The Gameboy has got to be some of Nintendo’s greatest creations, yes even better than the Nintendo Entertainment System. We’re talking about the best of the 8-bit graphics could offer and it’s all on a held held that lasted for over a decade of its lifespan. The gameboy platform endured all of the changes that the gaming industry has evolved through the 16-bit, 32-bit, 3D Graphics innovation, all the way to the debut of the Dreamcast, PS2, Gamecube, and Xbox. Even though everyone was going nuts over the leaps and bounds that the gaming industry was heading throughout the 1990s, people everywhere still has the heart for the 8-bit graphics and the gameboy was still there to warm our nostalgic hearts. Hell, even when there are other handheld systems that are technologically superior than the gameboy (such as the Atari Lynx, Sega Gamegear, etc.) the Gameboy still withstood against any competition in the handheld market because it had amazing battery-life (Sega Gamegear drain all the batteries) and had the best third party support just for the handheld. Not only that, but the Gameboy succeeds the Nintendo Entertainment System by every conceivable way because it had sequels that didn’t disappoint, more than half of the games were qualitative, and there are so many that contains hours upon hours of fun away from home… or the TV screen because we still play them at home.
Though the Gameboy platform survived throughout the 1990s and remained popular to any person (not just gamers), Nintendo kept everyone interested by making successful additions for the Gameboy like playing your Gameboy on your Super Nintendo with the Super Gameboy, remodels for the handheld like the Gameboy Pocket and Gameboy Light (that only hold two AA batteries instead of four), and evolved the Gameboy platform to the Gameboy Color where they (obviously) finally added color! It wasn’t the first time that there was color on the handheld but it was the first one that did have color with long battery life. Sure it sucked that there were Gameboy Color games that can’t be played on the regular Gameboy, but the Gameboy Color miraculously gave color to many (not all) of the original Gameboy games, making backwards compatibility a success on a handheld. Hell, even the Gameboy Advance is able to play any Gameboy game with color and an option of standard or wide screen. Because of it’s star power, fantastic library of games, appeal to gamers and casuals alike, and lasting as long as it did made it bar non the greatest handheld system of all time! It’s a huge part of my childhood and I’m more than happy to finally give you the ten greatest games on a timeless gaming system!
Number 10. – Tetris
The most successful puzzle videogame of all time, Tetris challenges the player’s spatial relation abilities by presenting them with different shapes made of four square blocks. The blocks are randomly presented one at a time at the top of a rectangular play field, and quickly begin descending toward the bottom. The player can rotate the shapes and move them horizontally as they descend, and if you are able to make a complete horizontal line of blocks, that line will clear from the field. When the GameBoy launched in 1989, Tetris was both its pack-in game and it’s biggest killer app. Perfectly suited for the handheld, Tetris changed perception that videogames were intended for children only and soon many adults, especially women, began to buy GameBoys just to play this one game. It’s not even uncommon for hear that people who bought GameBoys never bought any other game because Tetris was all they ever needed. I personally put this game on the bottom of the list and because everyone has played and there are better games on the Gameboy.
Number 9. – Metal Gear Solid
This game took all of the Gameboy’s limitations and make it much better than the original 2 Metal Gear games. Metal Gear Solid: Ghost Babel is a semi non-canon sequel to the Playstation’s blockbuster hit, Metal Gear Solid. Ghost Babel is a completely original game that borrows design cues from the original MSX Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, but also gameplay tweaks and features first seen in the PS1 title such as the VR missions. Metal Gear Solid on the GBC is a beautifully executed game that is extremely well suited to the hardware. From the look of the detailed graphics and fluid animations to the complexity of the guard AI, it’s immediately clear Konami put a lot of effort and production value into this title. It isn’t all that expensive to buy used either. I’m not even particularly a Metal Gear fan in the least. I’ve yet to finish any of the console Metal Gear games that have been put out over the years. Yet still I find myself picking up Ghost Babel and completing it every couple of years. If you missed this one the first time around, give it another go. You’ll be glad you did. This game is really just that awesome.
Number 8. – Toki Tori
Based on 1995’s Eggbert, Toki Tori followed the adventurers of its titular yellow bird as he wielded objects to rescue his unhatched brothers and sisters after they are scattered to the winds. A puzzle-game to its core, the games tested players’ ability to navigate Toki Tori through forests, castles, and sewers by collecting tools and using them effectively to outsmart enemies and avoid catastrophes. Toki Tori was a puzzle game with charm. It rewarded creative thinking and allowed for more devout puzzle solvers to the get their fix with extra eggs in devious places. It’s popularity even led to remakes for iOS, PC, and Wii, thus proving its timeless qualities, but for some reason I still have a soft spot for the Gameboy version. I’m heavily impressed with the game’s presentation because the graphics of this game looks almost like a Gameboy Advance game as it has some of the highest quality animation ever seen for the system. This is a must have if you never played it as the catchy tunes continues to remind us of times of creative thinking.
Number 7. – Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3
After his defeat to Mario in Six Golden Coins, a dejected Wario leaves Mario Land and sets off on a journey of discovery – not for personal self-worth or purpose, but rather in search of riches so he may afford to build an extravagant castle of his own, just like Mario. Wario learns about a pirate island filled with booty, and decides to make this island his next target. Here Wario is sure to face many challenges on his way to his fortune. Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 is a Mario game in name only. Merely the spiritual successor of SuperMario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, Mario is completely absent this time around (save for the ending). Instead of the usual Nintendo mascot, this game stars Wario in aSuper Mario World sized platformer. Wario’s gameplay style is brute force mixed with elements of careful jumps and deductive reasoning. Wario plays very differently from Mario, who instead of jumping on enemies, tackles them. Where Mario wears different suits to gain new abilities, Wario wears different hats to agument what he can do. The game’s unusually lengthy, even longer than Super Mario Land 2. It could take several weeks to complete, a feat not many other GameBoy games can attest to. There’s also plenty of replay value as you increase your cash to get Wario more and more coins to afford bigger and bigger houses for the end game. The graphics have been changed to a very good looking cartoonish look, the change to actually give a reason for collecting all the coins is great, the change in gameplay mechanics to tackle enemies instead of jumping on them, and even the fresh new character make Wario Land the best in the Mario Land trilogy. It’s a bit ironic to think that the best Mario game on the GameBoy is actually a Wario game!
Number 6. – Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
I’m so sick of people giving so much credit to the original Super Mario Land for its mediocrity, poor presentation, and lack of innovation. Sure, it was the first Mario game on a handheld, but just because you’re the first, doesn’t mean that you’re the “best.” While Mario was away to rescue Daisy in the original Super Mario Land, Wario came to Mario Land, brainwashed the inhabitants and then moved in to Mario’s Castle. Upon his return, Mario discovered Wario had erected a great door to Mario’s former home, which will only open once six golden coins are put in place. Super Mario land 2 was the first appearance of the anti-hero Wario, who has since become a popular Nintendo character on his own, spawning the Wario Land series and many years later, the Wario Ware series of mini-games. Super Mario Land 2 is an absolute blast to play through. Taking design cues from Super Mario World, Mario now has multiple hats, has a spin attack, and can freely scroll to the left as well as to the right. Mario Land 2 drastically increased the size of its sprites without sacrificing screen visibility too much. It still looked a little basic, but was much more similar in overall look to later NES games being made at the time. The game is fairly lengthy with a good selection of worlds to visit and lots of replay value.
Number 5. – Pokémon Red/Blue
There was a time of our lives where nobody could go outside and hear about Pokémon. I mean it’s a fascinating concept on its own; a child (trainer) goes out on a tournament for self glory by using the creatures that he/she captures called Pokémon to use them for battle at your every command. It was a very simple RPG, but it becomes so addicting once you start playing. We all just wanted to capture what we find interesting or useful and see what it can do by learning moves and also what it can evolve to as a reward for training them. We test our skills to battle 8 gym leaders and face the elite four to succeed the goal of being a Pokémon master. I know it’s bullshit that Nintendo only gave us two separated versions that each has their own exclusives, but at least we can put great use for the link cable that we hardly use. Plus, everyone was into Pokémon so trading Pokémon and battling with friends was one of the most fun part of the whole series. Pokémon, whether you love it or hate it, is a nostalgic moment for us all. For us that grew up with this game, we all remember how hard it was to choose only 1 out of three Pokémon, our first gym battle with Brock, team rocket, Giovani, and so much more and we still talk about it today. The reason why we love Pokémon so much is because we really wish to have such amazing creatures as our own and it fascinates us that have such amazing powers that is totally action packed. Yet, I still imagine myself being a Pokémon trainer time and time again but somehow I come back Pokémon to live that moment.
Number 4. – Shantae
Released at the very tail end of the GameBoy Color’s lifespan, Shantae was a sleeper hit if there ever was one. Developed by the virtually unknown Wayforward and published by Capcom, Shantae was released after the GameBoy Advance was already on the market. All the stars were aligning against Shantae and it quickly fell into obscurity. It’s a perfect blend of free-roaming action RPGs with many elements of Metroidvania thrown in for good measure. Shantaeis technically and visually a masterpiece. This is not only be best looking gameboy Color game, but the best looking 8-bit game ever made. It is extremely colorful, lush, sprites are detailed and animate extremely fluidly, and the whole game carries a distinctive Arabian vibe that’s hard to dislike. There’s even parallax scrolling! Hidden in this one obscure GBC game is the best GameBoy experience you can find. There’s Zelda-like puzzles, Metroid-like world to explore, and a Castlevania 2-like Day/night and town system. Shantae represents everything that NES sidescrolling RPGs such as Zelda II or the Battle of Olymus were trying for, and yet even today Shantae remains an overlooked classic. Shantae stands as the ultimate chapter of 8-bit gaming, a gorgeous and entertaining tribute to all that had come before — and that’s hardly a legacy to be ashamed of. Keep in mind that because of the obscurity of the game upon its release, the game was released in limited quantities. Coupled with an almost EarthBound cult following, prices in recent years have skyrocketed. You should expect to pay at least $90 – often much higher – for even a loose cart. I feel lucky to have bought the game new back when it was released in 2002. Shantae is, without a doubt outstanding.
Number 3. – The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
We should admit that at the time, when we all heard that the sequel of A Link to the Past was going to be on the Gameboy, we were all skeptical because of the limitations. Even despite such limitations that the handheld has, it still managed to give us the Zelda experience that we all wanted. It really was a different Zelda title where its out of hyrule, there’s no Princess Zelda, and you’re trying to solve the mysteries of the wind fish (not fight Gannon again). Yet, that’s what makes it all so good because it really was one of the Zelda titles that showed their audience that they’re allowed to have different characters, setting, and much more to enhance the Zelda experience. Sure the story is the weirdest of all the Zelda titles, but being able to adventure out of house while playing Link’s Awakening was fun for all Nintendo fans. This still is the best Zelda game on a handheld and only having Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons to come as a close second! There’s a XD remake for the Gameboy Color that enchanted the experience and made it highly detailed. Link’s Awakening is the adventure game that we love to bring along with our very own adventures taking outside of the house.
Number 2. – Final Fantasy Adventure
Did you know that this game is the predecessor of Secret of Mana? In fact, the exact same gameplay seen from Mana (except for the co-op) has started in this very forgotten gem! Truth be told, this is a spin-off of the Final Fantasy franchise and it successfully experimented action-role playing games like this one. For just one little cartridge that barely molds a Megabite, you’re able to go off on an adventure that is console quality standards. The game plays in a format similar to the first NES Zelda game: control one character that is seen from an arial perspective, and hit one button to slash his weapon. However, it’s more complex than that. This game does have stores in which you can buy a multitude of weapons: axes, swords, spears, whips, flails, etc. A lot of special items also end up being weapons. You also get helmets, armor, shields, and MAGIC. The magic is especially fun to play with. This is all planned out for some dealing with the toughest enemies and hardest puzzles the game has to offer. There are over a dozen spells in the game, and they’re all loads of fun. Not only that, but you have companions (many to choose but only can have one along with you). that helps you on your journey and they are the most useful aspect of the entire game. Each companion has their own use, such as restroom HP, replenishing MP, power up your weapons and abilities, change music (personal DJ), and even buy anything from them like a store. Hell you can also get a Chokobo companion and he’ll be able to run on water. In order to do any of these great things is just to have them with you and interact with them when needed. What’s even more incredible is that you don’t have to worry about your character loosing health (they’re invulnerable) so that we don’t have to worry about characters dying. Everything that’s in this game shows how heavily detail it really is. It’s really a masterpiece just for the gameboy that is heavily inspired, but is under the radar for everyone. If you really want some of the best that the gameboy has to offer, look no further than this!
Number 1. – Pokemon Silver Version
Nothing will take away just how special the first generation of Pokémon was, but Generation II was where Pokémon really started to open up. The formal introduction of dual-types and the implementation of a day and night cycle created different ways to play. For the first time, the time of day mattered—certain Pokémon could only be caught at certain times, for example. This made gameplay more frustrating and more interesting. On top of having day and week cycles, Generation II expanded on the Friendship/Happiness system that was introduced in Yellow, making Pokémon grow via their “devotion” to their trainers. Plus the cell phone system allowed trainers to be battled again, resulting in more replay value. On a personal note, 251 Pokémon was just the right amount! But new elements aside, Generation II had (imo) the longest main game section with the addition of the original Gyms right after you complete the Johto League and re-enter the Indigo League. Never again has the Pokemon franchise ever did this again and for that, Generation II remains the best game of the whole franchise!
Gold, Silver, and Crystal hands down, there all the same to me (but with different Pokemon features), but I’ll always choose Silver cause you get cooler pokemon that wont appear in the others, like Lugia. Cool story with your rival being an actual bad guy, Team Rocket is back, everything is better, night and day bug catching contests, when you beat the first story you have to go back to kanto and beat the original 8 gym leaders, you even battle Ash, you know the guy from the original, and who you always wanted to battle, because after watching the show how the hell is a pikachu that strong! They say the original 151, but I always thought 252 was enough and didn’t care much for 253. There is no point of dreaming of being a Pokemon master anymore because we’re talking about a singular Pokemon game that has the best roster of Pokemon ever, the adventure is huge, the features installed are extremely varied, and the journey couldn’t be anymore fulfilling!
The Top Listed Gameboy Games
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7) 6) 5)
4) 3) 2)
- Top 10 Gameboy Advance Games
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- Top 10 PC Games of the 1990s
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