I tried putting a Game Boy Game in my Game Boy Color, and it fits, but I'm not sure whether my GBC is broken.

Will this work?

  • 23
    Well, you tell me. You tried it, right?
    – user114997
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 23:09
  • 1
    I wrote this and by the way I don't even know if the game boy color works
    – user118668
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 23:21
  • Most systems respect back compat, for at least one or similar systems, such as this. ie. if the cartridge fits, it'll likely work. Going the other way though (forward compat) will unlikely work
    – Aequitas
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 23:34
  • 1
    @Aequitas - Whilst true in many cases that games for newer consoles don't work on older ones, this wasn't the case for the Gameboy & Gameboy Colour
    – Robotnik
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 0:57
  • @Robotnik yeh I didn't know, just stating what the usual case is.
    – Aequitas
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 2:07

5 Answers 5


You totally can, and they should work fine. (I did this all the time.) If it is a dual mode cartridge (Typically dark grey or black plastic housing, in the same shape as the original Game Boy cartridge) it should have colour to it (a 56 colour palette), and if it is just the regular light gray plastic housing on the cart, it will have a 4-10 colour palette.

This chart from Nintendo shows you what Game Boy era carts work with what systems, which should give you a good idea.

  • 22
    I believe it's worth mentioning in the answer how the color pallette can be changed: via a combination of the directional pad and the A or B buttons on the start up screen before the game loads.
    – Leon7C
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 1:27
  • Do you have any information on how well pre-GBC games that had enhanced color features from the Super Game Boy era were supported by the GBC?
    – Random832
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 4:25
  • @Random832 From the wiki for the GBC. "Titles that have color palettes on Super Game Boy will usually default to a similar pallette when played on a Game Boy Color." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_Boy_Color Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 13:02
  • The page does mention further down that a "small number" of older Game Boy games might not work on the Game Boy Color. If one game doesn't work, especially if it was made in 1991 or so or earlier (the GB was released in America and Japan in 1989), try another. You may not get to play the game you'd like, but this should at least work with a majority of games!
    – user232276
    Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 21:55
  • The GBC did not support SGB features, it did apply some default colorisations to known original game boy carts but unlike the SGB pallettes these did not change dynamically. Pokemon red/blue for example look very different on SGB and GBC. Commented Oct 30, 2019 at 20:31

Source: http://www.nintendo.com/consumer/systems/gameboy/compatibilitychart.jsp

That should tell you all you need to know about the compatibility. Short answer: Yes, you can.

Update to point out main points:

  • Firstly, inserting an original GameBoy game will display up to 4-10 colours. The colour scheme can be changed using special palettes.

  • A small number is said to possibly not function properly as sometimes there may be scrambled images, sound problems or missing graphics.

To add to this, to change colour palettes, here a few key presses you can perform (you have to do this at the startup screen:

  • Brown: Up directional key
  • Blue: Left directional key
  • Pastel mix: Down directional key
  • Green: Right directional key
  • Red: Up + A
  • Dark Blue: Left + A
  • Orange: Down + A
  • Dark Green: Right + A
  • Dark Brown: Up + B
  • Gray: Left + B
  • Yellow: Down + B
  • Reverse: Right + B

Hope this was a bit more informative than my short answer :).


So far, every handheld system Nintendo has made has been designed with a Poka-yoke such that it is impossible to insert any cartridge into a system with which it is not compatible. If you get a GB classic cartridge, a GB color cartridge, a GB advance one, and so on, and carefully examine and compare their shapes, you'll notice the differences and how/why older cartridges can go into newer systems, but the newer cartridges won't fit into the older systems.

  • 3
    Never heard that term, but this is what I immediately thought of.
    – Set Big O
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 15:55
  • The name Baka-Yoke is more realistic.
    – ave
    Commented Jul 24, 2015 at 16:55
  • @ardaozkal "Realistic"? I don't see how those two terms can be evaluated on a realism scale. In any event, I chose to use the term Poka-yoke because that is the title of the Wikipedia article I linked to. Also, that article explains the reason that the wiki editors elected to use the one term over the other. Commented Jul 24, 2015 at 20:37
  • 1
    @DanHenderson Baka-yoke roughly means "stupid proof" :P
    – ave
    Commented Jul 25, 2015 at 6:33
  • 2
    Or, more conceptually, "foolproof". Whereas Poka-yoke means "mistake-proof" or "error-proof". Regardless, "realism" isn't a valid comparison - that would imply that one term or the other is imaginary or fantasy, neither of which are sensible assessments. Commented Jul 25, 2015 at 6:54

All Game Boy Game Paks except maybe a half dozen will work on Game Boy Color.

  • Road Rash and Xerd no Densetsu do not run on Game Boy Color because they inadvertently rely on the effect of a bug in STAT IRQ, a feature to synchronize the CPU to video display. This bug affects only Game Boy, Super Game Boy, Game Boy pocket, and Game Boy Light. No bug, no game.
  • The Game Link connector on the Game Boy pocket and later is smaller than on the original Game Boy. Any accessory with a captive cable, such as player 1 on the 4-player adapter for F-1 Race or the keyboard for the unreleased Workboy organizer software, will not connect.
  • Depending on the SoC revision, some games may have audio changes. The wave (bass) channel in R-Type, the score counting after a level in Panel Action Bingo, and everything in Prehistorik Man are examples.
  • Game Boy Advance Game Paks neither fit nor run.

Does the -Nintendo- logo show up when you turn it on? If I remember correct, it should show up regardless of whether there is a game inserted, and indicates the GBC is operational.

If it isn't working, then it does sound like either the GBC is broken, or the games are broken.

The GBC was designed to be completely backwards compatible with GB games, and it enhanced them with color. Which added replay value to old GB games.

One thing I like about playing GB games in the GBC is that you can infer that Nintendo provided a well thought out game engine to GB developers, from the very beginning. In my experience, for all pre-GBC games I played (Mario, Zelda, Star Trek), the player was one color (blue?), the enemy sprites were another (red?), and the background was another color (green?). This made the action games somewhat easier, as red moving objects are easier to see than merely moving objects.

Another thing I liked was the battery life, which was even better than the GB Pocket. If the battery leads are corroded, I find that vinegar on a q-tip is a good way of clearing away the corrosion and/or dead battery acids.

  • I have a GBC, and the Nintendo logo only shows up if a game is inserted. Otherwise, there's a solid black rectangle in it's place. (The "GAME BOY" logo and animation shows up regardless of whether a game is inserted though.)
    – NobodyNada
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 4:59

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