With the 3DS, we are finally getting Game Boy games on the Virtual Console. Unfortunately, Nintendo is still pulling the single-title-a-week nonsense that we've suffered for the past few years on the Wii. And since we're so early in the console's life, all we'll have to look forward to in the foreseeable future are pissant, first-generation, Nintendo-published titles.
Oh boy, guys. Alleyway. Gotta get me some o' dat.
The Virtual Console ought to be a retro repository that defines both an era and the individuals who grew up in said era. That's why when I considered what old games I'd personally want on the 3DS, I tried to strike a balance between familiar favorites and dark horse picks that speak to my unorthodox values. They may not be the most popular of choices or the most likely of seeing release, but their appearance would do more to spark my enthusiasm than safe bets like the Pokémons and Kirbys of the world.
Konami knows that the first Castlevania on Game Boy was a huge misstep, hence the re-imagined update, Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth, on WiiWare. With history effectively rewritten, it would be best for Konami to skip Castlevania: The Adventure entirely and release its superior sequel.
Everything from its predecessor is improved, from the faster pace to the greater variety of environments. To top it off, Belmont's Revenge features hands-down the best soundtrack in the Game Boy library, bar none. It may be tricky to murder the undead while headbanging to chiptune thrash metal, but who ever said being a badass would be easy?
What could be better that killing Dracula? Why, being Dracula, of course! Okay, so technically Kid Dracula is Drac's son, but at least he respects his father! He's not a backstabbing prick like Alucard!
Kid Dracula is a non-canonical spin-off from the main Castlevania franchise that sports a chibi aesthetic. This game goes above and beyond other Castlevania titles -- you've got roller coaster rides, robots in outer space, and boss battles against Klansmen and Jason Voorhees. If that's not the most amazing thing ever, I dunno what is!
Believe it or not, Catrap has been discussed on Destructoid in the past. It's a puzzle game in which you take on the roll of a catboy and catgirl as they climb ladders, push blocks, and punch ghouls in the face. If you screw up and make a room impossible to solve, you can rewind time and try a different approach. Catrap was doing time travel long before Jonathan Blow started writing Manhattan Project fan fiction!
I received this game the same Christmas I got my Game Boy, and it was always a staple in my travel pouch. I especially loved creating devilish puzzles in the construction mode and testing the mettle of my hapless friends. Would it be touch much for Nintendo to incorporate level sharing should Catrap appear on the VC? Probably. Dammit.
What better way to celebrate the upcoming release of Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D than with this little companion piece? Metal Gear Solid for the Game Boy Color brings back the top-down view of the MSX originals while incorporating elements of the PlayStation games for a best-of-both-worlds flavor.
It may have ditched the open-world style of it's brethren for a level structure, but hey! It's a much better Virtual Console candidate than the red-headed stepchildren released on the NES, that's for sure. The less said about those, the better.
Do you what there aren't a lot of? Games based on the Peanuts franchise! I know, right? Unbelievable!
Here is Snoopy's Magic Show, a puzzle game that finds Snoopy rescuing Woodstock's extended (and possibly inbred) family from bouncing balls of death. Then you do it 119 more times. You may laugh, but this game is addictive! It's pure Joe Cool with no Charlie Brown, Linus, or Lucy in sight. Screw those big-headed weirdos and their pre-teen drama!
The Ninja Turtles games on Game Boy are nothing special, with the exception of Radical Rescue. Why? Because it's an open-world platforming adventure in which each character possesses abilities needed to reach new areas. That's right! It's Metroid with Ninja Turtles! How cool is that!
While every other Turtles game that's ever been made has either been a beat-'em-up or a fighter, this one stands alone. This is how you get creative with an intellectual property! Give the people something they wouldn't expect!
See that gator? Fuck that gator!
Revenge of the 'Gator is a pinball game. No big deal. Those puppies are a dime a dozen. However, when your ball falls down the drain in this game, that gator asshole swallows it up like a damn glutton. He is my childhood nemesis, my El Guapo. And I will not rest until I have my shot at revenge!
I'm calling you out, fucker!
Duke Nukem on the Game Boy Color is a return to the franchise's sidescrolling origins. This one's for Randy Pitchford. I just thought he could use a reminder of what a good Duke game plays like.
I'm cheating by filling this slot with two games, but it's Mega Man, so shut your dirty mouths.
The first and third Mega Man games on Game Boy were decent but nonetheless watered-down experiences that only made you want to play their NES cousins. As for Mega Man II, just... no. But the fourth and fifth entries? Why, they may very well be the best games in the entire Classic series, and I say that without a hint of irony.
Mega Man IV still features enemies from the NES games, but it packs so much extra, like a shop system and badass cutscenes featuring Mega Man taking on a castle-sized battle tank on foot! The non-Robot Master bosses are also far more detailed and sinister-looking than the cutesy big-eyed designs of the past, and their battles are set to an equally sinister yet totally amazing fight track.
And then there's Mega Man V. The bosses are named after planets in our Solar System, Dr. Wily builds his own Death Star, there's a shmup level in outer space, and Mega Man has a cat that turns into a buzz saw. Also, any game that has the balls to show the stalwart hero getting beat down hardcore in the opening cutscene is worth at least a few minutes out of your day!
What the hell is that?
In 1992, a company known as Fabtek was planning on releasing the Work Boy, a keyboard peripheral that attached directly to the Game Boy. It would be used with a suite of business software that would turn the Game Boy into a PDA. You'd be able to store banking info, schedule appointments, and auto-dial your telephone (by holding the Game Boy speaker up to the phone's mouthpiece like a damn fool).
So why do I want this on the Virtual Console? Certainly, there is no practical reason. Even if I was in the market for a portable organizer, smartphones take care of that need just fine. But who said I needed a practical reason?
As a child, I was only allowed to play videogames on weekends, so I was always on the lookout for some kind of loophole. I remember seeing the Work Boy advertised in Nintendo Power and noting the picture of the adult male in his suit and tie, tapping away at this contraption with purpose. He's using the Game Boy and he's doing important adult work? My seven-year-old mind figured that if I could get my hands on a Work Boy, I could convince my mother to let me use my Game Boy during the school week, ya know, for important school work. It's not just for games, mommy!
To the best of my knowledge, the Work Boy was never released. What better time than now to fulfill a childhood dream by rescuing the code and releasing it on the VC as a long-lost piece of Nintendo history? Who cares that it isn't "fun"! Nintendo releases fifty bazillion of those damn clocks on DSiWare, so it's not like they have any strict policy against non-entertainment software!
How would you operate the Work Boy suite without a keyboard? The touch pad! Duh! Or what about that keyboard that came with the Pokémon typing game on DS? Knowing Nintendo's track record with peripherals, it'll never be used for anything else ever again. Might as well get some use out of it, even on something that a paltry handful of people would appreciate solely for the kitsch value.
[Header image from flamecondor's blog]
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3:00 PM on 12.15.2014