RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Sep 7th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Castlevania, The Adventure, review, Game Boy, Game Boy Guru, Konami, Igarashi


Image shamelessly stolen from the Castlevania Wikia page.
When I was a kid, this was the baddest looking box art in all the land
when it came to Game Boy games. And by bad, I mean AWESOME.

Nostalgia can be a very powerful force.  It can make adults look back fondly on all sorts of things that, viewed objectively, probably aren't as great as we remember them.  For a child of the 80's, that can be almost anything.  From VCRs and teased hair, to classic cartoons and our favorite movies and video games, there are times when it's hard to take a step back and look at those old favorites with a more critical eye.  Sure, that one Poison album might be one of your favorites of all time, but musically, does it still hold up?  What about your favorite childhood cartoon...could you watch it today without cringing or thinking it's nothing but pure cheese?

Now think about your favorite video games as a child.  Sure, some of them probably stand the test of time.  But for every Super Mario Bros or Contra, there's always a handful of games that we may still hold in high regard and still have much affection for.  If we could set aside our own memories and youthful experiences, would we still hold those works in the same esteem?  For me, one of those games is Konami's Castlevania: The Adventure on the Game Boy.


Continue reading Castlevania The Adventure, 1989



Posted on Mar 8th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Star Wars, Game Boy, Game Boy Guru, review


Image shamelessly linked from GameFaqs.
It's Star Wars, and it's a "Million Seller" - how bad can it be?

I am a fan of Star Wars.  I'm a big fan of the original trilogy of movies, I don't completely hate the prequel films, and even got some level of enjoyment (as a kid, anyway) out of the two "Ewok Adventure" films, and the short-lived Droids cartoon.  Though I didn't get to go see it right away, I did go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens and enjoyed it very much.  I plan to go see it again, if I have the opportunity before it's out of theaters, and will be purchasing the BluRay once it's available.  I own at least 3 Star Wars-themed t-shirts and a zipper hoodie, and as of this writing, I own 2-dozen video games set within the Star Wars universe.  I have the final VHS release of the original trilogy (before George Lucas began changing subsequent releases with his revisionist history), I own the "special" edition DVD set, and at some point, I hope to own the original trilogy on LaserDisc.  I'm holding out for a BluRay release, hoping that, at some point, Disney will decide it's worth putting out something equivalent to the original theatrical release (or at least the final VHS/LaserDisc version), though that could be a sticky Wicket (see what I did there?), if Lucas made that a stipulation of his $4 billion sale of Lucasfilm to the Disney corporation.  After all, those of us "in the know" won't settle for a cut of the original film where Han Solo didn't shoot Greedo first, right?  Needless to say, I'm a big fan of the Star Wars universe, characters, and mythos.


Continue reading Star Wars, 1990



Posted on Feb 8th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Review, Bugs Bunny, Game Boy, Game Boy Guru, licensed game, Kemco


Image shamelessly linked from GameFAQS. I'm not seeing much that
screams "castle" here, save for the faux family crest with carrots on
it.  And never once does Yosemite Sam fire a gun in the game.
Not once. False advertising, or just paying homage to a lovable,
idiosyncratic cartoon character from a bygone era? You decide.

Licensed properties can be a tricky beast.  If you pay for licensing rights to a property, chances are, you're not going to have exclusive rights to that property, or your rights won't cross all borders.  Your licensing rights will expire at some point, and you'll have to weigh the pros and cons of paying to continue those rights, or let them lapse.  Sometimes, the window of opportunity for a licensed property is relatively small, and you are forced to come up with a product based upon that property in a rather short time frame.  Sometimes, the results can be less than stellar.  Such is the case with Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle.


Continue reading Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle, 1990



Posted on Dec 7th 2015 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Game Boy Guru, review, football, game boy


Image shamelessly linked from Adventure Amigos.
"I choose" the realistic offensive strategies, but the defensive strategies
are tough - does that mean they're not realistic? Or are they both
tough AND realistic? Can the game possibly live up to this box art?

I must begin this review with a bit of history, nostalgia, and a confession.  As I write this, I'm reeling from the news that the Kansas City Royals, long the proverbial butt of many a baseball joke, have won the World Series against the New York Mets.  Though I don't consider myself a sports fan, I got a little bit of whiplash with that announcement, and had to check my calendar to make sure it wasn't 1985 again.  I was a fan of baseball for many years, as a kid, until the player strike brought the ugly realization that athletes can often be petty, whining oafs that are just money hungry.  Granted, they're not all like that, but the strike certainly gave me a new perspective on things.  So while my love for baseball lasted a number of years, my interest in professional football was relatively short-lived.  In 1985 and 1986, I fancied myself a pro football fan, if only to impress my classmates and the neighbor kids, who all thought I was a giant dork (spoiler alert: I was).  I told people I was into the Dolphins and the Bengals, and that Dan Marino was pretty much the best quarterback on the planet.  Of course, I never really watched any football games, because we had 1 TV in the house, my parents weren't into pro football, and none of my friends invited me over to watch with them.  Subsequently, my neighborhood kids (and kids at school) saw through my petty charade.  Yes, I was destined to be a nerd.


Continue reading Play Action Football, 1990



Posted on Nov 19th 2015 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Tennis, Game Boy, Game Boy Guru, Review, launch title


Image shamelessly linked from GameFAQs.
2 out of 5 Game Boy launch titles were sports games.
I'm not sure what that says about Nintendo, but it does
make me wonder why every platform got so many.

So this is Tennis, the final of 5 launch titles for the Nintendo Game Boy.  The 2nd of 2 sports titles in the launch line-up, Nintendo of America must really have been banking on the popularity of sports games, because the launch line-up included 2 games, much like the Japanese launch included Yakuman, a mahjong game.  In the same way that every video game console ever released in Japan has likely seen a mahjong game (or thirty), every game system ever released in North America is generally peppered with sports titles throughout the console's life span.  The Game Boy was no exception, and it received both Baseball and Tennis.


Continue reading Tennis, 1989



Posted on Oct 7th 2015 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Review, Game Boy, Game Boy Guru, Solar Striker, shmup


Image shamelessly linked from GameFAQs.
I love classic video game box art like this. It symbolizes
the imagination many artists put into the artwork. Imagination
that unfortunately, rarely ever captured the true look and
feel of the game. Still, it gave us hope of the contents within.

One of the video game genres that I've been a big fan of over the last 20 years or so is shoot-em-ups.  No, I'm not talking about "shooters", those fast-paced, first-person games where you brandish a firearm of some sort and snipe guys at 300 feet, reveling in every headshot.  I'm talking about the scrolling shooter, one of the staples of what we now know as classic, or "retro" gaming.  You see, from the early-mid 1980's, until around the mid-late 1990's, the scrolling shooter genre evolved tremendously, from humble beginnings like 1942, Vulgus, Star Force, and the like, to highly sophisticated games with deep, complex scoring systems like Battle Garegga, Dodonpachi, Radiant Silvergun, and many more.  While I appreciate the complexity and replayability of games like that, give me a simple "shmup" (a term, coined by Zzap!64 Magazine) with twitchy game play, a simple control scheme, and solid action any day.  While there's room in my heart for "danmaku" games (aka bullet curtain, or "bullet hell" shooters), I generally prefer classic shoot-em-ups to their more grown-up descendants.


Continue reading Solar Striker, 1990



Posted on Aug 29th 2015 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Game Boy, Review, Data East, Nail n Scale, Game Boy Guru, Platformer, Puzzle


Image shamelessly linked from Game FAQs.
Flying lizards, giant bugs, robots, and dragons as
enemies? Count me in! Wait, what's with the nails?

The mid-late 1980's, and early 1990's were a magical time.  Forget Iran-Contra, forget Black Friday, forget the rampant materialism of the Baby Boomer generation, forget "yuppies", and forget the Gulf War.  During that period of time, we had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Karate Kid, G.I. Joe and Transformers, Ghostbusters and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!, and so much more.  And we had video games.  If you're reading this, you're likely either from my generation, and have fond memories of the 80's and early 90's, or you're experiencing them for the first time, something I often wish I could do, as I approach 40 years of age.  For those in the latter camp, I envy you.


Continue reading Nail 'n Scale, 1992



Posted on Aug 8th 2015 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Game Boy, Game Boy Guru

I am a bit of a dichotomy, as a gamer.  I consider myself to be reasonably knowledgeable with regards to video games, gaming history, and in general, gaming culture.  I will fully admit that I'm not up on the latest thing in today's gaming scene, but from the standpoint of "retro" games, I have a pretty broad base of information.  That said, I know that I don't know everything, and there are definitely some gaps in my knowledge.  There are consoles I've never seen or played, games I've not heard of, and experiences I lack as a whole, that prevent me from being the "be all, end all" of video game know-how.  I'm a student of life, like anyone else, and I'm always learning.

Bearing that in mind, why would anyone who admittedly doesn't know everything call themselves a "guru?"  Why would I want to subject myself to the level of scrutiny that comes from identifying oneself as a "guru?"  What is my motive for elevating myself so much, other than to draw attention to myself?  Am I crazy enough to think that I know enough to even refer to myself with such distinction?  Do I deserve to even be calling myself by such a title?


Continue reading The Guru Inside: A Clarification on the Use of the Term



Posted on Jul 20th 2015 at 09:16:44 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Baseball, Game Boy, Game Boy Guru, Review


Image shamelessly linked from GameFAQs.
"Take me out to the ballgame, take me out to the crowd..."

I'm not a sports guy.  Truth be told, I never really have been, though I did have some relative interest in sports as a kid.  I was sort of into football, I was sort of into basketball, and I had a passing interest in a couple other sports.  The sport I was most interested in, like many other red-blooded American youth, was Baseball.  Yes, America's pastime was my preferred sport, in part because of the strategy, and in part because that's what my dad was into.  My team was the Kansas City Royals, in part because of their proximity to where we lived, and my favorite player was the pine tar king himself, George Brett.  Needless to say, as a chubby nerd of a kid, I played exactly one summer of little league and played poorly enough that I didn't feel like playing a 2nd year.  Once the player strike happened, I quit collecting baseball cards and pretty much lost all interest in the sport.  I guess I had no sympathy for guys who made more money in a month than my dad made all year, and them whining about not getting paid enough.


Continue reading Baseball, 1989



Posted on Jun 6th 2015 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Super Mario Land, Game Boy, Game Boy Guru, Review

Before you begin to dig into another fine GameBoy article by MetalFRO, I would like to take a moment to congratulate this author on his acceptance of a staff writing position. We've been happy to promote some well-written articles from his personal blog and we are looking forward to many more great articles on our front page!


Image shamelessly linked from Museum Of Play.
Just look at all the cool stuff on the front cover - Mario is
obviously in for a big adventure this time around!

It's quite timely that the 2015 edition of Review a Great Game Day is happening as I begin to cover the Game Boy library, especially since I'm trying to get the 5 North American launch titles out of the way in relatively short order.  Not that there's anything inherently wrong with them; far from it.  In general, the launch library was a demonstration of the baseline for what the Game Boy hardware could do.  Ultimately, many subsequent games released for the Game Boy would far and away eclipse the launch titles in terms of scope, size, graphics, sound and gameplay, as we'll discover together through this journey.  As most gamers know by now, however, the technical wizardry is only window dressing.  If the game isn't fun, it doesn't matter how pretty it looks or sounds.  Super Mario Land is a complete package - it looks good for its time, sounds good, and is loads of fun.


Continue reading Super Mario Land, 1989



Posted on May 17th 2015 at 10:46:12 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Tetris, Game Boy, Game Boy Guru, Review


Image shamelessly linked from GameFAQs.
This was a game even your grandmother could love.

Every video game console has at least one game that defines it.  One title that, above any other, people associate with it.  For modern consoles, it's often a launch title that soars above the rest in quality, or a later game that is exclusive to that system.  Usually, it's a great game that is universally hailed as something special.  For early consoles, that game often happened to be the pack-in title, i.e. the game that came with the system when you bought it.  In the case of the Game Boy, that game was Tetris.


Continue reading Tetris, 1989



Posted on May 5th 2015 at 07:33:38 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under TMNT, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Game Boy, Konami, Ultra Games


Image shamelessly linked from Hardcore Gaming 101.
Now you're playing with power - Turtle Power!

1990 was a fabulous year for Peter Laird, and Kevin Eastman, creators of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles characters.  They saw the 4 intrepid heroes at the height of their popularity.  The comic book was selling, the cartoon series was all the rage among adolescent males, and the live-action movie starring the turtles came out and became the most successful independent film of all time.  In addition, TMNT the action figures were selling well, and as such, "Turtle Mania" was in full swing.  Pizza Hut even did a TMNT-themed promotional tie-in where they did a concert tour of guys in rubber Turtle suits singing and dancing to 80's rock called the "Coming Out Of Their Shells" tour, complete with pay-per view performance and VHS, and audio cassette.  One might even go so far as to say that the 4 turtles had over-saturated the market by that point.


Continue reading Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan, 1990



Posted on Apr 18th 2015 at 08:17:12 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Donkey Kong, Nintendo, Game Boy, Super Game Boy


Image shamelessly linked from the Super Mario Wiki.
When did Pauline become a brunette in a red dress,
instead of a blonde in a pink one? The Mario canon
is a confusing one, indeed.

Donkey Kong, sometimes referred to as Donkey Kong '94, or Game Boy Donkey Kong, is a re-imagining of the original 1981 arcade smash.  I say a re-imagining because, though the game includes the original 4 levels of the arcade game, it also includes an additional 97 (!) levels beyond that, taking place over the course of 9 "areas", comprising of stages in multiples of 4.  It's an ambitious move for Nintendo, considering that it comes over a decade after the original game's release, and a solid 8 years after the incomplete NES port of the game.  Despite the original titles modest graphics and sound, can that successfully translate to the small Game Boy screen?  More importantly, can Nintendo devise that many levels that are worth playing through?  The answer to both is, unsurprisingly, yes.


Continue reading Donkey Kong - 1994



Posted on May 27th 2011 at 01:09:23 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PlayStation, Game Boy, Puzzle




This month's Together Retro game club pick over at http://Racketboy.com was Zoop. Now let me guess -- you've heard of Zoop, but never played it. You vaguely remember a magazine ad for it, but aren't really sure what it is. Am I right? Probably. That's generally how it went. Zoop was a puzzle game released in 1995 and it was ported to just about every platform available at the time. It made its way to SNES, Genesis, Game Boy, Game Gear, PC, Mac, Saturn, Atari Jaguar and the PlayStation in an honest-to-goodness attempt at being the next Tetris. Indeed it was even marketing as "America's Largest Killer of Time!"

Perhaps what's more interesting about the game's place in history is that it was designed by a team called Hookstone. Though that name may not ring a bell, most of the members of Hookstone went on to form Mobius Entertainment, who you probably know better as Rockstar Leeds. That's right, the same team responsible for bringing Manhunt and the Grand Theft Auto series to the PSP had its humble beginnings in a simple puzzle game.






Originally my plan was to play the Game Boy version, but I found it to be a bad idea. You see Zoop is all about a little triangle that's inside a big square. And all these multi-colored shapes are attempting to get in the square. But the triangle can turn into each color, and then take out like colored rows. Maybe you see where I'm going with this? Yeah, a game where color is important just isn't going to work so well on a monochrome system. So I soon decided that I'd pick up the PlayStation port instead. Some of my fellow Racketboy forum members actually played and enjoyed the GB port. Well, more power to them. Personally it just confused my eyes.






The PlayStation version was very good. At least I assume it would be just as good as any of the other console ports at the time (Jaguar, Saturn, etc.). The controls were responsive, the colors were vibrant and thanks to the newly implemented CD technology, the music was really great. I personally wasn't great at the game. In fact that's my high score in the picture up above there. But what was really nice about playing this month is that so many members got really into the game. It's really fun to go back and play a game with a bunch of people even though it's not handing out achievements or syncing trophies.

Truthfully, I lost interest in the game about halfway into the month. But in fairness, it was my birthday this month which means I got a lot of new games and all of them were begging for my attention. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't come back to this one. In fact Zoop certainly has a certain appeal to it. That kind of timeless replayability that makes games like Dr. Mario or Tetris so addicting. If you haven't played Zoop yet, you've really got no excuse. I guarantee you own one of the systems it's available for.



Posted on Mar 9th 2011 at 01:15:36 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under Zelda, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance

Last month The Legend Of Zelda turned 25. And because of this every single retro-gaming related website ran a bunch of features related to the series. So I figured I'd wait for the celebration to die down and then get into it here. Or rather, I just got sidetracked and forgot to get around to it until now. Whatever. But the series is certainly important to me. And as such it's important to this blog. Seeing as how the blog started as a way to showcase lesser known Game Boy carts, it should be noted that my purchase of the Nintendo Game Boy Player attachment for the GameCube was based almost solely on the fact that doing so would suddenly mean that there were a pile of Zelda games that I could play on my TV. So let's take a look at all those Zelda games that found their way to a Game Boy handheld.






The Legend Of Zelda was re-released as part of the Game Boy Advance's Classic NES series. That choice was certainly a no-brainer. The game is of course not only a high-point of the NES, but of gaming in general. It basically created an entire genre that meshed action with elements of role playing. The GBA port is excellent and cheap-n-easy to find on the after market. All GBA enthusiasts should have this one.






Surprisingly the sequel Zelda II: The Adventure Of Link also made it to the Classic NES line. Strange considering the phrase "black sheep" being almost synonymous with the game. Though for all the flack it receives, I'm a longtime fan of this one. The truth is, Adventure Of Link was actually my first Zelda game. I got it for my birthday soon after its release. At the time the first game was impossible to find in local toy stores, so this was my introduction to the series. Say what you will about it. There's a very unique and daring quest within. The GBA port is wonderfully faithful to the original, and considering it's probably the cheapest GB-related Zelda game to find in the wild, it's worth giving it a go even if you don't remember loving it the first time.






A Link To The Past is my favorite game ever. So I'm totally biased when I say that everybody should own this game either in its original SNES form, or here on the GBA. It looks fantastic on a GBA SP screen, although suffers slightly from a few oddly annoying voice samples that were added to the re-release. They aren't nearly as overdone as in the GBA port of Super Mario Bros. 2 though.

The GBA re-release is also notable for including a bonus game, the brand new Four Swords which would be the first multi-player Zelda game. It recycled sprites from Link To The Past which was welcome artistically, but it was also somewhat of a burden to play. Sadly unlike its GameCube sequel, there's no single-player campaign on the GBA game. This means that some of us (me) who don't have local gamer friends with their own GBA's and copies of the game never got the chance to delve in to this one.







Link's Awakening was released for the Game Boy in 1993, and was a total revelation. Although the GB's hardware was lesser than that of the NES, the graphics, gameplay and story of this one actually aligned with the SNES' Link To The Past. Playing the game on Game Boy hardware back then was stunning to say the least, as nobody realized that the handheld was capable of such things. Even to this day the title remains a cult-classic in the Zelda series, often considered the standard by which to judge all portable outings.

Link's Awakening received a Game Boy Color re-release in 1998 which adds to the game by giving it vibrant colors, an extra dungeon and even compatibility with the Game Boy Camera.






Perhaps the two most overlooked titles in the official Zelda cannon, Oracle Of Ages and Oracle Of Seasons are the definition of ambition. What began as an attempt to port the original Legend Of Zelda to the NES somehow turned into an original game, then three games, and eventually scaled down to two games. The misconception among gamers seems to be that these are two takes on the same game -- like Pokemon Red and Blue. But that's not the case at all. The two Oracle games are completely different and original quests. One relies heavily on puzzles, the other on action. One toys with time, the other with nature. But each of them are remarkable little gems that should get a bit more attention than they do.






Minish Cap would be the final Zelda game to come out on a GB handheld, and it's a solid affair. Admittedly it's the one that I've spent the least amount of time with as I personally got slightly bored with the shrinking and growing gimmick. However, I can certainly say that it's artistically great, borrowing heavily from A Link To The Past's art style and features some jaw-dropping visuals on the GBA. Fans of the heavy-puzzle side of the series will enjoy this one quite a bit, though the game's biggest criticism tends to be its brevity.


So there we have it -- the GB side of Zelda. What are your favorites and why?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
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