I want to play through the original Pokémon games (Blue and Red) and was wondering what I would need in order to get going with it.

Can I play it on the original Game Boy? The Game Boy Advanced? Game Boy Color? Game Boy Pocket? Are there any additional features offered by — or limitations of — the different devices?

  • 2
    I'd highly recommend playing gen gen 1 or 2 remakes on GBA or DS instead. Nostalgia makes you forget lots of the terrible usability of those old games (the PC box was AWFUL in gen 1) and the remakes keep 99.9% of the good and have better UIs, and pokemon can be moved up to the newer games (gen 1 and 2 deadend and can't be traded up)
    – Ben Brocka
    Mar 18, 2014 at 15:38
  • 6
    Always a pleasure, when a valid question is closed while an answer is being written. By the way, this isn't a shopping recommendation in my book.
    – Nolonar
    Mar 18, 2014 at 15:38
  • 1
    Since this question is on hold until further notice, I'll just post an ultra-short version of my intended answer: All Game Boy systems will do except for the Game Boy Micro, which is only compatible to Game Boy Advance titles.
    – Nolonar
    Mar 18, 2014 at 15:52
  • 2
    Why all the -1 votes? Just because he asked "Where can I buy from?" (that portion should just be deleted) Or because every "What can I play <original GB game> on?" question will have exactly the same answer? (In that case, this question should just be updated to something like "What systems can I play pokemon and other original gameboy games on?") Mar 19, 2014 at 3:55
  • 1
    Note that there are emulators on PC which make you able to play these games on your pc inside a virtual Game Boy. May 14, 2014 at 13:56

4 Answers 4


To play old pokemon game you just need a Gameboy, any product labeled "Gameboy" that isn't the Gameboy Micro will suit your purposes. If you need a new one, your best options are the following:

Game Boy Color (not recommended)

There's no reason to get a gameboy pocket (or, barf, an original gameboy) since the GBC can easily emulate the monochrome display if you MUST not have color. Otherwise, the GBC allows gen 2 to be played in proper color as well as lending a less-impressive splash of color to the original games.

Also the GBC can easily trade via link cable to other gen 1 games, assuming you have friends to trade with (pretty unlikely these days).

Game Boy Advance SP (recommended)

Might be a bit more expensive, but the first built-in backlit and has rechargable batteries. Most people forget that old gameboys had disposable batteries and non-backlit screens. Only potential negatives are a possible cost increase compared to older models, and the GBA SP isn't quite as comfortable for extended use--I've only found this to be a problem with "twitch" games like Mega Man, shouldn't be an issue for Pokemon.

There are apparently "universal" link cables that let you attach a GBA to a GBC for trading like gen 1&2 require but I haven't used such hardware.

I know this isn't the question, but take heed that old gen pokemon games really don't hold up as well as you might hope. The PC box system was AWFUL in gen 1 and still poor in gen 2. I highly recommend going for the gen 1 and gen 2 remakes personally, they're available on GBA and DS respectively (FireRed and LeafGreen for gen 1), so a single DS system would be enough to play both of them, and all following generations up to 5.

  • Another problem with the old games is that by now the save batteries are going bad, meaning you cant load or save without replacing them. I tried my original Silver version a couple years ago and this happened to me. There ARE ways to fix it, but it can be a pain if you don't know what you're doing. Mar 18, 2014 at 23:48
  • @Katustrawfic yeah, this was brought up in comments above. Gen 1 batteries should still be okay (my release copies are) but will likely die within a couple years I think. Gen 2 batteries are already dead (the clock kills them). Gen 3 batteries are ALSO dead but this only affects time functions, not the saves, unlike gen 1 and 2. Batteries are no longer an issue as of gen 4 due to built in time.
    – Ben Brocka
    Mar 19, 2014 at 15:53
  • So what is my best option? Buy a Nintendo DS and Pokemon Gold or Silver? Mar 19, 2014 at 16:57
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    @Whitechapel if you're willing to jump into the remakes yes I'd say get a DS and a gen 1 or 2 remake (or both). Which mostly depends on the balance between nostalgia and usability/etc improvements. HG/SS have improvements even over LeafGreen and FireRed, but exploring Kanto in GSC or HG/SS isn't quite the same as it is in RB or FR/LG
    – Ben Brocka
    Mar 19, 2014 at 19:51

You can play the original Pokemon games on any of:

  • Gameboy / Gameboy Pocket
  • Gameboy Color (English Pokemon Yellow will appear in full color, Red/Blue/Green will have simulated coloring based on the pallete settings on boot up.)
  • Super Gameboy (An accessory for the Super Nintendo. Colorizes the games nicely. My preferred way to play.)
  • Gameboy Advanced / SP
  • Gameboy Player (an accessory for the Nintendo Gamecube.)
  • Nintendo 3DS (via Virtual Console download)

Don't forget that now with the release of these games on the 3DS's Virtual Console, it is now possible (and highly recommended) that you play these games on the 3DS (due to backlit screen, wireless communications, and eventually Pokemon Bank support).


I personally have a homebrewed Nintendo 3DS. If you want to part with a not insignificant chunk of change, I'd highly recommend it as you can also play current-gen games on it. Once you'd homebrew it, you'd install an emulator called RetroArch (technically though it's a collection of open-source emulators). Do note that it does have trouble emulating GBA games - my 3DS XL (the one without the c-stick) only runs GBA games at ~12 FPS.

3DS homebrew github

Alternatively, you could buy a used PSP (NOT the Vita) and homebrew it. It should have more capable hardware when compared to the 3DS (and because it's older it may be cheaper as well, though I personally haven't looked into it as I already have one).

EDIT: also, if you're not looking to spend any money, there are a variety of open-source emulators available for various PC operating systems, though that would (obviously) limit portability.

  • 1
    It's not an incorrect answer, but I personally feel that using a 3rd-party emulator is against the spirit of the question. OP could just get the ROM and use any device, but it feels that this question is more about the legal ways to access the games. (which is more nuanced.)
    – NBN-Alex
    Jun 29, 2016 at 3:56
  • @NBN-Alex I see your point, however, isn't it incredibly unlikely for any money to go to Nintendo if he would go the route of buying something like a used GBA SP and a used game cart? At least with buying a not used 3DS, he would be supporting Nintendo and would be more likely to support them in the future due to his ability to buy newly-developed games.
    – aleccj1
    Jun 29, 2016 at 4:29
  • I understand you're coming at this with good intentions. My personal issue is more in the scope of things. Most of the best answers on this site seem to reflect of things that can be done without the need of modification. (ie. original as intended.) Just hoping to give you an idea why there's down-votes on this answer.
    – NBN-Alex
    Jun 29, 2016 at 5:22

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