Inside the Game Boy Color

Matthew Paul of Crave Entertainment, the small development team behind Game Boy Color titles Gex, Pitfall, and Men In Black, talks about the GBC.

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Matthew Paul of Crave Entertainment, the small development team behind Game Boy Color titles Gex, Pitfall, and Men In Black, was the special guest of a chat forum recently. During the chat, he talked to Game Boy fans about the new hardware and upcoming projects.

While Nintendo's normally stringent quality control is slightly lax when it comes to GBC development, according to Paul, even the smallest problems with the code could see the whole project be set back. Even so, Paul claims that a typical GBC title's development is about six months.

Even at this early stage of the machine's life cycle, the hardware is being pushed extensively with plenty of GB Color-exclusive effects. HDMA usage (which allows backgrounds to change color on each individual line, rather than in character-sized blocks) features in Pitfall and MIB, as does the extra RAM and double-speed processor. This code is bypassed on the fly in a normal Game Boy, allowing the game to look its best on both platforms.

An area of the machine that Paul wishes had been improved, however, is the sound. "The audio capabilities have not changed since the GB," he complained. And because of this, he admits to not putting emphasis on using the stereo chip to its best abilities. The Game Boy Printer may be used in future titles if there is a reason (and this reporter's suggestion that reward badges could be printed upon finishing the game was well received).

As for future titles, Paul hinted at seeing a first-person shooter for the GBC and suggested that Crave's new PlayStation title Shadow Madness could be ported to the system if the demand was high. A Buffy The Vampire Slayer game is out of the question, sadly. Whatever the title, gamers are all assured of having at least one GBC-exclusive level to keep owners of the new machine happy while not alienating the installed user base.

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