Top Game Boy games
Like all old flames, the Game Boy is a hard system to get over. We thought we'd had our last fling with our 2012 Best Game Boy games list, but alas we just couldn't resist coming back for more. Behold, our updated list of the best Game Boy and Game Boy Color games of all time...
50. Pokmon Trading Card Game
49. F-1 Race
F-1 Race often came standard with the Game Boy's four-player adapter, and it was the first Game Boy game to include a battery back-up to let you record your best times. All combined, F-1 represented an important addition to Game Boy's garage.
48. Yoshi's Cookie
Bullet-Proof Software may have borrowed ingredients from the block-puzzle games that came before it, but there's no denying Yoshi's Cookie had a flavor all to itself.
47. Perfect Dark
In addition to Perfect Dark's steadfast single-player campaign, Rare added to the game's repertoire with a (relatively) hefty multiplayer mode. Using a Link Cable, you could challenge your friend in two-player deathmatch and counter force modes. There was also the ability unlock cheats with data from the Nintendo 64 version and print character profiles with the Game Boy Printer. All said, Perfect Dark for Game Boy Color was a worthy addition to the respected (albeit short-lived) Perfect Dark franchise.
46. Tomb Raider
From the rich graphics and fluid gameplay, Tomb Raider never strayed far from the series' swashbuckling tone. The 2D visuals popped off the screen and the environments afforded plenty of room for pulling off Lara's vertical and horizontal feats of derring-do. Technical restraints held Tomb Raider back from competing with its console versions, but when placed alongside other action adventures on the Game Boy Color it was truly a treasure to behold.
45. Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters
Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters didn't reinvent Gunpei Yokoi's original, but it did bring a much-loved character back into the spotlight for a journey that honored its roots while branching out in new and invigorating ways. It would be years before Pit truly took flight in the Nintendo 3DS's Kid Icarus: Uprising, but for one winter in 1991 it gave the winged archer a chance to soar on the Game Boy.
44. Kid Dracula
Kid Dracula is more than a childlike take on Konami's Castlevania series. Over and above sharing a common enemy, Kid Dracula adopted Castlevania's affinity for exploration, compelling enemy design, and breezy platforming. It also borrowed heavily from Mega Man's overall look and feel, creating a strange-yet-effective homage to both classic series. True, Kid Dracula may have drained its inspiration from multiple sources (and studios), but it carried itself with a charm all its own.
43. Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams
A port of the 1995 Street Fighter prequel, Alpha lost some its visual flare and presentation in the transfer, but in the end it didn't matter. In lieu of a pixel-by-pixel remake, Alpha focused on making its combat as fast, fluid, and responsive as it could be on an 8-bit handheld, while also porting in Street Fighter's popular fighters and their special moves, super combos, and alpha counters. Alpha may not have been a full resurrection of the mid-'90s fighting classic, but it was as close as the Game Boy Color could allow.
42. Mario Golf
Camelot gave Mario Golf a distinct voice for the Game Boy Color. Its optional metagame elements made it appealing to casual golfers and Mario fans alike. The ability to transfer data between the Game Boy and N64 versions via the transfer pack and play against human opponents only added to the experience. If you're down for 18 holes of solid Mario fun, you can still pick this one up for the 3DS.
41. Dragon Warrior Monsters
Dragon Warriors Monsters' spin on the Pokmon brand was inspired. It ushered in a dynamic new world for gotta catch 'em all fans and enhanced the gameplay with enough of its own upgrades and changes to distinguish itself from other Pokmon knock-offs. It may have been forged from parts of other titles, but the final outcome was a beast of a game.
40. Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble
Tilt 'n' Tumble casts Kirby as the star of an action-puzzle outing that charges you with rolling him through an obstacle course la Marble Madness. What sets Tilt 'n' Tumble apart is the inclusion of a built-in accelerometer that registers physical Game Boy Color movements and translates them to in-game twists, turns, and bumps. It was a gimmicky touch, but the effect sent Kirby hurling in a refreshingly new direction.
Then again, Scrooge can't take all the credit. Much of DuckTales' popularity stemmed from Capcom's flair for platforming and level design. Similar to the Mega Man titles, you can choose which order you want to tackle Scrooge's five treasure-hunting missions, and each non-linear level grants gold seekers the freedom to loot every last secret or dash straight to the final boss. This flexible gameplay, along with Scrooge's many creative abilities, lent depth and replayability to what could have been a bare-bones port of the NES original. Like Mickey's Magic Castle games, DuckTales was designed to reward bright-eyed explorers, even if it was all to make the rich a little richer.
38. Harvest Moon GB
Take, for example, Harvest Moon GB. Somehow, Victor Interactive Software made the job of Ranch Master intensely appealing to us spoiled city folk. We had zero problems getting up at the crack of dawn to plant crops, chop wood, fish for food, or scour underground caves for goods to sell in town. Of course, the real allure of Harvest Moon GB were the magical bits that made farm living a true fantasy lifestyle. From chatting with our ghost grandfather to mingling with Harvest sprites and flirting with the Goddess of Spring, we were driven to survive each passing season so we could see what surprises awaited us in the next. Harvest Moon GB retained the gleeful, salt-of-the-earth feel of the Harvest Moon franchise while letting us get our hands dirty on the go.
37. Donkey Kong Land
Donkey Kong Land is an original continuation of SNES's Donkey Kong Country. In it, Diddy and Donkey of the Kong clan set off on another island-hopping adventure to prove to Cranky Kong that there's more to their video game fame than fancy graphics. And they were right. Donkey Kong Land felt just as ambitious as its larger kin, boasting a number of secret worlds, animal buddies, and trademark Donkey Kong platforming. It wasn't 100% up to SNES snuff, but damned if it didn't try.
36. Revelations: The Demon Slayer
The game combined Atlus' skill for storytelling and dynamic RPG encounters. It included a monster-capturing system that would later adopt major improvements in the following sequels. Name confusion aside, Revelations: The Demon Slayer carried the Shin Megami Tensei moniker honorably and was one of the most deeply satisfying role-playing journeys for the Game Boy Color.
35. Mole Mania
Mole Mania was a Miyamoto joint through-and-through. It flexed its easy-to-learn mechanics in a number of creative ways, and wrapped its addictive gameplay in a cutesy, cartoon aesthetic. Muddy may have gotten the shaft by history, but we'll always dig this innovative puzzler.
34. Dragon Warrior I & II
Enix's two-for-one title brought the dungeon crawler back in a significant way. More than a compilation cash grab, each chapter received a graphical upgrade, translation errors were fixed, and little touches like the chance to save while exploring the field were included to make up for 1980s limitations. Snazzy intros and cutscenes were also included, and nitpicky fans could also find minor tweaks made to the story throughout. Dragon Warrior I & II was a must have for collectors and loving treatment of one of the genre's first trendsetters.
33. Toki Tori
32. Pokmon Puzzle Challenge
Pokmon Puzzle Challenge didn't blaze any trails, but it did the next best thing: It dusted off an aging game archetype, polished it with new game modes and tweaks, and repainted it with one of the most popular brands in the world. Tetris Attack found a new champion, and we got a solid Game Boy Color time-killer in the process.
31. Mega Man Xtreme 2
Mega Man Xtreme 2 is remembered as one of the best for many reasons. It built on the gameplay of the first Mega Man Xtreme by allowing you to play as either Mega Man X or his buddy Zero, and it kept Mega Man Xtreme's difficulty level intact while doing away with the cheap deaths and platforming missteps that marred the original. Mega Man Xtreme 2 isn't the best game in the series, but its contribution to the Game Boy Color's action libraryand the Mega Man legacyis undeniable.
30. Final Fantasy Legend
Ported to the West in 1990, Final Fantasy Legend was Squaresoft's first Game Boy release and--more importantly--the freshman RPG on Nintendo's newborn handheld. Originally dubbed Makai Toushi SaGa (aka Warrior in the Tower of the Spirit World) in Japan, it featured the efforts of Final Fantasy designer Akitoshi Kawazu and touted many of the series' most familiar (and popular) RPG elements.
Final Fantasy Legend was custom-made for portable adventuring. You followed the exploits of four warriors in quick bursts of turn-based skirmishes. Its encounters were frequent, its gameplay was streamlined, and its over-arching design catered to warriors-on-the-go. It also included a robust class system and a monster transformation element that gave you tons to tinker with on the way to work or school. Far from a slimmed-down Game Boy port, Final Fantasy Legend distilled the best elements of the SaGa/Final Fantasy series into an expertly condensed RPG experience.
29. Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman!
Wario Blast was a joint project between Hudson Soft and Nintendo, and the quality of both teams shined through in its authentic treatment of the Bomberman series. As always, the plot revolved around Wario searching for treasure and winding up in jam. Thankfully, this time around Wario's greed worked out for everyone--gamers most of all.
28. Game & Watch Gallery 2
Five official installments of the Game & Watch Gallery games were produced; some of which, like Game & Watch Gallery 2, were reborn years later for the Nintendo 3DS virtual console. We have a soft spot for the second iteration not only because it featured our pal Donkey Kong, but because it marked a noticeable evolution for the series and it set the ball rolling for the Game & Watch anthologies to come.
27. Revenge of the 'Gator
One of HAL's pre-Kirby games, Revenge of the 'Gator was a fantastic pinball game, with interesting characters and strong physics. The music, too, was memorable, as were the stylish (for the time) visuals.
However, fans likely remember it more for the interesting bonus levels than the traditional screen. There were three that could be accessed, each requiring you to smack a 'gator with a pinball (or knock one off a platform). They were sometimes difficult to get to, but the euphoric rush upon reaching one of the bonus levels made the time spent getting there totally worth it.
26. Dr. Mario
Released at the same time as the NES version, Mario got his MD and attacked viruses the only way he knew how: color-matching pills. Even without the vibrant colors of the home version, the GB release still had the habit-forming gameplay and infectious music, a perfect remedy to boredom on long family trips.
25. R-Type DX
Taking the first and second games, R-Type DX shrunk down the shooter in size but not scope. The screen-filling enemies, rain of bullets, and spectacular soundtrack all carried over splendidly to the handheld. Though there weren't a ton of memorable shooters on the Game Boy, R-Type DX is easily the best the system saw.
24. Mario's Picross
Using the logic-puzzle type known as nonogram, you're presented with a grid informing you how many spots in a grid line are filled in. Through the process of elimination you fill in the spots and see an image gradually reveal itself. Though Picross has been done better since, this Mushroom Kingdom-tinged original is still worth the time of anyone who wants to train their brain.
23. Kirby's Block Ball
The gameplay is still built around the simple fun of bouncing a ball off tiles until all the blocks are gone, but with Kirby's adorableness seeping through most of the design. The spherical guy could expand and contract as needed, his enemies appeared onscreen, and many of his famous power-ups were included. It may not be difficult to make a good Breakout clone, but Kirby and friends were able to stand out from the crowd.
22. Pokmon Pinball
Much more than a cheap cash-in of the Pokmon license, this elaborate spin-off managed to provide a solid pinball experience while staying true to the gotta catch em all mantra of the main series. Each of the two tables (Red and Blue, naturally) contained various towns and caves you could visit via precise pinball strikes. Each area housed unique Pokmon you could catch with an even more challenging gauntlet of pinball tasks. The skill required made each and every successful capture a momentous occasion.
Things got even more tense when you finally met the legendary Pokmon, including the immensely elusive Mewtwo. Scores would skyrocket in seconds, soaring into the millions after a white-knuckle battle with one of these beasts, accurately echoing the experience found in the genuine Pokmon games. This could have been a pile of garbage and still sold like crazy; instead we got one of the systems best games.
21. Gargoyle's Quest
What's this, a great Game Boy game that isn't a sequel to an already-popular franchise? Not quite--Gargoyle's Quest is technically part of the Ghosts 'n Goblins series, though the similarities essentially end with the main character: Firebrand is an enemy in the first GnG. Now a hero, Firebrand is supposedly the only one who can stop an even meaner demon from ruling the world. Cue some adventuresome 8-bit music, throw down some 2D levels and boom, you've got enough motivation for a Game Boy outing.
But there was more going on here than you'd expect from a Game Boy spin-off. Yeah there were 2D areas with bosses at the end, but Firebrand's ever-increasing abilities gave you more control than was typical at the time. Hovering, wall climbing, super jumping, platform creation... there was a lot to do! Then add overhead areas la Dragon Quest, complete with (frequent) enemy encounters and NPCs who talk IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS and you've got a remarkably robust handheld game for its time. Quest also started a formula that would be enhanced in its NES and SNES sequels. But since then? Nothing much, outside of Firebrand appearing in a few fighting games. Time for a comeback, we think.
20. Mega Man V
Equipped with a new Mega Arm and saddled with a robo-assistant named Tango, Mega Man was sent on an entirely original adventure. Thanks to artist Keiji Inafune's Stardroids vision, the series entered fresh territory while keeping a solid foot in its time-honored Mega Man gameplay. All said, Mega Man V was different; and by that point in the robo-warrior's career, different was good.
19. Bionic Commando: Elite Forces
Somewhere between the NES classic and the misguided 2009 gruffquel, this bizarre one-off entry in Capcoms swingin series landed on GBC with new characters and abilities. As was typical for GBC games, the fundamentals were NES era, while the character animations were surprisingly smooth; most importantly the feel of swinging from platform to platform was intact, making this a strange but fun side story.
Despite generally high reviews, the Bionic Commando franchise went into hibernation after Elite Forces, emerging eight years later with the superb Bionic Commando Rearmed. We still love the grapple-arm mechanics, and handhelds are a great place to push 2D gameplay, so surely this well-received entry will appear on the 3DS Virtual Console. Dont give up on this yet, Capcom!
18. Super Mario Land
Super Mario Land doesn't gets a pass out of nostalgia alone (though that is a big reason). Dust off Super Mario Land today and you'll still be treated to a lively platformer dripping with Gunpei Yokoi's off-kilter design. The Super Mario Land series evolved with each sequel, but thanks to this pioneer it got off on the right foot.
17. Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge
In the 2000s, Game Boy Advance would become known for its exquisite Castlevania games. A decade earlier, the series was certainly present on the OG Game Boy, but not at the same level. The first entry, The Castlevania Adventure, was a stiff, bland side-scroller we quickly grew tired of. Belmont's Revenge on the other hand was immensely better, with faster gameplay, amazing music, and level designs that were new to the series yet retained the gothic Castlevania feel.
As is the case with handhelds today, Game Boy games were often seen as watered down or compromised versions of full-size console titles. Breaking that trend, Belmont's Revenge was a totally unique, Game Boy-exclusive edition that proudly carried the NES Castlevania traditions onto the portable. Sure, as a typical 2D walk-right-and-whip-baddies game, it wasn't a groundbreaking moment for the franchise. But it was a solid entry that made up for the weaker original and proved Game Boy could, on occasion, bust out a console-level experience with just four colors to back it up.
16. Pokmon Gold/Silver/Crystal
Yeah yeah, two Pokmon games, we know. But who will argue against the impact Gold and Silver had on the worldwide gamer consciousness? If you were a serious player, you played for the intense boss battles and copious after-game content. If you were a wide-eyed kid, sucked in by the cartoon and toys, then you played because zomg PIKACHU! Either way you spent tens (or hundreds) of hours collecting 100 brand-new Pokmon.
Gold and Silver were more than updated versions of Red and Blue; the new series introduced the concept of Pokmon breeding, opening up all-new ways to disappear into the Pok-world for hours at a time. Customized, honed teams could now be built based on more than just their type. Hold items appeared, adding yet another wrinkle to trainer battles. A day and night cycle was added, which meant some Pokmon would only appear during certain times of the day. The list of additions goes on, and each one, while sounding simplistic, drastically altered the core game and solidified Pokmon as a no-nonsense RPG experience.
15. Super Mario Bros. Deluxe
This is hardly an inspired or surprising choice, but theres no denying Nintendos marquee title, especially when its updated with new features, modes, and two-player simultaneous action. Its a shame Nintendo didnt take things one step further and update the actual graphics, but we suppose the original NES look has a certain allure to it that the SNES All-Stars version lacks.
Nintendo could have simply ported over the original Super Mario Bros. and sold a million copies. Instead, it packed in enough new content to justify playing this all over again, and managed to get us excited for a 14-year-old game like it was brand new. The only real downside to SMB Deluxe is the camera; its pulled in tight, limiting your view of much of the area. This is unavoidable due to the disparity between the resolution of the GBC screen and the NES, so theres only so much Nintendo could do.
14. Wario Land 3
Wario Land II was one of the better-received Game Boy/Game Boy Color games, as it transformed Wario into an indestructible anti-hero. Instead of dying when crushed, burned, or beaten, Wario gained the attributes of his would-be killer; being crushed flattened him, while burning set him ablaze and so on. These new powers could be used to progress through the games many worlds. Wario Land 3 used the same successful formula, and benefited from GBCs slightly better visuals.
Each level housed treasure to collect, but in true adventure game fashion, some couldnt be reached without a bit of backtracking or clever use of Warios newfound immortality. This unique execution of power-ups and exploration, two well-worn aspects of 2D games, helped make Wario Land 3 one of the best games on GBC. Add in some nice animation, fun music, and a not-totally-throwaway story and youve got a sequel we hope finds new life on the 3DS Virtual Console.
13. Final Fantasy Adventure
Technically this isnt a Final Fantasy at all. Before being rebranded internationally, Adventure was the first entry in the Seiken Densetsu or Secret of Mana series, which explains why its style is more Legend of Zelda than Final Fantasy. Still, the top-down adventure was a little more complex than Zeldas NES original, with a bigger focus on stats and leveling up than Link had. With some pretty high-end GB graphics for the time and a soundtrack from Squares top composer Nobuo Uematsu, Adventure was ahead of its time.
The plot focused on a young boy out to save the Mana Tree from being destroyed by the Dark Lord, a story closer to the uncomplicated Zelda mythos than the increasingly dense Final Fantasy series. But the large number of items to collect, along with the ability to specialize where stat points went when leveling up, made Adventure a bit deeper than its Nintendo counterpart. Sure, its translation wasnt the best, but it was a great title that was at home on the Game Boy and is worth another look, whether in its original version, or the Sword of Mana remake for Game Boy Advance.
12. Metroid II: Return of Samus
It's easy to dismiss Metroid II as a failed sequel, or at least a game that's aged so poorly it's beyond recommendation. And we'd agree that by today's standards, with its black-and-white graphics, labyrinthine corridors, and complete lack of a map, this is indeed a hard game to praise. Even in 1991 it was a test of Nintendo fandom to complete. Yet despite all these setbacks and criticisms, the inherent awesomeness of the story (and how it affected the entire series) makes this undoubtedly one of the most important Game Boy games of all time, if not quite one of the best.
After defeating Mother Brain and her army of life-sucking Metroids, bounty hunter Samus Aran took the fight to SR388--the Metroid homeworld. Return of Samus provided eerie insight into the alien planet, revealing mutated versions of the titular creatures that could now grow legs and leap around the screen, as well as a gigantic queen alien that hatched Metroid after Metroid. Once the queen and her planet of babies is vanquished (no thanks to the fuzzy Game Boy screen), Samus discovers a single surviving Metroid and can't bring herself to kill it. This one act, tucked away in the ending of a fairly crappy Game Boy game, set up Super Metroid, as well as Fusion and Other M. It was unusually coherent and literal storytelling in a time when Nintendo tended to avoid locking its characters down into one timeline, plus the very topic--genocide--seemed awfully edgy for a game meant for 10 year olds. The fact this hasn't been remade is a real shame, as it's a defining moment for one of Nintendo's biggest franchises. Maybe 3DS's Virtual Console could receive the planned (but canned) color remake?
11. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages
It's hard to believe any adventure game could match Links Awakening, but the oft-overlooked GBC-specific duo of Seasons and Ages came pretty darn close. Released just before the GBA launched, these two oddball Zelda games each picked a theme and ran with it; Seasons was more action-based, and played more or less like a modernized version of the very first Zelda, while Ages offered more devious puzzles. Both, of course, were chock full of the usual Zelda excellence.
But why two games on the same day? Seasons and Ages actually talk to each other via a cumbersome password system or link cable, so they combine to form one complete tale. Beat one game, for example, and you receive a password you can input at the beginning of the next that notably alters the experience. Most importantly, the final battle will feature Ganon instead of newcomers Veran and Onox, making this feel more like a legit Zelda instead of another weirdo side story. Fun fact: These were actually developed by Capcom, who would go on to handle the well-regarded Minish Cap on GBA.
10. Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
The first Super Mario Land is a fine game, but its also weird. Really weird. All the sound effects are strange, it has horizontal-scrolling shooter levels, and strange power-ups and enemies. It probably wont surprise you that it was developed by Gunpei Yokois R&D1 instead of Miyamotos EAD team, but when Yokois crew worked on the sequel subtitled 6 Golden Coins, they decided to take some cues from games like Super Mario Bros. 3, and created a game that was more familiar, yet still had a unique feel.
With its cartoony look and detailed sprites reminiscent of Super Mario World, a plethora of different-themed worlds, and original, but understandable power-ups, Super Mario Land 2 gave Mario fans what they wanted and did so brilliantly. (Wed love to see Rabbit Mario make a comeback.) SML2 brought lovable rube Wario into all our lives, as the jerky doppelganger steals Marios castle (Mario owns a castle?), and the mustachioed one has to beat some tough monsters to collect the six Golden Coins and defeat the chunky neer-do-well. It wasnt the easiest game ever, but Super Mario Land 2 is still one of the best platformers in portable gaming history.
9. Mario Tennis
Developer Camelot was known for RPGs when it joined up with Nintendo to make Mario sports games for N64, but anyone who played Mario Tennis and Mario Golf can attest to the teams ability to make an athletic game anyone could enjoy. Camelot excelled with the portable GBC versions too, and not just because it made simple, intuitive controls that worked with the system's limited inputs. Camelot succeeded because the dev infused Mario Tennis with its substantial RPG expertise.
Though the story wasnt particularly deep, it followed a new recruit at a premier tennis school slowly working their way through different leagues and courses, which gradually taught you all the rules of tennis. As you worked your way through a diverse number of challengers, you leveled up and could distribute ability points to specialize the character; this custom-made hero could then be transferred to the N64 Mario Tennis. Though the Mario crew only appeared as the final challengers in the story and could only be played in exhibition mode, this Mario sports game was truly great because of their absence.
Oh, poor Shantae. This beautifully animated adventure didnt make it out the door until 2002; at that point, the notably superior Game Boy Advance was already a year old and home to several of its own gorgeous games. Had Shantae arrived just a year sooner, it could have become a well-known classic, possibly igniting a whole new franchise. Instead, it had to compete with a flashier handheld and ultimately failed to make an impact.
Circumstances dont change how solid the game is, though. Shantaes filled with typical 2D platformer stuff (running, jumping, grabbing power-ups, etc.), but its all done remarkably well and with a visual flair the GBC rarely saw. Theres a happy ending to this story, too--Shantae: Riskys Revenge eventually hit DSiWare and proved this character and concept have legs. And now a Kickstarted sequel's coming. Go Shantae!
7. Dragon Warrior III
Though it was the third in a series of NES remakes, Dragon Warrior III ("Dragon Warrior" was the US name for Dragon Quest until 2005) was hardly a down-and-dirty port. DW3 is arguably the most popular game in the series, which made Enix go the extra mile when adding stuff like new collectibles, side quests, minigames, and not one but two extensive post-game dungeons. Youd literally have to play at least 150 hours to see everything. However, even if you stripped all that away, youd still have a game that was the pinnacle of 8-bit RPGs.
Though the story follows the usual destined hero must destroy ultimate evil, it takes some really interesting turns, the biggest of all being its twist ending. This second sequel, which seems completely unrelated to the previous two Dragon Warrior games, is revealed as a prequel late in the adventure. The story takes a backseat for good reason though, as DW3 introduced the series stellar job system, in which the hero and their teammates leveled up special types of skills (like thief, fighter, mage, etc.), with mastery of a new job making random encounters all the more worthwhile. DW3 was a great introduction to what made the series so popular, and is perhaps the best straightforward RPG on the Game Boy.
6. Metal Gear Solid
No, we arent talking about the PlayStation title that redefined action games; this is the similarly named GBC release Konami created specifically for Nintendos portable. Taking place in an alternate timeline, this is a direct sequel to the first Metal Gear for the NES and takes a similar approach with top-down, 2D gameplay. Still, it picked up a few tricks from the PS title, including almost all of the weapons and some new stealth enhancements like moving the camera to look around the corners.
The story takes a familiar path of betrayals and twists as Snake is called out of retirement to invade what was formerly Outer Heaven and stop a separatist group that has stolen the newest Metal Gear codenamed GANDER. You fight new assassins with their own ridiculous names and cool gameplay hooks, and once the engrossing tale is complete, theres a huge amount of bonus content, including numerous VR missions to attack. MGS was proof that just because you were making a portable spin-off didnt mean you had to half-ass it.
5. Kirbys Dream Land 2
Kirby, the little fluff ball that could, made his debut on Game Boy in 1992 with Kirbys Dream Land. It was a fun and decidedly cute platformer, but it wasnt until the sequel came along in 1995 that Kirby reached his true potential. Dream Land 2 not only was a much bigger adventure, with more worlds to explore and enemies to fight, but it also added the ability to copy enemies that was introduced in 1993's Kirbys Adventure on NES. And its impossible to deny the usefulness and the adorable-osity of Kirbys three new animal friends.
When you mixed the abilities of Rick the Hamster, Coo the Owl, and Kine the Ocean Sunfish with Kirbys other powers, you had a surprising amount of variety. As Kirby fought his way through seven worlds, eventually battling his old nemesis King Dedede to restore peace back to Dream Land, you were treated to some of the best 2D levels the Game Boy ever saw. It cemented Kirbys place among Nintendos top franchises, and despite some great console games, proved Kirby fits best in the palm of your hand.
4. Donkey Kong
The original arcade Donkey Kong is undeniably a classic, but by 1994 players were going to need more than a spiffy remake for the influential title to be worth picking up on Game Boy. Fortunately Shigeru Miyamoto and his development team had something else planned. Once you beat the original four stages, the real adventure began. A seemingly unending number of ingenious puzzle-platforming stages followed, as you chased DK through cities, forests, and caves.
Starting with Marios original DK control scheme, the devs added nearly every trick the plumber had learned since. He picked up items and enemies, he did back flips, Mario even climbed ropes and vines just like Donkey Kong Jr. To match those powers, the levels had so many different tricks and ideas that the game stayed amazingly fresh and challenging for the 100 levels it lasted. Perfect in bite-sized installments, Donkey Kong was a monster success in game design and fit the Game Boy like one of Marios white gloves.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX
By 1993, Game Boy had seen so many different games, but one of Nintendos top franchises had yet to make an appearance. After the SNES game Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the Zelda development team decided it was about time they made an adventure specifically crafted for the popular handheld. But since it was designed to be a side adventure for Link, the team took some liberties with the formula, and ended up with a Zelda whose gameplay was the same, but with a strange, engrossing plot unlike anything LoZ fans had seen before.
After Link shipwrecks on a strange island, he awakens in the land of Koholint where everything feels slightly... off compared to Hyrule, and its filled with people that remind Link of characters hes met before. Throughout the game Link must find and explore eight dungeons to collect the sacred instruments to wake the fabled Wind Fish so he can go home. But what happens to Koholint when it wakes up? Links Awakening kept the series winning gameplay and mixed it with a Twin Peaks vibe to create one of the most unforgettable games ever, proving that Zelda could be just as astonishing even at a smaller scale.
Theres a story in Nintendos history that goes like this: When deciding what game to pack in with the Game Boy (remember when youd get a free game with a brand-new system?), a Nintendo executive said, If you want to sell this to boys, pack in Mario. If you want to sell it to everyone, pack in Tetris. Thats because the moment Nintendo saw the USSRs enigmatic puzzler, the GB designers knew it was the perfect game to sell the system, and worked tirelessly to get it.
A title some have called the perfect game, Tetris and its seven simple shapes are the epitome of the design philosophy easy to learn, hard to master. All you had to do was place those shapes in a certain order to complete a line and then clear it, like you were building a puzzle from scratch, but every puzzle felt different. It was understandable to any new player, and addicted people to such an extent it invaded their dreams. Even with all the different versions that have come in the two decades since, the original portable release is just as playable today as it was when it made the Game Boy a huge success right from the start.
1. Pokmon Red/Blue
What can be said about Pokmon that hasnt been already. It long ago expanded well beyond the realm of games and has become a way of life for many, with products spanning seemingly every type of merchandise and spin-off imaginable. But when Game Freak first decided to create a monster-capturing game that was inspired by a childhood bug-collecting hobby of one of the devs, it just wanted to make a good RPG, and it succeeded beyond its wildest dreams.
Pokmons catch em all mentality kept players mesmerized as they tried to accumulate all 151 of the adorable creatures. At the time Game Boys had gone from slightly low-tech to positively ancient compared to what was on home consoles, but Pokmons strengths as an RPG made it ideal for the handheld. Players could take the hunt wherever they needed to and the ability to trade with friends further deepened the surprisingly complex title. Pokmon almost single-handedly doubled the Game Boys lifespan, keeping the system relevant and in the hands of gamers long after all its challengers were collecting dust.
What do you think?
Obviously not every game could make the list--there are only so many games that can be labeled the absolute best. We're sure that some of you have games you think should have been added, cut, or rearranged, so let us know in the comments below what you would change about our list of the Best Game Boy games of all time.