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Welcome to the FAQ!

Welcome young and old to the all-new Color Gameboy FAQ!  If this is your first visit here's a little bit of site history for you:  On June 29th, 1998, I started the CGB FAQ with the intention of providing the general public with accurate and reputable information straight from the source, and sometimes even months in advance. 

Oh yeah, and for those of you who didn't know, FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions.  (I actually got a few emails about it :)    ) 
  
March 9, 1999

I've made some changes, and have gotten rid of some useless info, as well as updated some important stuffin.

 
 
 
"Just the FAQ's Ma'am"
1.  What is Gameboy?   
2.  What is Gameboy Color?   
3.  What's the difference?   
4.  Will my old games work on the GBC?   
5.  Will the new games work on my old GB?   
6.  What are the specs on the GBC?   
7.  How will the color modes work?   
8.  What games will be released?   
9.  When was GBC be released?   
10.  What does it look like?   
11.  How much does it cost?   
12.  What kind of link support does it have?   
13.  Which old games play in full color?   
14.  How do the GB camera and printer work with the GBC?   
15.  Is it's better than game gear?   
16.  What competition does it have?   
17.  Is the screen backlit?   
18.  What peripherals are compatible?   
19.  Is  there a pack-in game with the GBC?  
20.  Which games were released at the same time as the GBC?  
21.  Where can I find a GBC in my home town? 
22.  What games are good? 
 

 
 

 
 
 
1.  What is Gameboy?
 
If you've been in a cave for the last decade, the Gameboy is the worlds first, longest lasting, and most supported portable of all time, surviving the Atari Lynx, Sega Game gear, Turboexpress, Nomad, and Game.com. 

Released in 1988 (japan) and 1989 (USA), the system has sold over 60 million units worldwide in both Gameboy and Gameboy Pocket forms. The library of games has grown to over 1000 over the last ten years despite being  the least technically impressive.   

It ran on 4 AA batteries for anywhere from 15-30 hours, and was based on the Z80 processor architecture.  The screen used 4 shade greyscale LCD.  The Pocket model, released in 1996, ran on 2 AAA batteries for 10 hours, with a higher contrast screen.   
 
Over the years there have been dozens of variations of the gameboy.  Counting all possible combinations of colors and sizes, I think the grand total of different North American gameboys is somewhere around 17-20.

 
 
 
2.  What is Gameboy Color?
In early March, 1998 Nintendo decided to revamp the Gameboy for full color game play.   

Basically, it is a gameboy on steroids with a color screen provided by sharp, an 8 MHz Z80-esque Processor (also made by Sharp) with additional main memory as welll as some other nifty features, most listed in this document.   

The GBC was released Oct. 23, 1998 in Japan, Nov. 19 in the states, Nov. 23 In Europe and most other places.  I saw first signs of the GBC in Calgary on Nov. 21. 

The GBC could be compared to the atari 7800 because of its advancements over its predecessors as well as backwards compatability. 

 
 
  
3.  What's the difference?
The gameboy Color plays games in color (duh), is smaller, and runs on 2 AA batteries, and will run more technically impressive games.  Just read the rest of the FAQ for details!  
 
 
 
   
4.  Do my old games work on the GBC?
   
Yes.  That's it.  See sections 5 and 7 for further details.  
 
 
 
   
5.  Do the new games work on my old GB?
Games which use only the additional color tables will work on the old GB, however, games which make use of the CGB's expanded RAM (32K), processing speed, and graphics, will not be compatible.   

There will be 3 levels of compatability with the GBC as follows:  

Monochrome GB- will work on any gameboy  (Or Standard GB game with a 10-color built in palette for GBC) 

Enhanced GBC- will work on any gameboy, but with GBC color enhancements  
       The three methods for doing this are: 

  • Colorized DMG/MGB Model-  Merely adds 7 to 10 fixed colors to a game without altering any artwork, and making no use of GBC special features.
  • Dual Engine Model-  Two entirely different programs exist in a single cartridge using a simple Bootstrap program to choose the correct version of the code for the platform 
  • Adaptive model-  Both GB and GBC will use the same basic engine, but will use separate sets of subroutines and functions to make use of the GBC's hardware (ie faster processor, color graphics, expanded RAM)
Dedicated GBC- Takes advantage of some or all of the special features of the GBC, and the integral use of these features is what characterizes a dedicated GBC game from a Dual-engine/Adaptive Model game.  When plugged into a GB, GBP, or SGB you will receive the message "This game can only be played on Game Boy Color" 

 

 
 
   
6.  What are the specs on the GBC?
   
Processor:  8 MHz Z80 work alike by Sharp with TWO processor modes: Single (4MHz) and double (8MHz).   
Video:  10, 32, or 56 on screen colors from a palette of 32000, Screen made by Sharp   
Sound:  4 Channel FM stereo- same as pocket  
Controls:  8 directional D-Pad, A,B, select, and Start buttons.   
Power:  13 hours on average from 2 AA batteries, or power from AC adapter.   
Size:  Similar to the gameboy Pocket.  (Slightly larger), slightly smaller than the GB Light released in Japan 
Resolution: 160x144x56 colors- Other higher-color modes are available using tweaking.  The largest I've seen uses the entire GBC palette (32K color) at a lower resolution.
Sprites: 40 - 8x16, 8x8 (four color sprites-4 colors- 1 being a transparent) 
Tiles:  512 on screen making use of the 16K of VRAM  
Cart Size:   256KBit - 16MBit for GB compatible games. Up to 64MBit ROM & 128KBytes RAM for CGB cartridges, although 32Mbit ROM / 64K RAM carts are the largest currently manufactured. 
DMA:   Two new DMA transfer modes. Transfer is constant regardless of CPU speed. New modes allow tranferring anything from ROM or RAM to VRAM at a rate of 16 bytes per H-Blank.  This is necessary because of the color display requirements, and provides for faster, smoother animation. 
Serial port speed:  512 Kbps 
 
 
   
7.  The Color modes- How do they work?
   
For non-color games: 4 background & window colors, 3 sprite palette 0, and 3 sprite palette 1 colors for a total of 10. The GBC will ignore the SGB color tables and supports none of the SGB features.  

The 32 and 56 color modes will still have 4 color sprites (with one transparent) but the games with CGB enabled modes will correct a bunch of sprite priority bugs in the original gameboy (yes there were bugs in the original gameboy!) Also, there can now be up to 512 tiles on screen because of the double size of the graphics buffer. (16K)  But still, alot of this technology is still undocumented (or at least undisclosed).   The number of BG colors in the 56 color mode is 32 colors, and the maximum number of colors for sprites will be 24 (3colors per sprite*8 pallettes).  Raster effects are also possible. 

More on the 10-color mode: 

When you turn on the GBC you will be able to select from 12 different palettes by pressing different combinations of the direction keys and the A, B buttons. 

Here's the table as previously promised! 
 
Key combination
Background
Sprite 1 color
Sprite 2 color
Default Green / Blue Red Red
Up Brown Brown Brown
Up + A Red Green Blue
Up + B Dark Brown Brown Brown
Left Blue Red Green
Left + A Dark Blue Red Brown
Left + B Gray Gray Gray
Down Yellow, Red, Blue Yellow, Red, Blue Yellow, Red, Blue
Down + A Yellow & Red Yellow & Red Yellow & Red
Down + B Yellow Blue Green
Right Green & Red Green & Red Green & Red
Right + A Green & Blue Red Red
Right + B Reverse Reverse Reverse
  
 

 
 
   
8.  What games will be released in color?
   
Game Title Confirmed Color Confirmed Release date
 NBA Jam '99 - Midway  Yes Yes Released
Turok 2 - Acclaim  Yes Yes REleased
The Legend Of Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Nintendo  Yes Yes Released
 Baby Titus - Titus  Yes Yes Released
Bugs Bunny (Crazy Castle 3) - Kemco Yes Yes Released
Quest For Camelot - Titus  Yes Yes Released
Shadowgate Classic - Kemco  Yes Yes Released
Top Gear Pocket - Kemco  Yes Yes Spring 99
GEX 3D- Crystal Dynamics/Eidos  Yes Yes Released
Spawn - Konami  Yes Yes Spring 99
Legend of Zelda game - Nintendo (title not yet known)  Yes Yes ?
San Francisco Rush - Midway  Yes Yes Spring 99
Rampage World Tour - Midway  Yes Yes Released
Mortal Kombat 4 - Midway  Yes Yes Released
Blitz - Midway  Yes Yes Released
Roadsters- Titus  Yes Yes ?
Carmageddon Yes Yes Spring 99
Abe's adventure Yes Yes ?
Beavis and butthead Yes Yes ?
Prince of Persia Yes Yes ?
Tetris DX Yes Yes Nov 23 (Oct 21 japan)
Paperboy Yes Yes ?
Marble Madness Yes Yes ?
Super Mario Color Yes Yes May 10
Spy hunter/Moon Patroll- Midway Yes Yes ?
Defender/Joust- Midway Yes Yes ?
Power Modeler- Capcom Yes Yes Released
South Park Yes Yes ?
720 degrees -Midway Yes Yes Released
Bomberman Pocket - Nintendo Yes Yes Released
Conker's Pocket Tales - Nintendo/Rare Yes Yes ?
Deja Vu II - Kemco  Yes Yes ?
Game & Watch Gallery 2 - Nintendo Yes Yes Released
Harvest Moon - Natsume Yes Yes Released
Wario Land II - Nintendo Yes Yes (japan)  Released
Pitfall  Yes Yes Released
Men In Black Yes Yes Released
Pokemon Pinball Yes Yes ?
NHL Blades of Steel Yes Yes Spring 99
Revelation (another bible 2) Yes Yes ?
Duke Nukem Yes Yes ?
Asteroids Yes Yes ?
Smurfs Yes Yes Released
Griffey baseball 2 Yes Yes Spring 99
 
 
 
 
   
9.  When was the GBC released?
   
The GBC has already been released worldwide. 
 
 
  
10.  What does it look like?
   
  

You should know by now :)
 
 

 
 
   
11.  How much does it cost?
   
MSRP of 8900 Yen, $69.99 US. $99.99 Canadian + 7% GST = $106.99 after tax.   
 
 
 
   
12.  What kind of link support does it have?
   
The GBC will feature both GameLink and IR ports. 
The gamelink port will be 64 times faster than in the GB (now 512 Kbps)- also useful for the GB printer. 
The IR port will be primarily for the exchange of data in games such as pokemon.  Not intended for 2-player games. 

I also found out (next generation on-line: the only magazine on the net that gives a care about the GBC) that the GB will have four-player split-screen linkup capabilities with the N64!  This is achieved through four GBC's connected through the joystick ports.  The N64 and the GBC have the hardware to do such built right in!  

 

 
 
   
13.  Which old games play in full color?
  
There are a whole bunch of games that have been found to have color tables built into the GBC.  More are being discovered daily, so here's the list: 

DKL series 
SML series 
Kirby games 
Metroid 2  
Tennis 
Alleyway 
Kid Icarus 
Baseball 
Zelda 
Street Fighter 2 
Duck Tales 
Donkey Kong 95 
Tetris 

  

 
 
   
14.  How do the GB camera and printer work with the GBC?
   
The GB camera and printer will function in 4 shade grayscale, making no use of the GBC    
 
 
 
   
15.  So, is it better than gamegear?
   
In my opinion, the gameboy was always better than the gamegear because of superior games and support, but here are some comparisons:   
  
Gameboy Color  Game Gear
Processor speed 8 MHz custom Z80 4 MHz Zilog Z80
Onscreen colors 56+/32000 32/512
Resolution 160*144   
 
160*140 viewable from 256*224
Battery life 13 hours 2 AA 6 hours 6 AA
Sound 4 channel FM Stereo 6 channel FM, 2 channel noise Stereo
Sprite size 8*8, 8*16 8*8,8*16 (16*16 in doubled mode)
Max num. of sprites 40 on screen 64 on screen 128 in mem
Library 1000+ and growing 450
Supported Yes No
Other notes: Backwards compatible with GB Compatible with sega Master System
  
 
 
 
   
16.  What competition does it have?
   
SNK has revealed a portable 16-bit greyscale NeoGeo , with some kind of compatability with sega's 128-bit dreamcast.  This unit is simply called the Neo*Geo Pocket, and looks half decent.  Although it is very likely that there will  be a North American release, you may be able to pick one up at an import shop.  Also, all the games play in English as well as Japanese so that doesn't hurt either :) I hope you all enjoy fighting and sports games though!  Look for a color version this Summer.

Bandai is releasing its own portable, with twice the gameboy's resolution (greyscale).  The unit is called the WonderSwan- it seems to be a fairly powerful little system, although not color.  This is also the brainchild of the gameboy's creator, and several conspiracy theories have been circulating which attribute the WonderSwan to the gameboy creator's death. 

Tiger's Game.Com is still around- it offers mediocre greyscale, a blurry screen, single channel PCM sound, I don't think it'll be around for too long.  Infact, I've never seen a store in Canada that carries game.com.  Tiger recently released the Game.Com pocketpro, which looks like a smaller Game.Com with a backlit screen, and no second cartridge port. 

 

 
 
   
17.  Is the screen backlit?
   
No, it uses a new reflected-color LCD display which allows for less blurred refreshes, more contrasted colors, and very low power consumption.   In other words, no light comes off the screen, and you can not play in the dark. 

 

 
 
   
18.  What periferals are compatible?
   
Gamelink, GameBoy Pocket AC adapter, Game Genie, Game Shark...   
I'm sure there are others as well.   

WARNING:  The GameGenie and Game Shark are INCOMPATABLE with GBC games, however the units still function with old GB games when used in a GBC. 

 

 
 
   
 19. Is there a pack-in with the GBC?
   
As of yet, there has been no plan to release the GBC with a pack-in cart.  However, if you own any of the games which the GBC will have built-in support for, I think that's just as good as a pack-in.  
 
 
 
   
20. What games were released at the same time as the GBC?
The only games released in North America with the GBC were Game&Watch Gallery 2, Tetris DX, and Bomberman Pocket.  Days later NFL Blitz, MK4, Rampage, and a few others were released.  In Japan, Warioland 2 was the substitute for Game&Watch Gallery 2. 
 
 
   
21. Where can I find a GBC in my hometown?
I've gotten more than a few (dozen) of these e-mails in the last little while, probably due to the Christmas season.  When I reply to these kinds of messages, I offer these suggestions. 

1)  Check any major video game or electronics store. 
2)  If they don't have any, check an online importer- they very well might be able to get a GBC and games to you. 

Also, be aware that I am unable to order GBC's for you, nor give a GBC to you free of charge.  I don't even have my GBC yet! 
 

 
   
22.  What games are good?
For your viewing and reading pleasure, I am in the process of writing a review page, the link for which is on the main page.
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