Nintendo Game Boy was the company’s first mainstream handheld device after the Game and Watch consoles. Released in 1989, Game Boy took huge strides in bringing the console experience to a handheld and garnered huge success.
The Game Boy sold more than 100 million units in its lifetime, thanks to a bunch of great exclusives. While some have been given a worthy remaster or a re-release on newer consoles, some haven’t made the cut and still remain trapped on the system.
While some games such as The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening and Metroid 2 has received spectacular ports on the Nintendo 3DS and the Nintendo Switch, some hidden gems can only be played on the original system:
- The Amazing Spider-Man is a side-scrolling adventure game featuring friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
- Bart Simpson’s Escape from Camp Deadly is an action-platformer that features Bart Simpson from the TV series The Simpsons as he tries to escape from a camp’s counselors.
- Battletoads on Game Boy is a different version than what other consoles received. While it shares the same name, it features different levels than the ones seen in the NES release.
- Batman: The Animated Series(video game) and Batman: The Video Game are two side-scrolling action platformers that feature Gotham’s famous caped crusader.
- Castlevania Legends is the third Castlevania game on the Game Boy. It released in 1997 to great reviews and underwhelming sales, and ultimately ended being a cult-classic. Since the game never received any form of ports, Game Boy remains the only place to play this title.
- Daffy Duck is also a game that received a different version than its SNES counterpart featuring the titular duck from Looney Tunes.
- God Medicine is an RPG developed and published by Konami, which was released exclusively on the Game Boy.
- James Bond 007, features fan-favorite James Bond in an action-adventure RPG released exclusively on the Game Boy. The game had middling reviews but is considered fun by its humble group of fans, hence a cult-classic.
- Kirby’s Dream Land is a side-scrolling platformer featuring the cute but powerful Kirby in an exclusive adventure. While Kirby has never been one of Nintendo’s most famous protagonists, fans would have to get their hands on a Game Boy to enjoy this title.
- Ninja Gaiden Shadow is a prequel to the original Ninja Gaiden on the NES and sees Ryu Hayabusa on a mission to save NYC from the clutches of evil. The game may be a bit more simplistic than the NES titles, but carries the signature charm of the series, making it a must-play for hardcore fans of the series.
- Rolan’s Curse 1 and 2 are action-adventure games, reminiscent of the original The Legend of Zelda.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles also received 3 exclusive entries on the system. While not the best games in the franchise, all three of them are extremely enjoyable but remain trapped on the system which makes it a hassle to try them out.
- Wave Race is the first game in the Wave Race series, released exclusively on the Nintendo Game Boy. The game is simple yet enjoyable and paved the way for better games in the series.
While many more games still remain trapped on the system, most of the remaining ones don’t hold up well today or aren’t well-known. The Nintendo Game Boy may have been a weaker console than the NES, but that didn’t stop the developers to push jaw-dropping content on it time and time again. Metroid 2, an exclusive to the console has been remade multiple times by fans as well as Nintendo for a multitude of reasons. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is one of the series’ most heartfelt stories to date, and the game originally debuted on the Game Boy. Games like Wave Race garnered some success with their debut titles, leading to better versions in the form of Wave Race 64.
The console itself boasted great design and battery life, the two most important things for a handheld. The Game Boy was merely the first step in handheld gaming, which led to many more consoles of this kind down the line. It’s fascinating to note how far console gaming has come, from the original Game Boy just being a secondary console for handheld gaming to the Nintendo Switch, a decently powerful machine that can serve most gamers’ needs without much sacrifice.