Gameboy delve

I was just playing through Donkey Kong on gameboy and was reminded of just how stellar that game is. I don’t feel like many 2D platformers took up the torch of the highly context sensitive jump mechanics (backflip from skid, triple jump from handstand, roll from drop). I imagine that game being released contemporaneously as an indie title and it being something people would Be Talking About Online.

We all might know some stuff others have yet to explore, so I thought I’d create a space to share the GB/GBC/GBA titles you think other people would benefit from knowing more/playing/thinking about. No obscurity or score-out-of-ten requirements, but let’s enjoy scraping the bottom of the well together.

it‘s kind of lost any obscurity points i guess but for frog the bell tolls feels like a window into a version of nintendo that doesn’t really exist any more, and maybe never really did in the west. it's fun to think about “what if this had BLOWN UP like mario/pokémon/zelda/whatever”

nobody really talks about _wave race_ on game boy, probably because it looks ugly, sounds ugly, and feels really weird. but isn't this the website for people who find the intrigue in weird and bad stuff?

(For 3D engine GBA titles, see here)

I’ll throw out that Warlocked on GBC is not only novel for attempting an RTS of any form on the platform, but also has a bitchin soundtrack and pretty nice stage design. A good number of stages involve you initially working with a few units to escape a castle (for instance) before you get typical unit production of any kind. The different wizards you unlock are fun to try out and OP in a reasonable way given the clunkiness of the game overall. Swinging through the first handful of stages to see what I’m talking about is worthwhile. I also enjoy the fullscreen splashes for the portraits of the wizards.

i forgot about donkey kong land, which i sort of prefer to DKC because the levels (in my memory) feel less sparse and more sort of one-screen-at-a-time focused. also, no mine cart levels i think!

https://youtu.be/_Bdd4RDtVlY

@“MDS-02”#p80938 I am a game boy. When I say I‘M NOT BOY, I’m lying.

I got the game boy pocket when I was in elementary school. I had a strong foundation of classics as I learned to read. Then as the gameboy approached it’s 20th birthday I was already beginning my backlog busting journey. Though I never stopped playing gameboy...

Now, I can truly say my gameboy backlog has been busted— very few games of my interest that I’ve yet to play!! I became a fan of Jeremy parish as he published his first physical book, which was a list of once “obscure” game boy titles he felt deserved more attention— and they did. And that book got me from a jog to a sprint down the path of gameboy mastery.

At risk of sounding pompous, I hesitate to make such claims.. but I'm very much a game-boy shaped brain. I'm not saying I'm the only person on this level or that I'm special at all-- pretty sure gameboy disease is among the most common of retro-gamers-- Game Boy's 21st birthday was basically the starting point of the modern retro gaming culture.

*Donkey Kong 94* I specifically remember playing on a boringgggggg road trip to the middle of nowhere, Indiana or somewhere in middle upper bible belt (maybe Tennessee) to see my illegally-adopted grandmother's mother on her deathbed. I remember the deafening silence as I played Donkey Kong 94 in a weird old house in flat-&-samey-land.

So I would separate the _GAME BOY_ library into three categories:
1989-1995 - First Wave
1996-1997 - Pokemon Resurrection
1998-2002 - GBC immortality

_For the Frog the Bell Tolls_ may have become more recognized recently, but it will never lose the underrated obscurity points. No one was talking about that game until like a couple years ago. I was smashing that drum back in the day, waiting for a fan translation.

>

@“rootfifthoctave”#p80939 “what if this had BLOWN UP like mario/pokémon/zelda/whatever”

the context you will always have while playing "hidden gemth" from that time, lol!

Warlocked was a recent discovery when a traveling kid told me about it last month lol.
In that vein, I'll name drop similarly European-feeling GBC titles, just off the top:

  • - Worms Armageddon (the first Worms game I owned, after seeing my cousin play the PC version of Armageddon)
  • - Rayman & Rayman 2.
  • - Das Geheimnis Happy Hippo-Insel, always known as a d-tier kusoge that happens to have one of the most bangin european style soundtracks for gameboy, lol
  • - I didn't own Donkey Kong Country as a kid. I had Donkey Kong Land 1-3. I have much nostalgia for the banana-yellow cartridge, and the bangin soundtrack, and a fondness for the whacky graphics.

  • ________

    **underrated gems to this day:**

  • - _CHEE CHAI ALIEN,_ one of the last and most obscure and never talked about R&D1 ventures. Very rare and expensive afaik.
  • - _World Beach Volley 1991 GB Cup_, really well designed. get into the sound test mode
  • - _Tamagotchi 1-3_, the ultimate virtual pet on portable console. deeper than the original tamagotchi hand held eggs. pauses when you turn off the gameboy. Has great design. Shares sound effects with kunio on gameboy which is weird. The music is great and very unique as kunio-style instruments making sweet, chill, and somber music.
  • - _Shiren the Wanderer GB_ - still waiting on a translation!!!!!! I can't wait to crush this game...
  • - _Legend of the River King_
  • - Legend of the River King 2 is the closest we ever got to Animal Crossing or MOTHER on game boy. (aside for the allegedly canceled Mother 1 port for GBC, which would have been a game changer and I hope to see the prototype one day)
  • - **Tokimeki Memorial Hospital Pocket**

  • _______

    Good'ns in chronological order, skipping the most obvious Mario's, Wario's, Zeldo's,
    (spoilered becase it's massive list):

    >!
  • - Balloon Fight GB
  • >!
  • - Cattrap (pitman)
  • >!
  • - Boomer's Adventures in ASMIK world (from Jeremy's first Gamespite Book, Game Boy World)
  • >!
  • - Gremlins 2 - the New Batch
  • >!
  • - Mercenary Force
  • >!
  • - NEMESIS
  • >!
  • - Gargoyle's quest
  • >!
  • - SaGa 1 & 2
  • >!
  • - Cave Noire
  • >!
  • - Kid Icarus II
    >! [- Metroid II - still very underrated. plugging my favorite video game review of all time here again since it's been a year lol](https://www.gamedeveloper.com/audio/a-maze-of-murderscapes-metroid-ii)
  • >!
  • - Rockman World 1-5
  • >!
  • - Nemesis II
  • >!
  • - Seiken Densetsu
  • >!
  • - Wizardry Gaiden series
  • >!
  • - Burning Paper
  • >!
  • - Hoh shit, no Kirby 1 & 2, forever my favorites
  • >!
  • - X
  • >!
  • - Noobow
  • >!
  • - Trip World
  • >!
  • - Yoshi's cookie, enjoyable puzzle game to just plow through and enjoy the tunes on a DMG
  • >!
  • - God Medicine (one of the last games still on my backlog)
  • >!
  • - Kirby Pinball
  • >!
  • - Hoi Hoi, I know of 2 games about being a cockroach and they both rock.
  • >!
  • - Space Invaders (contains an entire SNES rom on the cartridge that is accessed when you use Super Game Boy)
  • >!
  • - Picross
  • >!
  • - Mole Mania, a game by Miyamoto that is obscure by comparison
  • >!
  • - Game & Watch Gallery, by HUDSON and some of the best and most classic tunes and graphics made for game boy. By the time Game & Watch Gallery 3 came out, they were doing unreal stuff with the hardware (just look at the game select arrow cursors... they look 32bit.)
  • >!
  • - Densha de Go! 2, the largest Game Boy ROM ever published officially, has FMV/anime intro
  • >!
  • - Pocket Camera, one of the most artistically abstract (and therefore beautiful and expressive) games ever made, I'm ready to die on this hill (not that I'll ev er have to) this game literally changed my life forever. people mainly talk about the photos these days, but it has a lot more that just photos going on. I met Hip Tanaka and had him sign mine!
  • >!
  • - Dragon Quest Monsters, Dragon Quest I/II, Dragon Quest III, dragon quest Monsters II, the best RPGs on gameboy, on par with pokemon gens 1/2
  • >!
  • - WETRIX
  • >!
  • - Beatmania GB, Pop'n Music GB
  • >!
  • - Mario Golf, Tennis, ""mainstream"" definitive sports RPG with intense tunes by Motoi Sakuraba
  • >!
  • - Oddworld
  • >!
  • - all Hello Kitty stuff on gameboy is worth a look
  • >!
  • - METAL WALKER, looked cool in magazines, that's about it lol
  • >!
  • - Monster Rancher Battle Card, **weirdest translation ever**, surprisingly very fun once you learn how to play it. Mysterious nostalgia trip for me.
  • >!
  • - Pokemon Pinball, masterpiece. The chiptunes... the chiptunes... 👻
  • >!
  • - Survival Kids 1&2, goes without saying no? the golden age of konami? if you have a physical copy of this, I envy you! also somewhat adjacent to animal crossing & mother, if you ask me!!
  • >!
  • - Wizardy, got a copy 4 years ago, it was my first time playing wizardry, pairs excellently with a small A6 size graph paper notebook to draw the maps in! quite a fun little hobby, but now I've moved on to the Wonderswan version! both are great in the sunshine or under a reading lamp! Major Airplane Game.
  • >!
  • - Transformers Vs. Beast Wars, because why not
  • >!
  • - Bakusou Dekotora Densetsu GB Special
  • >!
  • - Crystalis
  • >!
  • - _Dokapon! Millennium Quest_ AKA _I Wish I Had Friends!_
  • >!
  • - Famicom Bunk - Hajimari no Mori (from recent gigaleak)
  • >!
  • - Atelier Marie, the day this is translated is the day I play my first atelier game. Looks super cute and fun!!!!
  • >!
  • - Mr.Driller
  • >!
  • - Metal Gear Ghost Babel... obvious pick for here... Need to finish this one still.
  • >!
  • - Pokemon Puzzle Challenge, again, the chiptunes, and the graphics.... almost 32-bit-like
  • >!
  • - Power Pro-kun Pocket series... I really wanna tackle this one... because I know it's not gonna be translated any time soon...
  • >!
  • - Rockman X on gameboy color is bad ass
  • >!
  • - RPG Maker
  • >!
  • - Tales of Phantasia - Narikiri Dungeon (there's other RPG spinoffs that are more well-known that I didn't mention here like Azure Dreams and Grandia, Star Ocean, etc.
  • >!
  • - The Furby Rhythm game
  • >!
  • - Gimmick Land aka prototype Tomato Adventure GBA, from the giga leak
  • >!
  • - Mobile Golf
  • >!
  • - NSYNC - Get to the Show
  • >!
  • - Pokemon Trading Card Game 1 & 2....
  • >! >!
    ____

    Games that mutated my brain in elementary school:

  • - Pokemon **Blue**
  • - Link's Awakening & Link's Awakening DX
  • - Game & Watch Gallery 1-3
  • - Wario Land 2
  • - Super Mario Land 2
  • - Tamagotchi
  • If a series or old game has a GBC version, I often find that's the version I enjoy the most. My gameboy-shaped psyche just finds it so comfortable and playable to have it on my gameboy color, even though my adult hands have grown far larger than my childhood gameboy color can comfortably accomodate for long periods, lol. Nothing like the feel of those A and B Buttons. Perfect. The Pantone colors of the gameboy hardware appeals to my monkey brain. Like a ripe, juicy fruit, I want to consume it. It sparks joy. I still have dreams of finding game boys for free.

    My first Dragon Quest experience was beating Dragon Quest III under the covers at summer camp with a flashlight on gameboy color with headphones in.

    The replacement screen lenses are all wrong, it's meant to be that weird slightly grayish off-black, not pure black... very disappointed.

    Patches?? Pokemon Crystal Clear, Roaming Red, Crystal 251, Pokemon Blue with Spaceworld 97 sprites

    this pop punk midwest emo-ass song from the gameboy color razor scooter game defines our generation:
    https://youtu.be/dCJ7nPMTn8A

    edited... the formatting needed some work.

    Lots of quality GB time as a kid. I was pretty bad at them, but here's a few that I have quality memories of (with varying levels of obscurity):

    **Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins**: Not obscure at all, and that's for a good reason: this is one of the most solid platformers on any...uh...platform. If nothing else, check out that [Star Maze music](https://youtu.be/k4N9jtYTb_Y).

    **Kirby's Dream Land 2**: Another not-obscure solid platformer. Looks and sounds amazing for the platform, plus it features some early kirby copy abilities and animal buddies.

    **Quarth**: This puzzle/shmup hybrid was on many different platforms, but I only really ever played the GB game. A bit simple, but the game mechanics are interesting and the ship design is really cool. Always confuse it with "Qix" when trying to remember the name

    **Bubble Ghost**: Super cute single screen puzzle game with one of my favorite songs (there's pretty much only one). Beware, depending on your personal threshold, the gameplay can be frustrating as all heck.

    **Solar Striker**: Very light and fun vertical scrolling shmup, also with great music (honestly, hearing the music from most of these games is like nostalgia catnip for me)

    **Kirby's Block Ball** and **Alleyway**: Whether you're in the mood for a high concept reimagining of Breakout or a very basic clone of the same, the GB has you covered

    **Kirby's Pinball Land**: Any game type + Kirby is guaranteed gold!

    Guy that made Boktai worked on this stand-alone Metal Gear (no, not Kojima)

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/kQyL4GZ.png]

    Both Bionic Commando games are good
    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/fIyMiMi.png]

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/Gjrzr4d.png]

    Cool Resident Evil that takes place on a boat (no not that 3DS one)
    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/Qdo9feT.png]

    Noobow, the most precious game on the system (more so than Kirby)
    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/FC0YSmL.png]

    And finally (for now) the ports of the first three Dragon (Quest) Warrior games are a big improvement to the NES titles
    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/iFSxN3n.png]

    On the subject of Super Mario Land 2….

    Mario Land 1/2, SM64 and SMBDX were my main mario games through most of my childhood, SMB3 and SMW were like legends in my eyes that I didn‘t get to play much at all in the 90’s.

    So Super Mario Land 2 was my image of Mario, I played the three stages leading to Star Maze over, and over, and over, I loved the transition of flying in a bubble, to the moon, to the stars. Peak creative Mario stage design, it will never be that creative ever again lol. Although I also agree with Jeremy Parish‘s take, which is that the enemies and stuff going on in SML2 is so unique that it’s unfortunate that Mario's extremely limited toolset makes many of this enemies (some that literally appear only once, on one screen, in the entire game) simply an obstacle you jump on to kill before seeing any of their moves. The witch enemy comes to mind. Those types of enemies make more sense in a Wario Land game… You can see how things went in that direction.

    When I think of the DMG, as much as all of the games mentioned are there and are highlights, these days I think just as much about single screen arcade / puzzle games. So here are some highlights

    **Amazing Penguin, Burger Time Deluxe, Cat Trap, Dexterity, Lock N' Chase, Mole Mania**

    If I was to go hidden best of GBC, on one level it is both the **Mario Sports** games (**Golf** and **Tennis**) and on another level it is that they ported the Mac Venture games (**Shadow Gate** and **Deja Vu**)

    If I had to pick a platformer it would be **Bonk's Adventure** for being a reasonable facsimile of the PC Engine, and the generally slower pace of the action working well within the limits of the hardware.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82i9FThERbY

    What I love about the original DMG and GBC is the the variety of simple compact games that you can just sit down with for a spell and have a blast. It is the ultimate riding on an interstate bus system.

    I think my favorite thing about the Gameboy is that so often you‘ll be playing these games and think “ah this is a cute little game” and you come to what you think is the end of this cute little game and realize that it’s just the end of the first world. And then you're like wow this game is pretty big. And then you come to what you think is the end of this pretty big game and realize oh, that was all just an appetizer. This game is fucking huge!

    @“TracyDMcGrath”#p80980 8-bit games still being produced in the year 1999 is crazy. so much rom space. Such old technology being kept alive. Super refined techniques. It's amazing that we all got exposed to 8-bit games across a 30 year period.

    This video is a great explanation and intro to Toca Touring Car Championship on GBC. My experience has mirrored his and it’s a nice focus-demander.

    https://youtu.be/vaZZqXeHVdo

    One silly game I‘ve been playing over the last week or so is Nikkan Bell-tomo Club, a romance game themed around the short-lived late-‘90s pager fad (or “pocket bells” as they were commonly called in Japan). In essence, you’re exchanging pager messages with various girls with the ultimate goal of successfully confessing to one of them within the space of a month; there’s a real-time clock and a hard limit on how often you can send messages, as well as long wait times for replies if a girl reacts negatively to one of your messages, so it‘s a little more tamagotchi-like than the usual romance ADV and not something that really gives you a ton to think about… it’s not especially well-written, the clock system‘s a pain in the ass and there are luck stats that can’t be reliably manipulated and will cause you to fail conversations you ought to pass, so I don‘t actually recommend it to anyone, but I can’t help but appreciate it for executing on an idea with such an absurdly small window of novelty.

    The most memorable thing about the game is the stark contrast between the packaging/manual, which promises encounters with live-action characters, vs. the in-game graphics which are ever-so-slightly less lifelike:

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/6Nng9MK.png]

    vs.

    (apologies for the commentary, there's not a lot of footage to choose from online)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neJx8sq5ibE

    @"MDS-02"#p80999 I thought I was alone in having a weird fixation on that game, I've never spoken to anyone else who know what it was when I brought it up.

    @“copySave”#p80968 I‘ve been meaning to play Dragon Quest 2 and 3, but have been wondering which version to play between the NES/GBC/SNES. I’ve heard of people who prefer the GBC even to the SNES - what‘s so different? And are the differences worth being someone’s first-time play (especially for someone like me who tends to want an “authentic” “original” experience)?

    @“MDS-02”#p80999 WOT!!! okay, this is the RALLY KING-type game I've been looking for all along, thank you.

    >

    @“Funbil”#p81041 I’ve heard of people who prefer the GBC even to the SNES

    GBC version did come after the SFC version. But it's 100% to taste. If you feel like you'd enjoy the RPG on the GBC, or the SFC. They both have the graphics and sound you'd expect of such versions. There's a list of concrete, objective differences between the two, but screw it. Play on the console you love. You'd also be more likely to finish it on a gameboy color, since that's portable and easy to pick up and play. It has a quick-save feature. The official gbc localization does the job fairly well.
    They're both 100% authentic and original experiences, alongside the family computer version. Dragon Quest is so ubiquitous that many people played the SFC versions for their first time, and obviously many american kids like me that were 9 years old in 2000 first played the GBC version! They're all true to the original, with QOL improvements like quick save, and DQIII makes the walk speed really fast. in DQ3 for GBC all the enemies battle sprites have multiple animations, like Pokemon Crystal. Also while they're still challenging, I think the EXP, gold, and difficulty curves are less punishing. I really wish they'd given DQIV the same treatment.... Or again, even MOTHER.

    Something I often think about is the missing link between Square's early GAME BOY stuff like SaGa and Final Fantasy Legend, their Wonderswan stuff, and the GBA.... The missing bit would be late gameboy/gameboy color stuff, when they were taking space from nintendo. Like imagine if they'd made Game Boy Color games. that would have been pretty cool. Not just colorized Seiken Densetsu, but a sequel. Or a chocobo mystery dungeon like the Shiren ones for game boy... Or even SaGa 4 or a SaGa Frontier spinoff.... There's endless possibilities to think about... and I made a couple hand-drawn "mockups" of these ideas before.

    @“treefroggy”#p81051 Not yet in my hands but from the same developer

    https://youtu.be/pesQkGm4txM

    (Spellbound then went on and made a trio of good 3D driving games on GBA - Colin McRae 2, Starsky and Hutch, and another Toca game, I posted a bit about those in the 3D GBA thread)

    @“Funbil”#p81041 Summed up nicely by @“treefroggy”#p81051 but I'll add that there are some neat little cinematics and story artwork elements added to the GBC games:

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/9rO81yQ.png]

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/bA55ZXX.png]

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/h6BPh3X.png]

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/rN4vJKQ.png]


    I recommend folks check out Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue for the Game Boy Color

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/Q95H6LW.png]

    It has a really interesting structure (rescue stages, fight stages, big robot fight stages) and really only that first section is well executed but it's interesting all the same. Each rescue mission is a little compact puzzle platforming level where you optimize between people to rescue, damage you can take to speed up the mission, and energy to use tools. You find each tool as you go so you're really incentivized to pay close attention to the level layout and where and when you should backtrack. It's got some cool stuff in there! The robot fighting *kind of sucks* but that's fine.

    If anyone hasn‘t played Mole Mania, that’s probably my number 1 recommendation on the system. Wonderful action puzzle game.

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/XaJAAKd.png]


    Also all the Takara fighting games, especially if you have or can emulate a super gameboy.

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/T3FksyJ.jpeg]