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The Nintendo Handheld Experience Part 1

The original Game Boy and its green screen with motion blur was something that I was jealous of my sister having for a few years, but when I achieved a Game Boy Pocket I got my own small library of games. While I had my fair share of owning (and sadly getting rid of) most of Nintendo's home consoles, I was also lucky enough to have the portable systems they released throughout the years. This will be a spin-off of my Nintendo Experience articles, known as....


The Game Boy Pocket no longer had the original GB's green screen, but it still had the downside of a lack of a backlit screen, unlike the Sega Game Gear, but thankfully I wasn't out at night with my parents too often. My starting list of games wasn't too barebones, but it was a great start. Titles like Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins, Castlevania: The Adventure, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan, Donkey Kong (not to be confused with Donkey Kong Land) and Metroid II: Return of Samus were some of the first games I got to play.


Super Mario Land 2 was a far better experience in Mario platforming compared to the first game. Mario controlled smoother, his jumps were more floaty and he had better jumping momentum. Not only that but it felt like a longer game as well.

Super Mario Land 2 and Donkey Kong had to be the most played Game Boy games I had, with SML2 having that familiar Mario platforming feel that I got when playing Super Mario World, while Donkey Kong took the original 1981 Donkey Kong arcade concept further and evolved it into an entirely new game.

Castlevania: The Adventure had some pretty slow gameplay, the Belmont you controlled walked at a snail's pace and a new gimmick was introduced having you climb ropes upward, or downward while avoiding the same kind of traps the series is known for having in its levels. Metroid II was a great continuation of the original, but it had its moments where I got stuck on where to go next.

By 1999, I acquired the still-new Game Boy Color from a thrift store with a copy of Pok'emon Yellow bundled in with it. Because Game Boy Color games had some pretty hefty prices I must have had the luckiest day getting both a new handheld and an immersive game with a great sale price and it was one of the best parts of summer to look forward to.

Though the first game I received provided a good start to my collection, video game rental stores also had these games and I had the possibility in asking for a game that I thought also had some lasting appeal and good replay value. Nintendo's Game & Watch Collection series had both classic and modern takes on their old LCD games from the '80s now in Game Boy form, and I was introduced to the second one in the series.


I must have lost countless hours coming back to the games of Parachute, Helmet, Chef, Vermin and Donkey Kong within the collection of Game & Watch Gallery 2. You're encouraged to get high scores and by doing so, you unlock more features to the main game.

By next year I managed to get more games to my library, some old, some new. But a problem arose, while I was in school my parents didn't know exactly where to look on recommended games. Usually the first party titles from Nintendo were the best ones to nab, but some generic third party titles like X-Men: Mutant Academy and M&M's Minis Madness also flooded the Game Boy Color library. I got X-Men as a random gift one afternoon as something for one of my good school grade moments, but the gameplay was a bore and the game didn't even have combo moves or any real strategy to fighting opponents, you just mash buttons to victory.

But as luck would have it I also got the next best Pok'emon game, Pok'emon Silver and put more hours into it than I did with Yellow, and reading through my old 20 Years of Pok'emon article, you'll get a good enough idea of my experience with those games. Video game rentals continued to be a must, and after enough digging around the last games I got were Super Mario Bros. Deluxe, Mega Man Xtreme 2, and Pok'emon Pinball.


Super Mario Bros. Deluxe had become the new definitive way of playing the 1985 NES classic as it boasted a new map system, a picture gallery, earning Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels as an unlockable game, and even playing head to head with another player in the new Versus Mode as you race to finish a level.

In between my time of owning the Game Boy Color I also finally received two accessories to make my time of playing games during the summer season a lot better, a rechargeable A/C plug and batteries, as well as the Nyko Worm Light, a mini light that you could connect to the side of the GBC to make night game playing easier with the system's lack of the backlit screen. It was also a good way of playing my games while everyone else would be asleep! Had I not received the rechargeable plug though, the light would have really drained the batteries.


Stay tuned for part 2 where I'll be giving my experience on owning the Game Boy Advance, The Nintendo DS and the Nintendo 3DS!

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