My list of Top 10 Gameboy games

This list is based on games that make me go back to play them over and over again. I’ll add criteria such as music, graphics, controls etc. to make my choices as obvious as I can (because anything I think and say should be obvious by default, since I’m that great).

Before you proceed I would like to inform you that this list was composed with some difficulty and that I haven’t played each and every Gameboy game there is (that also includes a lot of the popular titles). This list isn’t for the weak-hearted. It’s kind of long and extensive. Kind of.

#10:  Mario & Yoshi

This is a puzzle game that my brother used to own but that I frequently used to borrow. You’re Mario wh0 has to match falling enemies on his two plates (to make them dissappear) or put them between two egg shell halves (to vanquish a lot of them at once). The more enemy characters you manage to put between the eggshell sandwich the larger and happier the Yoshi will be that it’ll hatch out of it. Just be wary of getting too greedy: if the pillar on the plate gets too high you’ll lose. I guess that translates to Mario getting fired by the manager of the Yoshi farm.

Graphics: 9/10

A delight to look at. The characters “look like they should”.

Sounds & Music: 10/10

Great music and sound effects. The sound when a Yoshi hatches is very nice and makes you strive to hatch as many as you can. It’s a rewarding sound.

Gameplay: 9/10

Even as it might get repititive (hey, it’s a puzzle game) it offers good controls and thus minimizes frustration. If something goes wrong, you know it’s your own fault, not the game’s. Well, unless it decides to spam the wrong creatures over and over again, then the game is evil.

Replay value: 8/10

Great to pick up and play again, you’ll remember everything in less than 2 minutes, tops. Doesn’t get stale.

Trivia:

Game Freak, the developer of the Pokémon series, also developed this game.

#09:  Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins

This is your run-of-the-mill Mario platformer that’s been well adapted to the Gameboy system. Collect coins, ingest some psychotropic mushrooms, flowers and carrots and you’re on your way to save the day.

Graphics: 9/10

The game looks very nice and has pretty much the same size of the screen that the games on the consoles have, which means that you’re able to move high and low without feeling restricted (much unlike Super Mario Land which looked more like Super Mario Bros. in that aspect) much like in Super Mario Bros. 3.

Sounds & Music: 10/10

There are a lot of catchy tunes in this game which will, without a doubt, get stuck in your head. And maybe you’ll find yourself humming one of them after putting down the game! The sound effects aren’t bad either.

Gameplay: 9/10

Super Mario Land is an addicting game. The Map View á lá SMB 3 is very good and lets you get a good feel of the upcoming set of levels and their character. Great power-ups, new and unique content and great controls makes it a well-balanced game.

Replay value: 10/10

Just start a new game and you’ll relive the same levels without growing tired of it. At least if your goal isn’t to play them 20 times in a row.

Trivia:

Wario makes his first appearance in this game. Here he has oddly big pupils which gives me the impression that he has ingested some of Mario’s ‘shrooms.

#08:  Tetris

Aaaah, here it is, the game that made the Gameboy a best-seller. How many clones haven’t  been produced since it’s release? It’s that good.

Graphics: 7/10

I’m sorry, but there are just Lines, Cubes, L’s and Squigglies and Reverse Squigglies. Bar the title screen the game doesn’t offer much in the graphics department. Well, you’re also rewarded with a nice rocket when you’ve completed the game. But don’t frown now, the graphics aren’t the games forte anyway!

Sounds & Music: 6/10

I enjoy the sound effects but I really dislike the music. It makes me feel gloomy. They’re Gameboy renditions of some classical pieces but something tells me that I’d like them better with real instruments. At least they don’t sound childish, which might’ve been a good selling point for travelling business men (the main target audience for the game, if I recall correctly).

Gameplay: 10/10

Here’s where you find the golden nugget. It’s incredibly addictive, and even though I previously stated that I didn’t like the music, it does give a “stressy feel” which complements the gameplay well. Great controls again, you know that it’s your own fault when something goes wrong, and because of that it will make you even angrier when it does.

Replay value: 10/10

When you pick it up it’ll feel as if you played the game yesterday, unless you’ve played other newer Tetris games meanwhile. Nevertheless you’ll get back into the game fast and enjoy it a lot.

Trivia:

It’s from Russia, with fun!

#07:  Duck Tales II

Play as the old duck addicted to money, gold and more money. On the move! Your objective is to make him rich, and you’d better do it  fast. Make sure to give him what he wants for your own sake. He isn’t a stranger to waking up his nephews in the middle of the night with a rifle pointed at their bills as the sole motivator to make them accompany him on his quests for more gold

Graphics: 10/10

This game is beautiful. It’s a Capcom game after all. It looks like a monochrome version of the NES game.

Sounds & Music: 10/10

Great music that’ll implant itself in your mind. Nothing wrong with the sound effects either.

Gameplay: 10/10

Solid controls, imaginative levels and exciting challenges will make you go back. You have to get through the levels, all while battling vile creatures, ducks and monsters alike, and accumulate all the wealth you can. For complete satisfaction, and to avoid getting buckshot in the face, it’s recommended to find the hidden treasure of each stage.

Replay value: 10/10

You will go back. And you’re gonna love it.

Trivia:

There are many different notes about Scrooge’s wealth:

  • One multiplujillion, nine obsquatumatillion, six hundred twenty-three dollars and sixty-two cents in Bark’s “The Second Richest Duck”
  • 607 tillion 386 zillion 947 trillion 522 billion dollars and 36 cents in his money bin only (obviously excudling his liquid assets) according to Fenton Crackshell in Duck Tales
  • Five multiplujillion, nine impossibidillion, seven fantasticatrillion dollars and sixteen cents in Don Rosa’s “The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck”
  • Eleven octillion dollars in “Walt Disney’s Christmas Parade No.1”
  •  $28.8 billion in 2007 and  $44.1 billion in 2011 (higher gold prices) according to Forbes
  • Five billion quintiplitilion unptuplatillion multuplatillion impossibidillion fantasticatrillion dollars according to Carl Barks himself

#06: Kirby’s Dream Land

It’s the game that was designed to appeal to both boys and girls, with the protagonist being a blob with arms and legs. In the North American and European releases they colored him white so that they wouldn’t frighten boys from playing the game (hence why I thought Kirby was a ghost when I saw the box art the first time) but ever since he’s been pink just as he originally was supposed to be.

Graphics: 10/10

Simplistic but yet appealing designs are used and you really get the feeling of being in a dream land.

Sounds & Music: 9/10

Great music and sound effects. Sometimes I get annoyed by the sound the Warp Stars make.

Gameplay: 10/10

Solid controls. You get through the levels linearly but there are goodies to be found it you deviate a little. There are mini-bosses and bosses in each level (if I recall correctly). The mechanics of sucking in enemies and to release them into each other and inflating yourself to be able to fly are very entertaining and innovating elements which would come to make the foundation for each upcoming action/adventure Kirby game.

Replay value: 10/10

I just can’t get enough, maybe I will after I’ve played Kirby’s Dream Land 2, but for now this is how things are. Deal with it (I don’t like when people say this). Also the Extra Mode will satisfy your replay value needs, but will also boil your blood occassionally.

Trivia:

He can inflate himself, suck and pound his enemies at each other. And he can get high and fly. A great feature is that upon finishing the game and waiting for the credits to end the player will be rewarded with the code ” press Up, Select and A simultaneously” . If inserted correctly on the title screen it will unlock an Extra Mode, which is awesome, but it’s ridiculously hard to beat! I had to give all my extra lives to pass the first boss and venture into the first half of Castle Lololo. That’s horseshit, going from easy to very hard in a heartbeat. There’s no intermediate level to train on which means that you’ll have to take a quantum leap to beat the Extra Mode. When beating that game you’ll be given the code “Down, B and Select” to access a config mode. I have never got the code legitimately.

#05: Mega Man II

An freakish compilation of levels and bosses from Mega Man II and III for the NES. If you’ve got Mega Man I and II for the gameboy you’ve got II and III for the NES. Kind of. In a lovely, freakish way. Mmmmm. Wow.

Graphics: 10/10

Looks very good, like the NES titles. It’s a Capcom title so what would you expect?

Sounds & Music: 6/10

The music is so high pitched that it hurts my ears. But at least it’s good original music so that gives it one point. Too bad it makes your ears bleed.

Gameplay: 10/10

Great controls. The levels are designed in a similar manner as their NES counterparts. You have the opportunity to battle a plethora of Robot Masters, and weapons from the NES Mega Man II bosses are “Super Effective” against specific NES Mega Man III bosses. And also, we have Quint. Hmmm…. that doesn’t really roll of my tongue well. Quint. Well, this mystery shrouded villain is easy to defeat. And he gives your Sakugarne, a jackhammer weapon which isn’t all that useful.

Replay value: 10/10

If you feel that your ears are up for it the challenge and solid gameplay will draw you back. And using Rush (your dog) you can explore new ways to defeat the Robot Masters. And it’s awesome to follow Wily into Space. The last frontier…

Trivia:

SPOILER ALERT! Eh, what the hell, I don’t care. It’s ’bout Quint. He’s you from the future which Dr. Wily reprogrammed to use against you. He’s future Mega Man. On a jackhammer called Sakugarne. That’s an awesome concept gone to waste.

#04: Donkey Kong

It’s on, like Donkey Kong! Man do I dislike that phrase. In this game Mario has to save his girlfriend. The first levels are like the classic game but from there onwards you’ll experience a new game that’s cleverly been based on the same formula,  and it’s much, much better!

Graphics: 10/10

The graphics are awesome. The animations are fluent and the enemies are designed appealingly (is there such a word or did  I just make one up?).

Sounds & Music: 10/10

Great music and sound effects that fit the game very well. They didn’t get lazy here! Very ape-ish tracks indeed.

Gameplay: 10/10

The controls are very good. Although Mario is slow it’s not hard to control him and it’s hard to get frustrated over it since it feels so good. Again, if you poop up it’s your own fault. And you will know it. The new elements which add to the gameplay and tactics to reach your BGFF (Best GirlFriend Forever) are brilliant and as entertaining as it can be.

Replay value: 10/10

There are so many levels! So much fun! It’s crazily addictive! I nearly finished the game during my longer toilet visits during my 1 week stay in Japan.

Trivia:

Donkey Kong is an ape.

#03: Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land

Yet another game my brother used to own and which I borrowed a lot. This is a sequel which is very very clever and actually better than it’s prequels. You whooped Wario’s ass in SML 2: 6 GLDN CNS. The poor guy just wanted a castle! He’s a dreamin’ man! Don’t fret, he’ll get his moment in the spotlight! He’s done from stealing from good and honest people. No, he has to work hard to get what he wants, and it has to be in a just and honest way. Let’s steal from pirates instead!

Graphics: 10/10

Man is this game pretty. And that’s even when you account for Wario’s ugly face in front of you all the time. Great level and character designs. I can’t find… words.

Sounds & Music: 10/10

The music is odd but very likable. It’s Wario’s soundtrack in a nutshell and fits his personality very well.

Gameplay: 10/10

Great levels, great secret treasures, great story, great controls, great entertainment…

Replay value: 10/10

Just have to play it over and over again, trying to get all the treasures and give Wario the greatest castle that he can afford.

Trivia:

Wario is named as such since his name’s first letter is an M upside down. He’s kind of a Nega Mario! That’s a reference to Darkwing Duck from me to you. I’m so clever!

#02: The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

One of Link’s more enjoyable adventures which is supposed to be a direct sequel to A Link To the Past. And I like the former more!

You’re Link. After a shipwreck you awake stranded on a shore. The people around you are familiar but yet strange and everything strikes you as odd. As you embark on your adventure to leave the land on which you’ve been cast away you start to realize the secret that lies behind everything…

Graphics: 10/10

It’s a very pretty game, so pretty that the sprites are used as a template for the two Zelda games for Gameboy Color: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons.  I enjoyed the game on my GBC which gave it a very nice “old” hue and which made me feel as if I was in a real fairytale. Which also is why I like the original better than Links Awakening DX for the GBC and why I don’t complain on the monochrome graphics as people did when the game was released.

Sounds & Music: 10/10

Great music and sound effects as expected. I can find myself humming on some of the tunes after putting the game down.

Gameplay: 10/10

There is plenty of puzzle, adventure and diversity to last for a long while and to make the game one of the best ones on the system. I just can’t describe it. Play it. Experience the epic adventure yourself.

Replay value: 10/10

Of course. I can’t get enough of the game. It’s well worth replaying and has aged very well.

Trivia:

The game was produced as a parody in the beginning. The team was playing around when they got orders to finish the game or something, which is why you can find many Nintendo character cameos in the game.

#01: Pokémon Red and Blue

Gotta Catch Em’ All! The games that innovated the Link Cable to be used for more than races and puzzles against friends and addicted generations to them. By adding a social factor to the gameplay they made sure to rake in money and hook in people for a long time. Catch monsters, battle them, train them, trade them… it’s a recipe that single-handedly revived the Gameboy at a point when everything pointed to it’s imminent death as a system. And that’s why I’ve put the game at No. 1 in my list.

Graphics: 8/10

While the overworld looks great the monsters don’t resemble their artwork all too well, with some looking amazing and some looking misshapen. “What’s that…a….Vulpix?” Still there’s some charm in their designs which draws forth their monster characteristics very well. You feel that you’re really battling monsters!

Sounds & Music: 10/10

The music is top notch and has the most memorable tunes which I recognize anywhere. The sound effects are great and the sense of impending doom that the alarming beep of low HP has really gets you stressed. The music gives the otherwise calm gameplay a “faster” feel.

Gameplay: 10/10

There’s so much to say about this so I’ll be brief. Catching, battling, trading, leveling up, having fun, fun, fun. And being able to battle and trading with your friends is what makes the game even greater.

Replay value: 10/10

There are 151 monsters. There are so many to train and battle with. Trying to get all 151 is a tedious process without friends but still a rewarding experience when you get the awesome Game Freak diploma.

Trivia:

The games were released in 1996 in Japan and 1998 in the rest of the world. If it wasn’t for the elusive Mew the game might’ve not gaines as much momentum as it did. The production of Gold and Silver version took 4 years of development while the other games got around 2 years each.  Explains why the newer games aren’t as good anymore, right?

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