Puzznic

July 31, 1990

Oh. It’s another puzzle game. This version is distinct from the NES adaptation, and also from the soft-porn arcade versions.

Tasmania Story

July 27, 1990

Based on a Japan-only movie, with gameplay adapted from a Japan-only MSX game, this clunky and primitive creation is tough to love.

Double Dragon

July 20, 1990

A loose adaptation of the NES game, which in turn loosely adapted the arcade original. Nearly a brilliant rendition but for one critical flaw: Its absolutely wretched difficulty balancing.

Paperboy

July 15, 1990

Atari’s diagonal fling-em-up makes the leap from arcades to the Game Boy with rather less-than-impressive results.

Lock ’N Chase

May 11, 1990

Data East arrives on Game Boy by dipping back into its vast arcade archives. But this is no rehash—Lock ’N Chase plays more like a sequel than a port.

Qix

April 13, 1990

Nintendo and Minakuchi Engineering take Taito’s arcade classic under their first-party week to embellish it with multiplayer mechanics and Mario dressed as random ethnic stereotypes.

Serpent

April 6, 1990

A curious sci-fi reimagining of the game more commonly known as Snake, Taxan’s Serpent takes the venerable arcade classic Blockade and adds special attacks (as well as some sort of galactic war story) to the whole affair.

Penguin Wars

March 30, 1990

A head-to-head competitive dodgeball game featuring cute animals, because why not? This is a two-player port of a single-player arcade game, and also the Penguin-kun Wars series’ sole journey outside Japan.

Space Invaders

March 30, 1990

A bare-bones but admirably faithful rendition of the arcade classic. While Taito made some compromises in order to squeeze the game into the tiny handheld, they did so intelligently, preserving the essence and pacing of the original remarkably well.

Flappy Special

March 23, 1990

  Another old-school PC conversion. Another Soukoban variant. DB-Soft and Victor definitely were not on a mission to radically change the way we thinking about Game Boy software with this one, that’s for sure.

Penguin Land

March 21, 1990

A real rarity: A Sega game on Game Boy. Pony Canyon converted a computer port of an old Sega arcade game to Game Boy. Sneaky! A fundamentally good game feels fundamentally flawed on Game Boy, however, due to poor line-of-sight distance that makes the action unreasonably hard, and a distracting screen-scrolling pause effect.

Flipull

March 16, 1990

Game Boy gets a port of Taito’s arcade game Plotting… under a different title for some reason. Popular in Japan and Europe, Flipull only ever came to the U.S. on Game Boy. It’s a tiny little blip in history! A pretty good puzzler… on a platform stuffed to bursting with puzzlers.

Quarth

March 16, 1990

A pretty solid port of Konami’s oddball shooter/puzzle arcade hybrid, which boasts some serious creative talent (seriously, it’s like the entire future Treasure team). Although this conversion loses the cooperative play feature, it’s otherwise quite faithful. Not a masterpiece, but an interesting novelty to be sure.

Heiankyo Alien

January 14, 1990

The oldest game ever to appear on the original Game Boy, Heiankyo Alien faithfully adapts the classic PC trap-’em-up by the same name as well as introducing a visually overhauled remake with new features and aliens to contend with. Though simple and oddly named, it’s nevertheless a legitimate classic.

The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle

September 5, 1989

Nyeah, what’s up, doc? Released in September 1989 in Japan, The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle stands as the Game Boy’s first licensed release (that is, the first to bear a license from another medium). However, the particulars of its license — or rather, licenses — and chronology of its release variants make a compelling case for […]

Alleyway

April 21, 1989

You can see the Game Boy’s roots in the Game & Watch series on clear display in Nintendo’s first generation of releases for the system, and nowhere more than Alleyway. A dated take on the block-breaking genre even at the time of its 1989 debut – the far more sophisticated Arkanoid predates it by a good three years […]