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What games can Game Boy Color play?

The Game Boy Color, released by Nintendo in 1998, was an upgraded version of the original Game Boy that could display games in color. While it was backwards compatible and could play all of the games released for the original Game Boy, the Game Boy Color also had its own library of games that took advantage of its color capabilities. In total, there were over 500 games released for the Game Boy Color during its lifetime.

Original Game Boy Games

The Game Boy Color was fully compatible with the enormous library of games released for the original Game Boy. There were over 1000 games released for the original Game Boy between 1989 and 1998, meaning the Game Boy Color had access to a vast back catalogue of titles right from launch. Some of the most popular Game Boy games that could be played on the Game Boy Color included:

  • Tetris
  • Super Mario Land
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
  • Pokémon Red and Blue
  • Metroid II: Return of Samus
  • Kirby’s Dream Land

While original Game Boy games would play in monochrome on the Game Boy Color, many of them were optimized with color palettes to take advantage of the new hardware. The system would use these optimized palettes to add limited color to original Game Boy games.

Game Boy Color Exclusives

In addition to the original Game Boy library, the Game Boy Color also received its own exclusive games designed to take full advantage of the system’s color capabilities. Around 230 games were released that were only compatible with the Game Boy Color, and would not work on the original Game Boy. Some highlights of the Game Boy Color exclusive library included:

Game Release Year
Pokémon Gold and Silver 1999
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons 2001
Dragon Warrior Monsters 1999
Dragon Warrior III 2000
Warlocked 2000
Wario Land 3 2000
Shantae 2002

The Pokémon sequels Gold and Silver were hugely anticipated Game Boy Color exclusives that built upon the massive success of the original Red and Blue games. Many considered them the best Pokémon games yet, introducing 100 new Pokémon and color graphics. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons were also ambitious Zelda adventures made specifically for the Game Boy Color.

Enhanced Ports and Remakes

In addition to original games, the Game Boy Color also received enhanced ports and remakes of games from other platforms. These included versions of popular games like Rayman and Tomb Raider that were reworked to add color graphics and additional content. Some examples of enhanced ports and remakes include:

  • Rayman
  • A Bug’s Life
  • Tomb Raider
  • Frogger
  • Q*Bert
  • Pac-Man: Special Color Edition
  • Ms. Pac-Man: Special Color Edition

These games allowed popular titles from other systems like PlayStation and arcade games to find a new audience on the Game Boy Color with graphics optimized for the handheld.


With its backwards compatibility for original Game Boy games, newer Game Boy Color exclusives, and enhanced ports of games from other platforms, the Game Boy Color had an impressive selection of over 500 titles to choose from in its library. Some of the most iconic and highly rated games released for the system included:

Game Metacritic Score
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages 90
Pokémon Gold and Silver 87
Dragon Warrior III 86
Metal Gear Solid 86
Super Mario Bros. Deluxe 84
Tetris DX 83
Wario Land 3 82

From platforming classics like Super Mario to epic RPG adventures like Pokémon and Dragon Warrior, the Game Boy Color had a stellar selection of first and third party games that kept fans entertained on the go. The system’s backwards compatibility meant gamers also had access to the entire classic Game Boy library in addition to the new color-enhanced titles. With versatile controls, good battery life, and hundreds of great games to choose from, the Game Boy Color offered outstanding portable gaming and was a worthy successor to the original Game Boy.