Once again, I’m taking you on a trip to look at some of the best-selling games for the Nintendo Game Boy, 25 years ago.
Welcome to March’s edition of the Retrogaming Chart Show, and this month we are focusing on Nintendo’s beloved handheld, the Game Boy. The little grey brick that could, had a massive library of games, and this month I’m taking you back to March of 1992, thanks for issue 124 of British-based multiformat mag, Computer & Video Games. So let’s get cracking and look at the UK Top 10 Game Boy games of March 1992.
Atari’s popular paper punting professional sim Paperboy made it to pretty much every single major console and computer in the late 80’s and early 90’s and of course, this doesn’t exclude the original Game Boy in this pint-sized port. To be honest, the tiny screen size and sluggish controls make this a pretty unplayable version of the game, but here it is at number ten of the charts.
It’s been almost three years since the cinematic release of Tim Burton’s gothic adaptation of the Caped Crusader, but the games based on the movie were massively popular for a long time, as proven by Sunsoft’s Game Boy rendition, here in the charts at number nine. It’s not as awesome as the brilliant NES game, but it’s a decent enough action platformer, with the tiniest Batman sprite you’ve ever seen.
I’d buy that for a dollar. Actually, probably for quite a bit more – It’s Robocop for the Game Boy. This game was OK for the time, but its real lasting legacy was its title screen music, which found itself in a British washing machine commercial. I kid you not. Look it up. It’s true.
7. Duck Tales
The port of NES classic Duck Tales was pretty much a carbon copy of Capcom’s brilliant Disney license. Even with the smaller Game Boy screen, is looked and played almost exactly like its console counterpart and has lost nothing in the translation. Here is one of the better NES platformers out there, in the palm of yours hands – It’s no wonder it’s in the chart at number 7.
6. Gremlins 2
We warned you. Remember the rules. You didn’t listen. And so, the cruel mutations known as the Gremlins make their way to the Game Boy, and for once it’s a game not based on the NES version. Unfortunately, that also means it’s not quite as good as the NES version, either.
As you can imagine, you play as Gizmo, the feisty little furball with a problem with multiplication. At an impressive number six in the chart, this underwhelming platformer appears to be popular this month.
5. Bugs Bunny: Crazy Castle
The first of a series of Crazy Castle games, spanning 15 years and featuring a multitude of licensed character from The Real Ghostbusters to Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle is at number 5, a side-scrolling action puzzler where the mischievous lagomorph must escape by collecting every carrot in each level of the game. No idea how collecting carrots helps in any way, but there you go.
4. TMNT: Fall of The Foot Clan
At number 4 is the debut of the Heroes in a Half-Shell, the Teenage Mutant Ninja…Sorry, I meant Hero Turtles. Bloody British censorship. Anyway, this relatively early Game Boy release contains big, chunky sprites, the ability to select any of the game’s five levels from the get-go, and some average gameplay. But it’s Turtles, so a high chart placement is pretty much assured.
3. F1 Race
Number 3’s entry holds the distinction of being a port of a Japanese-only Famicom game, but also a game that was bundled with the Game Boy’s 4-player link adapter. F1 Race is a pretty decent arcade-style racer, and that bundled 4-player link adapter made for some excellent multiplayer action – So long as you could find enough friends with Game Boys and their own copies of the game.
2. Double Dragon
Another game with arcade roots, number 2’s entry is a tiny version of the legendary side-scrolling brawler, Double Dragon. The first few entries in this series were ever-popular mainstays of the console realm, and this portable rendition is a surprisingly decent version, only missing the game’s hilariously fun two-player cooperative option, keeping the NES’s lacklustre competitive two player mode.
1. Super Mario Land
As the hit single from Ambassadors of Funk says, there ain’t no place like Super Mario Land, and that goes a little way in explaining why the game takes the top spot this month. Rather than try and make a carbon copy of one of the NES Mario release, Super Mario Land lays its own path in this very surreal entry in the series. In playing to the console’s strengths and weaknesses, Nintendo created a very playable portable platformer that takes the basic points of what made the original Super Mario great, but with enough changes to make this a unique title.