Famicom Color Palette

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Unlike consoles like the SNES, which natively generate the image in pure RGB, the Famicom normally generates and outputs an encoded NTSC video signal, which must then be decoded by the TV's built-in NTSC decoder. This means the resulting color palette often varies depending on the display's decoder. This is why NES games appear to have different colors on different TV sets.

NES emulators are similarly afflicted by this issue, as they each have their own algorithms for generating the NES color palette, meaning they all have slightly to wildly varying palettes. As such, there isn't really a "true" NES color palette, and which emulator has the "best" palette often comes down to preference, or whichever looks closest to how the real console looks on a user's own particular TV. FCEU based emulators come with a load of different preset palettes based on different people's perceptions of the NES colors, while emulators such as Nestopia[1] have the ability for the user to edit the color palette to their liking, including the use of custom palettes that define the NES palette in any way the user wishes.

Some arcade machines based on the NES hardware, such as the PlayChoice-10 and the Versus series of cabinets, did generate a native RGB signal, however. The colors on these cabinets tend to be very vibrant and saturated, giving games a very distinct look compared to how they would look on the real console. Nestopia gives the user the choice to use the RGB palette featured in these cabinets, though it is not usually considered to be the definitive or "real" NES palette.

The libretro ports of Nestopia[2] and FCEUmm[3] have the option to output the raw chroma, level, and emphasis from the PPU through the RGB color channels. This by itself produces an image with completely bizarre colors, but this can be decoded by shaders to generate actual colors, the main examples being GTU-Famicom[4][5] and nes-color-decoder[6][7].

Download[edit]

Chart[edit]

Palette Nestopia decoder preset NESRGB palette name Description
YUV 15° Canonical N/A Based on the standard method of NTSC decoding.
RGB RGB Garish The palette used by all official Nintendo RGB PPUs, such as in the PlayChoice-10 and Famicom Titler.
YUV (Sony CXA2025AS) Consumer N/A Based on an NTSC decoder found in Sony TVs.
YUV with yellow boost Alternative N/A Based on decoders in certain NTSC-J TVs.[8]
Raw Chroma, Level, and Emphasis Raw* N/A The raw chroma, level, and emphasis output of the NES PPU represented in RGB color channels[9] Only available as an option on the libretro ports of Nestopia and FCEUmm[3][2]
Nintendulator NTSC N/A Natural Based on what is currently understood about NTSC decoding[10]
NTSC Hardware (FBX) N/A N/A (Optionally available) Analog RGB was fed into a calibrated Sony PVM monitor, and then meticulously aligned on each color entry to match as closely as possible to the NTSC feed from an original NES.[11]
PVM Style D93 (FBX) N/A N/A (Optionally available) Approximates the color and intensity of a Sony PVM CRT screen.[11]
Composite Direct (FBX) N/A N/A (Optionally available) Direct capture of the composite output of the front-loader NTSC NES.[11]
NESCAP N/A N/A This palette was created using direct NES composite capture through a Blackmagic Intensity Pro 4K through its composite input.[12]
HYBRID N/A N/A This is a hybrid between the above NESCAP palette and the FCEUX palette.[12]
NESCLASSIC N/A N/A This palette is derived from the NES Classic Mini by taking the average of each color (since the NES Classic Mini has a noise filter).[12] "NES Classic (FBX-FS)" is an independent capture of the palette.[11]
NES Remix U N/A N/A This palette is ripped from the Wii U NES Remix games. The 3DS game (Ultimate NES Remix) uses the 3DS VC's palette.
FCEUX N/A Improved Palettes used in FCEUX emulator. 12 is the default, and similar to Rock Man 9. 13 and 15 feature less saturation.[13]
Rock Man 9 N/A N/A Palettes derived from Rock Man 9.[14] "21 to 2C" version is differs in that it darkens a single cyan value (2C).[14]
Virtual Console N/A N/A Palettes used in the Wii and 3DS Virtual Console. Wii version, all colors, are darkened significantly. 3DS feature high saturation and brightness. "Normalized" version adjusts brightness levels significantly.
BMF final N/A N/A Palettes created by BMF based on his television. 2 features a very darkened screen, similar to Wii VC. 3 is more saturated.[13]
ASQ Reality N/A N/A AspiringSquire's attempt at improving BMF palettes.[13]
Wavebeam N/A N/A Created to look good on crts. Similar to Consumer.[15]
FCC 1953 N/A N/A First color TV system, NTSC, introduced a color standard in 1953. NTSC colors were very lush.[16]

Palettes[edit]

YUV
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1A 1B 1C 1D 1E 1F
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 2A 2B 2C 2D 2E 2F
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 3A 3B 3C 3D 3E 3F
YUV-V3
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1A 1B 1C 1D 1E 1F
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 2A 2B 2C 2D 2E 2F
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 3A 3B 3C 3D 3E 3F
Unsaturated-Final
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1A 1B 1C 1D 1E 1F
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 2A 2B 2C 2D 2E 2F
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 3A 3B 3C 3D 3E 3F
Nintendulator NTSC
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1A 1B 1C 1D 1E 1F
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 2A 2B 2C 2D 2E 2F
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 3A 3B 3C 3D 3E 3F
FCEUX
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1A 1B 1C 1D 1E 1F
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 2A 2B 2C 2D 2E 2F
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 3A 3B 3C 3D 3E 3F
Consumer
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1A 1B 1C 1D 1E 1F
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 2A 2B 2C 2D 2E 2F
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 3A 3B 3C 3D 3E 3F
RGB
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1A 1B 1C 1D 1E 1F
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 2A 2B 2C 2D 2E 2F
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 3A 3B 3C 3D 3E 3F
BMF Final 3
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1A 1B 1C 1D 1E 1F
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 2A 2B 2C 2D 2E 2F
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 3A 3B 3C 3D 3E 3F
Wii VC
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1A 1B 1C 1D 1E 1F
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 2A 2B 2C 2D 2E 2F
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 3A 3B 3C 3D 3E 3F
Wii VC Normalized
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1A 1B 1C 1D 1E 1F
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 2A 2B 2C 2D 2E 2F
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 3A 3B 3C 3D 3E 3F
3DS VC
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1A 1B 1C 1D 1E 1F
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 2A 2B 2C 2D 2E 2F
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 3A 3B 3C 3D 3E 3F
NES Classic Edition
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1A 1B 1C 1D 1E 1F
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 2A 2B 2C 2D 2E 2F
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 3A 3B 3C 3D 3E 3F
NES Remix U
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1A 1B 1C 1D 1E 1F
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 2A 2B 2C 2D 2E 2F
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 3A 3B 3C 3D 3E 3F
Rockman 9
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1A 1B 1C 1D 1E 1F
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 2A 2B 2C 2D 2E 2F
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 3A 3B 3C 3D 3E 3F
Rockman 9 - 21 to 2C
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1A 1B 1C 1D 1E 1F
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 2A 2B 2C 2D 2E 2F
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 3A 3B 3C 3D 3E 3F
ASQ Reality B
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1A 1B 1C 1D 1E 1F
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 2A 2B 2C 2D 2E 2F
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 3A 3B 3C 3D 3E 3F

Gallery[edit]

Comparison of various palettes in Stage 2 of Castelvania

External Links[edit]

References[edit]