The Virtual Console for the 3DS will feature games from the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Gear, and TurboGrafx-16. For the next couple of weeks I will be releasing my Top Ten Most Wanted games for these systems and others that may potentially make the 3DS Virtual Console. Whenever a game is part of a series, I will just put the series name and the game I’m most interested in seeing. I’m going to start with the Game Boy.
Release Date: February 1990 Developer: Nintendo R&D1 Publisher: Nintendo
One of the first games I got for the game boy. It had excellent music, great graphics, and tight control. It was challenging but not unfair, unlike many games of its time. It was also one of the few shooters made by Nintendo.
Trivia: The music for Level 1 was used in Captain N, The Game Master! It's heard at the beginning of "Trouble With Tetris", in a slightly altered form.
Release Date: August 1989 Developer: Nintendo R&D1, Intelligent Systems Publisher: Nintendo
Another one of my first Game Boy games. I really enjoyed this breakout clone, even though I didn’t know it was a breakout clone at the time. I especially liked the Super Mario Bros. elements sprinkled throughout, such as Mario being the pilot of the ship and the Koopa themed level.
Trivia: Besides Mario other characters from the Super Mario series make an appearance.
Release Date: January 1990 Developer: Konami Publisher: Ultra Games
While I’m generally not a racing game fan, Motocross Maniacs serves as an exception because it played more like a plataformer in which you control a bike. I loved the music and going through loops while using my nitro boosts. I think this Motocross Maniacs served as the inspiration for the XBOX game Trials HD, which feels like a spiritual successor of to this game.
Trivia: Ultra Games was a spinoff company created in 1988 as a subsidiary of Konami of America, in an effort to get around Nintendo of America's strict licensing rules for the North American Konami release games for Nintendo consoles. One of these rules was that a third-party company could only publish up to five games per year for the Nintendo Entertainment System in the US. This was hardly convenient for Konami, which had begun releasing more than ten games a year for both the Family Computer and Family Computer Disk System in Japan. With a greater library than they were allowed to localize, Konami formed the Ultra Games brand to extend their annual library to ten games a year.
Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters
Release Date: November 1, 1991 Developer: Nintendo R&D1 Publisher: Nintendo
While I was a fan of the original Kid Icarus for the NES, I never played the Gameboy version. I have seen videos of the game on Youtube and I am looking forward to playing in an expanded playing field and what looks to be a better game than the original. It will also serve as a refresher before I play the 3DS sequel (remake?) of the franchise.
Trivia: Kid Icarus of Myths and Mosnters runs on the Metroid II: The Return of Samus’ engine. Pit’s laurel crown and blue eye color were added to his slightly more manga-inspired design in Of Myths and Monsters. Despite the game not being released in Japan, these changes were prominent to Pit's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The "Kid Icarus" logo on the Game Boy title's front cover was also used in the stage selection of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and a sticker of Pit's art from the game appears.
Kirby’s Dream Land Series
Release Date: May 1, 1995 Developer: Hal Laboratories Publisher: Nintendo
My only experiences with Kirby have been from the Smash Bros. series and Kirby’s Epic Yarn. I have always wanted to play the original Gameboy games where Kirby got his start. I’m especially looking forward to the second game, where Kirby first got to use his copy ability on a portable.
Trivia: This was the first portable Kirby game to introduce the copy ability. This game was produced by Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata.
Release Date: September 28, 1998 Developer: Game Freak Publisher: Nintendo
My first experience with Pokemon was with Blue and Yellow. However, I only reached the third badge on Yellow. This became a recurring thing for me. I only reached the third badge in each consecutive game and then stopped playing. It wasn’t until I bough Fire Red that I finally beat the whole game. After that, I finished Diamond and Soul Silver and am currently on my way to my third badge in Pokemon Black. I would love to play (and finish) the original games though. Especially if Nintendo is able to make the games link wirelessly and through Wi-Fi for battling and trading. I am most looking forward to Pokemon Blue, which was the first Pokemon game I played. I intend to finish this game all the way through, once and for all.
Trivia: In Red Version, the opening scene shows a Gengar and a Nidorino engaged in battle. In Blue Version, the Nidorino is replaced with a Jigglypuff. This change was not retained in FireRed and LeafGreen Versions, which both depict a Gengar and Nidorino squaring off. The American staff in charge of localizing the games tried to change the Pokémon designs, however, Tsunekaz Ishihara (President and CEO of the Pokemon Company, and producer) refused the proposal.
Release Date: August 1989 Developer: Bulletproof Software; Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo
This was my first Gameboy game, as it probably was for most people. I was perplexed that Nintendo would decide to package the Gameboy with a launch game that was not Mario. That is, of course, until I played the game. I was immediately hooked. The graphics were nothing special, but the gameplay was something else. It was easy to learn, but difficult to master; and extremely addictive to boot. The music is also very memorable and catchy. Even though there have been many versions of the game throughout the years, the first one will always hold a special place for me.
Trivia: Initially, Nintendo planned to package Super Mario Land with the Game Boy, but decided to package Tetris instead at the insistence of Henk Rogers, who convinced Nintendo of America head Minoru Arakawa that a Mario title would only sell the Game Boy to young boys instead of everyone. After a player exits pause mode (toggled using the start button), the background music continues with an added bassline which stops when the next phrase of the song begins. Nintendo has offered no explanation for this anomaly. The “Type A" music is based on the Russian folk song Korobeiniki which can be heard in the movie “The Deer Hunter”.
Metroid II: The Return of Samus
Release Date: November 1991 Developer: Nintendo R&D1 Publisher: Nintendo
I have finished Metroid Zero Mission, Super Metroid, and Metroid Fusion. However, I am ashamed to admit that I have never played this game in depth. I hope to remedy this as soon as Nintendo releases the game on the 3DS VC. I also hope Nintendo remakes it, just like they did with the original Metroid.
Trivia: There was going to be a Game Boy Color Version of the game, but it was cancelled.
Release Date: June 1994 Developer: Nintendo EAD Publisher: Nintendo
Donkey Kong is one of the most acclaimed games for the Gameboy. Even though I have played only the first few levels, I can certainly understand all the praise that the game has received. I hope this is one of the first games that will be released on the 3DS VC. I also hope Nintendo is able to emulate the Super Gameboy color feature.
Trivia: The game was going to receive an updated version for the Game Boy Advance titled “Donkey Kong Plus.” This game eventually evolved into what we now know as “Mario vs. Donkey Kong.”
Super Mario Land Series
Release Date: January 31, 1989 Developer: Nintendo R&D1 Publisher: Nintendo
I have only played the first two Super Mario Lands but I think they are amongst the best games for the system. I was expecting Nintendo to port black and white versions of their past Super Mario Bros. games. However, what we got was a trilogy of original games that feature some of the best gameplay available for the system. The second game, Six Golden Coins, also introduced an enduring new nemesis for Mario, who eventually took over the Super Mario Land franchise, starting with Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land. I am most looking forward to Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, since it feels like more like a Mario game than the other two.
Trivia: Super Mario Land was the first Mario game developed without Shigeru Miyamoto. It was produced by Gunpe Yokoi, creator of the Game Boy.
Sword of Mana probably would ring better with fans of Secret of Mana. But overall I felt that the game was just trying too hard to be Secret of Mana only much worse. It also lost a lot of what made the original unique with it's tool-ish weapons and spells (and while that continued on in the Mana series, I felt Adventure integrated it best). Final Fantasy Adventure's combat also still stands up compared to its sequels.
There are a few issues with the original, but a lot of it happens to be due to how old school it is than anything else. The mattock and key thing was cumbersome, especially later in the game when you could potentially get stuck if you saved at the wrong place and don't have enough mattocks. Inventory management was also an annoyance. It was also easy to abuse certain partners abilities (health and mana regen). Overall though I thought it was a very solid game and the best of the mana series that I've played (never played Seiken Densetsu 3).
Speaking on Solar Striker that game was developed by R&D1. I'll have the check the credits again but I believe the designer(s) behind Kid Icarus also worked on that game.
Later in the game, the Morning Star replaced the mattocks, though. I don't think I ever got stuck from running out of mattocks before getting that weapon, either.
While in general you're right when saying many of its faults were due to old school design, I was specifically thinking of bugs: FFA was riddled with bugs. In one memorable playthrough, I was going about my business in the overworld when all of a sudden during a screen transition, I was warped to a very late dungeon. I didn't stand a chance. Good times.
The collision detection was also pretty wonky.
And yet... I think both the bugs and the collision detection managed to be worse in Sword of Mana, lol.