Forgot password?  |  Register  |    
User Name:     Password:    
Blog - User Review   

Nintendo's portable systems, a review. Pt. 1 - The Game Boy

On 07/17/2019 at 12:19 PM by Coolsetzer

See More From This User »

Well it looks like Nintendo's handheld systems are ending. With the announcement of the Switch Lite and no new games for the 3DS, I'm afraid that we are nearing the end of an era. So, I have decided to take a look back and see what made them so great, pick out my favorite games for each system, and pay some respects to all the great memories I have had with them.

Origins - Game Boy

Little do people know, but the GB wasn't Nintendo's first handheld console. The first was the Game & Watch series of handhelds. After achieving success with that line, they wanted to continue in the portable market, which Gunpei Yokoi basically created. Released in 1989, it is actually considered part of the fourth generation of consoles, lumped in with the SNES and Genesis. The console was released with pack in games of either Super Mario Land or Tetris. SML was great, and got gamers from the NES on board with the system. Tetris was also huge. It got people into games that had never played before, and was a big fad.

Revisions - Pocket and Color

The GB Pocket was released in 1996, and was a smaller version of the Game Boy with a greyscale display instead of a green one. It came in several different colors, and took 2 AAA batteries instead of 4 AA's.

The GB Color was released 2 years later and also came in several different colors. It was compatible with almost all the original GB games and took 2 AA batteries. The games released for it came in clear cartridges instead of grey. Also, color! With the upgraded hardware, games were faster and better looking, not to mention having a color palette that was bigger than the NES. GB Color games that were able be played in the original GB and GB Pocket came in black cartridges, but all original GB games could be played on it.

The Games

All together, the GB and GB Color released 1,709 games. That's almost as many as the SNES, their highest selling games system [for physical media]. While I only have 31 games, I'd like to think that I have the best ones. I would like to highlight the series of games that brought me enjoyment.

Super Mario Land series: When I was a kid, I used to fall asleep listening to the ending theme of the original. They even have the powerball powerup in Super Mario Maker 2 as an homage to the original game. I also enjoyed the second game, because it was like a miniature Super Mario World. I never got into the Wario Land series, but I heard it was good.

Zelda: Link's Awakening was awesome. I remember it being so humorous. And that ending blew my mind back in the day. The DX version is just the original that's compatible with the GB Color. I never played Oracle of Seasons/ Ages, but I have the games and will add them to my bucket list.

Game & Watch Gallery 1-4: If you ever wanted to experience the original G&W, but don't want to pay those prices, then these are perfect. They have the original and modern versions on the cartridges, and are very fun pick up and play games.

Mega Man I - V/ Xtreme 1&2: These days, it's easy to play the originals on the virtual console for 3DS, which you should do, because the original cartridges are overpriced. The only one really worth playing is MM V, because the others are rehashes. Still, they are fun games. In the same vein, Duck Tales 1 & 2 are competent ports of their NES counterparts.

Final Fantasy Legend I - III, Adventure: They were fun back in the day, but something always seemed off. Turns out, the Legend series was actually the SaGa games in disguise! Similarly, Adventure was the first game of the Secret of Mana series. They have a direct port of it on the Mana Collection for Switch.

Dragon Warrior I & II, III: These were actually GB Color games, and I wasted more time on them than I'd like to admit!

Super Mario Bros. Deluxe: A GB Color game which is actually a remake of the original SMB. They kept the same graphics and added in a bunch of bonus content. I used to love this game.

Pokemon games: I admit it, I never really played through any of the Pokemon games. But I acknowledge that they so very influential to the generation of gamers after mine. I have the Yellow Version. Maybe one day I'll find out what all the fuss was about.

Donkey Kong: You should play this, because it's a really good puzzle platformer. I had a lot of fun with it. The first 4 levels are remakes of the original arcade game.

Crystalis: An incredibly competent port of the original NES game, it plays like a cross between Secret of Mana and Zelda.

Kirby's Dreamland 1 & 2: The start of a great platformer series. Even the Pinball Land game was good.

Metal Gear Solid: This GB Color game is very underrated. Taking place in the same universe of the parent namesake, this sidestory plays like the original Metal Gear.

Super Game Boy: Technically not a game, but this odd little peripheral allowed you to play GB games on the SNES. I still have one somewhere, and it was really cool to play your games on your TV.


*Play It Loud! series of Game Boy

Last Thoughts

These days, if you want to start collecting, your best shot is to just start buying from secondhand video game stores. All of the models are still in circulation there, as well as the games. Just don't pay more than $90 unless it's a special edition, because that's how much it originally retailed for. The influence of the original Game Boy is still felt today. It was pretty much a phenomenon until 2002, when the last game was released and it was discontinued the next year. From the classic look and feel, I see the GB series as next in line to get the retro treatment. There are already a number of Chinese made emulator knockoffs out there.

Next time, I'll be tackling the Game Boy Advance series. Have a great day, everyone.




07/17/2019 at 01:49 PM

I'm sure I have a Game Boy, and a Game Boy Advance (original version) squirreled away somewhere. I didn't play them much but my kids did.


07/18/2019 at 12:29 PM

That's great! I don't have the original systems any more, but I plan to once I am comfortable in my retirement in the year 2XXX.

Super Step Contributing Writer

07/17/2019 at 06:35 PM

I still can't remember if my GB was a hand-me-down or my older brother and I each had our own. 

And you should play Yellow just to see how you feel about it. All I remember is the surfing Pikachu, but I know I liked Blue ok. 


07/18/2019 at 12:30 PM

My half brother was huge into Pokemon. I bought him the games and systems so he could play. I was busy in the Army at the time he was into them, but I'm glad that he liked them.

Cary Woodham

07/17/2019 at 09:31 PM

Since the Switch Lite is handheld only, it doesn't feel like their handhelds are ending entirely to me.

I do plan on writing a tribute blog to the 3DS in a couple of weeks.  Since it's kind of 'dead' and all.

I had a Game Boy when it first came out, but I wasn't impressed with it until I played Link's Awakening many years later.  It became my number one favorite Zelda game to this day (can't wait for the remake).

The Wario Land games are WAY better than any of the Mario Land games.  Especially Wario Land 2 and 3.

I loved the Game & Watch Gallery games, too!  As much as I like WarioWare, as soon as that game came out, there were no more G&W Gallery games.  I think WarioWare kind of killed that series.

I never played any of the Mega Man games on GB, which is surprising since I'm such a big Mega Man fan.  I do have both the Xtreme games, though.

I'm not a super big fan of the orginal Super Mario Bros., but I will say the Deluxe version on the GBC is pretty amazing for being on a handheld.

When Pokemon came out, I was writing for The Dallas Morning News and covering everything Pokemon related.  Because of that, I like to say Pokemon helped pay my way through college.

The GB Donkey Kong game is one of the best arcade remakes to this day.  So amazing!

If you like Kirby's Pinball Land, you should try another earlier GB game called Revenge of the Gator.  it was also made by HAL and is kind of a prototype to that game.

Another one of my favorite GBC games is Shantae.


07/18/2019 at 02:58 PM

I'll look forward to your blog. This has inspired me to replay some of the old games again that I haven't touched in years. I did look for the Shantae game in the secondhand market, but I haven't had any success so far. Also, being older, it's kind of a struggle to play some Switch games in handheld mode like Breath of the Wild. There's just too much on that little screen. 


07/17/2019 at 10:53 PM

I still have my launch Game Boy. It came with Tetris, and I asked for Super Mario Land. It was cool just playing Super Mario on the go.  Most of the early games were stripped down versions of console games and quick cash-in licensed games. Only Konami, Square, and Nintendo put any real effort into their portable games. I also had an Ultima game on my Game Boy that wasn't as good as the PC games but wasn't bad either. Then Nintendo came out with a Metroid sequel and a Kid Icarus that blew the NES game out of the water, and then came Link's Awakening, which brought some mad respectability to portable gaming. I have the Dragon Warrior games as well. I got a GBC in 1998, then a GBA a couple years later. 


07/18/2019 at 03:01 PM

So true. There were way too many cash grab games on the GB. I never played Metroid II, but I never heard about the Kid Icarus game until now. I'll have to keep on the lookout for that one. 

Matt Snee Staff Writer

07/18/2019 at 10:08 AM

I remember I got my Gameboy on my birthday as a kid. My dad took me to the store and bought it. I played it a lot on family car trips. Honestly, Final Fantasy Legend was the first turnbased JRPG I ever got into, and it's been a long love affair ever since. 


07/18/2019 at 03:11 PM

I really do miss the GB sometimes. I don't think I ever owned an original one when they came out. It was so long ago and I was just a kid then. I did pick up a GB Color though. That's probably why I don't have a big collection. I would love it if they did a reissue of them for collectors. Maybe have it like the classic consoles with a whole bunch of games on them, too. 

Matt Snee Staff Writer

07/18/2019 at 05:03 PM

That’s a good idea!


07/19/2019 at 08:09 PM

I have a GB around here somewhere. I also have the GB camera, which was kinda cool. My friend even gave me his old GB printer for it. It printed out tiny images. Not that fun, really, but I liked some things I did with the camera. I should shoot the screen with my phone to grab the images. I don't know how else to get them. 

 Last thing I played was Warlocked on my Game Boy Player. It's a RTS like Warcraft II. It's pretty good too. (I think it's a GBC game). 

 I don't know how people played games on that tiny, dark screen though. 

 Jeremy Parish of Retronauts does this Video Works thing with GB, NES and Virtual Boy. I know he was trying to review every GB game. Here's the link

The Last Ninja

07/27/2019 at 05:27 PM

Lots of nostalgia for the OG Game Boy. Perhaps my favorite game was TMNT II: Back from the Sewers (although it's a pretty slow game, they managed to cram a lot of cool things into it). But man, I loved the Mega Man games, Kirby's Dream Land 2, and Balloon Kid (like Balloon Fight except a side-scrolling adventure). 

Log in to your PixlBit account in the bar above or join the site to leave a comment.

Game Collection