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What games would we like to see on a Game Boy Classic Edition?

by Ron Duwell | November 19, 2017November 19, 2017 9:00 am PDT

I still haven’t gotten a hold of my SNES Classic Edition, but as long as Nintendo keeps them rollin’, I’ll keep on buying. We’re currently seeing rumors for both the Nintendo 64 Classic Edition and Game Boy Classic edition, and there is no telling what direction Nintendo is going to take next. We’ve already covered our choices for Nintendo 64 games in a pretty sparse list, but as for the Game Boy… man, there is a lot to choose from.

Granted, a majority of the Game Boy’s games are gutted, monochrome, sub-functioning NES ports, but when developers actually put their minds to it and took advantage of the hardware’s strength, limited as it was, they made some stone-cold classics that still hold up today. In fact, I often find myself playing original Game Boy games more often than I do DS or 3DS games!

Nintendo is the clear winner here, but there are a few third-party companies who delivered big on the Game Boy, namely Square and Capcom. I’m not setting a limit on myself here, just letting the hits flow. And we’re sticking to original Game Boy games also. No color games.

Nintendo

Mario’s first Game Boy adventure is a bit strange, but it still has its place in the history of the series. It bears all the markings of a classic Gunpei Yokoi game, the designer who also helmed the Game Boy, and because of that, it is the most unique among the series’ entries, free from the influence of Nintendo’s core development team. It has a much more arcadey feel to it than its NES brethren, and yet, fans still hold it in a high regard for these charming and subtle differences.

Super Mario Land 2 is a much more fleshed out game than its predecessor, rocking a world map that is clearly inspired by Super Mario World. However, this handheld gem still feels weird compared to the rest of the Mario universe. Its physics are off, its setting is strange, and Mario has this really weird superiority complex in this game, in which he even constructs his own castle. You can just feel the not-so-subtle jabs that the Game Boy division was taking at Nintendo’s core team in this nice gem of a Mario game.

After being forced to work with Mario for three games, Nintendo’s Game Boy squad finally took off the gloves and demanded to use their own character in this excellent and vastly underrated platformer. Wario is everything that Mario is not, and the Game Boy proved essential to securing him a mainstay in Nintendo lore. This game kicked off a series of platformers which remains a gathering of Nintendo’s most underrated titles. The first four Wario Land games are truly special, and it all started here.

While originally intended to be a port of the arcade classic, Nintendo sent this game’s development into overdrive, making it another one of its most underrated platformers of all time. Fans have taken to calling this one Donkey Kong ’94 over the years since it needs its own title to remind everyone it’s its own entity. This is a masterclass in minimalist game design and a must for the Nintendo faithful.

If ever there was a game that demanded attention on the Game Boy, this would be it. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening was the first powerhouse on the console that showed its true potential, and it also happens to be one of the best games in its own franchise. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve beaten it, and I’ll always go back to the black-and-white original. The DX version is fine, but for all that it gained with the addition of color, it also lost something in the process.

Everyone is in a rush to remake this game, mostly because the gaming world considers it a flawed classic. Metroid II is essential to the evolution of the series, but it took the open-ended nature of Metroid just a little too far. Online maps make the original release a whole lot better though, and the atmosphere that oozes from the black and white is unmatched by either of the fan remakes. If you can stomach some subpar design, it’s still a solid game.

Like Wario, the Game Boy was just as essential to establishing Kirby as a reliable franchise. We’ll get this out of the way though… it’s no Kirby’s Adventure, that’s for sure. Still, the first Kirby game is a charming, simplistic platformer, and you don’t have to be a loyal fan to enjoy it.

 

Still not reaching the peaks of Kirby’s Adventure, but not a failure of a game in the least either. Kirby’s new animal friends are a lot of fun, and they lead to a fun new arsenal of abilities that even Kirby hadn’t reached before this release.

Moreso than Wario Land, more than Donkey Kong ’94, this will forever be my quintessential underrated Nintendo platformer. Not only is it overshadowed by its peers on the Game Boy, it’s also overshadowed by its predecessor on the NES. In fact, those who demanded a Kid Icarus sequel for all those years never even realized they had one. They never realized that it’s also a vastly superior game too! I’ll go back and play this one forever, and I never tire of pulling it out here and there for a quick playthrough.

Perhaps you’ve heard of it. I only wonder if a Game Boy Classic would support the necessary multiplayer functions.

I’ve never been a fan, but I would be hard-pressed to find an argument against this game’s inclusion. Before Link’s Awakening gave the Game Boy a second win and Pokemon gave it a third wind, this was the main reason to own a Game Boy. It is an essential entry in any homage to the platform.

For years, this appeared on lists of Nintendo’s most underrated games, and now that it’s more widely available through Virtual Console, I can see why. It’s a smartly designed puzzle game that features fun art with Nintendo’s popular characters. Nothing else required. Fun little gem.

Another gem of a puzzle game that seems to finally be getting some long overdue love. Mole Mania comes to us from the same director as Donkey Kong ’94, and it uses inspirations clearly taken from Link’s AwakeningI’ve often ranted about this game, and it would be criminal for Nintendo to ignore it on a Game Boy Classic Edition now that fans are finally catching on.

Third-Party Publishers

Doesn’t get any better than this. Square Enix can remake this game as often as it wants, I’ll always go back to the black and white original. This is my favorite Game Boy game, and you have to keep in mind that this sprawling adventure came out before Link’s Awakening. It’s not as involved or smartly designed of an adventure, but my goodness, how Square was able to create both an expansive world and oppressive atmosphere so early in the platform’s life cycle is beyond me.

Square Enix has been quite generous with these Classic Edition consoles so far *coughChronoTriggercough*, so I wouldn’t think to ask for all three of these Final Fantasy Legend games. Still, the Final Fantasy Legend II is a unique RPG that keeps all of the quirks of its predecessor intact while still making it much more approachable. SaGa is never going to get the love its so overdue in the States, but I would still like to see this included.

A companion game to Kid Icarus: Of Myth and Monters, and another platformer I’ll forever go back to. Gargoyle’s Quest is a perfect game for the Game Boy, featuring an expansive adventure, challenging levels, and graphics that supersede even the NES games of its year. I don’t know how deep Capcom had to dive to create this title, but the fact that the original Game Boy cart is still within a meter from me right now speaks to the lasting impression this game made on me. Please, Capcom. Don’t neglect Firebrand this time around.

Can’t very well forget the Blue Bomber, either. Most of the early Mega Man games on the Game Boy were stripped down versions of the NES games without much reason to really play them other for their portability. By Mega Man IV, the Game Boy games use roman numerals, Capcom figured out how to tap into the Game Boy’s hardware to make games that stand on their own, and Mega Man V is where that shines the most. Each of this game’s robot masters has a fun twist of being named after a planet, and the black and white levels are stunning in their originality.

Castlevania‘s first attempt at the Game Boy came up short, but Konami quickly rectified that with its stunning sequel. Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge delivers a game that’s more similar to Mega Man in that it lets you choose the order of levels you can tackle. It also adds some sweet atmospheric choices that could only work on the Game Boy, and the recreation of the classic Casltevania weapons in black and white also adds a nice touch to this one.

However, the best Castlevania game on the Game Boy is actually a spin-off. Kid Dracula lets you play as a chibi version of the Prince of Darkness, and in his quest to retake his castle, he’ll lay waste to an army of opposing… yet adorable… recognizable monsters. It’s not the deepest of platformers, but it’s so charming, you’ll never notice.

Gotta dig deep for this one. Trip World is something of an urban legend on the Game Boy scene. For one thing, it’s available only in Japan. Number two, it is also, but far, the most expensive Game Boy game on Earth, running for at least $1,000 back during its prime. A Nintendo 3DS release in Japan brought that down significantly. Why do people love it though? One, it’s beautiful, and two, it was developed by Sunsoft, the gurus behind Blaster Master, Batman, and Journey to Silius and many of the NES’ most rocking action games.

I doubt Nintendo would put an import game on the Game Boy Classic, but it would, this is easily the one you want to see.


Ron Duwell

Ron has been living it up in Japan for the last decade, and he has no intention of leaving this technical wonderland any time soon. When he's not...

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