Vyse’s View: Revisiting the Original Game Boy

By vysethebold . February 27, 2008 . 10:41pm

Wario Land


It's a sad fact that most gamers, even the most hardcore, totally ignore the original Game Boy today. Sure, many of us revisit the NES via emulation, whether it be legal through the Wii VC or otherwise, and many of us still have our old consoles. But how many of us actually look back to the monochrome monolith that entertained us in orthodontist waiting rooms and long car rides to Grandma's (though not on the ride back home at night of course)? The truth is that there are a ton of games that are not celebrated or even talked about today that still were amazing games for their time and are still great to come back to.


This week, I decided to break out my GBA Player and one of the more popular GB games, Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land. I wanted to rediscover the spin-off series' roots and see how the game stacked up by today's standards. I have to say that the character of Wario is one of the most fascinating aspects of the game. I find it hilarious that his sense of drive comes from wanting to be wealthy as opposed to Mario's desire to rescue Peach in hopes of "cake" (which may or may not be a lie depending on how many stars you collect). The game itself was a little on the easy side as I completed it with all of the hidden treasures and hidden levels unlocked without a FAQ in only two days. However, I was surprised with the clever level design and decidedly different approach to the Mario-style platformer (being more exploration based). The whole experience has definitely given me the wanderlust for more original Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles that I've never heard of or played. What are your favorite GB and GBC games?

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  • Hello Hello

    I really liked Wario Land myself. It was pretty satisfying when you beat the game 100% and got the entire world as your prize.

  • I always found the pseudo-MegaMan games entertaining. They weren’t really standalone games, just sort of smaller amalgamations of random bosses from the games. Like MegaMan “4” on the Game Boy had, I think, four bosses from the game with the same numeral, or one or two from 3 or 5. It’s been a long time and my old Game Boy (still in working order!) is back at my parents’ home, so I won’t be able to test it for a while.

    Another treasure from the Game Boy Color era was an RPG/Fighter called Power Quest. You bought a toy robot and fought around a small town against people of varying skill to collect money which you used to buy “parts” for the robot which translated into stat-boosts or new special moves to use in battle. It was really, really cool, and rather challenging.

  • Carmen

    I don’t know of many GB original games… Kirby’s Dream Land 2, Metroid II, Link’s Awakening/DX, SML3, of course! Hey, this would be a really good idea for a weekly column, *hint hint nudge nudge*

  • The number of great gameboy games are almost too numerous to count, but here are a few of the very best that many people missed:

    Shantae (action rpg, one of the last games for GBC)

    Donkey Kong (originial GB, later inspired the Mario and Donkey Kong games)

    Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru (Japan-only GB game, later inspired Zelda: Link’s awakening)

    Metal Gear Solid (the best top-down shooter on the GBC)

    Metal Walker (a GBC RPG with a battle system modeled after pool/billiards)

    Lufia: The Legend Returns (one of the best RPGs for GBC)

    Quarth (a port of a famicom game (which we never saw), plays like space invaders and tetris combined; One of the best GB puzzle games)

    Mole Mania (an original top-down adventure/puzzle game designed by Miyamoto, original GB)

    Wacky Races (only racing game on GBC to ever make the pole position engine fun again)

    Rayman (a true Rayman sequel, great GBC game)

    Wendy: Every Witch Way (Very unique platformer involving changes in gravity, great GBC game)

  • The GameBoy and GameBoy Color Bionic Commando games are awesome.

  • I just re-bought Super Mario Land 2 a few weeks back, and rediscovered how great of a game it was. Great music, too.

  • Mr. Mee

    Let’s see, I’d say Metroid II, Link’s Awakening, Super Mario Land, and Pokemon Silver/Gold/Crystal

  • Ben

    All of those listed above are great games for sure. Another one I loved and think belongs in that category is “Gargoyle’s Quest”. It’s actually a spinoff of the “Ghouls & Ghosts” series, and it’s a great little RPG for the original Gameboy.

  • Herolove

    I rely liked the pokémon games, super mario land and links awakening
    I was only a kid so I didn’t hawe many games, but those I liked

  • Gargoyle’s Quest, Mole Mania, and Donkey Kong ’94 as I call it are three incredible games that I still go back to.

    Another one that hasn’t been listed yet is Balloon Kid — a great platform game that’s a pseudo-sequel to Balloon Fight. (This came out years later in Japan on the GBC as “Balloon Fight GB.”)

  • Rey

    Crystalis-Really great NES to GBC port and in someways better than the NES game.Also neat bonus it was made while SNK had it’s NGPC on the market!

    Snoopy’s Magic Show-Snoopy rescues Woodstock in a layout that’s like Chu Chu Rocket what really brings it home is the great music.

    Project S-11-A vertical shooter that many missed due to Sunsoft closing it’s NA branch after it’s release.

    F1 Race-One of the first Game Boy multi player games and it still holds up well today.

    Super RC Pro Am-Another great 4 player romp plus it’s from Rare! I still hope for some kind of DS remake.

    Qix-The now somewhat famous Taito game had a great GB version that is still a blast to play.

    Boomers Adventure-You star as a little pink dinosaur in a overhead platform puzzle game.

    Faceball 2000-Although we never saw a true 16-player combat we did get a great FPS on the Game Boy and if I remember correctly the only one on the Game Boy/Game Boy Color.

    All these reasons in these replies are the reasons for a Virtual Handheld on the DS or the next Nintendo handheld.

  • veganjay

    If you like this DS game, you might like this GB game:

    Picross DS => Mario Picross
    Lost in Blue => Survival Kids
    Planet Puzzle League => Pokemon Puzzle Challenge / Tetris Attack
    Tetris DS => Tetris DX

  • PF

    My favorite game for the original game boy was Tetris, followed closely by Super Mario Land.

  • librarian

    I know a lot of people say Link’s Awakening was better than Zelda Oracle of Ages/Seasons, but I enjoyed the latter games quite a bit — they were the first 2-D Zelda games I finished all the way through. Very polished, and a few of the dungeons were quite clever (particularly Jabu-Jabu’s belly, but then I always love the water temple level).

    Wario Land 3 was utterly brilliant in the way it made you immortal and freed you to think only about the exploration puzzles.

  • badfish

    This post made me realize many childhood memories at Thousand Trails here in California …..fighting with my cousins on who was going to play next.. Did anyelse remember Simpson’s “Escape from Kamp Krusty”. and Bart vs the gladitors..something like that I think.

  • TacoBeaver

    the best GBC game was… TLOZ… forgot title, but it was the one that had oracle of seasons as 1 of its versions

  • Favorite GBC game: Pocket Bomberman. Unlike classic Bomberman games with 2d top-down viewpoints of grid-like warzones, Pocket Bomberman featured a platformer style of play of unparalleled awesomeness. I spent countless hours playing through, and attempting to beat this game.
    Second-favorite GBC game: Pokemon Pinball. This game was freaking awesome. Even though it only offered two levels, was highly repetitive, and had just a few really ghetto minigames. It made a true pinball fanatic out of me.

    Let’s not forget the OTHER retro systems.
    Favorite GameGear game: Although I never owned a GameGear, I was always so enamored by the awesome gameplay and graphics of Sonic for the GameGear. It was so bright and colorful and… awesome. Looking back, I now realize how blatantly ignorant I was to the awesome power of the GameGear.

    Favorite retro game of all time: “Mario’s Tennis” for none other than the Virtual Boy. I still have my Virtual Boy in perfect condition, and realize that after over a decade of gaming, I’ve actually lost the ability to get headaches from the Virtual Boy (as long as it’s calibrated correctly). Mario’s Tennis came bundled with the Virtual Boy, and it was provided for some awesome 3d perspective that has yet to be produced by any successor.

  • EvilAkito

    About a year ago, my friend and I simultaneously played through Metroid 2 (I used Super Gameboy, he used Gameboy Player). It was a lot of fun, and it’s the first time in a while that I’ve played through that game. I also busted out Donkey Kong recently (not Donkey Kong Land, but the pre-DKC one that’s similar to the recent Mario Vs Donkey Kong games). It too was a hell of a lot of fun and featured amazingly polished controls that even put a lot of console games to shame.

    Gameboy Color did have some surprisingly good games. Metal Gear Solid for GBC really puts the 8-bit Metal Gear games of the past to shame since it plays infinitely better on roughly equivalent hardware. Survival Kids is amazing and is far superior to any of its successors on the DS. Warlocked is a neat Warcraft clone that actually plays surprisingly well considering the system it’s on.

    It is amazing that some developers managed to squeeze so much out of those two systems. It’s easy to forget about them, but there really were a few amazing gems.

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