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The Game Boy is Nintendo's second handheld console, following after the Game & Watch. Originally released in 1989, the Game Boy is the first system for which Pokémon games were released, something that occurred at the tailend of the console's lifespan. In 1998, nearly a decade after its initial release, the Game Boy received a successor, the Game Boy Color, although the two are often paired together, especially as some Game Boy games are backward-compatible with the Game Boy Color and sometimes vice versa, if the game allowed for it.

The Game Boy has the A, B, Start, and Select buttons as well as a D-Pad which make the controls similar to that on the NES. In 1995, a new version of the Game Boy, as part of Nintendo's "Play It Loud!" campaign, was released. This version is exactly the same as the original; the only difference is that it was released in a wide variety of colors such as red, blue, green, and even clear. The Game Boy also received two other variations, the Game Boy Pocket and Game Boy Light, the latter of which remained exclusive to Japan.

Pokémon games[]

Game Boy games are generally released on a gray cartridge medium, although the Pokémon core series games have a unique cartridge color often corresponding to the color within the game's title. Only a few core series Pokémon games were released for the system:

Early Game Boy Color games were generally released on a black cartridge with the header "Game Boy," allowing for backward compatibility on original Game Boy units, whereas clear Game Boy Color cartridges have the header "Game Boy Color," indicating that they cannot be played on Game Boys, and if the user attempts to play it on a Game Boy, an error message is shown. A relative Pokémon example is that Pokémon Trading Card Game was released on a black cartridge, so it can also be played on a Game Boy, whereas Pokémon Puzzle Challenge was released on a clear cartridge, so it cannot be played on a Game Boy. While Pokémon Gold and Silver both have a uniquely colored cartridge, they have the shape of a black Game Boy Color cartridge, and they were designed for backward compatibility on original Game Boy units. Their follow-up title, Pokémon Crystal, does not make use of this.

The Super Nintendo has a peripheral named the Super Game Boy for which both Game Boy and dual-compatible Game Boy Color games can be played on. Several Game Boy games, starting from around when the Super Game Boy was released, and dual-compatible Game Boy Color games have enhanced features if played on a Super Game Boy, most notably a border that surrounds the game screen and certain color palettes especially utilized during parts of the game. All Pokémon games for the Game Boy make use of these features, as well as dual-compatible Pokémon games for the Game Boy Color.


The Game Boy is one of the best-selling game systems of all time, having sold around 64,420,000 units worldwide (more than 118,000,000 if counting the Game Boy Color). Despite only being released around the end of the console's lifespan, Pokémon Red and Blue (including their Japanese counterparts) as well as Pokémon Yellow managed to collectively become the highest-selling games for the system, surpassing even Super Mario Land, a launch title for the Game Boy.