The GBC features a color screen rather than monochrome, but it is not backlit. It is slightly thicker and taller and features a slightly smaller screen than the Game Boy Pocket, its immediate predecessor in the Game Boy line. As with the original Game Boy, it has a custom 8-bit processor made by Sharp that is considered a hybrid between the Intel 8080 and the Zilog Z80. The spelling of the system's name, Game Boy Color, remains consistent throughout the world, with its American English spelling of "color".
The Game Boy Color was part of the fifth generation of home consoles. The GBC's primary competitors in Japan were the grayscale 16-bit handhelds, Neo Geo Pocket and the WonderSwan, though the Game Boy Color outsold these by a wide margin. SNK and Bandai countered with the Neo Geo Pocket Color and the Wonderswan Color, respectively, but this did little to change Nintendo's sales dominance. With Sega discontinuing the Game Gear in 1997, the Game Boy Color's only competitor in the United States was its predecessor, the Game Boy, until the short-lived Neo Geo Pocket Color was released in August 1999. The Game Boy and the Game Boy Color combined have sold 118.69 million units worldwide making it the 3rd best-selling system of all time, a metric that includes Game Boy units.
It was discontinued on March 23, 2003, shortly after the release of the Game Boy Advance SP. Its best-selling game was Pokémon Gold and Silver, which shipped 23 millions worldwide.
The Game Boy Color was a response to pressure from game developers for a more sophisticated handheld platform, as they felt that the Game Boy, even in its latest incarnation, the Game Boy Pocket, was insufficient. The resultant product was backward compatible, a first for a handheld system, and leveraged the large library of games and installed base of the predecessor system. This became a major feature of the Game Boy line, since it allowed each new launch to begin with a significantly larger library than any of its competitors.
On March 23, 2003, the Game Boy Color was discontinued.