Gameboy Retrospective

History:

My history with the Gameboy is actually, surprising, extremely limited. In fact, when I first got one it never occurred to me that it could actually play games that weren’t Pokemon! I thought it was some kind of single person device that was designed specifically for the one game!

There was also the general lack of interest in portable devices given that I’m legally blind. Even with Pokemon I often had to hold up a magnifying glass to the screen just to see any sort of detail.

It wouldn’t be until starting this project and buying a bootleg GB Boy Colour that I would actual experience a larger amount of the Gameboy’s library. Why the GB Boy? It can be bought brand new for $25 brand new and it has a proper backlight! Sure I could play games on a GBA SP, and did for a while, but then you risk knocking the cartridge and resetting your game…

Expectations:

When I first started playing Gameboy games for the project, and honestly I didn’t really have any set expectations. I was also playing them in tandem with the NES games, so it always kind of felt like that thing I did when I wasn’t working on the “main” portion of the project. As a result, I decided to the Gameboy on hold after a certain point, until I was done with the NES and could focus on it completely.

Incidentally, it was playing through the NES list that really gave some meaning to the games I’d be playing on the handheld. Suddenly I was looking forward to Legend of Zelda and Metroid, and had a deeper, or at least different, appreciation for how the portable entries stood up compared to their console counterparts.

Continue reading

GB – #1 – Pokemon Red / Blue

History:

While my childhood was meaningfully impacted by several different games, I can’t think of a single one that stands out more than Pokemon.

The year was 1998. Nintendo Power had been teasing Pokemon for what felt like, and may have actually been, the entire year. Eventually they started slipping comics into magazine issues, which I’d later learn were just transcripts from the upcoming anime. I was 11 going on 12 at the time, and this story where, when a child turns 10 they’re released into the world with a Pokemon by their side was just fascinating for me. As an adult parent I can now recognize how hilariously ridiculous the premise was, but back then I accepted the idea wholesale. Later that year the anime released, and my brother and I would watch and tape every episode onto VHS’s, fancy labels and all. Every night I dreamed of becoming a Pokemon Master.

Then Christmas came. I honestly can’t remember any other gift I got that day, because the morning ended with our parents bringing out a trash bag and dumping it out in front of us. Pokemon figurines, toys and all other odds and ends, but what stood out immediately were two purple Gameboy Colors and a copy each of Pokemon Red and Blue.

I don’t know that we left our room for about three days…

Every morning we’d wake up and grab our Gameboys and start playing, up at 7:00 and out of bed at 10:00!

This have changed a lot in the last 17 years, more than I’d honestly care for them to, but that memory of that Christmas is still a strong and important one to me. I still have that purple Gameboy Color sitting on my shelf, still with the “JEFF RULES!” label maker sticker on the back, still with Pokemon Red inside it, and it even still works.

Expectations:

Another memory was how badly my friends and I learned to break the game early on! Rare Candy and Master Ball duplication, MissingNo’s et al. I thought about playing the game the “right” way, but I think it would be a disservice to my childhood if I didn’t try my best to wreck things! I’ll save a proper playthrough for Pokemon FireRed later on in the project.

EDIT: Or maybe I’ll just play it straight, we’ll see how things go. Nostalgia may have me wanting to just take it all in again.

Continue reading

GB – #3 – Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX

History:

It’s funny how about half of my history entries for this system start with “Well I played the NES version…”. Never played Link’s Awakening, and for a while I actually thought this and Link to the Past were the same game!

Expectations:

I feel a bit of Zelda fatigue after playing through Oracle of Seasons, it feels like I JUST beat it the other day. At the same time, that’s the game that got me excited for other Zelda games moving forward. I think I’ll have a good time with this one.

Continue reading

GB – #5 – Kirby’s Dreamland 2

History:

The only Kriby game I’ve played from start to finish was Kirby’s Adventure on the NES as part of this project, and I loved it. I’ve never played any of the portable entries, Tilt ‘n’ Tumble and Block Ball not withstanding…

Expectations:

This looks like classic Kirby through and through, and I’m greatly looking forward to playing it! Don’t expect it should take too long either.

Continue reading

GB – #6 – Metal Gear Solid

History:

I’m a complete newb when it comes to the Metal Gear series, good thing this project will have me playing just about all of them… Only game I’ve played prior to this one is the NES version.

Expectations:

This game actually looks like an improved version of Metal Gear on the NES, and that game had a lot of things going for it that I really liked. Ultimately, I felt the NES game was a victim of its time, so I’m interested to see what this game will be like. Going in with an open mind!

Continue reading

GB – #7 – Dragon Warrior III

History:

I was meant to play this game on the NES list, but decided to skip it so as not to play the same RPG twice in such a short time span. Never played this one either way.

Expectations:

Hmm… I’ve played three Dragon Warrior games so far and I haven’t been able to finish any of them. I just found them so incredibly boring. I hear nothing but great things about the third entry though, and what I know about it sounds compelling, so I’m cautiously optimistic…

Continue reading

GB – #8 – Shantae

History:

I didn’t learn about the Shantae games until they started gaining popularity on the 3DS with Risky’s Revenge.

Expectations:

The game looks like a blast, and I’m really excited to play it. I have both the 3DS Virtual Console version to support the devs as well as a GBC reproduction of the game for the sake of playing it on native hardware, and my daughter plays the repro all the time, and frankly it makes me a little jealous. Now I finally get to play it! Continue reading

GB – #9 – Mario Tennis

History:

I had a lot of fun with the N64 and Gamecube versions of Mario Tennis, but never played the handheld ones.

Expectations:

Camelot’s RPG elements were actually what really put me off with Mario Golf, so I hope they don’t detract too much from this game for me. I’ve always liked tennis games, so as long as the actual gameplay holds up, I think I should be able to enjoy it just fine.

Continue reading