Published 12 months ago
, Updated August 1st, 2014 at 12:26 pm,
Game Rant's Top 5 Game Boy Games
On July 31, 1989 the North American gaming industry changed forever. This day in history marks the debut of Nintendo's Game Boy, a portable gaming device that would go on to revolutionize gaming and tap an entirely new market. Unsurprisingly, being able to take your game on the go was incredibly well-recieved by the masses and the handheld has secured its place as an iconic device amongst gamers and casual consumers alike.
Today marks the 25th anniversary of the original Game Boy's launch in North America, and while the platform saw multiple versions and variants during its nearly 13 year reign on the market, we've decided to create a list of our personal favorites that debuted on the original hardware.
Without any further delay, let's press start on this trip down memory lane.
Kirby's Dream Land
Release: August 1, 1992
Developer: HAL Laboratory
It's hard to forget the first time the world familiarized itself with the now iconic pink puffball known as Kirby. Yes, Kirby's Dream Land marked the debut of Nintendo's lovable glutton and his popularity has kept the franchise trekking ever since. Immediately appealing to children the world over thanks to his smile-inducing demeanor, the first iteration of Kirby was a smashing success for Nintendo.
Oddly enough, it's said that Nintendo actually got their name for the protagonist from a lawyer that successfully defended them in a case against Universal Studios over a dispute regarding the name 'Donkey Kong' back in 1984. The lawyer's name? John Kirby.
Super Mario Land: 6 Golden Coins
Release: November 2, 1992
Developer: Nintendo R&D1
One of the most well known entertainment franchises of all time wasn't shy about appearing on the Game Boy countless times during its lifespan. Kicking off Game Boy's launch with Super Mario Land proved to be a fruitful move by Nintendo, but it's the sequel to that launch title that managed to earn a spot on our list.
Along with marking the debut of the now infamous anti-hero Wario, Super Mario Land: 6 Golden Coins improved upon its predecessor in nearly every way. Suffice to say, when the villain of the original game get his own spin-off series, it's likely that the source material struck a good chord with audiences.
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
Release: August 1993
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Viewed by many to be the best portable iteration of The Legend of Zelda series, Link's Awakening was a true-to-form sequel that brought various elements from the home console iteration to a portable gaming device. Gamers the world over clamored for the game when it hit store shelves and it was unanimously well-received by critics upon it's arrival.
While it appears that no one is quite certain exactly when The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening first arrived for the Game Boy in North America, that didn't stop Nintendo from remastering and eventually releasing the title for the Game Boy Color on December 15, 1998.
Pokemon Red & Blue
Release: September 28, 1998
Developer: Game Freak
The games that turned the market on its head. There was no way that Nintendo could have ever known just how popular Pokemon was going to be, but the company decided to test its luck with a new second-party property. This move eventually spawned a trading card game, an anime and countless piles of money.
Pokemon Red and Blue were more than just a fad (as is evident by the continued success that every new iteration is met with), but there was something special about the original Game Boy titles that still manage to resonate with gamers all these years later. Besides, it was the first time that many gamers were hit with one of the most challenging decision of their lives: Bulbasaur, Squirtle or Charmander?
Release: July 31, 1989
Developers: Bullet-Proof Software / Nintendo
The word 'Tetris' instantly throws that iconic jingle into our heads, but it doesn't just take the top spot on our list because of its music — although it did have some great tunes. Stacking blocks and filling out rows turned out to be an absolutely intoxicating affair on the Game Boy, which is what lead it to be the system's most popular game of all-time.
Tetris was actually a pack-in with the original Game Boy, which is what contributed to its insane popularity and monumental sales, and the game a 'DX' variant for the Game Boy Color which only further enhanced its popularity. The game proved to be the perfect pickup-and-play puzzler and its addictive mechanics are still intact even after all this time.
There are an absurd number of great games that hit the Game Boy during its dominate run, so it was hard narrowing it down to just five of our personal favorites. That said, these games are mentioned because they stood the test of time and are still just as much fun to pickup and play as they were when they first arrived on the scene.
Everyone here at Game Rant would like to wish the inanimate, mass-produced, nostalgia-inducing Game Boy a very Happy North American Birthday. While it can't reciprocate the love many gamers still have for it, it revolutionized an industry that we still care about all these years later.
You did well, Nintendo. You did real well.
Follow Riley on Twitter @TheRileyLittle.