Gameboy Color Review


Hello, my name is Julie Strietelmeier and I’m a 34yr old female portable video game
freak.  I’ve had the Atari Lynx, Sega GameGear, two original Gameboys, the Gameboy Pocket and now the new Nintendo Gameboy
Color.  Yes, Nintendo has finally released their much anticipated color handheld game
unit and it’s a winner.

The original Gameboy unit was introduced in Japan in 1988 (1989 in the USA). It had an
8bit Z80 based processor, 160×144 pixel 4 gray scale screen, 4 channel sound and ran 15-30
hrs on 4 AA batteries. In 1996 the Gameboy Pocket was introduced. This model was smaller
in size, had a better contrast screen and ran 10hrs on 2 AAA batteries.

Gameboy Color Specs:
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
Resolution: 160x144x56 colors
Sound: 4 Channel FM stereo- same as Gameboy Pocket
Power: 13 hours on 2 AA batteries, or power from AC adapter
Size: Similar to Gameboy Pocket (just a bit larger)

The Gameboy Color comes in two colors. You can choose purple or clear purple. The unit
is made really well. It feels solid. Since the Gameboy color uses 2 AA batteries, the unit
is now a little thicker at the bottom… One review I read, referred to it as a
‘butt’.  This added thickness doesn’t make the Gameboy any harder to hold or play
than the previous models.

The on/off switch is now on the right side of the unit instead of the top. I’ve heard
some people complain about that, but I don’t know why. There’s really no way to
accidentally turn the unit off while you’re playing the game. The switch is pretty stiff.

The left side of the unit has a little opening to add a hand strap. This wasn’t
included in the package and must be purchased separately. There is also the datalink
connector and volume control wheel on the left side of the unit.

The bottom of the Gameboy has connectors for an AC adapter and earphones (both sold
separately). The top of the unit has the IR port and game cartridge slot. The card slot is
tight which makes removing the games a little harder than I remember with my original
Gameboy and Gameboy Pocket. It would be nice if there was a little button that you could
push that would eject the card out far enough so that you could get hold of it to remove
it completely.

The gamepad and buttons are easy to use. If you were comfortable using the original or
Pocket Gameboy, you’ll have no problem with this new unit.

Sound is also as good as the previous units.

Of course, the main new feature of the Gameboy Color is the terrific reflective color
LCD display. Below you’ll see some screen shots.  I debated on whether to add them or
not because they didn’t turn out very well. They don’t do the actual screen justice at
all…. so please don’t base these pictures on the quality of the display…

I love the color screen! It’s bright, and crisp. When you play a game, there isn’t any
blurring that happens with most gray scale LCDs. It makes the game animation really great.
  The only bad thing about the screen is that you need light in order to see it. You
have to be in a well lit room. I wish they would have added a backlight… I’ve seen a 3rd
party snap on light/magnifier unit due out soon.

Another great thing about the Gameboy Color is that it will play all your old mono
Gameboy games just fine. In fact, you can even colorize them with 4 to 10 colors.  
Unfortunately, I didn’t have any old Gameboy games to test this out.

I also didn’t get to test out the new IR port.  The instructions say you have to
keep the units no more than 2" apart which seems pretty useless.

As for battery life, I’m still using the 2 AA’s that came with the unit and I’ve had it
for about a week or so. The reflective screen is very low power. I’m not sure how long
I’ll end up getting out of them, but I’ve heard that 13hrs or so is average.

In summary, if you want a handheld game machine, get this one!


Price: $79.99

Clear/sharp color screen.
Small size.
Runs all previous Gameboy games.

Screen is not backlit. Must use in well lit area.
Game isn’t included with the unit.


Product Information

  • Clear/sharp color screen.
  • Small size.
  • Runs all previous Gameboy games.
  • Screen is not backlit. Must use in well lit area.
  • Game isn't included with the unit.
Posted in: Gaming Gear
{ 5 comments… add one }
  • dude May 27, 2011, 12:29 am

    wowza, i appear to have timetraveled back to the ninties! a message from the future, 3d Backlit handhelds with touchscreens are coming. theres a black president. woooooooooo

  • Fox November 17, 2013, 9:29 pm

    8-bit aesthetics.Com (you’re welcome)

  • deBeauharnais August 1, 2014, 7:41 am

    I googled “new review of the game boy color” and THIS is the result. But hey, everything went better than expected, since this amused me more than a 2014 review.
    I was surprised to read that the not-backlit screen was already an issue.

    • Julie Strietelmeier August 1, 2014, 8:09 am

      @deBeauharnais wow, that’s a blast from the past… I wrote that back in 1998! I still have the device 🙂

  • Juan September 14, 2016, 11:12 pm

    Looking for a Gb review, I’d found it ¿1998?! This is amazing… Julie, you are the legend of videogames reviews!

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