The best GameBoy games of all time is a list no outlet wants to write, for fear it will annoy a lot of fellow Gameboy enthusiasts out there.
And although we are kinda’ ranking them, we are going to put these in no particular order.
So hopefully, if you are a fellow Gameboy junkie like ourselves, then you’ll respect our decision.
If not, we’d love to hear your thoughts on which ones we’ve missed!
(Just be nice…ok?)
And usually, this is where a website would talk about the Gameboy and introduce what it does, when it was released and how it affected the market.
But if you’re reading this, you already know that it’s one of the best gaming consoles of all time and revolutionised the handheld gaming market.
In other words – no introduction needed!
And for those wondering, this is not a best GameBoy Advance games or best GameBoy Color games list, just the original square cartridges that most of us still have hiding somewhere in the attic or basement.
So, let’s start ranking the best GameBoy games of all time.
1. Pokemon Red & Blue
We couldn’t have a top 10 best GameBoy games list without featuring Pokemon.
This was the RPG that changed many kids and adults lives.
Pokemon Red & Blue was released in 1996 in Japan and 1998 in western countries for the Gameboy by developers Game Freak.
It was mainly used on the Gameboy Color, which came with a shade of red or green within the game.
It’s not a lot of colour, but hey, it was an upgrade from the original Gameboy!
The game was one hell of an adventure, and the aim was to catch every single Pokemon and become the best Pokemon Master in the world.
But defeating the Elite Four, a team of highly trained Pokemon Masters with some of the strongest Pokemon around was no easy task!
It was no pick-up and play game; you’d put hours and hours into the story just to get through the gyms, and even then it could still prove to be a challenge if you didn’t plan what Pokemon to use.
Tactics would be needed at all times, and trades would be used in order to strengthen your team.
It was the game that connected Gameboy players, all with the use of a simple trade cable in order to trade your favourite pocket monsters.
2.Turok: Battle Of The Bionosaurs
Here’s one that may surprise you being on our best GameBoy games list.
Take a look at Turok: Battle of the Bionosaurs, a 2D action platformer developed by Bit Managers for the Gameboy in 1997.
It was a challenging game, and one of the first to feature Dinosaurs, which… well, everyone loved back then.
It had a number of stages, but the game was known for switching between being a side-scroller and a birds-eye view game, which made each stage feel completely different and unique.
The Dino’s were scary, the weapon choices vast, and tactical button-mashing strategies were needed in order to get to the end.
It was released alongside Turok: Dinosaur Hunter on the N64, and many Turok fans came over from that console in order to play it in the go.
It was one bad-ass game that we still play to this day, and it’s good to see the Turok franchise still going strong with modern titles.
I’m just gonna say it; we love Dinosaurs!
3. The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is probably on every best GameBoy list on the entire planet and that’s for good reason.
This game was the action adventure gameboy that sapped that attention of GameBoy fans for hours on end.
It was a game developed by Nintendo for the Gameboy and Gameboy Color and was released in 1993, making it one of the first BIG games for the Nintendo Gameboy.
And while Link’s Awakening didn’t kick start the Zelda franchise, it sure helped to boost its profile and make it one of the most loved series of all time.
It starts with Link being stranded on an island and having to discover a way off.
Solving complex puzzles and fighting off monsters is what this title is all about, all while finding eight musical instruments that will awaken the sleeping fish that stops him from leaving.
The game sold over 6,000,000 units… take that in.
That figure, alongside its incredible story, is why it’s on our best gameboy games list.
The GameBoy 99% of Gameboy users had. Not because it’s classed as the best GameBoy game of all time, but because it came free with most purchases of the original GameBoy.
And although it was seriously overlooked by children back in the day, it was the game that got adults, and teenagers into the handheld gaming community.
The ever-growing challenge of getting the high score and the game’s addictive theme tune made it one of the most played ‘pick up and play’ titles for the Gameboy.
And still to this day, Tetris is forever evolving. And because of its easy playability and mind-numbingly enjoyable gameplay, it had to be one we added to the list.
Because when it comes down it, it’s just impossible for people to hate Tetris, especially when it’s so addictive!
And even if they hate it, they’ll still play it.
5. Pokemon Gold & Silver
Oh, Pokemon again? Yes, because we’re addicted to Pokemon and it’s actually an incredible game!
For the millions that played Pokemon Red & Blue, the next-gen offering was a huge surprise that pleased the current Pokemon players and intrigued those who didn’t play it.
Pokemon Gold & Silver were introduced to the Gameboy Color in 2000, and then 2001 in Europe. It was the game that made Pokemon actually quite challenging, especially towards the end.
It was incredibly similar to the previous Pokemon game, but it introduced a bunch of new Pokemon to discover, and a new region of the Pokemon world to explore.
Nintendo still kept the ‘Gotta catch em all’ tagline which made Gold & Silver players go back to the originals in order to complete their Pokedex.
If you didn’t have all 151 when you were at school, you’d straight up be out of the “cool kids” group. This was serious business!
6. Super Mario Land 2
That’s right, not Super Mario Land 1, but Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins. This was the platformer that brought more depth to the graphics.
We’re not talking about extra pixels, but a simple addition to depth of field and shading that made for more immersive gameplay.
This made Super Mario Land 2 a seriously enjoyable title to play, forever keeping you on your feet as you tried to explore every section of every level.
It introduced Luigi too, Mario’s best bud and brother who is still in the latest Nintendo games to this day!
It was released in 1992 by Nintendo, a very early game that kept other developers on their feet.
6 Golden Coins pleased Mario fans and those who wanted a challenge, and therefore it’s an all-rounder and one we simply had to feature in our best GameBoy games article.
It’s one that we just love playing on the Bittboy Pocket Go, in it’s small compact form!
7. GameBoy Camera
Not so much a game, but more of a must have accessory.
But it’s still going our list!
The Gameboy Camera allowed the 90’s kids to take selfies… Super pixelated selfies that made you look like Sméagol from Lord of the Rings, but selfies nonetheless!
You added it to your cartridge slot, and wallah; you could add filters, take pictures, save pictures, and turn your Gameboy into a fine portable snapping device that made kids get out the house.
Team this thing up with the Gameboy Printer, and you could quite literally print your selfies out on the go.
You’d have to remember to bring a crate full of AA’s though because that printer used to eat through them… fast.
This was the cool kids gadget, and one that not every child managed to get hold of, but you can bet yourself it was one game, every kid wanted.
8. Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong is one of the most nostalgic game characters of all time, and this next title in our list of the best GameBoy games is renowned for being a challenging arcade game.
It was released on the GameBoy in 1994 and allowed GameBoy fans to tackle the ever so challenging puzzle games in pocket form.
The player would take control of Mario (named on the original arcade game as ‘Jump Man’) who’s aim was to rescue Pauline from Mr Bad Donkey Kong. He’d throw barrels at you, making it hard to navigate up the level.
But once you did, you’d save the princess and become the hero, just the way Mario likes it.
You were greeted with different levels, different difficulties, and the ever so nostalgic theme tune!
A great game, and a great character that everyone loves to hate.
9. Kirby’s Dream Land
Kirby, the floating chubby ball of love that likes to suck its enemies into its abyss. Sounds scary, but this adorable thing was loved by millions.
Kirby’s Dream Land was released in 1992 by Nintendo and is an action platformer which was made for pick up and play gamers.
But that’s not all. The developers wanted it to be a game for the more hardcore platformers out there and allowed you to unlock new hard levels and lower Kirby’s HP.
Kirby can fly by inflating himself with a mouthful of air and flapping his arms.
Flying can be done indefinitely, but Kirby’s only method of attack while flying is to release the air puff held in his mouth which cancels his flight.
This is how you would navigate across the five levels, in order to complete the game. A cute, challenging platformer with a different touch to Mario’s titles and other examples of the best GameBoy games in its category.
10. Final Fantasy Adventure
We’ve all heard of Final Fantasy, a huge franchise that’s still going to this day. And one of the greatest titles in the series was on the Gameboy.
It was released in 1993 by developer Square and was aimed at those that wanted a different and more mature adventure game compared to the likes of Zelda and Pokemon.
The world is viewed from a top-down camera angle, and you can defeat monsters, explore the world and discover its incredible story while on the bus or in the park.
But what made Final Fantasy Adventure incredible was its choice of unique illustrations and the introduction to mana and stamina.
It’s a game for a mature audience who want a challenge and a new style of action games for the GameBoy – not for the faint-hearted!
Worth a pick up for sure but it might be hard to get hold of, so we recommend picking up a LDK Horizontal if you haven’t got a GameBoy handy!
11. Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3
Wario Land was one of the best games I ever played on the GameBoy. I’m a big fan of the purple-dungaree-wielding menace, and this game had an ace storyline that made it hard to put down.
Captain Syrup and the Brown Sugar Pirates have hidden lots of gold and treasure on Kitchen Island.
Wario is trying to get enough money to buy a castle of his own and even considers trading a gold statue of Princess Peach to get some cash. When Mario nabs this from his nemesis, Wario turns to a genie for help.
Depending on how much money you collect through the game by shoulder barging pirates and uncovering treasure, the genie can grant you anything from a log cabin to an entire planet!
There are different helmets that give you different abilities, and the game is filled with fun and humour from start to finish.
If you’re looking for an adventure that doesn’t have Mario as the starring role, then Wario Land will be right up your street.
12. Dr. Mario
If you’re a fan of Tetris and Number 15 on our list of the best GameBoy games, then you’ll love Dr. Mario.
Not only is this guy a plumber that has to stomp on enemies and save princesses, but he’s also a trained medical professional now.
Who would have thought it!
Mario’s still kicking bad-guys into touch, but this time he’s doing it with different coloured pills and destroying virus’s rather than Goombas.
I bet he could have tackled this Covid-19 business better than our world leaders!
Players must stack the correct coloured end of a capsule over the corresponding virus bacteria symbol. Stacks of four will then disappear, taking the virus with them.
Clear the screen, declare the level disease free, and move onto the next stage.
It’s fun, addictive, and an entry-level test for medical school in the Mushroom Kingdom.
13. Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge
Next up on our list of the best GameBoy games is an adventure/thriller action/RPG masterpiece!
If you’re new to the Castlevania franchise, then it’s full of ghouls, demons, and vampires.
In the first adventure on the GameBoy, Christopher Belmont takes down Dracula and rids the world of his evil ways.
Now Dracula’s back, and he’s come to kidnap Christopher’s son and rebuild his castle.
Some people just don’t know when to give up!
There are four levels that can be completed in any order, and Christopher can use sub weapons such as holy water as well as the trademark Belmont whip.
Belmont’s Revenge isn’t the longest game in the world, but it is a stellar title that’s worth including in your collection for its replay value.
14. Gargoyle’s Quest
From Vampires to Gargoyles, this next title in our list of the best GameBoy games is a spin-off of a classic title that can more than hold its own in the world of portable gaming.
Some of you might recognise Red Arremar as an enemy from the game Ghosts ‘n Goblins.
Not content with causing a ruckus in one game, he branched out and created his own series which has gone on to achieve critical acclaim the world over!
You must work together with allies in the Ghoul Realm and other nice folk on your way through the game, taking care to kick the asses of all of the pretenders and invaders who want to eradicate you and the Ghoul Realm forever.
Play swaps between top/down and face-on random encounters, a little like the Pokemon games.
Gargoyle’s Quest is an epic title that provides a challenge to gamers who want to sink their fangs into an exciting adventure.
We can’t get enough of it!
15. Mario & Yoshi
I spent so many hours playing on the last game in our list of the best GameBoy games that I could probably have become a Mario & Yoshi champion.
Like Dr Mario, this was a take on games like Tetris and Columns but using Nintendo characters.
Mario & Yoshi was made harder by the player having to use some Game & Watch style platform movement to twist different platforms around to get bad-guys in the right place.
You would earn points for closing enemies inside two halfs of yoshi’s shell. The bigger the stack, the more points you got.
Either way, this was one heck of an addictive game and a fun, alternative adventure for two of my favourite characters.