Trump Boy

March 29, 1990

Where SD Gundam was offensively awful, Trump Boy is merely unremarkable in every way. A quick and dirty compilation of four different real-world card games, it lacks any bells or whistles to speak of. Better than a kick to the teeth, but much less memorable.

SD Gundam: SD Sengokuden: Kunitori Monogatari

March 24, 1990

  Game Boy gets its first strategy game and its first Gundam game… and Kunitori Monogatari is pretty lousy at being either. Rather than depicting a cool Gundam, this is about chubby robot suits in ancient Japan. And the cumbersome strategy interface yields to some absolute rock-bottom barrel-scraping fighting game. Disastrous.

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.

Bases Loaded for Game Boy

March 15, 1990

  Bases Loaded for Game Boy isn’t actually Bases Loaded, although it is for Game Boy. The popularity of the Bases Loaded name in the U.S. evidently prompted Jaleco to rename its Little League sim Baseball Kids, though this portable baseball title is much less progressive than the NES game whose identity it lifted.

Nemesis

February 23, 1990

Fans of Gradius might not recognize the name, but they’ll certainly recognize the style and rules of Nemesis. This vertical shooter set a high bar on the Game Boy thanks to its vivid graphics, excellent music, and incredibly flexible play style. A great game then and now.

Taikyoku Renju

February 23, 1990

Towa Chiki’s games typically fell somewhere between “bad” and “dreadful,” but even they had to do something right on occasion. Taikyoku Renju is a nice little adaptation of the Japanese go variant gomoku renju, and it’s good! It even has an English language option, bizarrely enough. Worth hunting down.

Othello

February 9, 1990

A video adaptation of Pressman’s reversi board game. While Acclaim published the NES game on which this rendition was based in the U.S., the Game Boy release was only ever sold in Japan and Europe (where it was published as a Nintendo first-party title).

Solar Striker

January 26, 1990

Game Boy’s first vertical shoot-em-up. Simple and clean, Solar Striker may not impress these days, but that’s by design: What seems painfully limited in 2015 made for a highly playable action game on the original Game Boy hardware. Sometimes, smart design and timeless design aren’t one and the same.

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.

World Bowling

January 13, 1990

The first of what would be many bowling-based games by developer Athena, World Bowling for Game Boy was a nice try… but you can tell this is a first draft on low-powered hardware when you hold it alongside later Athena bowlers like Championship Bowling for NES and Virtual Bowling for Virtual Boy.

Hero Shuugou! Pinball Party

January 12, 1990

An uninspiring Japan-only pinball game whose main claim to fame is that it features some obscure Jaleco characters in extremely minor cameo roles.

Wizards & Warriors X: Fortress of Fear

January 1, 1990

The first Western-developed game for Game Boy… and the first Game Boy release never to reach Japan… and the first game of the ’90s! Fortress of Fear had a lot riding on its shoulders, but sadly it proved to be a lackluster companion to the NES Wizards & Warriors games.

– 1989 –

December 31, 1989

An index of all Game Boy releases for the year 1989.

Game Boy World 1989 (revised print edition)

December 31, 1989

The first book compiling articles and photography of all Game Boy releases has been revised into a larger format to better match up with upcoming volumes. (1990 Vol. 1 is coming very soon!)

Master Karateka

December 28, 1989

Master Karateka The final Game Boy release for 1989 was also, fittingly, one of the final games released in the 1980s. In many ways, it makes for a neat summary of how games had changed over the course of the decade. Master Karateka offered gamers a conversion of a classic, American-developed 1984 PC action game to Nintendo’s Japanese […]

The Sword of Hope

December 28, 1989

The second RPG ever released for Game Boy was even more unconventional than The Final Fantasy Legend. Square’s game at least adheres to the general structure and format of the console RPG in the post-Dragon Quest era, even if its inner workings were all over the place (trending toward “weird as hell”). But Kemco’s The Sword […]

Boomer’s Adventure in Asmik World

December 27, 1989

The vexing thing about Boomer’s Adventure in Asmik World is that, while it’s a perfectly entertaining action puzzler in its own right, it’s best described in terms of a game that wouldn’t hit the Game Boy until several months later. Kind of like the way some people think Shin Megami Tensei is a big ripoff of […]

Q Billion

December 22, 1989

Nobody loves Seta. In the annals of gaming history, Seta is one of those easily-forgotten little guys. They never published a timeless classic, but neither do any of their games sit perched on some Internet critic’s snarky “worst games ever” list. Their most infamous creation, Bio Force Ape, earned its reputation for nearly never existing. Seta published dozens […]

Battleship

December 22, 1989

  A popular trick among Western video game publishers during the late ’80s and early ’90s in particular was to buy up a popular license — whether for a toy, a film, a TV series, or some other more esoteric media property — and attach it to an existing Japanese game. Given that Japan entered the NES […]

Fist of the North Star: 10 Big Brawls for the King of the Universe

December 22, 1989

Here’s what you need to know about Fist of the North Star, if you’re unfamiliar with the concept: It’s based heavily on the Road Warrior/Mad Max movies. And it’s written by a guy who adopted the nom de plume Buronson. Yes, that’s how you write “Bronson” in Japanese. As in, Charles Bronson. In other words, […]

Shogi

December 19, 1989

Shogi was the third Game Boy release to revolve around an endemic Japanese pastime, and the third Game Boy release never to see a release in the West. It’s almost like there’s a pattern evolving, or something. As we venture further into the Game Boy’s life, the disparity between Japanese and Western releases will grow considerably; […]