What can one even say about the original Game Boy? It was the quintessential hand held gaming platform. Capitalizing on the popularity of their LCD Game and Watch lines, Nintendo sought to make the first true handheld game console, and succeeded. Millions of people lined up to buy the things so they could play portable Mario, Tetris, TMNT, Double Dragon and others. Sure, the system suffered from a tiny blurry screen you could barely see unless you were under a stage light and you had to buy more AA batteries for it all the time, but it was real portable gaming, damn it!
Needless to say it was a big hit, selling over 100 million units worldwide, amassing a library of well over 700 games and going on to become one of the longest-lived platforms in video game history, being supported for just under fourteen years (just barely beat by the Atari 2600, which lasted slightly over 14 years). Nintendo eventually introduced a more powerful successor in the form of the Game Boy Color, and later the Game Boy Advance, both of which were backward-compatible in addition to sporting some impressive games of their own. Both of those were eventually abandoned for their new dual-screened DS systems, which continue to dominate the handheld market to this day. So yes, Nintendo definitely has found their place in the gaming industry, and has continued to hold tightly to it despite heavy competition from the likes of Sega, Sony, Bandai, SNK and numerous others.
All that said, though, a lot of the platform's library just doesn't hold up today. As many of its games were designed to play at a slower pace in order to compensate for the aforementioned tiny blurry screen, they feel downright slow compared to their console counterparts. It was also home to an awful lot of crummy licensed titles and lackluster down-ports of existing console and arcade games, which, in an age of emulation-based compilations of the original titles in all of their glory, doesn't make the Game Boy's inferior ports look very good in comparison.
That said, as with any game platform, there are still quite a few top-notch titles across the Game Boy line that simply can't be found anywhere else. So which ones have held up the best and are still just as fun to play now as they were in their heyday? Here are my ten favorites.
10. Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal (Game Freak, 2001)
9. Mother 3 (Game Boy Advance, Nintendo/Brownie Brown/APE, 2006 in Japan)
8. River City Ransom EX (Game Boy Advance, Million, 2004)
7. Advance Wars (Game Boy Advance, Intelligent Systems, 2001)
Where did this series go after the DS era, anyway? I miss it...
6. Metroid: Zero Mission (Game Boy Advance, Nintendo, 2004)
5. Mega Man IV (Game Boy, Minakuchi Engineering, 1993)
4. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Game Boy, Nintendo, 1993)
3. Mega Man V (Game Boy, Minakuchi Engineering, 1994)
2. Metroid Fusion (Game Boy Advance, Nintendo, 2002)
1. Astro Boy: Omega Factor (Game Boy Advance, Sega/Treasure/Hitmaker, 2004)