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360 Sunday Games Top 10: Game Boy Games

24 May 2009 by: Alex St-Amour One Comment

Top 10 Game Boy Games

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  Forget all this touch screen and multimedia capability nonsense, back in the day all you needed to enjoy a game on the road was four AA batteries and a green screen. The original Game Boy was handheld gaming at its purest form, featuring only 2 buttons, a D-pad and a monochrome screen. The system was a best selling item from its launch in 1989 to its replacement by the Game Boy Color in 1998, in that time selling over 70 million units! Now we didn’t think it would be very fair to include GBC games in this list (we’ll get to them later), so the only condition for a game to be considered is that it had to be in black and green.

  So without further ado, here are the best games from the original portable brick.

 10 – Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge

Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge

  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Year Released: 1991
  • Genre: Action / Adventure

  After the first Castlevania game for the Game Boy met with lackluster reviews and success, Konami went back to the drawing board for the sequel. Belmont’s Revenge brought the experience of a console Castlevania game to a handheld for the first time, with features like secondary weapons, selectable levels and a password system to continue your progress, this game started a long legacy of great vampire hunting on the go, which is still evident in newer games like Harmony Of Dissonance for the GBA and most recently Order Of Ecclesia on the DS.

9  – Kirby’s Dream Land

Kirby's Dream Land

  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: HAL Laboratory Inc.
  • Year Released: 1992
  • Genre: Platformer

  Kirby’s Dream Land holds a special place in many gamers hearts. Not only was it the debut of Nintendo’s little pink err… white puffball, but the game proved to be the perfect ‘on the go’ game. With only 4 main levels, it was perfect for that lazy car ride or a quick go through at recess. Like Castlevania is seems the Kirby saves his best for the handhelds, with Kirby: Squeak Squad and the more recent remake of Kirby Super Star continuing to provide hours of handheld gaming bliss.

8  – R-Type


  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Irem
  • Year Released: 1991
  • Genre: Horizontal Shooter

  When it came to N.E.S. and arcade games finding their way to the Game Boy the result was usually less then perfect. But when it came time for R-Type to debut on the gray brick it broke the mold. Featuring everything that made the console versions great, the Game Boy version of R-Type was a must own, not only for fans of the series, but any gamer on the go.

7  – Donkey Kong Land

Donkey Kong Land

  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Rare
  • Year Released: 1995
  • Genre: Platformer

  Donkey Kong Country quickly became one of the Super Nintendo’s best games, so when it came time for Rare to developer a Game Boy version, expectations were high. Luckily for us, despite only having a fraction of the power of the S.N.E.S. at their disposal, Rare managed to cram everything that made Country great into a small yellow cartridge and create Donkey Kong Land. The game provides all that smooth gameplay that gamers have come to expect from the series, while at the same delivering an original and funny story.

6  – Mega Man V

Mega Man V

  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Year Released: 1994
  • Genre: Action / Platformer

  It took five tries for Capcom to get it right, but Mega Man V finally gives the blue bomber a game he can be proud of on the Game Boy. Featuring an all original cast of robot masters, all new levels, new power-ups and a new partner to help you on your quest, Mega Man V is known for breaking the mold established by the previous games in the series. Sure Capcom may be known for milking this franchise dry in recent years, but games like Mega Man V are reminders of why we keep coming back for more robot shooting fun.

5  – Metroid II: Return Of Samus

Metroid II: Return Of Samus

  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo R&D 1 / Intelligent Systems
  • Year Released: 1992
  • Genre: Action / Adventure

  The original Metroid is known for its epic size, atmosphere and sense of loneliness on a hostile world, so when it came time to bring all that down to the small screen you would think some sacrifices would have to be made. Not so fast. Metroid II packed everything that made the original Metroid stand out and kept on adding new features like save stations, more hidden items and a compelling story that would have a major impact in both Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion. The game is considered by some to be the dark horse in the series due to its linear gameplay and straight forward exploration, but to this day, every handheld Metroid (with the exception of the FPS Prime Hunters) have followed the Metroid II way of telling Samus’ story.

4 – Super Mario Land

Super Mario Land

  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo R&D 1
  • Year Released: 1989
  • Genre: Platformer

  Super Mario Land had alot of weight on its shoulders. Not only was it a launch title for Nintendo’s newest system but it debuted at the height of ‘Mario Mania’, where everything the plumber touched turned to instant gold, even selling things like shampoos and cereals wasn’t out of the question for Nintendo’s mascot. So alot was riding on Mario Land to keep this trend going, and keep going it did. Selling a mind numbing 18.74 million copies, the game quickly earned the title of one of the Game Boy’s and Mario’s finest adventures. With excellent controls, varied environments and even letting Mario control a submarine and an airplane  the game was as unique as it was great.

3  – The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

The Legend Of Zelda: Link's Awakening

  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Year Released: 1993
  • Genre: Action / Adventure

  They shrunk down Mario, they shrunk down Metroid, but easily the biggest challenge for Nintendo was to take the epic scale and world of The Legend Of Zelda and fit it all on a Game Boy screen. But when all was said and done, it was a huge success. Link’s Awakening is easily one of the best 2D games in the series, right up there with A Link To The Past, in fact it was so good that Nintendo added a dash of color and made it a launch title for the Game Boy Color as Link’s Awakening DX. The game would continue to be a huge influence for the series, as both Oracle games, also on the G.B.C., would essentially be spiritual successors to Link’s Awakening. The story was also top notch, even moving some gamers (not me I swear…) to tears. 

2  – Tetris


  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo R&D 1 / Bullet-Proof Software
  • Year Released: 1989
  • Genre: Puzzle

  The N.E.S. had Super Mario Bros, the Xbox had Halo, the Wii has Wii Sports and the Game Boy had Tetris. These games are the major reason that these consoles saw so much success. The super addicting puzzle game from Russia was a brilliant pack-in choice for the launch of the Game Boy, it gave it an instant killer-app that proved that portable gaming was a new frontier that would eventually become just as important as the big boy consoles. Tetris itself has an amazing legacy, spawning sequel after sequel for nearly every system since 1989, and adding new innovations like online play, HD graphics and crazy multiplayer modes.

1  – Pokémon (Red/Blue)

Pokémon (Red Version)

  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Game Freak
  • Year Released: 1998
  • Genre: R.P.G.

  One of the most influential video games of all time, Pokémon started a cultural phenomenon that spawned trading cards, a cartoon show, toys, cloths, food, etc. The concept is simple, catch creatures and have them battle other trainer’s pokémon on your quest to become the greatest trainer in the world. The story is your standard R.P.G. fare, innocent kid gets mixed up in a battle between good and evil. But the greatest draw of the game was the link cable trading and battling. By hooking up two Game Boys you could duke it out with your friends to see who really was king of the playground or simply trade some Pokémon around and try to get that Haunter to evolve into a Gengar. If their is anything that cements this game and its legacy in history it’s that Nintendo and Game Freak have never changed the basic formula for any of the multi-colored sequels.  Gotta catch ’em all! was more then a catch phrase, it was a way of life.

  Join us next week, as we kick start our E3 2009 coverage by counting down the top 10 most anticipated games of E3.

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One Comment »

  • gamestag said:

    Nice games…I like the not so violent ones for my children.

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