50 Best Gameboy Games Of All Time

gameboy

If you enjoy what you read and want to support an independent publication, you can join our Patreon to receive extra benefits and a physical welcome kit! View our premium benefits here. We may also earn a commission from affiliate links on this page too. Thank you.

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 solely a list of the original square cartridges that most of us still have hiding somewhere in the attic or basement. We have other lists for the GBC and GBA if you specifically want to dive into those

1. Pokemon Red & Blue (1998)

Pokemon Red Game Box

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!

pokemon red gameplay
image credit: nintendo

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.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
image credit: nintendo

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 titles for the Nintendo Gameboy.

image credit: nintendo

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.

3. Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (1992)

super mario land 2 game boy boxed

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.

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins game boy
image credit: nintendo

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 this list.

4.Tetris (1989)

tetris game boy cartridge

Tetris, 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.

tetris game boy gameplay
image credit: nintendo

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 Yellow (1998)

pokemon yellow game boy

Pokemon Yellow dropped when the world went crazy with Pokemon fever…

… or more specifically, Pikachu flu.

This special Pikachu edition is more based on the anime series and sees the player looking more like Ash rather then ‘Red’ or ‘Blue’.

What’s more, Team Rocket and Meowth feature, and players start with Pika as opposed to usual three starter Pokemon.

pokemon yellow game boy gameplay

Apart from that, the game is the same as Red and Blue. Beat gym leaders, collect 151 Pokemon, and challenge the Elite 4 for utimate glory.

Ok, so this version is undoubtedly cool, but it’s obviously not going to beat the best-selling Gameboy titles of all time and my personal favourite title of all time.

You don’t need to scroll ahead; we can all guess what it’s going to be!

6. Super Mario Land (1989)

super mario land game boy

Super Mario Land could well be one of the most pivotal games in my entire life. This was the very first game I ever owned alongside the original Grey DMG gameboy.

I think we can all agree that it’s one of the best Mario games of all time along with Number 3 in our list below. Racing to save Daisy while blasting past fire-breathing sphinxes and piloting a submarine.

Yeah, it certainly is one of Mazza’s finest outings.

super mario land game boy
image credit: nintendo

What a title to launch the Gameboy with. It sold well over 18 million copies, cementing itself as the 4th best-selling title for the console.

And let’s be honest, it instantly made Nintendo king of the handhelds, a title that they have held ever since.

Imagine what your gaming life would have been without Super Mario Land? No Wario Land, no Daisy, no 6 Golden Coins, no me sitting here writing for Retro Dodo…

… ok that last bit sounds pretty good right now… I seriously need a nap!

7. Metroid II: Return of Samus (1991)

metroid 2 game boy

Metroid II: Return of Samus is still one of the best carts that you can slot into your DMG or Gameboy Color.

It’s a little known fact (ok, it’s probably a big known fact, but my thing sounds cooler), that this game has its own Metroid Pallette, or rather the GBC does, at any rate.

Plugging this game into the GBC unlocks a whole host of funky-fresh colours for players to enjoy.

Cool, right?

metroid 2 game boy gameplay
image credit: nintendo

Return of Samus is one of the best DMG games on the system. The first portable Metroid game; what’s not to love?

Destroy Metroids, discover weapons, and blast everything in sight while running and jumping through a side-scrolling world. It’s filled with brain-teasers and nasty bosses and has everything a classic Metroid game should have.

Here’s another cool fact. This game is basically one ginormous level! It’s not lots of little stages with loading scenes; it’s a continues level that you can explore to your hearts content.

In terms of timeline, this game comes before the epic Super Metroid and needs to be in your DMG collection!

8. Donkey Kong (1994)

donkey kong game boy

Donkey Kong is one of the most nostalgic game characters of all time, and this next title is renowned for being a challenging arcade game.

It was released on the GameBoy in 1994 and allowed fans to tackle the ever-so-challenging puzzler in pocket form.

donkey kong game boy gameplay
image credit: nintendo

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. Turok: Battle Of The Bionosaurs (1998)

turok battle of the bionosaur

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.

Turok: Battle Of The Bionosaurs gameplay
image credit: acclaim

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!

10. Kirby’s Dream Land (1992)

Kirby's Dream Land game box
image credit: nintendo

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's Dream Land game boy gameplay
image credit: nintendo

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.

11. Killer Instinct (1995)

killer instinct game boy

Killer Instinct is up next in our list, a true retro 2D figher that packed a serious punch.

I know in a world where Mortal Kombat fatalities and Tekken beatdowns rule supreme that this game might look super dated. Still, characters like Sabrewulf and Fulgore were some of the first fighters I ever battled with, and they were the best back when I was a kid.

Before the pixelated fighters took to the field, players glimpsed a full image of their chosen fighter to hold in their minds. That’s all I needed to get behind my character and kick everyones ass from start to finish.

killer instinct game boy gameplay
image credit: nintendo

Having this game on the Gameboy meant I didn’t have to lose all my money on the arcade version, meaning I could eat sweets while knocking the sh… I mean, battling Glacius,

Killer Instinct soon gave way to Killer Instinct Gold, one of the best N64 games games. Seeing all the old favourites in colour from the handheld button-mashing-battlefest was amazing.

I still take T.J Combo and Fulgore for a few rounds on the streets from time to time; it’s one of those games that will never leave me.

The best ones never do.

12. Gameboy Camera (1998)

Gameboy Camera
image credit: wikipedia

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.

gameboy camera gameplay
image credit: nintendo

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.

13. Final Fantasy Adventure (1991)

Final Fantasy Adventure Game Box
image credit: sunsoft

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; Final Fantasy Adventure.

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.

Final Fantasy Adventure game boy
image credit: sunsoft

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!

14. Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 (1994)

Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3
image credit: nintendo

Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 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.

Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 gameplay
image credit: nintendo

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.

15. Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge (1991)

Castlevania II Belmont's Revenge
image credit: nintendo

Next up on our list is an adventure/thriller action/RPG masterpiece; Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge!

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.

Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge gameplay
image credit: nintendo

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.

16. Mario & Yoshi (1991)

Mario & Yoshi game box

I spent so many hours playing this game 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.

Mario & Yoshi gameplay

You would earn points for closing enemies inside two halfs of yoshi’s shell. The bigger the stack, the more points you got.

I think a top shell on its own destroyed your pile, but it’s so long since I played this game that I could be wrong.

Either way, this was one heck of an addictive game and a fun, alternative adventure for two of my favourite characters.

17. Gargoyle’s Quest (1990)

Gargoyle's Revenge game box
image credit: nintendo

From Vampires to Gargoyles, this next title is Gargoyle’s Quest 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!

Gargoyle's Quest gameplay
image credit: nintendo

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!

18. Harvest Moon GB (1998)

Harvest Moon game box
image credit: nintendo

Harvest Moon is the greatest farming simulation series of all time…

… yep, I stand by that statement.

Many of you might have played Harvest Moon GBC, a remake of this original version for the DMG. The main difference is that the GBC version is in colour… but I’m gonna go ahead and guess that you already knew that.

Moving on… it follows the SNES game as the second game in the Story of Seasons canon and lets gamers experience life on a farm. We’re talking harvesting crops, picking pets, rearing livestock, and walking around with corn in your mouth.

Harvest Moon GB gameplay
image credit: nintendo

Gamers upgrade tools as they progress, sort of like a farming RPG adventure. The aim of the game is to keep the farm, the pets, the crops, and your dead grandaddy happy.

Hang on… come again?

Yep, the ghost of your Grandpa checks back in every winter to make sure you haven’t wrecked his farm. If he’s happy, then you get rewarded for your labour by being kept on for another year. If he thinks you’ve been slacking, then it’s back to the job centre for you!

Like Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon has a season mechanic and an in-game clock, meaning certain actions have to happen at a certain time. It’s a great title for fans of the Sims or other life-simulation titles.

19. DuckTales (1990)

DuckTales game box
iamge credit: capcom

DuckTales was hardly off the family TV set back in the day. Not only was it epic to watch, but it remains epic to play.

Listen, Donald might be the most well-known-duck, but this isn’t no angry quacking adventure. This is Scrooge McDuck at his finest, diving into a pool of gold coins and pogoing about on his walking stick!

How many ducks do you know that would go to the ends of the earth and even outer space just to add more treasure to their massive horde? Donald’s Uncle Scrooge is the only one ballsy enough for that!

DuckTales gameplay
image credit: capcom

So what’s this game all about? Well, Players take Signor Moneybags (Scrooge) through a series of levels collecting gold and treasure. Hop around on the moon, sneak through creepy Transylvania, and become an intrepid explorer in the Amazon.

And the real hero of the show – Scrooges Cane! It’s far from an ordinary walking stick; Scrooge uses it as a weapon to beat back foes and for crossing great distances via a pogo-style jump.

And instead of picking up hearts along the way, Scrooge McDuck gets his health from delicious ice creams. Dude is decadent, after all!

This is also one of the best NES games of all time too and sold over 1,000,000 copies. What a winner!

20. Wario Land II (1998)

warioland 2 game boy

Not content with appearing as the lead in Super Mario Land 3, Wario is back with Wario Land II!

I’m a huge gan of the Wario game series; I’m gonna go ahead and say that I like them more than Mario’s games. They’re grittier and more fun, plus Wario does stuff that Mazza couldn’t get away with.

Collecting treasure is the aim of the game (Wario should probably start hanging out with Scrooge McDuck), but puzzles and tricky blockades make things a lot harder for our bulbous-nosed anti-hero.

wario land ii gameplay
image credit: nintendo

Wario can’t die, which is pretty handy. He loses coins when attacked by an enemy, which is probably worse than dying for this treasure-loving sneak-thief.

There are multiple hidden doors and exits to find, as well as puzzles to overcome in order to get through blocked paths or to treasure rooms. It’s one of those games where going backwards is sometimes better than just ploughing forwards.

Like Kirby, Wario has the power to take traits from enemies and use them to his advantage. He’s one of the most interesting characters Nintendo produced, in my opinion, and this game is a joy to play through.

21. Donkey Kong Land 2 (1996)

Donkey Kong Land 2 game box
image credit: nintendo

Donkey Kong 2 sees Diddy and Dixie Kong taking the reigns from Donkey in their first portable adventure.

Not content with just stealing Donkey’s banana hoard, King K.Rool has stolen Donkey Kong too! That croc’s got a nerve…

This game even came in a banana yellow cartridge for those extra simian feels. It’s a great follow on title from the first Donkey Kong Land game and well worth a look if you’re a fan of the series.

donkey kong land 2 gameplay
image credit: nintendo

Donkey Kong Land 2 borrows heavily from Diddy’s Kong Quest on the SNES, but all the levels are different.

It does have the same storyline, however… so, it’s effectively the same game with different worlds.

Whether you think that’s a bit of a cop out or not is up to you, but this is a cracking game to play through and one of the best adventures on the console.

Diddy and Dixie are great heroes in their own right, and while it is similar to the SNES adventure, Rare certainly worked their magic with this one.

23. R-Type (1991)

R-Type DMG Game Case
image credit: nintendo

If you enjoyed R-Type DX for the GBC and want to see the same action in black and white for those super retro vibes, then the original Gameboy DMG game should definitely be in your list.

R-Type is often cited as one of the greatest games of all time, and it certainly has a geekylicious storyline that fans of Star Gate and Star Trek will be all over like a symbiote at a packed birthday party.

r-type game boy gameplay
image credit: nintendo

R-Type is space-age shooting at its best. Players take control of the epic R-9 Arrowhead in this side-scrolling adventure, shooting down alien crafts and sending enemies into the ether as asteroid dust.

The bosses in this game are IMMENSE. I wrote that in capitals just to prove how big they actually are. Gamers pick up stronger weapons as they move through the different levels, harnessing something called ‘The Force’ which isn’t anything to do with Midichlorians.

Every time I talk about this game, I can’t resist mentioning that ‘The Force’ was based on Dung Beetles moving stuff way heavier than themselves.

It’s essentially a super weapon that helps with the big brute bosses and a much-needed helping hand.

23. Batman: The Video Game (1990)

batman: The Video Game game box cover art
image credit: nintendo

Batman: The Video Game is a portable remake of the NES game starring the best caped crusader on the streets.

We’re not still pretending Superman is better, are we?

This is another of my favourite side-scrolling adventures and features one of the best villains in the world too – The Joker.

That dude’s scary whether he’s black and white or purple suited!

batman gameboy gameplay
image credit: nintendo

Ever played Ninja Gaiden? Well, Bruce Wayne’s moves are very reminiscent of that title. It’s also a little like an early Prince of Persia title too, which makes me think that Wayne Manor might have a time-travelling machine in it somewhere…

Fans of the Batman show and the countless films will love using iconic weapons like the Batarang and Batman’s speargun, used for hotfooting it out of danger and getting to higher parts of a level.

While the NES version has cooler cutscenes, the Gameboy title is the perfect companion for long journeys and getting that comic-book kick in the office. DC fans need this in their life immediately

24. Mario’s Picross (1995)

mario picross japan game boy

Speaking of Mazza, Mario’s Picross takes this spot.

Our moustachioed hero uses a hammer and chisel to create different shapes by solving puzzles. It’s like a cross between Sudoku and Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training; it’s not the easiest game to sit back and relax with, but it’s a bit of a cult classic these days.

Mario's Picross gameplay
image credit: nintendo

‘Cult Classic’ is code for a game that flopped in the Western World that people now love again. I was always a fan of the puzzle titles as I’m a nerd, but not everyone felt the same way back in the day.

There are 256 puzzles in total to work through, giving value for money if you fancy giving this game a try.

It’s certainly a good one for keeping those little grey cells ticking over and provides maximum sense of achievement once the picture is revealed!

25. Mole Mania (1996)

Mole Mania Game Box
image credit: nintendo

Mole Mania, one of Shigeru Miyamoto’s hidden gems. Imagine if this dude became Ninty’s mascot and not Mazzo or Link!

This game is one for puzzle lovers. It’s a screen clearing game that sees players taking Muddy the Mole on a mission to rescue his wife and children from that evil-looking farmer in the picture above.

Never trust a person with eyebrows that bushy!

mole mania gameplay
image credit: nintendo

The main aim of each level is to move a black ball from one end of a level to another. Muddy can dig in certain locations to find items and other passages, but the ball has to be moved overground.

Enemies are sent by the farmer try to stop Muddy, and there are bosses to battle along the way too… including two plumbers…

Yeah, there’s a lot of speculation as to whether the farmer is related to Mario or whether this is a Mushroom Kingdom adventure. If it is, then it looks like Mario hated Donkey Kong and moles back in the early days.

We’re glad he’s mellowed now, though he still has a bit of beef with Monty… let it go man, let it go…

26. Golf (1989)

Golf game box cover
image credit: nintendo

Golf is the ultimate game to play while sitting on the loo. It’s the truth, and it’s probably why I was late for school so much as a kid.

There’s not much to say about Golf apart from that it’s a golf game that fist appeared on the NES. There was a little confusion as to who the main character was on the cover back in the NES days, though Nintendo appeared to have sorted it out by the looks of the Gameboy cover above…

It’s Luigi… obviously…

Kidding, we all know it’s Mazza.

golf gameboy gameplay
image credit: nintendo

While Golf saw releases on many consoles since the Gameboy, the green-tinged portable version is my favourite by far. With single and two player modes and simple gameplay, it’s a pick-up-and-play title that you don’t have to think too much about.

A little like real golf…

… I’ve just made a lot of enemies there, haven’t I?

Work through 18 courses and get the best score possible, jumping for joy along the way!

27. Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters (1991)

kid icarus of myths and monsters
image credit: nintendo

Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters is up next. Players take Pit… you know… the guy from Super Smash Bros, on an adventure through Angel Land.

Find treasure, fire arrows at evil, and save the day.

Job done.

kid icarus of myths and monsters gameplay
image credit: nintendo

The DMG has some absolute blinding side-scrolling adventures, but this mythical platformer deservedly sits amongst the best Gameboy titles of all time.

The moment where you learn to fly still feels epic 31 years later…

… and I’ve just realised this game came out when I was 1… man I feel old now.

28. Kid Dracula (1993)

kid dracula game boy
image credit: konami

Kid Dracula is actually a spin-off from the epic Castlevania series. Some people think of it as a bit of a proving ground for the main series, with certain characters that Kid Drac goes up against actually featuring in the later Belmont-starring games.

Konami nailed it when they made Kid Dracula. It’s funny as well as being a seriously good platform game. There’s no gradual upgrading of weapons that you eventually lose when a bat bites your arse.

It’s simple, good old fashioned, comical gaming that doesn’t take a degree to work out how to play.

kid dracula game boy gameplay
image credit: konami

Let’s talk plotline.

Kid Dracula must put an end to Galamoth once and for all. But don’t worry; he’s not on his own.

His companion through his many trials and tribulations is Death himself. And as well as defeating bad guys, he needs to coax his minions back to the fold.

A bit of an ‘out of the frying pan, into the fire’ situation eh?

This is another rare Gameboy game, with boxed copies shipping for $700!

29. Double Dragon (1990)

double dragon game boy
image credit: nintendo

Hold the thrill of the arcade in your hands with Double Dragon!

If you’re one of the guys or girls in the know, then you’ll agree that Double Dragon is a sort of spiritual successor to Renegade.

This beat-em-up title certainly paved the way for Streets of Rage and many other ass-kicking titles across multiple platforms.

Double Dragon gameplay
image credit: nintendo

As you can tell from the cover, players can chose from one of two fighters as they lay the smackdown on a bunch of cronies.

The mission; what is it always in these games? Save a girlfriend from the clutches of an evil gang.

Run past whips, dodge one-hit-kill shots, and sink your fist into as many bad guys as possible through the side-scrolling levels.

Like Navy Seals, this is a game that doesn’t take much thinking about, a brain numbing classic that you can switch off with and just enjoy.

30. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Back from the Sewers (1991)

teenage mutant ninja turtles back from the sewers game boy
image credit: konami

Everyone’s favourite heroes in a half-shell are back from the sewers, and this time its personal.

Well, this time it’s pretty much the same as the last time as the storyline is very similar to the first game…

Still, I guess if something isn’t broke, don’t try to fix it!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Back from the Sewers gameplay
image credit: konami

Try to stop Krang and Shredder from conquering the Earth. Rescue April and do it all while looking cool and eating Pizza.

Play through six exciting levels and some cool bonus mini-games, all the while listening to music from the original show.

And here’s a fact for you to show off with at parties – this is one of the first DMG games to boast digitised speech. How cool is that!

31. Bionic Commando (1992)

bionic commando game boy
image credit: capcom

Bionic Commando players take control of a dude called (get ready for this)… Rad Spencer!

What a name! Not only does he sound like an absolute boss, but he also has a bionic weaponised arm!

Bionic Commando gameplay
image credit: capcom

So what’s Rad’s main objective here?

He’s on a mission to discover the whereabouts of Super Joe, a renowned super soldier.

I mean, if this Joe is better than a dude with a bionic arm, then he must be good!

You might be thinking, ‘this all sounds a little familiar’.

Well, the NES game and the Gameboy title are virtually the same. Collect bullets and weapons, knock back robo-enemies, and show Super Joe that the Bionic Commando is every bit as good as him, if not better!

32. Balloon Kid (1990)

balloon kid gameboy
image credit: nintendo

Balloon Kid is kind of the original Flappy Bird, although it’s nowhere near as painfully annoying.

This is a side-scrolling game where players have to keep moving with the scrolling screen. Using baloons, players must hover through levels.

Control that height, we don’t want another Icarus on our hands!

balloon kid game boy
image credit: nintendo

The main premise isn’t exactly scary – your brother has floated away and you have to save him. Still, the game itself is super addictive, especially when going up against a mate.

That’s right; using a Link Cable, players can take part in a multiplayer battle mode that sees opponents trying to force each other into hazards.

You could say it’s ‘bursting’ with enjoyment… no… that was bad, wasn’t it.

33. James Bond 007 (1998)

James Bond 007
image credit: nintendo

James Bond 007 might not be as famous or exciting as GoldenEye on the N64, but it’s a sweet little DMG game that you should definitely add to your collection.

Also, how many of you are humming the Bond theme tune in your head now?

Take a trip with James to Asia as you try to break down an illegal weapons ring. If anyone can stop smugglers, it’s Bond.

James Bond 007 gameplay
image credit: nintendo

Fans of the books and fllms will be pleased to know that all the gadgets and guns James uses make an appearance.

We’re talking his famous pistol, the laser watch, and more machine guns than you can throw a stick at.

Gamble to up your fortune and head up against recognisable evil faces as you move through the game. Everyone’s out to get you, and they won’t be so bothered whether you only live once or twice.

34. Avenging Spirit (1992)

image credit: nintendo

Up next is Avenging Spirit, one of the rarest Gameboy titles on the planet today, and one of the best, in fact.

This game is a bit of a strange one. For some reason, this ‘posses-em-up- title had two different covers for different regions.

The European and Japanese cover features this cute ghost, where as the NTSC cover boasted a gangster brandishing a Tommy Gun… which would have probably made it sell a lot better. Plus it was called Phantasm in Japan… so no one really knows what’s happening!

avenging spirit game boy
image credit: nintendo

So, what’s the deal in this game story wise then??

Well, players play as a ghost that possesses other characters. You have to avenge your death and stop your girlfriend from dying.

We love a good revenge story here at Dodo Towers.

This European cover is actually the rarest version of the game. Prices can cost up to $1,400 for a mint copy, so make sure you save up those pennies!

35. Navy Seals (1990)

navy seals game boy game
image credit: ocean

I can remember playing Navy Seals non-stop on a holiday in Blackpool once (that’s a dodgy seaside town for anyone that lives outside the UK).

Tucked safely into my padded GameBoy case, one of the best GameBoy accessories in our list, I packed it into my suitcase and gamed like my life depended on it.

Controlling Navy Seals and destroying missiles guarded by fearsome terrorists; definitely a game a kid should be playing right?

navy seals game boy gameplay
image credit: ocean

Navy Seals is actually a licensed game version of the film. The side-scrolling levels look pretty simple by todays standards, but the gameplay is still classic and proves a nice challenge.

Just like in games like GoldenEye, picking up new weapons with increased firepower was always super exciting, even if the bullets do look like little nuts flying across the screen.

36. Kirby’s Pinball Land (1993)

Kirby's Pinball Land gameboy
image credit: nintendo

Kirby’s Pinball Land is one of those games that was always in my Gameboy. It’s very simple, but it’s one of the greatest games in my collection and I genuinely still play it today!

Kirby is the best choice for a pinball too. Not only is he round, but he’s incredibly sturdy. I mean, anyone that can eat a car can definitely be bounced around a screen for a little bit.

To say that this was Nintendo’s second-ever pinball game, they did a blooming good job with it. The first was titled Pinball, but it didn’t have that same Dreamy feel that Kirby’s adventure did.

Because it’s set in dreamland… get it?

Kirby's Pinball Land gameplay
image credit: nintendo

Taking on themed pinball tables and beating baddies from Kirby’s world are two things that just work together like peanut butter and jelly. Defeat Poppy Bros. Sr, Kracko, and the pesky Whispy Woods.

Look, if you din’t like pinball, then this game probably won’t be for you. There’s no storyline or hard gameplay to get your head around; it’s unapologetically an addictive pinball title, and we can’t get enough of it!

37. Dr Mario (1990)

dr mario game boy game

If we’d have had Mazza on the job during recent pandemic we’re all trying to forget about, then maybe things would have got back to normal a lot quicker!

Connecting different coloured tablets, killing viruses and clearing skills, it’s what the Gameboy was made for.

Well, and all the other titles in this list!

dr mario game boy game
image credit: nintendo

Anyone who has ever player Tetris, Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, or Bubble Bobble needs to have a go at this game.

We’re talking the only way to pass the time on the bus, the train, or the toilet.

As I’ve said previously, players connect pharmaceutical pills together and trap pesky viruses in-between. In Mario & Yoshi-style gameplay, the viruses disappear once the tablets connect. Get rid of all the viruses to progress.

It’s basically Columns with a chemist twist; what’s not to love?

38. Final Fantasy Legend III (1991)

Final Fantasy Legend 3 game boy
image credit: sunsoft

Any game with a time travelling flood in it is definitely worth a mention, right?

Yes, this game deals with a flood that wipes out inhabited areas not just in the present day, but in the past and the future too.

That’s some powerful water… I wonder what the council rates are for that?

Your mission is to travel through time and collect ship parts. Rebuild a mighty ship and defeat the enemy that let the flood cause havoc through time!

We love a good time travel story here at Retro Dodo because there are usually lots of things to think about at the same time.

Final Fantasy Legend III gameplay
image credit: sunsoft

For example, whatever you do in one timeframe will have a direct effect on the other two.

And, as this is an RPG, albeit a simple one, there are multiple choices for upgrading or even mutating your characters.

Yes, players can even take mutants on an adventure, moulding items to them to make them almost biomechanics.

Learn magic, save the world, and get your feet wet at the same time. Game on!

The inclusion of a time travel storyline means that whatever you do in one time frame can have an affect on what happens in another time.

Other major changes compared to the original 2 in the series are the ability to mutate your characters further and a change to the upgrade system. Items picked up after battle can be attached to your mutants or humans to turn them into monsters or robots, increasing your parties power and abilities.

And although the original system of obtaining experience points after every battle has been removed, its replacement allows you to choose which magic stone each character can use, so they learn that specific magic type and never lose it.

39. Ninja Gaiden Shadow (1991)

Ninja Gaiden Shadow gameboy
image credit: tecmo

Ninja Gaiden Shadow is up next, serving as a prequel to the 1992 Ninja Gaiden, one of the best Turbografx-16 games of all time.

The main premise – we see Ryu Hayabusa’s father slain in battle, and a quest the Ryu embarks on to find the man who killed him.

Oh yes; it’s a Ninja revenge title, just the kind we like!

Ninja Gaiden Shadow gameboy gameplay
image credit: tecmo

As you’d expect from an early Gameboy title, this is a side-scrolling game with very limited controls. It’s basically run, attack, and jump, but that doesn’t mean that the gameplay is boring or lacklustre.

There’s plenty of powerups to give Ryu the edge over his opponents too; we’re talking throwing stars and fireballs!

From the streets of America to the depths of the jungle. Ninja Gaiden Shadow is an epic title filled with cut-scenes that drive the story along. This is one game that you’ll definitely find hard to put down!

40. Tetris 2 (1993)

Tetris 2 game boy
image credit: nintendo

I’m a huge Tetris fan, and while the concept of the sequel to the popular classic isn’t much different to the original, it has a few cool new features for fans to nerd out over.

If anything, Tetris 2 has a bit of a Dr Mario feel about it. Each level screen has garbage dots that you need to get rid of.

Tetris 2 gameboy gameplay
image credit: nintendo

Clear the dots, and move to the next level. It’s essentially asking an extra level of difficulty to the classic formula.

Solid black pieces need to connect with solid black dots, and the same goes for white or lined pieces too.

If players manage to get rid of a flashing dot, then all the corresponding dots will vanish too!

41. Space Invaders (1990)

Space Invaders gameboy
image credit: nintendo

Space Invaders really doesn’t need an introduction. Apart from Tetris, it could well be the most famous game of all time!

It’s also one of the most influential titles of our lives too, helping to pave the way for many of the games we cover here at Retro Dodo!

The 1990 version is a Gameboy remake of the original arcade classic, and it plays so well too. I used to whack this out on car journeys as a kid and rack up a massive high score. Those were the days?

Space Invaders game boy
image credit: nintendo

Can you imagine turning this game on for the very first time back in 1978. It would be like looking at Ghost of Tsushima on the PS5 today!

The game itself has since made over $13-billion too. I mean, if that doesn’t qualify for its inclusion on this list, then I don’t know what will.

Shoot aliens, hide behind barracks, and try not to die. It’s timeless, and it will never get old.

42. Contra: The Alien Wars (1994)

Contra The Alien Wars
image credit: konami

Contra: The Alien Wars, bringing all the thrills and spills of Contra to Ninty’s famous handheld.

Connoisseurs amongst you will know that this is the third game in the Contra series. You usually know what you’re getting with a side-scroller, but nothing prepares you for going into battle with two guns blazing and driving tanks into the opposition.

Contra The Alien Wars gameplay
image credit: konami

One of the things I love the most about Contra on the Gameboy is the swish motorbike chases.

Switching to top-down instead of side-scrolling for just two levels, it provides a little light relief from the all-out kill fest and requires players to complete missions.

I guess you could say that The Alien Wars is just the gift that keeps on giving!

43. Kirby’s Dream Land 2 (1995)

Kirby's Dream Land 2

The cover for Kirby’s Dream Land 2 alone makes it one of the most adorable designs for a box art in existence. I mean, have you ever seen a happier scene?

Has this also made you want to ride around on a hamster too, or is that just me?

Kirby’s Dream Land was an immediate success, yet while we loved the second title, it just didn’t hit home with the same oomph as the first.

Kirby's Dream Land 2 gameplay
image credit: nintendo

Kirby must find the Rainbow Sword and confront King Dedede, who is acting a little weirder than usual as of late?

Why is that? Well, he’s being controller by Dark Matter, and if Kirby doesn’t save the Rainbow Bridges, then the Dream World will become a Dark World forever!

All of the guys on the cover are available to team up with. Meet Kine the Fish, Coo the Owl, and a Hamster named Rick as you work through each of the levels , swallowing enemies and using the powers of your friends to save the day!

The evil Dark Matter has him under his control and plans to turn Dream Land into a dark world. Kirby’s goal is get the fabled rainbow sword and defeat him!

44. Final Fantasy Adventure (1991)

Final Fantasy Adventure
image credit: sunsoft

Final Fantasy Adventure is the first in the FF Adventure series for the gameboy. It’s a pretty short RPG but one that we still love heading back to from time to time.

Mainly because we can’t get enough of anything to do with Final Fantasy, and this one also feels a lot like the early Legend of Zelda titles.

So it’s basically the ultimate game by our standards!

Final Fantasy Adventure gameplay
iamge credit: sunsoft

Armed with a sword and shield, you must protect the Mana tree from falling foul of an evil villain.

Did I just say ‘Mana’? I did, and that isn’t a sign of me getting older and forgetting what I’ve just said; I’m trying to make a point!

This game led to the creation of the ever-popular Mana series, which we at Retro Dodo are incredibly thankful for.

Solve puzzles, slay monsters, and roam through an exciting land laying waste to your enemies – what’s not to love!

45. Wario Blast Featuring Bomberman (1994)

Wario Blast Featuring Bomberman
image credit: nintendo

How many of you like Bomberman? And how many of you like Wario?

Ok, I think that’s still all of you right? So let’s continue!

There are two modes in this Wario/Bomberman crossover – the standard Bomberman-style multiplayer mode, and a single-player mode.

Wario Blast Featuring Bomberman gameplay
image credit: nintendo

Use bombs, clear routes, find power-ups. We all know the drill by now.

In the single player mode, it’s Wazza vs different Bombermans. To be honest I wouldn’t be surprised if Wario ate a bomb and diffused it in his stomach – the guy’s a machine.

The multiplayer mode is essentially the same as every other Bomberman battle mode – defeat your opponent using bombs and the last player standing wins!

Is this one of the weirdest collaboration on the Gameboy? Yes, yes it is. But we love it all the more for it!

46. Game & Watch Gallery (1997)

game and watch gallery game boy

You really can’t go wrong with the Game & Watch Gallery. I mean how much time have you spent just ferrying Mario and Luigi back and forth saving Toads and Yoshi’s from that burning building?

It’s so addictive it should come with a warning!

The great thing about this collection is that it comes with both a modern and classic version of each of the four games.

Game & Watch Gallery gameplay
image credit: nintendo

But what are those games, I can hear you cry?

Well, we already know about Fire. There’s also Manhole, a game where you have to stop people from falling down into the sewers, and Octopus, a title where you collect treasure and avoid pesky tentacles.

And then there’s Oil Panic, the game where Mario has to avoid oil thrown by Bowser. It’s not as brutal as it sounds, don’t worry!

These games are simple to grasp and so so hard to put down!

47. Parodius (1992)

Parodius
image credit: nintendo

Ok ok , I know that this is a parody of the game Gradius, but here me out. It’s funny, it’s well made, and it’s one of my favourite games for the Gameboy.

The concept is simple – it’s a scrolling shooter that moves sideways like most other shooting games from the time.

There are only seven stages, but seeing a little penguin taking on massive bosses is definitely worth the cost price alone!

48. Heiankyo Alien (1990)

Heiankyo Alien
image credit: meldac

How many of you have heard of Heiankyo Alien?

As the title suggests, there’s a tonne of aliens in this game, and they’ve invaded the city of Kyo and made what we like to call in the business ‘a right mess’.

Work through mazes and levels trapping aliens as you go. It’s basically a case of digging a hole, waiting for an alien to fall in, and covering the hole again.

Definitely no kind of time pressure there at all then, right?

Heiankyo Alien gameplay
image credit: meldac

For fans of the original title, the Gameboy cart has both the very first version of the game the featured in arcades and a new updated version.

That’s two for the price of one – not bad, right?

There’s also a mode where players can use the link cable to play together. You know what they say; two shovels are better than one!

49. Super RC Pro Am (1991)

super rc pro am game boy

A radio controlled car racing game; it’s everything young Seb could ever have dreamed of.

At a base level, this game feels like a Micro Machines title, with players avoiding obstacles like oil on the courses as they power round each of the tracks.

super rc pro am game boy gameplay
image credit: nintendo

The main aim – get over the finish line first and beat the other three players. It’s a tried and tested method, right?

The twist is that players need to get all of the letters of the word ‘Nintendo’ while playing through the game. It’s the only way to get better cars and eventually become the best RC in town.

Add weapons into the mix too, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a showdown!!

50. DAEDEUS

deadeus game boy

This one may be a new one for all of your retro gamers out there because this Game Boy game was actually released in 2022.

That’s right, it’s a modern Game Boy game developed by Incube8Games called Deadeus and it’s a horror adventure game that I have put a lot of hours into.

The game revolves around a small boy who has a pretty gnarly nightmare about a mutant telling him that everyone will die in 3 days, and that it’s his calling to investigate the village to find out how he can save them.

deadeus gameplay
image credit: incube8games

Combining mystery, horror, adventure and detective work you venture through an incredible array of levels, stages and characters to find out just how to fix this issue.

What’s great about this game is that it doesn’t have just one ending, but 11 possible endings with no direct path, meaning your friends will likely have a different story to tell compared to yours.

And this adds to the playability of the game, because you’ll simply want to find out what other potential endings there are to put the puzzle together.

I am a big fan, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Read Our Latest Posts