The Game Boy Color (ゲームボーイカラー Gēmu Bōi Karā") is Nintendo's successor to the Game Boy and was released on October 21, 1998 in Japan, November 19, 1998 in North America, November 23, 1998 in Europe and November 27, 1998 in UK. It features a color screen and is slightly thicker and taller than the Game Boy Pocket. As with the original Game Boy, it has an 8-bit processor. The Game Boy and Game Boy Color combined have sold 118.69 million units worldwide.
The Game Boy Color was a response to pressure from game developers for a new and much more sophisticated system of playing, as they felt that the Game Boy, even in its latest incarnation, the Game Boy Pocket, was insufficient. The resultant product was backward compatible, a first for a handheld system, and leveraged the large library of games and great installed base of the predecessor system. This became a major feature of the Game Boy line, since it allowed each new launch to begin with a significantly larger library than any of its competitors.
The processor, which is a Z80 workalike made by Sharp with a few extra (bit manipulation) instructions, has a clock speed of approximately 8 MHz, twice as fast as that of the original Game Boy. The Game Boy Color also has four times as much memory as the original (32 kilobytes system RAM, 16 kilobytes video RAM). The screen resolution was the same as the original Game Boy, which is 160x144 pixels.
The Game Boy Color also featured an infrared communications port for wireless linking. The feature was only supported in a few games, however, and the infrared port was dropped for the Game Boy Advance and later releases. The console was capable of showing up to 56 different colors simultaneously on screen from its palette of 32,768, and could add basic four-color shading to games that had been developed for the original Game Boy. It could also give the sprites and backgrounds separate colors, for a total of more than four colors. This, however, resulted in graphic artifacts in certain games. For example, sometimes a sprite that was supposed to meld into the background would be colored separately, making it easily noticeable.
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