Monday, December 19, 2011

The Top Seven Gameboy Games That Should Be On the 3DS eShop

Alright, I promise this will be last 3DS focused list for a while but I figured I might as well cross all gaming options on the 3DS off so now I’m focusing on the Virtual Console. Nintendo really struck gold when they decided to enter the world of downloadable games by rereleasing many of their classics on the Wii’s Virtual Console service. However, as many gamers will tell you, Nintendo hasn’t exactly treated that service very well. It started out great but as time when on, less and less games were released. To this day, several big name Nintendo titles such as Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island and Earthbound have yet to see Virtual Console releases.

You all should download Balloon Kid.
This hasn’t stopped Nintendo from trying it again with the 3DS however but they’re going with sort of a different strategy this time. Instead of releasing several games a week every week, they’ve so far only been releasing one a week. While I’m sure many gamers aren’t okay with this, especially having to potentially wait for their favorites, but I personally think it’s a fine strategy. There’s tons of Gameboy and Gameboy Color games out there and releasing one a week is a good way to keep folks excited about what’s to come. Not to mention Nintendo has mentioned the possibility of releasing Gameboy Advance and Sega Game Gear games on the service in the future, so the Virtual Console on the 3DS is looking mighty bright right now.

So what I’m going to be counting down is the top seven games I want to see rereleased on the Virtual Console service for the 3DS. So far, a lot of the really great ones have been released like Super Mario Land 2, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening and even some lesser known classics like Gargoyle’s Quest. But there’s still plenty left they can pick from. Now, I’m only going to be doing Gameboy and Gameboy Color games because so far that’s all the service has hit. This list is open to both Nintendo and third party developed games as both have been released so far. So without further delay, let’s get to it.
7. Pokémon Trading Card Game

Yes, a video game about a card game.
In the late 90’s, Nintendo really hit it big with the Pokémon franchise, you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing Pikachu’s face plastered on something. One of their biggest hits came in the form of a trading card game, or TCG, co-developed by Wizard of the Coast. Every kid I knew collected these cards and I still have most of mine in my closet. I had absolutely no idea how to play the game and neither did any of my friends but I still had a lot of cards. So Nintendo and Hudson Soft tried to remedy that (or just make a quick cash-in) with a video game based on the TCG, aptly titled Pokémon Trading Card Game.  While it might sound like a dumb idea and merely a ploy to get money it was actually a surprisingly deep RPG. You bought booster packs, built your deck, battled opponents including gym leaders, it was a very deep, very Pokémon styled game.  I remember renting it as a kid and not really liking it too much, I guess it just wasn’t quite as good as the other Pokémon games but I did enjoy seeing the attention to detail they put into making each of the cards look like the real deal. I’ve always been meaning to go back and play this game because it does have a pretty big following. So much so that they actually made a sequel in Japan and they’ve been working on an online, free-to-play updated version on the Pokémon website so it seems like no better time to rerelease the one that started it all.

6. Mole Mania

Muddy's cool cause he wears shades.
Bet you’ve never heard of this game. Mole Mania was a first party Nintendo puzzle game released in 1997 and was actually worked on by the man himself, Shigeru Miyamoto. And let me tell you, you can tell because it’s a pretty neat little game. You take control of Muddy, a mole whose family has been kidnapped and the only way for him to get them back is to make his way to farm where they’ve been taken to. Muddy has to make his way through these little labyrinths by pulling, pushing and throwing this black ball and making it to the exit with the ball. He can also dig underground to pull obstacles on the service out of the way and kill enemies. It’s a pretty complicated little puzzle game and it really gets tricky towards the end. It’s not the best puzzle game on the Gameboy and it’s not even the best by Nintendo but it’s a fun little game with a lot of character that many people overlooked. It was also one of those games that featured colored graphics if you used it in the Super Gameboy and while Nintendo went this route with the rerelease of Link’s Awakening, they missed the mark with Donkey Kong ’94 so it would be great to see them release another game on the Virtual Console supporting the feature.

5. Tetris

Oh that putrid palette is fantastic.
When it comes to games that could be called “system sellers”, what do you think of? If it’s not Super Mario Bros. or Wii Sports it’s probably Tetris. Yes, the very first game released for the Gameboy was also the game people wanted most and is still in the top ten best-selling games of all time and why shouldn’t it be? Tetris is great! When people think of Tetris, it’s almost guaranteed they think of this version. Stacking blocks and clearing lines never felt more right than in that old yellowish-green color while you played it on the go. While there’s certainly been better versions of Tetris released over the years, including in my opinion the definitive version in Tetris DS, there’s no doubt that a rerelease of Tetris on the Gameboy would spark some nostalgia in many people and likely become one of the best-selling games on the service, especially they price it at that 2.99 price tag. When it comes to puzzling on the go, nothing can even compare to Tetris.

4. Wario Land 2/3

Nothing about this picture makes sense.
Yes, I’m cheating by putting two games in the same spot but they’re practically the same anyway so who cares? The Wario Land games have always been some of Nintendo’s best 2D platforming games and these two are no exception. Hunting for treasuring and bashing into enemies never felt more satisfying than on one of Nintendo’s many handhelds. However, what seperates Wario Land 2 and 3 apart from it’s predecessor (Which was just released on the VC in Japan) is Wario’s inability to die and the fact that he can take the form of various different power-ups. Much like Mario’s suits in Super Mario Bros. 3, Wario can transform into a number of things such as a spring, a bat, a snowball and even a zombie. These abilities have to be used in order to solve the games many puzzles, beat certain enemies and even find hidden puzzles. While you may be put off by the fact that Wario can’t die, and it is a little jarring at first, you shouldn’t let it distract you too much because these are ultimately really fantastic platforming games. Considering Nintendo just released the first game in Japan and gave Wario Land 4 out as one of the 10 ambassador games, I expect we’ll be seeing these two in the near future and I couldn’t be happier.

3. Shantae

Also boobs.
When it comes to platforming on the Gameboy, no game has ever come as close to capturing that Nintendo magic as Shantae. Developed by Wayforward (Who has been recently making a lot of great 2D platforming games on various downloadable services), Shantae was released in 2000 but didn’t really find a strong foothold in the market. It was until much later that the game sort of became popular again and gained a cult-following, so much so that they even released a sequel just last year on the DSi download service. Shantae really is a special game, the world Wayforward created is so fun and interesting, it’s almost worth playing the game to look at it alone, it has some of the best graphics on the Gameboy Color. Not to mention, the gameplay is fantastic. Shantae can transform into a number of different animals to solve puzzles and beat enemies, it’s a lot of fun. Not to mention her normal attack where she whips people with her hair. Anybody who uses their hair as a weapon is alright in my book. Plus, the main villain is a pirate so really, how can you go wrong? Wayforward has been constantly asked by fans if they planned to rerelease Shantae on the VC service and they’ve mentioned several times that they have expressed interest in it and now it’s just up to Nintendo. So Nintendo, if you’re out there, you know what you must do. If you can release games like Allyway and Side Pocket, you can find a place for Shantae and her magical hair.

2. Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters

Sorry to keep you- wait a second...
Hey, here’s a game people seem to forget exists, including Nintendo. Believe it or not, before Kid Icarus: Uprising, there actually was a sequel to the NES game, Kid Icarus but only on the Gameboy. It was co-developed by Tose, who you might recognize as the developers of Super Princess Peach, The Game and Watch Gallery series and The Legendary Starfy series, which might explain why it’s such a great but underrated game.   Believe it or not, Of Myths and Monsters is actually a better game than the original, in fact, it’s a lot better. The stages not only scroll up and down but left and right, allowing for more freedom and making it easier to backtrack freely. Pit can actually use his wings too to help slow his descent after making a jump, it really comes in handy in some tricky places. The stage designs are better, the graphics are surprisingly better and even the music’s really good. Everything about this game is better than the original and it’s a really underrated Gameboy and general Nintendo classic. However, there is a catch. The game was only ever released in the US and Europe which is why Kid Icarus: Uprising completely ignores it’s existence and instead takes place 24 years after the very first Kid Icarus game, not even making mention that there ever was a sequel. However, since the game wasn’t very story heavy or anything, I see no reason why it couldn’t be released in Japan for the first time. I can’t imagine much coding would be needed. But there’s still that chance we might get it, StarTropics (had to work it in somehow) was released on the Wii’s Virtual Console and that game was never released in Japan either. So why not release Of Myths and Monsters and get people hyped for Pit’s latest adventure?

1. Pokémon Red & Blue

Oh childhood, where have you gone?
Yeah, you all saw this coming. Perhaps the most predictable choice for the Gameboy Virtual Console is also the best, I mean, is there any game as synonymous with the Gameboy as Pokémon Red and Blue?  I mean, other than Tetris of course. Rereleasing Pokémon Red and Blue would basically be like printing their own money. Even though every other Pokémon RPG released since has been a better and deeper experience, none are as nostalgic as the originals and that’s why they need to be on the Virtual Console. Pokémon Blue Version is the very first RPG I remember ever caring about to the point of not just completing it but completing everything there was to do in the game. It was the first time a game that involved a lot of reading caught my attention and caught it in a big way. Basically what I’m saying is almost no game brings me back to my childhood quite like Pokémon Blue and it’s the same way for a lot of gamers, the Pokémon series isn’t one of Nintendo’s three best selling franchises for no reason. It could even be a way for younger gamers who got hooked in recent years to learn their roots and enjoy the same game so many of us invested so many hours into. They may be ugly, they may be unfair, there’s even remakes of both for the Gameboy Advance that are far superior games but I guarantee no game will prove the Virtual Console can bring in a profit quite like the original Red and Blue and I’d gladly put my 3 bucks down to relive the simpler days. 

So there you have it. Kind of anticlimactic, huh? Yeah, I know, I’m sorry. Also, Gold and Silver is not on this list because HeartGold and SoulSilver were only just released last year and many people are still playing them. While I would imagine that wouldn’t stop people from buying the originals, why would you when you can get the remakes which are by far the best in the series? I don’t know, maybe they should have been on there but I stand by it. Anyway, that’s it for my 3DS lists. Next week will be something different. But as always, sound off in the comments if there’s some other Gameboy games you want to see that I forgot. Maybe you really want Dr. Mario or Mario Golf. Wario Blast? Power Quest? Let me know in the comments!

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