It depends on what you’re doing.
The 3DS menu relies on icons for 90% of things:
(The big “System Settings” is actually a billboard sprite in a 3D render.)
To solve the issue of not having an icon, you could programmatically generate one from the file name somehow.
But obviously if you wanted an in-depth file navigator then no, icons wouldn’t be enough.
That’s a fair point.
It depends how much text is needed.
I think rather than a single standard palette there should be at least some flexibility.
If we go for a 4-colour palette, have two of the colours fixed as black and white and have the other 2 colours be selectable.
If we got for a 16-colour palette, standardise roughly what the colours should be, but not the exact shade.
The main reason for this is because I think we should be able to customise the palette to have different ‘desktop themes’ for the loader.
For example, if we went down the 16-colour route, we could say the 16 colours are the EGA colours as standard, but people could customise them as they pleased.
You could easily map the EGA colours to pico-8 or the 16 minecraft colours and have everything still look nice, or even to 16 tones of grey if you really wanted to.
Or again, back to the suggestion of 4 colours fixed and 12 colours variable.
(Note: colours not adjusted to RGB565 format.)