The humble Game Boy was an absolute marvel back in the day. Released prior to the SNES, the handheld system seemed positively futuristic when compared to the decidedly bulkier NES / Famicom. Looking at it today, however, there are plenty of noticeable drawbacks that have been ironed out considerably in the decades since with successors like the GBA, DS, and of course, the Switch.
Crucially, the original Game Boy displayed its games via an LCD display that could only render four distinct olive green colours. This meant that many classic games, from Tetris all the way to Pokémon Red and Blue were effectively displayed in “black and white”, leaving gamers to use their imagination to envision what their favourite game worlds would truly look like in full colour.
In the years since, talented hackers have taken it upon themselves to mod ROMs of classic Game Boy games to introduce full colour palettes, unlocking the games’ potential to fully represent the developers’ original vision during development. One such hacker is known as Toruzz, who we’ve covered before on the site thanks to his remarkable efforts in creating ‘Super Mario Land DX’. As reported by InputMag, Toruzz started off in the world of ROM hacking by creating his own translation of Link’s Awakening, having being dissatisfied with the official release. It was only after seeing a full colour hack of Pokémon Red from hacker Drenn that he knew where his true talents lay.
Although most well known for his work on Super Mario Land, Toruzz started his journey by working on a lesser known Japan 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 heavily implies that his colour version of Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru will be released to the public later this year, so we’ll look forward to checking that one out.
In an interview with InputMag, Toruzz states that the reception from the public is a major driving force behind the work that he does:
“I like my hobbies to be challenging, and romhacking is one of the best ways I’ve found to challenge myself. And it may sound silly, but I love that once you overcome all the hurdles, you’re rewarded with one of your retro gaming ‘what ifs’ becoming real. On top of that, you get a lot of fans telling you that your work has made them happy. So, overall, it’s very satisfying.”
Toruzz isn’t the only hacker making full colour versions of Game Boy games, though. Marc Robledo (known as Marc Max on Twitter) has created a fully colourised version of Snoopy’s Magic Show, along with ROMs offering slight alterations to Mega Man Xtreme 2, Dr. Mario, and Tetris DX. You can check out screenshots of Snoopy’s Magic Show DX in the tweet below:
In terms of the future, Robledo is currently working on a colourised version of Mega Man V for the Game Boy, which he has dubbed as Mega Man World 5 DX and states is aiming for launch later this year. As for Toruzz, he has been officially hired to colourise a game to be released commercially. It’s not known at this stage what the game is or who has hired him, but it’s certain an exciting endeavour and definitely indicative of his talents in the hacking space.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the world of colourised Game Boy games, so make sure to share your thoughts in the comments below!