Six of the best Game Boy games we’d love to see on Nintendo Switch Online

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The Game Boy is back! And, outside of a few folks being unnecessarily negative for no real reason, it seems to have been mostly well received — even the usually highly critical Modern Vintage Gamer on YouTube has begrudgingly admitted that the emulation this time around is pretty good.

Since the system has just been launched on Nintendo Switch Online, the curated selection of games is relatively slim pickings so far, but with any luck we’ll see more in the coming months. The Game Boy has a vast library, after all, and Nintendo has already said that we’ll be seeing Kirby: Tilt ‘n’ Tumble, Pokémon Trading Card Game and the two “Oracle” Zelda games from Capcom soon.

So what else would we love to see on the system? Let’s ponder that, shall we?

Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong for Game Boy

Indisputably one of the best games on the Game Boy, Donkey Kong is far more than a simple arcade port. Rather, it starts as a simple arcade port, before whipping out the rug from underneath you and revealing itself to actually be a vast puzzle platformer with a ton of really creative levels.

Back when this originally released, the grand reveal of Donkey Kong for Game Boy’s true nature was absolutely mindblowing. Today, a lot of people already know the “surprise” — and if you didn’t, sorry for spoiling — but that doesn’t stop it being an amazing game. As the predecessor to the highly enjoyable Mario vs. Donkey Kong series, this is a Game Boy essential that I hope we see sooner rather than later.

Super Mario Bros. Deluxe

Super Mario Bros. Deluxe for Game Boy Colour

Nintendo has already shown that it isn’t averse to releasing multiple versions of the same game across these Switch Online retro apps, so it’d be great to see the Game Boy Colour version of Super Mario Bros. Deluxe on the service at some point.

While at heart it’s just the original Super Mario Bros. yet again, the additional gameplay modes such as the red coin challenge and the Boo racing add a ton of longevity and variety to a game most of us have played to death at one point or another.

Mario Tennis/Mario Golf

Mario Tennis for Game Boy Colour

I’m cheating a bit by putting these both together, but they’re both equally excellent for the same reasons, so I’m taking them as a single entry. The Game Boy Colour versions of these games are amazing, featuring extensive single player modes that play as an RPG with tennis matches or rounds of golf instead of battles. And they both have absolutely brilliant soundtracks.

Nintendo has returned to this concept with more recent entries in both series, but neither has quite captured the magic of these Game Boy classics, so it’d be great to see them again. Particularly if they find some means of patching in support for transferring your data over from the Game Boy version to the N64 version like you could do with the originals!

Resident Evil Gaiden

Resident Evil Gaiden for Game Boy Colour

This one may be tricky as it will involve getting Capcom to play ball, but since there’s already some Capcom games on the service (or on the way to the service) in the form of the handheld Zelda games, it’d be great to see this unusual, non-canonical entry in the Resident Evil series get another chance, and be able to sit alongside Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare as “unusual handheld horror games you probably didn’t play back in the day”.

Resident Evil Gaiden stars Leon Kennedy and Barry Burton and tasks you with exploring an isometric perspective boat, with combat triggering a timing-based minigame as zombies approach you in first person. While definitely very different from the original prototype of Resident Evil for Game Boy Colour that was once shown off and never completed, it plays well to the platform’s strengths and is an enjoyable, unusual game well worth playing.

Metal Gear Solid: Ghost Babel

Metal Gear Solid for Game Boy Colour

Another one that may be tricky, as it will involve getting Konami to remember that they have a back catalogue — though not out of the question, given the existence of compilations such as the Castlevania and Contra Anniversary Collections and the excellent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cowabunga Collection.

Metal Gear Solid for Game Boy Colour acts as something of a bridge between the classic 8-bit top-down adventures of Snake and his more modern cinematic adventures. Although obviously much simpler visually than the interactive movies that were Snake’s main adventures, the gameplay in this one is really great, and it has an interesting plot, to boot.

X/Lunar Chase

Lunar Chase for Game Boy

Finally, it would be great to finally see the cancelled localised version of Lunar Chase, perhaps better known by its Japanese name of X. This was an impressive 3D polygonal game for Game Boy, developed by Dylan Cuthbert of Argonaut Software, making it a spiritual precursor to the original Star Fox.

Gameplay is quite different to Star Fox, though, bearing more of a resemblance to Argonaut’s classic Starglider series for home computers, with free-roaming environments and a variety of mission objectives. It never got released in North America back in the day because Nintendo of America at the time felt it was too complex for a console whose primary market was (they assumed, anyway) children. Silly old Howard Lincoln.

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Pete Davison
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