Random: Talented hackers bring bright color to classic Game Boy titles

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Image: Nintendo Life

The humble Game Boy was an absolute marvel back then. Released before the SNES, the handheld system felt positively futuristic compared to the decidedly bulkier NES/Famicom. From today’s perspective, however, there are many noticeable disadvantages that have been ironed out considerably in the decades since with successors such as the GBA, DS and of course the Switch.

Crucially, the original Game Boy displayed its games via an LCD display that could only display four different olive drab colors. This meant that many classic games, from Tetris to Pokémon Red and Blue, were effectively rendered in “black and white,” allowing players to use their imaginations to envision what their favorite game worlds would really look like in color.

Pokemon Red
Image: Nintendo

In the years since, talented hackers have taken it upon themselves to modify ROMs of classic Game Boy games to introduce full color palettes, thereby unleashing the games’ potential to fully represent the developers’ original vision during development. One of these hackers is known as Toruzz, which we have previously reported on the website thanks to his remarkable efforts in the development of Super Mario Land DX. As reported by InputMag, Toruzz got started in the world of ROM hacking by making his own translation of Link’s Awakening as he was dissatisfied with the official release. It wasn’t until he saw a hack of Pokémon Red in color by Hacker Drenn that he knew where his true talents lay.

Although best known for his work on Super Mario Land, Toruzz began his journey working on a lesser-known Japanese release called Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru (or The Frog For Whom The Bell Tolls in English), a first-party Game that shares many similarities with the aforementioned Link’s Awakening. Toruzz is heavily hinting that his color version of Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru will be released to the public later this year, so we’re excited to check those out.

In an interview with InputMag, Toruzz explains that public reception is a key driving force behind his work:

“I like my hobbies to be challenging, and romhacking is one of the best ways to challenge myself. And it may sound silly, but I love that once you clear all the hurdles, you’re rewarded with one of your hurdles in retro gaming what-if games become real. In addition, many fans tell you that your work has made them happy. So overall it’s very satisfying.”

However, Toruzz isn’t the only hacker creating color versions of Game Boy games. Marc Robledo (known as Markus Max on Twitter) has created a fully colorized version of Snoopy’s Magic Show along with ROMs that include slight modifications to Mega Man Xtreme 2, Dr. Mario and Tetris DX offer. You can see screenshots of Snoopy’s Magic Show DX in the following tweet:

As for the future, Robledo is currently working on a colored version of Mega Man V for the Game Boy, which he has dubbed Mega Man World 5 DX, which he says will be released later this year. Toruzz has been officially hired to colorize a game to be released commercially. It’s not known at this point what the game is or who hired him, but it sure is an exciting endeavor and definitely an indication of his hacking talents.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the world of full-color Game Boy gaming, so let us know what you think in the comments below!