The urge to miniaturize electronics did not exist before the space program. I mean our grandparents had radios that was furniture in the living room. Nobody at the time was saying, ‘Gee, I want to carry that in my pocket.’
-Neil deGrasse Tyson
Welcome, NPCs, to Day 14 of our Console Challenge… in color!
They say you don’t get to pick your parents. Well, that’s rubbish because I sure did! 16-Bit Dad was a dude I never met that I sent a box of Super Mario cereal to after he won a giveaway I did (a shortsighted one where I opened it up to global winners), but since then I’ve gained a lot of affection for the cheerful, positive, award-winning blogger from across the pond. Not only has he tolerated me tagging him almost constantly on Twitter but he’s commented back and shared his own work with me, a lot of which I’ve thoroughly found enjoyable. Besides, I find it pretty inspiring to see the interaction between the network of dads he’s contributed to.
I’m immensely happy to be able to feature his work today in the form of his list of the top 7 best Game Boy Color games! Tell us a story, dad.
-The Well-Red Mage
When Nintendo brought out the Game Boy Color, it took the world by storm. The groundwork had already been laid by the original Game Boy, bringing gaming into the portable world, but with the addition of an actual color palette, everything felt more vibrant and exciting.
Suddenly we had console-level graphics on a portable gaming device, and with that, we got some truly incredible games! As such, here are my top 7 games that came out on the Game Boy Color.
#.7 Resident Evil Gaiden
We are going to start off this list with, potentially, a surprising entry. Released by Capcom in December of 2001, Resident Evil: Gaiden was the first true portable game in the Survival Horror franchise. It featured a brand new story that followed Leon (from Resident Evil 2) and Barry (from Resident Evil 1 and 3’s secret ending).
In terms of gameplay, it was a significant departure from the rest of the series. You could move around like normal until you encountered an enemy. From there, it would switch to a first-person view and a slider bar would appear. In order to shoot and hit the zombie or B.O.W., you had to press the button as the slider was in the highlighted area of the bar.
This added a significant sense of challenge and timing to the game that worked surprisingly well. And even though the storyline isn’t canon, it is thoroughly enjoyable.
#6. Survival Kids
Many gamers these days think that open-ended gameplay started with the likes of Grand Theft Auto 3 for the PlayStation 2. However, that is far from the truth. Did you know that Survival Kids for the Game Boy Color featured open-ended gameplay as one of its main aspects?
Survival Kids takes place on a deserted island where you have a multitude of different ways to carry out your objectives and survive. With a 2D view similar to that of The Legend of Zelda, you’ll be instantly familiar with how to navigate the game world. There’s even a type of crafting system, known as “merging”, that helps you create items needed in order to survive on the island.
The storyline might not be particularly deep, but that really isn’t the selling point of Survival Kids. I loved the fact that the gameplay was so open-ended, where you could work towards one of the multiple endings in your own way.
#5. Metal Gear Solid
No, I’m not confused here. There really is a Metal Gear Solid game that came out on the Game Boy Color! However, don’t confuse it for the PlayStation game of the same name. This isn’t a port or sequel to the absolute classic for Sony’s debut console. Instead, Metal Gear Solid for the Game Boy Color is an alternate side-story that changes things up considerably.
The game has 13 levels in total, as well as 180 VR missions and even a duel mode to play with your friends. For a Game Boy Color game, that is a crazy amount of gameplay and content, right there!
On top of this, and most importantly, the gameplay lives up to the game’s title; it is really solid. You get everything you would expect from a Metal Gear game! There are stealth elements that work brilliantly, as well as the return of some fan-favourite weapons like the Nikita missile launcher. This is a fully-fledged Metal Gear Solid game and definitely worth playing.
#4. Super Mario Bros Deluxe
Mario and Luigi were going to feature on this list somewhere, weren’t they? I mean, that should be a given considering we are looking at a Nintendo console. However, they aren’t here simply because they are Nintendo’s mascots. Instead, Super Mario Bros Deluxe is here because of how amazing the game is!
Sure, it has some drawbacks in terms of functionality, like the fact that the size of the Game Boy Color’s screen means you see less of the level, but these are overcome by everything else in the game. To begin with, you get access to the “Original 1985” mode, which allows you to play through the original Super Mario Bros. game on your Game Boy Color!
However, the really great thing about Super Mario Bros Deluxe is that, once you have amassed a total of 300,000 points in Original mode, you unlock “For Super Players”. This mode gives you access to the real Super Mario Bros. 2, known outside of Japan as Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels!
#3. Dragon Warrior III
Also known as Dragon Quest III, this game was originally released on the Famicom and NES before getting an “enhanced remake” for both the SNES and the Game Boy Color. The Game Boy Colour version of the game was released in 2001.
With a brilliant class system that includes the ability to hire additional characters. The gameplay was improved compared to the original, as were the graphics. Dragon Warrior III also has the achievement of being the biggest game on the Game Boy Color, in terms of actual data and storage size!
As you would expect from a Dragon Quest game, Dragon Warrior III has a great storyline that will keep your attention all the way through. It’s a really fun RPG to play, and the developers did a brilliant job remaking it for the Game Boy Color.
#2. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages
Despite the fact that The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages reused the sound effects from the Game Boy’s own Link’s Awakening, these two action RPGs were incredible entries to the Zelda franchise. Continuing the tradition of exploration and action-orientated combat, any fan of the series would feel right at home with either of these games.
However, what truly makes this pair of Zelda games stand out is the two differing yet connected storylines they offer. Both games act as stand-alone storylines and adventures for Link to go on, but you can actually play one as a sequel to the other using a special Linked Password.
Doing this gives you an entirely new, extra ending that neatly wraps up both storylines, even though they merge together. This is a true testament to the developers, who managed to pull this off in a way that works, rather than feeling broken or out of place.
#1. Pokémon Gold/Silver/Crystal
I mean, it should be pretty obvious that Pokémon would take the top spot here. The entire franchise has been an outstanding success, but the Game Boy Color versions of the games are actually some of my favourites in the series so far. The initial joy of exploring a new land as well as entirely new Pokémon was amazing.
They also added the ability for Pokémon to hold items, additional pokéballs were added and also introduced us to Pokémon breeding. All of these elements built up to create an exquisite Pokémon experience that has stuck with me ever since.
These games may have only scored an average of 89% across critics, but everything about them creates one of the best Pokémon game generations yet. As such, these three firmly earn a spot as the number 1 (group of) games on the Game Boy Color.