Entertainment writer. Loves games, movies, and comics. Also loves talking in the third person
Before the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Switch, the handheld consoles that ruled the ‘90s were the Game Boy and the Game Boy Color. With their simple designs and their ability to easily fit in your pocket, the Game Boy and Game Boy Color were easy picks when choosing a handheld console.
Apart from these features, what made the consoles even more special was their game catalogs. Iconic games such as Super Mario Land and Pokemon Red and Blue made their debut on the Game Boy, and those weren’t the only ones.
The Game Boy and Game Boy Color had an unlimited amount of fantastic games. Here are the best Game Boy Color games and Game Boy games ranked by sales.
Mario’s long-standing counterpart, Wario, would headline his own game on the Game Boy. Released in 1994, Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, sees Wario trying to gain money to buy his castle; he does this by stealing from pirates. Similar to the gameplay of previous Mario Land games, Wario Land puts more emphasis on collecting coins.
Although Wario Land didn’t sell as well as its predecessors, their sales numbers are nothing to scoff at. The game managed to sell 5.1 million copies worldwide.
This wouldn’t be the last time Wario starred in his own game; he would go on to star in the WarioWare franchise. The latest game in the series, WarioWare: Get It Together, is set for release in September 2021.
Pokemon was (and still is) an unstoppable force. Every game they release seems to be destined to sell well. So, it’s no surprise that it has more than one entry in this list, including this game, Pokemon Pinball.
Released in 1999, the game is relatively self-explanatory; it’s a Pokemon-themed pinball game featuring iconic Pokemon.
The game would go on to sell an impressive 5.3 million copies, making it one of the best Game Boy Color games in terms of sales. Its popularity would lead to a sequel getting made in 2003.
Pokemon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire, was released for the Game Boy Advance and would add more features than seen in the previous game.
People love a good pinball game, but they also love a good puzzle game, especially one that stars Dr. Mario. This game sees the titular character trying to get rid of viruses, you do this by matching color pills with one another.
If the pills reach the top, you lose. How Mario can juggle being a plumber, a doctor, and a hero of the Mushroom Kingdom is unexplainable, but he does it well.
This fun game made its debut in 1990, and would sell exceptionally well; 5.3 million copies of Dr. Mario were sold worldwide. Modern versions of Dr. Mario are being played, with Dr. Mario World being available to play on mobile phones.
Although the game is different than the Game Boy version, the concept is still the same: get rid of the viruses.
Pokemon Crystal was released in 2001 in Japan and is an updated version of Pokemon Gold and Silver. In a first for the series, players were able to choose whether their character was a male or female.
The game also introduced Eusine, a character that would make appearances in the Pokemon anime.
Although Pokemon Crystal debuted just a year after Pokemon Gold and Silver, that didn’t hurt its sales in the slightest. The game would sell an astounding 6.3 million copies.
If you’re looking to play it on a modern console, you’re in luck. The game is available to buy and play on the Nintendo 3DS.
Before Wario was trying to steal coins to buy his castle, he tried to take over Mario’s land and tried to steal his castle. For Mario to confront Wario and take back his castle, he must collect 6 coins.
Released in 1992, this sequel to Super Mario Land managed to retain elements from the first game, but still added new features to make the game fun and refreshing.
Mario fans loved this game, and it’s clear by its sales numbers, Super Mario Land 2 sold 11.1 million copies. But it isn’t just the amount of copies sold or its gameplay that makes it one of the best Game Boy games of all time.
It’s the fact that it introduces Wario, a character that would become a staple in the Mario franchise.
Just like Pokemon Crystal was an updated version of previous Pokemon titles, Pokemon Yellow is the same thing. It’s an updated version of the popular games, Pokemon Red and Blue.
Pokemon Yellow is based on the Pokemon anime and features characters from the show. Just like the anime, Pikachu plays a big part in the game and has a strong relationship with the main character.
With how popular the games and the anime were (and still are), it’s not a shock that Pokemon Yellow was flying off the shelves. The game sold 14.6 million copies worldwide.
Just recently, a remake was released titled, Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee!, and it allowed players to connect their Pokemon Go accounts to their game.
Released in 1989, Super Mario Land featured Mario going on an adventure on the Game Boy.
Instead of saving Princess Peach like he usually does, this time Mario has to save Princess Daisy. And instead of fighting the famous villain of the series, Bowser, Mario has to fight the alien Tatanga. Although the story was a departure from the series, it was still just as fun.
The game’s story derived from previous installments in the Mario franchise, but that did nothing to hurt its sales. Super Mario Land sold 18 million copies.
The success of this game would launch two sequels, both of which have made it on this list. Because of how fun it is and the legacy it created, Super Mario Land deserves to be called one of the best Game Boy games ever.
A year before Pokemon Crystal debuted, Pokemon Gold and Silver were making waves worldwide. They’re also the sequels to the franchise’s first pair of games, Pokemon Red and Blue.
Instead of taking place in the first game’s Kanto region, Pokemon Gold and Silver take place in Johto and feature new Pokemon. However, the player can visit Kanto and collect the Pokemon from that region.
Like the first installments in the franchise, Pokemon Gold and Silver would be a financial success; 23 million copies were sold. The legacy of this game can’t be understated with it receiving an enhanced version, the aforementioned Pokemon Crystal.
Apart from that, remakes of Pokemon Gold and Silver were also released titled, Pokemon HeartGold Version and Pokemon SoulSilver Edition.
The games that started the entire franchise, Pokemon Red and Blue (or Pokemon Red and Green in Japan) were first released in Japan on the Game Boy in 1996.
It allowed players to jump into the Kanto region and try to collect all the Pokemon the game had to offer. Along the way, they could challenge Gym Leaders and work their way up to being the very best.
Pokemon Red and Blue would take the world by storm and sell 31 million copies, and it would be the first step into becoming the gigantic franchise it is today. Movies, anime, trading cards, and worldwide recognition for Pokemon all started with these two games on the Game Boy.
Although they're not the most sold games on the console, they are pretty close, and it’s not hard to argue that these are the best Game Boy games the console had to offer.
Tetris seems as though it’s been around forever, but it first debuted in 1984. The game is a classic and has stood the test of time. Tetris is relatively simple, tetrominoes (or blocks) fall from above and the player has to accommodate them so that they fit with the rest of the blocks.
Although the idea is simple, the execution can be complex, with the player having to figure out where to best place the blocks in a short amount of time.
Tetris has become a phenomenon worldwide, and even people who aren’t heavily into video games, have surely played Tetris at least once. Tetris has seen a lot of success in different formats, including the Game Boy.
It sold 35 million copies on the console, making it the best-selling Game Boy game of all time.
The Game Boy and Game Boy Color games on this list have stood the test of time and created legacies that are still standing today.
Although this list was dominated by Pokemon and Mario games, the consoles had more incredible titles in their catalogs and helped make the Game Boy and Game Boy Color iconic.
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