Game Boy Colour (GBC)

GBC Emulators

About the Game Boy Colour


The Game Boy Color, often referred to as the GBC is Nintendo’s fourth attempt at the handheld game console market. Specification wise it did not differ much from its predecessor the Game Boy. However it introduced one big new feature and that was the ability to display the picture in colour, rather than the Gray scale present in its predecessor. Thanks to largely having the same hardware, this enabled the Game Boy Color to remain backwards compatible with older games.

This backwards compatibility was a huge advantage when coming up against its competitors as it allowed the handheld to inherit a large game library right off the bat and not rely completely on a couple of games to generate sales.

The Game Boy Color proved to be a huge success, going on to sell over 118.59 million units. A number that far exceeded its competitors of the time, the Neo Geo Pocket and WonderSwan.

GBC Emulators

Visual Boy Advance (VBA) is a popular open source emulator that focuses on the GBA, GBC and the original Game Boy. It is one of the fastest emulators for the Game Boy Color but in turn sacrifices emulation accuracy.

higan is a cycle-accurate multi-system emulator that offers support for the Game Boy Color. If you want an emulator that emulates the GBC as accurately as possible, then this is your go-to choice.

KiGB is a cross-platform GBC Emulator. KiGB is designed to emulate the Game Boy Color as accurate as possible, managing to emulate features of the GBC that were difficult to replicate without precise emulation of the hardware.

GBE Plus is a GBC emulator strives to offer as many enhancements as possible, even adding the ability for a user to replace certain sprites from within games. Also, GBE Plus provides stable and accurate emulation of the Game Boy Color.

GearBoy is an open source GBC Emulator that strives to achieve accurate emulation of the Game Boy Color while also keeping its code base highly portable. GearBoy is also being used as RetroArch’s core for GBC and GB emulation.

Gambatte is a highly portable and highly accurate GBC Emulator with its core code being designed so that it can be used independently of its UI. Gambattee is used as the Game Boy Color emulator for the OpenEmu project.

BasicBoy is a GBC emulator that was written entirely in the Visual Basic programming language. While now dated, the Game Boy Color emulator offered decent compatibility and accuracy despite been written in Visual Basic.

BGB is a Game Boy Color emulator that was designed to be used as a debugging tool as well as an emulator. BGB accurately emulates the GBC hardware alongside providing a powerful debugger making this emulator a solid choice.

DreamGBC is a fast and highly compatible GBC emulator. The DreamGBC project aimed to emulate as much of the Game Boy Color as possible while offering various game enhancing features.

GEST is a highly compatible and somewhat accurate Game Boy Color emulator that was built upon the Visual Boy Advance codebase. GEST improved upon the original VBA code by increasing the amount of features it emulated.

gnuboy is a highly portable but now dated GBC emulator. While gnuboy managed to emulate the vast majority of the GBC hardware, it does lack the accuracy and compatibility of more modern Game boy Color emulators.

PlayGuy is a highly capable Game Boy Colour emulator that features 100% emulation of the GBC’s processor as well as having accurate timing emulation. PlayGuy was for its time one of the best GBC emulators around.

TGB Dual was one of the first GBC emulators to implement the  Game Boy link functionality. TGB Dual uses TCP networking to allow users to connect over the internet or to another instance running on the same computer. 

GBC Specifications

CPU Specifications

  • Processor: Sharp Corporation LR35902 (Based on Zilog Z80)
  • Processor Speed: 4 MHz or 8 MHz (Two modes)

Video Specifications

  • Resolution: 160×144 pxiels
  • Colors Available: 32,768 (15-bit)
  • Colors on screen: 10, 32 or 46
  • Maximum Sprites: 40
  • Max Sprites per scan line: 10 (4 colors maximum per sprite)
  • Sprite size: 8×8 or 8×16 pixels
  • Tiles on screen: 512 (360~399 visible)

Video Specifications

  • Channels: 4
    2 Square wave channels,
    1 wave channel,
    1 noise channel.
  • Output: Mono speaker, stereo via headphone jack

Memory/Storage Specifications

  • ROM: 8 MB Maximum
  • RAM: 32 kB
  • VRAM: 16 kB
  • Cartridge
  • Ram: 128 kB