Game Boy:Game Boy Model Differences

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Page content & researching collaboratively taken from's Game Boy and's Game Boy Color page with permission.

There are four Game Boy models, with 2 revisions-of-note within the Game Boy Color.


Models are arranged chronologically.

Game Boy (1989-1999)

The classic version of the Game Boy. Featuring the iconic bulky “brick” design, the “greenscale” LCD, and an EXT. port exclusive to this version of the Game Boy, this system has a large variety of mods available for it and can be found quite easily in many markets. Major problems found on this version include screen ghosting, more batteries required, and a more general lower screen quality which certain screen mods can make more prominent.

Game Boy Pocket (1996-2000?)

The other Game Boy revision to release worldwide. Identified easily by it's larger screen, lack of “greenscale”, sleeker design with non-angled start/select buttons, and the “Game Boy Pocket” text found on the bezel. Major improvements made with this version include the reduced screen ghosting, new EXT. port which is forward compatible with later GB/GBC/GBA link cables, a larger screen, true black and white color over “Greenscale”, reduced batteries required for play, and generally improved screen visibility. This model originally did not come with a power LED, but a revision reintroduced this feature. It is also worth noting that the AC adapter for the Pocket is different than the one for the original Game Boy.

Game Boy Light (1998-2003?)

Released only in Japan. Very similar to the Game Boy Pocket, outside of it's one major feature change, which is the inclusion of a backlit screen. Despite this change, the Light apparently has a much worse general screen quality, making this supposed improvement a bit of a misnomer. Considering it's comparative rarity worldwide, a superior option for a backlit Game Boy would come from modding a Pocket or GBC.

Game Boy Color (1998-2003)

The GBC is basically a console in it's own right, but it has been included here. Very easily identified by it's variety of vibrant shell colors, the color screen, "Game Boy Color" on the bezel, non-angled start/select buttons, and so on. Uses the same link cable that was introduced with the Game Boy Pocket. Backwards compatible with the entire Game Boy library, which the GBC can colorize using a variety of preset palettes - with some games featuring an advanced palette. The GBC also introduced infrared communication to the Game Boy line.


A variety of motherboard revisions exist for both worldwide versions of the Game Boy, as for the Game Boy Color. Original Game Boy revisions do not impact general usage (except the inclusion of a power LED on later Pocket revisions), they will greatly impact system modding and have been included for posterity. Further details about modding impacts will be created when other Game Boy modding pages have been completed. However, Game Boy Color revisions can impact general usage, alongside modding. They have been listed below.

(GBC) CGB-CPU-01 to 03/04 (1998-2000)

Has a few issues with audio registers misbehaving, and can also run into bugs with BennVenn's ElCheapo SD v2.0 flashcart. Generally a slightly more buggy set of revisions compared to later Color consoles. To identify these motherboards, take off your system's battery cover . Look under the bottom left battery spring for the respective 2-digit value matching up with the revisions listed in the title (02, 03, 04). 01 systems will have no value.

(GBC) CGB-CPU-04 to 06 (2000-2003)

Resolves all previously mentioned issues with audio registers or flashcart incompatibilities. To identify these motherboards, take off your system's battery cover. Look under the bottom left battery spring for the respective 2-digit value matching up with the revisions listed in the title (04, 05, 06). 04 is listed under both entries as an 04 can have a CPU type of either C or D - only the D version CPU has no audio register/flashcart bugs. You will need to disassemble your Game Boy Color to identify between C or D CPU if you have a CPU-04 console. (also used to source prod. dates for Game Boy) (also used to source prod. dates for Game Boy Pocket) (Game Boy Light) (Game Boy Color) (used for GBC CPU issue identification)