I love the original Game Boy! There are a lot of great games on the Game Boy. There are so many hidden gems in the system’s library that it is hard to narrow them all down. I’m going to try to do that here.
I’ll be pulling from the original Game Boy and the Game Boy Color. I’m leaving out the Game Boy Advance, and the DS as those games should have their own lists.
I won’t put these in any particular order. I wouldn’t say I like saying that one game is better than another, especially when they were in different genres. Before we get into the list, let’s discuss the selection criteria.
TLDR: Here is a list of the Best Game Boy Games I could find.
I’m just looking at the black and white Game Boy games. I’ll be looking at a bunch of genres here, and I won’t put these in any particular order. Here are the selection criteria I’m going with:
- Has to be an officially licensed game and released in the late 80s and 90s.
- I have to have played the game. Either for YouTube or from the 90s.
Final Fantasy Legend II
Final Fantasy Legend II is one of the best games on the Game Boy and is one of my favorite RPGs. It is also one of the first games I played for the Game Boy.
There are a lot of things that make this game work on a handheld system. For starters, you can save your game anywhere. This is great since you never knew when your batteries might die, or the teacher would realize what you were doing.
It has a great story, and the gameplay is solid. You don’t need to grind endlessly like you have to do in other Final Fantasy games. If you haven’t played this yet, give it a try, as it is a great game!
Tetris played a considerable part in the success of the Game Boy. The game has a very complicated and interesting story behind it. I’m not going to get into it here, but it is worth checking out if you have the time.
The Game Boy version is a great port. It looks good, and the gameplay and the music are excellent. I like this version more than the Nintendo version on the NES, but I think the Tengen version is a little better.
While I like the game, and I think it is still a lot of fun today, I think the story behind it is much more enjoyable. If you haven’t heard all about it, do yourself a favor and listen to one of the many YouTube videos or read one of the books.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
I feel that The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is a fantastic game! It did get a remaster on the Nintendo Switch recently. This is one of my favorite Zelda games because of all the risks that were taken.
In this game, you don’t have to have your sword equipped; you can steal things, and there feels like there is so much more to do. The story is also terrific! You end up on an island and have to gather instruments to wake up a fish so you can return home. Yeah, that sounds weird, but it was something that was expected from video games back in the day.
This was one of the games that I borrowed from a friend when I was little. It was such a great experience. I loved playing it on the bus trips and in between classes.
Genre: Paddle and Brick
Alleyway is a Breakout clone. I like it a bit more than Breakout, but the game is a clone at its core.
You play as a paddle on the bottom of the screen, and you bounce a ball up at bricks. You destroy all of the bricks to move on to the next screen. There are a few power-ups that can make your paddle bigger or smaller and can release extra balls. This is the only unique thing that Alleyway brings to the table.
This is a fun pick-up and play game. It was fun for road trips or avoiding my family during thanksgiving.
Super Mario Land
Super Mario Land is a weird game but works well for the Game Boy. This was the first Mario game on the system and was a launch title. Some changes were made to it because of the limitations at the time.
The names of enemies, changes to the power-ups, and the location where the game takes place are all things that add to the game’s quirkiness. I think the changes made add a lot to the game and help it to stand out. It feels like a new adventure in a strange land.
This is one of the games that I played when I started going through the Game Boy library for this site. I wish I had played it when I was younger. It would have been a fun game to play back then.
Bubble Bobble is an adorable game! You play as a bubble-blowing Dragon who has to fight off a bunch of weird creatures. I think this game plays very well, and I like this version a bit more than the NES version.
This is one of Taito’s classic arcade games. I think the port is very faithful to the original game. It does take a few hits graphically, but it is an excellent game.
I didn’t play this game back in the 90s. I found it when I was collecting games and got back into the hobby in the mid-2010s. I’m glad I found it because it is an entertaining game.
Dr. Mario is a fun little game that is pretty good. I like the NES version more than this one. The Game Boy version does suffer a little from being black and white.
In Dr. Mario, you use different colored pills to eliminate germs. It is a simple concept that works well for a puzzle game. You have to line up a row to get rid of the germs or to get rid of other pills that are in the way. As you move through the stages, the game speeds up.
This game can be a little hard to see on the Game Boy. The white and grey germs sort of blend together for me. Aside from that, it is an enjoyable game on the Game Boy.
Developer: Data East
BurgerTime is one of my favorite Arcade games and NES games. It is very hard, especially when you first start playing it! The Game Boy port is faithful to the arcades but lowers the difficulty, making it a bit more fun to play.
I think BurgerTime Deluxe looks a bit better than the NES port. The Arcade and NES games used a solid black background, while the Game Boy added something more interesting to look at.
While I prefer the Arcade version, the Game Port is an excellent version of the game. It is one of the many pick-up and play games on the Game Boy.
Developer: Ultra (Konami)
Genre: Run and Gun
The early Contra games were the best! Operation C and Contra: Alien Wars were great games on the Game Boy. Operation C is my favorite of the two of them.
Operation C did a fantastic job bringing the game to the Game Boy. Some things were changed to make the game work for a handheld, and it did make some changes, especially with difficulty. This is easier than some of the other 8 and 16-bit Contra games.
It is such a great game! If you like Contra, try this one out, or look for the Alien Wars port on the Game Boy.
Developer: Game Freak
Pokemon Yellow’s hook allowed you to start with a Pikachu. Aside from that, you play Pokemon Red and Blue. The monster choices are okay, even if I think Red had the better selection.
If you have never played a Pokemon game before, this is a JRPG. It is more of a beginner’s RPG. You don’t need to worry about much in the game aside from the strengths and weaknesses of your Pokemon. The story is pretty straightforward, and if you run into a tough spot, all you have to do is grind for a few levels and try again.
This version of the game was the first one that I owned. I beat Blue first when I borrowed it from a friend, but Yellow was the one that I played the most.
The Game Boy has a ton of outstanding games. There are so many more that I haven’t had a chance to play yet, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else there is. My favorite game from this list is Final Fantasy Legend II.
I can’t wait to try out some more games and see what else I can find in the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance library.