up/down inputs on the D-pad are delayed sometimes) it still functioned the last time I turned it on. I spent countless hours playing the likes of Pokemon, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Tweety's High-Flying Adventure, and some other games (both decent and shovelware) that I shared with my siblings.
Happy birthday, Game Boy Color! You definitely changed this kid's life and played an important part in turning them into a lifelong Nintendo fan.
@Heavyarms55 I'm not sure how many nights I spent glued to the nightlight in my room past my bedtime trying to play my GBC! Unfortunately my room was in a loft where the family computer was, so mom got kind of wise to it lol.
I always wondered when Nintendo first developed the Game Boy Color. As I recall, there was no indication such a device was ready until the Neo Geo Pocket and Wonderswan, both with monochrome screens, were announced. With those coming, suddenly, the Game Boy Color was announced for release. While the Neo Geo Pocket(which I loved) and Wonderswan were both excellent in their own ways, the Game Boy Color had a killer feature they couldn't match without system revisions. I have no doubt that Nintendo was constantly developing new products and upgrades, and it seems likely they were sitting on the Game Boy Color until they were forced to release it to stay ahead. I'm not knocking their tactics. I just wonder when it was actually ready. Obviously, SNK and Bandai had to upgrade to color sooner than they probably wanted to.
Why can't Nintendo celebrate making their virtual console games on sale. I don't mind getting a copy if $1-$2. $5 per is excessive.
Having color on a Game Boy screen was strange at first.
Damn, I have a red one laying around with Super Mario Land in it (the only game I own). Really great little system.
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