25 Best Game Boy Games
Twenty-five years ago, one little gray box that played video games debuted in Japan, and the gaming world was forever changed. Ever since Nintendo's very first portable, the Game Boy, made it into our hands, we’ve been addicted to gaming anywhere and everywhere. That's why we wanted to make a list of the 25 Best Game Boy Games. The Game Boy afforded us the luxury of bringing our favorite titles along with us in our pockets. Those little cartridges held entire worlds and hours of entertainment for us to enjoy while on the bus to school or on that long plane ride. We’ve whittled down the drobes of titles and found the 25 Best Game Boy Games. These are the creme of the crop, and worthy of a spot in your Nintendo Power branded carrying case.
One of the interesting things about the Game Boy was the ability for developers to build in accessories to the cartridge. Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble featured an accelerometer so you could control Kirby by actually tilting the Game Boy. This was something unheard of in mobile gaming before the iPhone. Guiding Kirby by motion was fluid and fun and this game is worthy of a spot on our list of the 25 Best Game Boy Games.
Anything is possible in dream land. When the Rainbow Bridge has been stolen from Dream Land and King Dedede is possessed, it is up to Kirby and his animal pals to set things straight. It features everything you loved from the original title and enlarged the Kirby world. Born on the Game Boy, it would make sense that Kirby might have more than one title on our little list.
If you thought that this list was going to go up without including Dragon Warrior 3, then you’d be wrong. The third installment of the series is actually a prequel. Once again you’re charged with helping Loto save the land. It even expanded on the non-linera and open world gameplay. There was even a day and night cycle which helped bring the world of Dragon Warrior 3 to life. Who would have thought that all that adventure could fit into that tiny cartridge?
A mashup of rpg elements and platforming, Gargoyle’s Quest is easily one of the 25 Best Game Boy Games. You play as Firebrand, a gargoyle charged with saving his world from evil King Breager and restoring peace to his realm. This combo of rpg and platforming action levels really makes Gargoyle’s Quest special. There’s a reason there are a couple sequels with the same name.
In the heyday of Rareware, they released a port/companion sequel to Donkey Kong Country 3. Donkey Kong Land 3 puts you in charge of Dixie and Kiddy Kong as they try to prove themselves to Donkey and Diddy by finding the Lost World. Of course, there are some baddies looking for the same thing. Even though the environments look similar to Donkey Kong Country 3, all of the levels in Donkey Kong Land 3 are all unique and provide the perfect challenge for your thumbs while you’re out. Plus, it came in a banana yellow cartridge, who wouldn’t want that?
Sucked into a mysterious music box, Wario must collect five smaller music boxes to free the rightful owner of this world. The gameplay is similar to any other Wario game, but Wario Land 3 is considered to be the best. Using his invulnerability to access new powers is a fun twist on platforming. If you have to play a Wario game, make sure that Wario Land 3 is it.
This may have been a game that slipped under your radar, but it shouldn’t have. Shantae is a half-genie charged with protecting a seaport town. When it is attacked by pirates, you have to help her to defend the people and take down those buccaneers. Using her hair as a whip, you can easily decimate the pirate population. Shantae was so good, that there is a new game in development for the 3DS.
It isn’t often that a sequel overshadows the original. Final Fantasy Legend 2 earns a spot on our list of the 25 Best Game Boy Games because of its challenging gameplay and engaging story. It was the rpg that you wanted to tote around with you. On a quest to find your father, you must collect the shards of MAGI that were created from the shattered statue of Isis. It is long, engrossing, and enjoyable to play. It might be time the Final Fantasy series has a look back at what they did right.
We know that these are two games, but they form one large and coherent whole. Of course the land of Hyrule is threatened with the resurrection of Ganon and it is up to Link to manipulate time and the seasons to save the outlying lands and protect Hyrule and the princess. For those of you who loved classic Zelda games, these two were more than welcome in your arsenal of cartridges.
A somewhat newer game for the Game Boy, Mario Tennis came out after the game of the same title was released for the N64. As you would expect, it features Mario and his pals playing with some tennis balls. Interesting enough, it was one of the few games to take advantage of the N64 transfer pak which allowed you to swap data from your matches played in your car with the matches played on your TV.
The only puzzle game that might have come close to the utter perfection that is Tetris would have to be Dr. Mario. Instead of blocks, you’re tasked with matching up pills and viruses before the screen could fill up. If only real medicine was a matching game, we’d have had a cure for cancer by now.
Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 takes a decidedly surprising turn for the Super Mario Land series. Instead of saving the princess, you have to help Wario gather as much money as possible in order to buy a better castle than Mario. Rivalry is always fun and makes for some great entertainment. It isn’t often Nintendo embraces its bad side, but in this instance it realized that it is fun to be the bad guy.
The Metal Gear Solid universe has a long and complicated story. But Metal Gear Solid for Game Boy Color was something a bit different. It was an alternate reality sequel to the original game. It was not a part of the original storyline and entertains a whole other set of possibilities. Brought out of retirement in Alaska, it is up to Solid Snake to once again take down a new Metal Gear. It is amazing how a four story robot can fit in your pocket.
Once Mario was a successful franchise, there was no stemming all of the offshoot titles. You had Dr. Mario and Mario Teaches Typing, but Mario's Picross was a little bit different. It took the nonogram puzzle and glazed it in a veneer of Mario. It was fun, challenging, and the perfect brain teaser for those long car journeys to go visit your grandparents.
There is a reason that so many Mega Man games were made. Mega Man 5 was one of the best, and its port over to Game Boy helped many more to enjoy the title. After Dr. Wiley earned his name for a fourth time, he came back once again, but this time it was different. One of Megaman’s robot pals goes rogue and kidnaps Dr. Light. Of course Mega Man had to go after him. This time, it wasn’t just the world at stake, it was personal.
Where there is one good plumber, there must be an evil one with a worse mustache. Wario stole Mario’s castle and it is your job to help everyone’s favorite plumber regain his home. It took everything great about the original and added a few twists and turns to keep things fresh and fun.
Super Joe was back and, well, smaller than ever. He was eventually downsized from arcade cabinet to cartridge. The port of Bionic Commando brought one of the arcade’s most beloved staples to the palm of your hands. It also helped that the robot arm set the gameplay far apart from Contra. Lets be honest, Super Joe was way cooler anyway.
Ever wonder where the design for Samus Aran’s suit came from? Well, you can thank the only Metroid game developed for the Game Boy for the answer to that question. Metroid 2: Return of Samus was not the second entry into the series, but it was one of the most important. It not only embraces the great gameplay that came before it, but it also set you up for one of the greatest games of all time -- Super Metroid.
After the supposed death of Dr. Wiley, a new doctor rose to threaten the world. Dr. Cossack and his eight Robot Masters appeared to disrupt the peace. This port of Mega Man 4 to the Game Boy was the perfect cure for people who hadn’t had enough jumping from platform to platform and shooting up some bad guys.
There are not too many Game Boy games that can boast of introducing us to a brand new character that has become Nintendo canon. Kirby’s Dream Land gave us to that little marshmallow with a voracious appetite. It was a new way for us to look at platforming, and it was a revelation to those who were a bit tired of jumping on goombas.
Donkey Kong was one of the games that sparked a lifelong love of digital entertainment in an entire generation. Its migration to handheld meant that we could enjoy leaping over barrels and saving the princess any time we wanted. It also introduced the game to a whole new generation that had never set foot in an arcade. For being a legend in your pocket, Donkey Kong earns a spot on our list of the 25 Best Game Boy Games.
Legendary is the only way to describe Tetris. Of all the titles to ever be created, this was one of the few games to never age and last forever. Many have tried to copy it, but none have ever come close to capturing its brilliance. The simple act of stacking blocks into lines is as addictive as it gets. It also has a theme song that will get stuck in your head.
Link’s Awakening began life as an unsanctioned after hours project, then evolved into a port of A Link to the Past. Finally, and thankfully, Link’s Awakening became its own game. It became the first Zelda game to take place outside the realm of Hyrule. You’re along for Links journey to find the Wind Fish and save the world from evil, eventually returning to Hyrule with Link's newfound skills. It was a brilliant addition to the canon and is now considered a classic.
Our first experience with pocket sized monsters was on the Game Boy. Many of us remember the horrible dilemma of which colored cartridge to buy. Regardless of what you picked, you were initiated to an entire world of Pokemon just waiting to be captured and tamed. It became a franchise that even today inspire giddy excitement from fans of any age.
Did you have any doubt that a classic Mario game would head up our list? You shouldn’t have. Super Mario Land was one of the first times we got to carry that plumber in our pocket. When Princess Daisy is kidnapped by the alien Tatanga, it is up to Mario to bounce on heads to get her back. It was one of the few departures from the Mushroom Kingdom, and that makes Super Mario Land the #1 spot on our list of the 25 Best Game Boy Games.