Thursday, January 18, 2007

Nintendo Game Boy Color

So, how would you improve on a handheld console that was able to sell way over a hundred million units worldwide (130+ according to Wikipedia)? What could you possibly add to the monochromatic, ridiculously successful, Lynx and Game Gear crushing Gameboy and make it even better? Well, color (colour even) apparently.

Hence Nintendo's Game Boy Color, a handheld console first revealed during E3 1998 and effectively killed off with the release of the Game Boy Advance in 2001. It was the shortest lived handheld Nintendo ever produced, and the first one to face serious competition from Bandai's Wonderswan, SNK's Neo Geo Pocket and of course Nintendo's very own Gameboy and Gameboy Pocket. Still, the GBC managed to sell almost 50 million units. Quite a feat, that.

Its specs weren't spectacular compared -say- to Atari's Lynx, but still weren't to shabby either. The GBC, like the GameBoy before it (despite the fewer MHz), was built around an 8MHz version of Zilog's Z80 processor, featured 4-channel stereo sound, run for more than 15 hours on two AA batteries, was slightly smaller than the Game Boy, and most important of all sported a nice 2,8" color screen able to show 56 colors (out of a 32k palette) at an almost impressive 160x144 resolution. On the more gimmicky side of things, the GameBoy Color provided gamers with a crippled and quite underused infrared link. Thankfully the older linking options weren't done away with. Oh, and its controls remained the same, consisting of a directional pad, A and B buttons, Start-Select buttons, a volume control and an on/off switch.

Then again, the GBC was fully backwards compatible with the GB, even managing to quite impressively colorize the old games. As for its very own, very exclusive games these include quite a few gems such as Super Mario Bros DX, Wario Land 3, Elevator Action, Resident Evil Gaiden, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons & Oracle of Ages, Heroes of Might and Magic, Rayman, The Fish Files and some -hugely popular, I admit- Pokemon games.

As for this blog... well, as the beautiful Lady of the Mountain provided me (a humble gnome, let me remind you) with a Game Boy Color and as I've already bought quite a few dead-cheap games for it and even rediscovered my forgotten Game Boy, you should expect full GBC coverage and a healthy dose of retro-reviews. Better yet, get one for yourselves too and we could have some group GBC fun (ahem/cough). Shouldn't cost you more than 30$/25 euros; maybe less.

Game Boy Color resources:

Related posts: SEGA Game Gear, Treamcast, Gunpei Yokoi and the Game & Watch

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  1. Gnome, let us rejoice in our blogging synchronicity, for I too am the owner of not one but two pink (I know) Gameboy colours! Once the handheld treasures of my two biggest gingers, they have long been tossed aside in favour of those new fangled PSPs (Pah!)
    they fell by default to their old man (Hooray!)I play the original Mario for Gameboy but was unaware of it's unique colourisation facility until this very excellent post! Whats more there are Gameboy camera peripherals (two of them) in Gamestation for a fiver! Hurrah! What Gameboy Colour fun we'll both have... BTW if you want me to get you a camera peripheral and post it to you it would be my honour to do so! Just let me know...

  2. Pink? You too? Amazing, just amazing! Mine's pink too! Must have been a strange Japanese plot to destroy the precision of our eye-sight, in a feeble attempt to teach us the value of the sound. Anyway. I have to admit that having kids could actually lead to something enjoyable. Like a GBC or two...

    Well, I've been playing quite a few old GB games with almost full color (Tetris, Marioland 2 mostly), but it seems like the TinyToon cartridge sort of died... Sad. Even tried cleaning the thing but to no avail.

    A Gameboy Camera? Sounds extremely interesting and sillyly fun, but really it wouldn't feel right to have you buy me own... Still, thanks a ton. I'm touched and frankly cant think of anything to add but thank you!