No sooner does the SNES Classic get out the door than the rumor mill turns back on for the next Nintendo microconsole. And while everybody was thinking N64, the rumors change things up a bit by being for the Game Boy instead.
I’m buying into these rumors even less than I famously didn’t buy into the SNES rumors. Still, having already blown my contrarian hot take quota, I’ll treat this rumor seriously for now.
While the NES Classic and the SNES Classic conveniently used the same hardware, Nintendo would have to make a shift again as the circuit board is a tad too wide for even a 1st-generation Game Boy shell. This, of course, frees them to adding the bits and bobs necessary to actually make it portable (a screen and a battery), because what the heck is the point if this can only connect to your tv?
…though it would be VERY Nintendo for the Game Boy Classic to not be portable…
If they really wanted to push the envelope on a redesign, they could have a Game Boy Classic follow the super svelte Game Boy Pocket form factor. I’m thinking they’re going to instead keep the original game boy’s styling scaled down (as appears to be their custom with these). I’m guessing the result will be Game Boy Color-sized, as it’d be cheaper to produce then something minimized further.
My next expectation is that a Game Boy Classic would pull from the regular Game Boy and the Game Boy Color libraries, but NOT the Game Boy Advance library, which would be saved for a follow-up.
I also doubt Nintendo would bother with the expense of retrofitting a Game Link Cable port on these, but it’s even more unlikely that they reprogram everything to work over a wireless connection or USB. No multiplayer could really put a wet blanket on a few of the games.
But enough background. It’s time to plot us out some games. While Nintendo took a much stronger stance against duds with the SNES classic than it did the NES Classic, I’m expecting a few sketchy selection on Game Boy, mostly because the quality of it’s best-known games was so very uneven.
Games that won’t make the cut
My educated guess is, like the other miniconsole games, the Virtual Console is a great predictor of whether Nintendo can’t get the rights to an iconic, popular or best-selling game.
Tetris and Tetris DX. The original Game Boy Tetris (not the GB Color’s Tetris DX) made the 3DS Virtual Console. But then it got delisted as soon as the calendar rolled to 2015 and hasn’t been seen since. Perhaps this was to make way for Tetris Ultimate, which landed worldwide at the end of 2014.
Pokemon Yellow and Crystal. While Nintendo probably has no choice about the No. 1 selling Game Boy game, there’s no way the Game Boy Classic is going to go with the No. 2 and No. 3 games. However, my opinion is that it’s far more likely they include the common versions (Red, Blue, Silver and Gold) rather than their lower-selling upgrades.
Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble and Pokemon Pinball. I have sincere doubts that Nintendo is going to incur the added expenses of adding rumble and accelerometer capacity to the Classic.
Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle and its sequel. While these two games rated rather well among the best-selling games on the platform, licensing is always the kiss of death. Considering that the Crazy Castle series was reskinned for just about every region with a different license, it’s perhaps a big kerfuffle waiting to happen.
Games that will make the cut
Where existent, each non-GB Color game will use their Super Game Boy colorization or the GB Color’s hard-coded special palette. Though I suspect the existence of a hard-coded palette will be a good predictor of which original Game Boy games are in the Classic’s library.
I also expect the Game Boy Classic to have the most games of all these systems thus far, given the sheer volume of its library, including an avalanche of first-party titles. That being said, I expect the actual number to be more than the 34 listed here. The problem is, so many third-party Game Boy games have exceptionally mangled relationships between IP owners, developers and publishers.
- Super Mario Land is a classic, but remember: A LOT of the Game Boy’s library has aged poorly. Sadly, this is one of them.
- Castlevania: The Adventure because Konami hates you.
- Tennis is but one example of the Game Boy Classic’s more expansive sports library
- F1-Race will sadly probably go without it’s groundbreaking 4-player competitions.
- Warioland II; don’t forget we’re dealing with TWO launches, here.
- Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX is perhaps the best possible game to include.
- Game and Watch Gallery 2 for more or less the same reason Nintendo can’t quit Urban Champion.
- Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons are here to make Pokemon not feel so bad about being double-listed
- Pokemon Red and Blue are here more for fame, as they suffer their age greatly.
- Pokemon Silver and Gold are what most people will actually play after their 1st-gen nostalgia trip wears off.
- Kirby’s Dream Land
- Kirby’s Pinball Land
- Kirby’s Dream Land 2
- Metroid II: Return of Samus, probably wasn’t included with Samus Returns for a reason.
- Super Mario Bros. Deluxe
- Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
- Warioland: Super Mario Land 3
- Donkey Kong Land
Filling the puzzle game void
- Alleyway, which Nintendo swears isn’t Breakout.
- Donkey Kong, the 1994 one.
- Dr. Mario
- Kirby’s Block Ball should make the cut seeing how all-in the SNES mini was on Kirby.
- Kirby’s Star Stacker, natch.
- Mario’s Picross, though I find it hard to go back after playing in 3-D.
- Yoshi Isn’t amazing, but it needs to make ONE of these things.
- Dragon Quest III because ONE of these things needs some DQ representation.
- Final Fantasy Adventure is part of old Mana series games coming to everything.
- Game and Watch Gallery, because Nintendo hates you.
- Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge because Capcom hates you, and because we’re not lucky enough to get the incomparable Mega Man V.
- Gargoyle’s Quest — not because Capcom loves us, but because some made a wonderful mistake.
- Wave Race might have a bit of an ownership jinx given that Nintendo hasn’t touched it in three generations. I’m adding it as an aspirational pick as it would be nice for people to see the short-lived series origins given that Wave Race 64 might be everyone’s only exposure.