The Game Boy Color was a portable handheld system released in 1998 as an update to the classic Game Boy except for with the addition of an expanded color palette and more technical capabilities.
The Game Boy is easily one of the most successful video game consoles of all time, and the Game Boy Color completely filled its predecessors shoes and then some. The games offered on the system are easily some of the best ever to grace a Nintendo system, representing one of the most diverse mixes of games in a top 10 list.
Without further ado, here are the 10 top video games made for the Nintendo Game Boy Color…
10. The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX
An updated re-release of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for the Game Boy, the DX on the end denotes the game’s updated graphics and color palette. Just as Link’s Awakening on the Game Boy is one of the best offerings on that system, so too is Link’s Awakening DX one of the single best games for the Game Boy Color.
While nothing breaks the Zelda mold with this game, it is an outstanding entry in the long-running series. Combining the whimsical nostalgia and puzzle-based gameplay for which other entries are known, Link’s Awakening DX is for those that may have missed out the first time on this amazing Zelda game.
Released just prior to The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 64, Link’s Awakening DX likely also provided the engine for the two Game Boy Color exclusive games, The Legend of Zelda: Oracles of Ages and Oracles of Seasons.
9. Pokémon Gold/Silver
The sixth installments in the wildly popular Pokémon series of role-playing games, Pokémon Gold and Silver furthered the craze on the Game Boy Color, adding a splash of vibrant hues to the solid core gameplay introduced in the previous Game Boy installments.
These two games were so popular they were even later remade for the Nintendo DS portable system as Pokémon HeartGold and HeartSilver.
It introduces 100 new species of Pokémon for the player to collect Though the two games are separate, players need to trade between the two of them as well as backwards compatible Pokémon games in order to complete Pokémon Gold/Silver’s Pokédex.
Pokémon Gold/Silver went to become a watershed for the series, catapulting into the stratosphere of popularity and solidifying Pokémon as a household name. Not only that, but Pokémon Gold/Silver are considered some of the best in the series and two of the most important games of their generation.
8. Super Mario Bros DX
Super Mario Bros. DX is a re-release of the classic 1985 NES platformer that made Nintendo the name in gaming.
The Game Boy Color release also included the Japan-only Super Mario Bros. 2 as a hidden reward for players. The game featured tons of unlockables and introduced a whole new generation to Super Mario Bros.
For older gamers, it gave them a robust Mario platforming experience on the go and updated a classic without damaging its core fundamentals.
In many ways this game presaged the re-releases of the Mario series games on the Game Boy Advance and the New Super Mario Bros. series of games that came later on the DS, Wii, Wii U, and 3DS.
7. Metal Gear: Ghost Babel
A 2D stealth action game from the popular Metal Gear series, Metal Gear: Ghost Bable came out in 200 under the title Metal Gear Solid in the West for the Game Boy Color.
The game was intended as a portable version of the Playstation 1998 hit Metal Gear Solid but instead serves as an alternative sequel to the original Metal Gear on NES. The gameplay follows the MSX2 edition of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake and utilizes a top-down perspective wherein players navigate various maps while trying to avoid detection.
The game is notable for its numerous items and weapons the player can use in the course of the game. Unlike other entries in the series, this game employs a stage-based format with player’s performance in each stage receiving a grade at the completion of that round.
The game has three modes stage select, VR training, and versus battle, all of which add to the replay value of this already solid game.
6. Tetris DX
Tetris DX is an enhancement of the original Game Boy edition of Tetris except for released for the Game Boy Color. A lot of games on this list, as we are sure you have noticed, are updated versions of older Game Boy games.
This is not surprising given the Game Boy’s solid library, a collection filled to the brim with classics and must-plays.
The Game Boy Color update add two gameplay modes as well as the ability to save. The game is notable for a glitch that allows the player to move tetriminos upwards and sports totally updated graphics that take advantage of the Game Boy Color’s hardware.
5. R-Type DX
Released in 1999 by Nintendo, R-Type DX includes R-Type and R-Type II as well as enhanced versions with color from the Game Boy Colors much-expanded palette.
Although the color enhancements were all that were really added to the game, in the end, R-Type is R-Type and the legendary shooter carries over to the Game Boy Color.
Even in a portable, handheld format, R-Type is one of the best shooters you’ll ever play.
4. Wario Land 3
Wario Land 3 arrived for the Game Boy Color in 2000 featuring amazing platformer action and the titular quirky main character, an inverse of Nintendo’s beloved Mario. While it was followed up with Wario Land 4 a year later, Wario Land 3 really stands out in the Game Boy Color’s library for its addictive yet accessible gameplay.
Wario Land 3 is the type of game you pick up not knowing what you’re going to get and you walk away from it a happy gamer. The game uses different mechanics than its Super Mario Bros. inspiration games, but the core gameplay is similar. If Mario is a bit staid, Wario is all about getting paid, and the game’s aesthetic and tenor distill this attitude throughout.
3. Survival Kids
Another Game Boy Color classic from Konami, Survival Kids is about surviving on a deserted island in the middle of the ocean – a simple enough concept on paper, but an intriguing, engaging game in practice. Featuring open-ended gameplay before it was the hot thing to do, Survival Kids features multiple ways to progress through and complete the game.
Of course, for its time, this was pretty mind blowing and is one of the game’s biggest selling points. Players must monitor hunger, thirst and fatigue meters in addition to the traditional Health Points that require the completion of everyday tasks like eating, drinking, and sleeping, as well as hunting, gathering, and finding a place to sleep for the night. If you’re looking for something a bit different on the Game Boy Color, Survival Kids is your ticket.
Not only is it one of the best games on the system, it is one of the coolest experiences on any portable.
2. Resident Evil Gaiden
An action-adventure game developed for the Game Boy Color based in the world of Capcom’s beloved survival horror franchise Resident Evil? Where do we sign up?
Resident Evil Gaiden pushed the Game Boy Color upon its release with awesome graphics and an engaging storyline, all underpinned by some of the most fun gameplay found on the system. Initially panned upon release, it has enjoyed a resurgence as time has passed. The gameplay is different from traditional Resident Evil games and some players find this transition jarring. When a player encounters a zombie, the game switches to a first-person perspective.
What you have to keep in mind when you are playing Resident Evil Gaiden is just what the developers were trying to achieve given what they had to work with in terms of technology. Knowing this, Resident Evil Gaiden is one of the more technically impressive games on the Game Boy Color, meriting it a position on this list.
1. The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Seasons/Ages
While two games in release, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages functions as two halves of an epic saga.
Developed by Capcom subsidiary Flagship, these two games also represent one of the rare times that Nintendo let someone else handle one of its franchises. The gameplay is much in line with other Zelda games, featuring swords, and puzzle solving. What makes this game so great is how it executes everything so flawlessly and seemingly without effort. Nothing feels taxing yet the game is difficult. It has a kind of direction and ease of access to it that would almost lend itself to linearity except for it unfolds like a grand epic should – slowly and organically as the player makes his way through the game.
The music is spot on if a bit off at times while the graphics are stellar and true to the Zelda aesthetic. Demonstrating that portable systems can do big games, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages are easily the best games made for the Game Boy Color.