Game Boy Console Types

Game Boy (1989) and Game Boy Pocket (1996)

Game Boy Classic consoles

The original Game Boy (the grey console on the left of this image) was released in 1989 to great commercial success. The closely related Game Boy Pocket (the red one on the right of this image), introduced in 1996, was smaller, featured a clearer LCD screen and came in a variety of colours. These two Game Boy consoles are both commonly referred to as the Game Boy Classic.

Plays Game Boy Games and backward-compatible Game Boy Color Games. See Cartridge Types for how to recognize a backward-compatible Game Boy Color cartridge.

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Game Boy Color (1998)

Game Boy Color console

The Game Boy Color (left) took over the crown as the best-selling handheld worldwide with its unveiling in 1998. It displayed 56 simultaneous colours from a palette of 32,000 with twice the processing power of the Game Boy Classic. Key to its success was its ability to play Game Boy Classic games.

Plays Game Boy Games and Game Boy Color Games.

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Game Boy Advance (2001)

Game Boy Advance Console

The Game Boy Advance (right) revolutionised the handheld gaming market with its debut in 2001. As well as a Z80 processor for backwards compatibility with Game Boy Classic & Game Boy Color games, it included a 32-bit ARM processor for much greater processing power.

Plays Game Boy Games, Game Boy Color Games and Game Boy Advance Games.

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Game Boy Advance SP (2003)

Game Boy Advance SP Console

Two years later (2003) an improved design in the form of the Game Boy Advance SP (left) came to the market with a built-in rechargeable battery and front-lit screen, as well as a radical new clam-shell design.

Plays Game Boy Games, Game Boy Color Games and Game Boy Advance Games.

Back-lit Model

In 2005, Nintendo released an additional, enhanced Game Boy Advance SP sporting a back-lit screen (Model AGS101) instead of the original front-lit version (Model AGS001). The image on the left shows the normal, front-lit screen; that on the right shows the enhanced screen (both are on their brightest settings):

AGS001 AGS101

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Game Boy Advance Micro (2005)

Game Boy Advance Micro console

The Game Boy Advance Micro (right) concluded the Game Boy line up in 2005. This system used a much improved, albeit smaller, back lit LCD screen and shrunk the size of the handheld Game Boy to easily fit into any pocket. This console plays Game Boy Advance games but has no backwards compatibility with the Game Boy Classic or Game Boy Color games.

Plays Game Boy Advance Games only.

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