The Game Boy Colour
The first handheld console I had as a child was the wacky but wonderful Game Boy Colour, also known as the GBC. Released in October in Japan 1998 and then in November of the same year internationally, the GBC was the successor to the famous Game Boy. Both systems saw great success in the 80s and 90s selling a combined total of 118.69 million units worldwide, making them the third best selling consoles of all time. The version I had was the yellow one and I spent countless hours sitting in my room playing titles like Zelda and Pokémon, plus some more wackier games (more on that later).
After the success of the Game Boy, Nintendo knew they had to release a successor to stay relevant. They had the Game Boy advance in the works but had to wait for the technology to catch up to produce the handheld they wanted. Enter the Gameboy Colour. When it was first released most people saw it as an upgraded version of the Gameboy as you could play a lot of titles on both systems and some games were re-released with added colours and small extra details, but ultimately were still the same as the originals. Games such as Pokémon Yellow, Links Awakening and Tetris were examples of these. I, however, see the GBC as a handheld console in its own right and a great predecessor, the fact that you can play all your old Gameboy games on it is no more than a great feature.
The GBC is an iconic handheld system. It has a wonderful unique look and was made to appear more sophisticated and sleeker compared to the GB. Having the choice of several colours also added to the more polished look compared to the grey we were used to. There still wasn’t a lit up screen, so playing in your bed at night without a torch was a no go, something I am sure we all experienced, strange that the Game Boy light was also released in the same year however.
For me, the GBC was a crazy console and some very strange and bizarre titles appeared. It seemed like Nintendo were publishing every game they thought of. Firstly, we got games that came over from non-handheld consoles like NES and N64. We had Donkey Kong Country, one of the most famous Donkey Kong titles and Super Mario Brothers that came over from the NES, plus many more. The fact that Nintendo decided to publish these successful games on a handheld was awesome and once again added a great feature.
Now lets’ move onto the strangest titles to appear. Firstly, we had games such as Mario Tennis and Golf which don’t sound too out there. However, these games came over from the Nintendo 64 and instead of keeping the games the exact same, Nintendo decided to change both games entirely. They added more role playing elements to the game and the most bizarre thing about the GBC version is that you don’t play as Mario or Luigi or Peach you play as random children that have been added to the game with the objective being that you need to beat Mario at golf. It might just be me, but that is the most random thing I have ever heard but it's fantastic! I haven’t played the GBC versions of these games, but I really want to now. They aren’t the strangest titles I’ve heard of. Nintendo have released such games as; Quest for Camelot, Bugs Bunny: Crazy Castle 3, Beauty and the Beast: A Board Game Adventure, Hamtaro, and The Little Mermaid 2: Pinball Frenzy. Honestly go check out these games: as much as they are totally random, I bet they are still fun to play, to a certain extent.
A game that was released ahead of its time is Kirby: Tilt and Tumble. In this game you physically move the console to move Kirby as the name suggests. Very much ahead of its time when you think about when Nintendo released the Nintendo Wii. Could that title have been an experiment into that type of gaming and maybe it started Nintendo down that path.
Not only did the GBC have strange games, classic games, cross console games, exclusive games etc etc but it also had a wide variety of big franchise titles. Games that you thought would never appear on a handheld Gameboy console at that time. Survival Action franchises like Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid and Tomb Raider all had titles released. Also driving games such as Driver and Grand Theft Auto 2. I have the pleasure of playing GTA 2 and its nothing like the games of today, but its nice to see what the franchise has grown from and I did have a great time playing old school style!
Saving the best to last, and with no surprise if you have read any previous content of mine, the biggest and most successful games have to be The legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages, and any Pokémon title. Pokémon Gold and Silver were by far the most successful titles with a combined 23 million units sold. I do have to admit that I preferred to play Pokémon games rather than any others on my GBC even ones that were released on the original Gameboy like red and yellow, Gold and Silver were favourites of mine as well, plus the updated Crystal version. They were the type of games you would start playing and before you know it 4 hours have passed.
All in all, I believe that the GBC and all the future handheld consoles like the advance and the SP are all fantastic consoles, especially when you can combine them with so many different types of games. The GBC was important because it was such a step up from the Gameboy and ushered in big changes in Nintendo’s handheld systems. The thing I love about these consoles is the fact that when I was in my final years of secondary school people my age were still playing these consoles. It didn’t matter that there was no online play, or the graphics were extremely dated, we simply played because it was fun.
Blog by T M Copywriting