1989 was a year of change and growth around the world, as the last year of a decade of glamor brought with it the birth of internet service providers, Motorola’s flip-flop mobile phone that has become a symbol of status and gene therapy. More importantly, this is also the year that Nintendo released its Game Boy, a handheld console for a new era of gaming. Although it was not the first handheld gaming device, it was by far the most impressive. For those who fondly watch Nintendo’s pivot handheld, we’ve rounded up the 10 best Game Boy games (in alphabetical order).
The newcomer to the block is packed with power, style and an unlimited thirst for fresh batteries. With an affordable price, Nintendo’s dominance in the handheld game market began with a big console that had a library of killer games over the years. Take your flexible night light, plug in your stereo headphones, and make sure you have spare batteries. We only included the original Game Boy games on this list, but we’ll be back for the Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance lists. Let’s dive in.
Donkey Kong on Game Boy could easily have been a simple port of the 1981 arcade classic, but Nintendo took it a step further by reimagining the anti-simian powerhouse, expanding and improving the game in the process. With many new levels that capitalized on Mario’s fame, Donkey Kong wasn’t just fun for the player on the go; this laid the groundwork for what Mario was capable of long before coming to 3D with Super Mario 64. Yet another gameboy killer app, Donkey Kong was a terrific mix of fun, challenge, and nostalgia.
Final Fantasy Legend Series
Three Games: A trilogy of games that technically aren’t Final Fantasy titles, but still have a polish and pedigree that puts other home console RPGs to shame. With origins rooted in the SaGa series, the Final Fantasy Legends trilogy has always done fantastic business for Square with handheld role-playing games, fun class systems, and enjoyable combat. The first game was Square Enix’s first million sellers with 1.37 million units shipped, and the two sequels that were released built on the critical success of this game throughout the 1990s.
With impressive visuals for the time and an epic soundtrack, the Final Fantasy trilogy was an epic quest contained on a few wagons, and this portable RPG series paved the way for other games in the genre to make the leap to portable systems.
Developer HAL Labs solidified its status as a heavyweight studio with the release of Kirby’s Dream Land in 1992, because people couldn’t get enough of the adorable pink puff. Kirby wasn’t yet ready to devour enemies and acquire their abilities through gluttonous digestion, but Dream Land planted the seeds for what a Kirby adventure should be. It was charming, pleasantly stimulating and perfectly accessible for the youngest members of the family.
Mega man 5
The Game Boy might not have been the best platform for Mega Man’s trademark action and quick reflexes needed to cut Dr. Wily’s latest lineup of malicious bots to junk, but Mega Man 5 on Game Boy is a highlight of the series thanks to the originality therein. Spanning the entire solar system, Mega Man’s latest mission saw him mingle with planet-themed bosses in classic 8-bit style. Hard to find in its original form, it’s still a staple in any Mega Man fan’s collection and can still be found on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console for the price of a cup of coffee.
Metroid 2: Samus Returns
Metroid 2 might not be considered the best entry in the series, but there’s no denying that it’s still a terrific Game Boy game, even if it doesn’t hit its own franchise credentials. At its core, Metroid 2 is an ambitious game that significantly expands on the first game and what protagonist Samus Aran was capable of, suffering only from the technical and hardware limitations of his time. Future Metroid games owed a lot to this sequel, which experimented with ideas that successor games could develop and improve upon.
Still a solid action game that laid an impressive foundation and was remade for 3DS, Metroid 2 worked for future Metroid games to run. And dodge. And compress into an amazingly spherical shape for some Metroid Prime-time games.
Red and Blue Pokémon
Pokemon’s explosion in popularity can easily be attributed to a pair of carts – yes, we know Japan had Pokemon Green too – which gave the handheld a second lease of life. It seemed like everyone was into Pokemon at the time, as developer Game Freak’s hyper-fast RPG mixed a deep system of elemental perks with a desire to become a Pokemon Master and complete the Pokedex for rights to extra bragging.
The genius move on Nintendo and Game Freak’s part was that certain Pokémon were exclusive to a particular version of the game, a design choice that defined the franchise and is still in use 25 years later. The only way to really catch them all was to find someone with the right play basket, link up your Game Boys, and start the trade-in process.
Forging literal connections around the world, this tangible social interaction was amplified by Pokemon Trading Cards and an animated TV series, which continue to this day. Red / Blue Pokémon (as well as Yellow Pokémon) are available on the 3DS eShop; Alternatively, you can play Pokemon: Let’s Go, a reimagining of that maiden journey for Nintendo Switch.
Super Mario Land 2
The first Super Mario Land game was a prime example of Nintendo still seeking to translate the magic of the main NES plumber adventures onto the Game Boy, resulting in a title that is eerily familiar but not quite the definitive Pocket Mario experience. By the time Super Mario Land 2 was unfolding, however, Nintendo had a better grasp of its hardware, extracting an impressive amount of detail that sent Mario on a journey through strange new worlds and gave him a selection of alien abilities to to try. outside.
Within the confines of the Game Boy, Mario’s latest quest was unconventional to say the least, but it still had that winning formula at its heart that had made the main series so iconic over the years. It is available for a few dollars on the 3DS eShop.
Only three things are needed to go through life: good health, a decent income, and a Game Boy that comes with Tetris. Bringing together a copy of the cult-classic game with the Game Boy was a stroke of genius that helped move millions of consoles, in large part because Tetris is the perfect game for this system. Easily enjoyable as a short burst of stacking action diversion or worth burning fresh batteries for a marathon session, the Game Boy version of Tetris remains an iconic chapter in franchise history for the folks at. whole world.
Exceptional music, easy-to-understand gameplay, and competitive one-on-one multiplayer have made Tetris a worldwide phenomenon since 1989. Tetris was virtually perfect then, just like today.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
A few years before the Ocarina of Time genre was defined on N64, the definitive version of The Legend of Zelda was a game that could be played right in the palm of your hand. Link’s Awakening expanded on the traditional top-down adventures of the hero in green, giving him a larger inventory, throwing chains of sub-quests in his direction, a mission to gather musical instruments and other features that would become the hallmark. franchise in the years that followed.
Link’s Awakening was also a narratively odd game with its weird island inhabitants and surreal locations, but its legacy as a Zelda game that could easily hold its own with its home console siblings was unmatched back then, which resulted in critical praise and a dedicated follow-up. It was later ported to Game Boy Color as Link’s Awakening DX, and a wonderful remake was released on Switch in 2019.
Wario land 2
The first Wario Land was technically titled Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 and included an extra dose of “WAAARRGGHHH!” like Mario’s lookalike caused chaos. That name confusion aside, the idea of taking Super Mario Land 2’s villain and giving him a lead role inspired thinking, and by the time Wario Land 2 arrived, Nintendo had found the right formula for Wario. on Game Boy. Focusing more on puzzles, secrets, and rewarding gameplay, the Murderer in Yellow and Purple has found his way as a deceptively intelligent man on a mission during his Game Boy outings.