Top 25 original Game Boy games of all time

6:43 PM, Feb 1, 2010   |    comments
  • The original Game Boy came out in 1989.
  • "Final Fantasy Adventure" for the Game Boy.
  • "Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge" for the Game Boy.
  • "Double Dragon" for the Game Boy.
  • "Mario's Picross" for the Game Boy.
  • "Dr. Mario" for the Game Boy.
  • "Tetris Attack" for the Game Boy.
  • "Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening" for the Game Boy.
  • "Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3" for the Game Boy.
  • "Tetris" for the Game Boy.
  • "Donkey Kong Land" for the Game Boy.
  • "Super Mario Land" for the Game Boy.
  • "Kirby's Dream Land" for the Game Boy.
  • "Baseball" for the Game Boy.
  • "Stret Fighter II" for the Game Boy (via Super Game Boy).
  • "WWF Superstars" for the Game Boy.
  • "World Circuit Series" for the Game Boy.
  • "Kirby's Pinball Land" for the Game Boy.
  • "Contra: The Alien Wars" for the Game Boy.
  • "Golf" for the Game Boy.
  • "Tamagotchi" for the Game Boy (via Super Game Boy).
  • "Samurai Showdown" for the Game Boy.
  • "Pokémon" for the Game Boy.
  • "R-Type" for the Game Boy.
  • "Bomberman GB" for the Game Boy.
  • "Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins" for the Game Boy.
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Nintendo's original Game Boy handheld console rocked the video game world when it came out in 1989.  While it wasn't the first handheld gaming platform by the company (the Play & Watch came out nine years prior), it definitely set bar for which all others would be judged by.  It sold almost 119 million units worldwide and with all of those units came hundreds upon hundreds of games.  Many of those are good; many are not, but the Game Guys weeded through them all to come out with a definitive list of the 25 best of all time.

25. World Circuit Series - World Circuit Series is a top-down racing game featuring both Formula-1 and Formula-3 racing.  The game features a good assortment of race tracks and is fast enough to capture the attention of most.

24. Baseball - This sports game was one of the original titles available for the Game Boy, and that's suiting since it was also one of the original titles available for the NES way back in 1983.  Save for being monochrome, the title was an exact copy of the NES version featuring a whole whopping six Major League Baseball teams. 

23. Street Fighter II - The Game Boy version of the storied fighting game's graphics were actually based upon Super Street Fighter II, but it featured only nine of the twelve original characters due to cartridge space.  Due to the Game Boy's two-button configuration, the controls had to be modified: Light punches and kicks are performed by tapping either the A or B button, while heavy-level attacks are performed by pressing the buttons for a slightly longer amount of time.  Regardless, Street Fighter II was a very popular and fun game to play on the monochrome handheld.

22. WWF Superstars - One of many WWF- (now WWE-) licensed video games for the Game Boy.  It featured five wrestlers (Hulk Hogan, "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, Randy "Macho Man" Savage, The Ultimate Warrior and Mr. Perfect) and all of them had the same move list with the exception of a unique special signature move each.  But when it came down to it, the game was entertaining and easy for pick-up-and-play gameplay.

21. Kirby's Pinball Land - The game plays just like normal pinball except that the ball is actually Kirby and the pinball tables are all Kirby-themed.  Unlike regular pinball, though, this game has mini-bosses and the infamous King DeDeDe at the end of it all.

20. Contra: The Alien Wars - A port of the home console game Contra III: The Alien Wars, the Game Boy version finds many changes:  the level structure had been changed, many of the bosses were removed and the fourth stage of the original game has been removed.  The game, luckily, wasn't any less fun.  Also, the game had a special color schemes and sound effects for the Super Game Boy add-on for the SNES.

19. Tamagotchi - Just like the little keychain toys that were all the range in the mid-1990's, the Game Boy variant of Tamagotchi allows users to raise a little tamagotchi creature up from an egg all the way to an adult.

18. R-Type - This futuristic side-scrolling space shoot'em'up game is often times considered to be the gold-standard of the genre, and the Game Boy version of the game didn't disappoint.

17. Bomberman GB - Graphically, Bomberman GB is one of the better-looking games on the original Game Boy.  It features the same great gameplay that fans of the franchise had already come to know and love.  It instantly appeared on many gamers' lists of the best game off all time for the early 1990's.

16. Samurai Showdown - Samurai Showdown was one of those games that appeared on just about every platform available, but it's most well-known for being on the NeoGeo coin-op arcade machines.  The game won multilple awards from gaming magazine EGM when it came out in 1993 and is still today considered to be one of the better fighting games available.  The game boy version further improved upon the title's already stellar reputation by adding two Game Boy exclusive characters:  Kuroko and Hikyaku.

15. Pokémon Red/Blue - It's one of the games responsible for an entire worldwide fad.  The original two Pokémon games sold very well for what would become a multi-billion-dollar franchise.  The titles are now in the Guiness Book of Records as not only the best-selling Game Boy game of all time but also the best-selling RPG of all time.

14. Golf - Golf (yes, that's it actual title) features two 18-hole courses where players play a round of golf.  The game allows players to choose a club, adjust stance and control the swing and features three alternating views; an overhead long-range view of the entire hole, an overhead medium-range view from the ball's current location, and an overhead close-range view of the green. Through the use of a link cable, Golf can be played two-player.

13. Tetris Attack - While the game shares the Tetris name, it actually has nothing whatsoever to do with the Russian original (gotta love marketing).  Instead, players have to match three (or more) single blocks of a single "color" (or shaded -- it is the Game Boy after all) in a row.  While it sounds simple enough, more and more differently-shaded blocks continue to fall from the top of the screen and if the blocks make it back up to the top it's game over.

12. Double Dragon - Released in North America in 1990, Double Dragon shares many gameplay similarities with its home-console version but the levels have completely different designs and all of the character's moves are available from the get-go.  Also, all of the enemies are the same, but some of them have new moves.  The game also features a two-player versus mode with the two Lee brothers being the only playable characters.

11. Mario's Picross - While the game didn't sell well in North America, it was actually one of the better-made puzzle games on the handheld.  The game features 256 different puzzles where players mark boxes in a window of varying sizes to create a specific picture -- it's almost like pixel paint-by-numbers.  Because of the Game Boy's small screen, though, the puzzles were only 15 squares x 15 squares large.

10. Final Fantasy Adventure - Final Fantasy Adventure brought the popular JRPG franchise to the Game Boy, but it didn't bring its standard gameplay mechanics along with it.  Instead, FFA features Zelda-esque gameplay with a top-down view and a slash'n'quest style.  FFA also supplied hours upon hours of gameplay and many gamers (the author included) still haven't finished the game.

9. Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge - This was the first Mega Man game to go portable, but none of the gameplay that made the franchise a top-tier game series on the NES.  Because the Game Boy cartridges were smaller in capacity, though, the game only featured four robot levels instead of the usual eight.

8. Dr. Mario - Nearly identical to the NES version of the game, Dr. Mario for the Game Boy became an instant classic.  In keeping with the graphical limitations of the handheld, the viruses came in only three colors: black, white and gray.  Much like Tetris, this puzzler offers almost infinite replay value.

7. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - The only Zelda game to make this list, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening was one of the most popular game on the handheld through its entire run.  The game features rich, robust dungeons, well-designed locations and a great storyline.  Besides, gamers can actually steal items from stores.  There's a downside to that, though, because if you return to that store later on the storekeeper will kill Link (literally).

6. Donkey Kong Land - Due to the extreme popularity of the SNES game Donkey Kong Country, Rare and Nintendo decided to release Donkey Kong Land onto the Game Boy in 1995.  The game features Donkey and Diddy as they try to save Donkey Kong Land from the Kremlings over the course of 30 levels and 40 different hidden areas.

5. Super Mario Land - The original Mario offering for the Game Boy, Super Mario Land brought terrific platforming gameplay over four different world to the monochrome handheld.  Also, Mario gets a few new tricks up his sleeve such as the powerball (a bouncing fireball-like attack), a torpedo-wielding submarine and a missile-wielding airplane.

4. Kirby's Dream Land - This game brought everybody's favorite inflatable creampuff-type-thing into gamers' hands.  Full of fun-themed worlds and a fun final battle against King Dedede, it's one of the rare games that never gets old.

3. Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 - Wario's back, but this time he's the protagonist in this unlikely sequel to the first two Mario games for the original Game Boy.  The storyline is quite humorous as Wario quests to obtain a statue of Princess Peach that was stolen from the Mushroom Kingdom so he can sell it back to the royal family.

2. Tetris - The classic Russian puzzle game that has spawned a seemingly infinite amount of clones, Tetris was the game that came pre-packaged with the original Game Boy (back when consoles came with a game no matter what).  With endless replay value and two different game modes, this is easily one of the top games not only for the Game Boy but for any Nintendo system up to this point.

1. Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins - This game marked the arrival of a new nemesis for Mario by the name of Wario.  Six Golden Coins gave Mario a wealth of new levels to explore in a semi-freeform gameplay style (in other words, there was no real order as to when to play each level).  SML2 also debuted one of the more-popular Mario suits courtesy of magical carrots (the bunny suit).

- Game Guy Barry White


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