Friday, March 27, 2015

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan (1990)

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, the TMNT 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 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.

The TMNT logo, rendered in delightful black and white.

Myself, being a boy at the ripe age of 13, was totally captivated by the green team.  I was awestruck at the movie, jammed the movie soundtrack endlessly, and was fully entrenched in the separate lore of the TV series.  I had a TMNT movie t-shirt I proudly wore everywhere, and I was a bona fide turtle fan.  Naturally, since I had recently acquired my Game Boy not long after the movie's release, I was clamoring for my TMNT fix on the new handheld.  Thankfully, Konami was there to provide that fix, via their Ultra Games imprint, in August of that year.  What I got wasn't quite the turtleriffic experience I was looking for, but it was a fun game, nonetheless.

Leonardo looks just a little too happy to be stomping the Foot...

Splinter and Arpil O'Neil have been captured by Shredder and the Foot Clan, and it's up to the 4 pubescent, mutated, martial arts amphibians to rescue them.  To do so, our heroes will have to slog through 5 stages, separated into smaller sub-sections, and do battle with the Foot and other minions of Shredder and Krang along the way.  The game closely follows the look and feel of the cartoon series, in terms of character and enemy designs, and uses the theme song as the basis for the stage music during the first city streets area.  Choose your turtle to hack and slash your way through the baddies, and occasionally collect pizza to replenish life along the way.  If a turtle loses all life from the health bar, he gets captured, and cannot be used again through the rest of the game.  The game is a basic side-scrolling action-platformer, much like the 1st NES TMNT title, but stripped down to just the basics of melee combat and simple platforming.  This was a wise choice, given the still early stage in the Game Boy hardware's life, and the fact that the development tools probably hadn't matured enough to push the hardware to do much more than that.

Unlike the 1st NES game, the Turtles have zero issues with water.

Graphically, the game is quite nice for an early Game Boy title.  The turtle sprites are large and have that personality you want from the characters, despite all 4 looking identical, and always having a sort of goofy smile.  From Foot Clan members to Mousers, and boss characters like Beebop, Rocksteady, and Baxter Stockman, enemy sprites are recognizable as compared to their cartoon counterparts, and are rendered nicely on the small screen.  Animation is a touch sparse, but what's there gets the job done.  There is a noticeable change in the way the turtles look when they take a hit, so that's a nice touch.  Backgrounds range from nicely rendered and interesting (the first stage's cityscape and subsequent sewer), to overly basic and relatively uninspired (i.e., inside the Technodrome).  The between level cut scene graphics are more impressive, with images clearly depicting the turtles, April, and the like.

The animation when the turtles get hurt is a nice touch.

Something I found curious is the disparity between some of the detail and animation.  For example, the turtles smile all the time (except when they take a hit) and look incredibly stiff, and yet, Raphael and Michaelangelo have weapon animations that take place while they walk.  It's a nice addition that gives their sprites a bit of extra personality, and yet it contrasts a bit starkly with how stiff they look otherwise.  The Foot Clan members are very sparsely animated and look equally stiff, but the Mousers and Roadkill Rodney's are nicely animated to look a lot like their cartoon and other TMNT game counterparts.  The cityscape background in the first stage is quite detailed, but many of the other areas are bland, so one has to wonder what the deciding factor was for that.

"Time to make some toitle soup!" - Rocksteady

The sound design is a mixed bag.  As with most Konami-developed titles, the music is well done, and makes good use of the hardware.  Nintendo had already shown us by that point that the Game Boy could produce good sound, so naturally, a seasoned company like Konami could marshal skilled developers to make the most of the limited resources the hardware had to offer.  As for the music, they've done that, with a batch of reasonably catchy tunes that sound good on the hardware.  Sound effects, on the other hand, are a tad sketchy.  Some of them are just too high pitched and sound "tinny", while others have a bit too much of that "white noise" feel to them.  Hats off to the sound design team for trying to do more than simple "boops and beeps" with the game, but I think their scope was just slightly out of the Game Boy's reach, at least in terms of whatever sound development software they were using at the time.

As mentioned, the "cut scene" graphics are impressive,
and do a good job rendering the turtle characters.

One of the major complaints leveled against this game is its difficulty, or rather, the lack thereof.  I can corroborate this from my own childhood experience, because I remember purchasing the game as a new release at K-Mart (R.I.P.), and beating it in the car on the 30 minute drive home.  Being the huge TMNT fan I was, however, that didn't stop me from playing it again and again.  So while the game might be overly easy, due to its lack of challenge and only having 5 stages, that's not entirely a bad thing.  Given the resurgence in the popularity of the TMNT franchise, this is a good game to introduce to younger kids who want to play a TMNT game but haven't developed the major motor skills necessary to take on a more difficult title.  It's fun while it lasts, so repeated plays are definitely a way to extend the life of the game.  Another thing that I noticed, even as a kid, is the slowdown.  There are spots where the game slows down, especially when you perform a jump or jump-kick move.  The scrolling is also a bit jerky, though that could be due, in part, to the way the graphics are being rendered.  This is especially true when jumping, as the screen is often having to scroll both vertically and horizontally, and most NES titles didn't even do that until Super Mario Bros. 3 came along, so it's an understandable flaw, even if it detracts from the gameplay a bit.

Leo's not smiling any more!

What we end up with is a fun, if all-too short pizza powered romp through several TMNT-themed locations.  The mechanics are overly simple, the sound effects can be dodgy at times, and the game is far too easy, but looking back, those things didn't really affect me as a kid.  I notice them more today, mostly because I can cast a more critical eye at this point in my life.  Still, maybe I'm looking through the ever-present "nostalgia goggles", but I think this is still a quite solid game that, despite its obvious flaws, is still loads of fun to play through, even today.  If you're a die-hard TMNT fan, you could do a lot worse than this game, especially considering the low price this game usually sells for.  I've seen several copies recently, as of this writing, hovering around the $4-$6 range, and that's very reasonable.  If you're just looking for another action platformer for your Game Boy and want more of a challenge, look elsewhere.  However, if you're in it for the fun factor, by all means, check this game out.  It has enough personality to make it worth a play through.  Casually recommended.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Donkey Kong (1994)

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.

It is perhaps poignant that I cover Donkey Kong first, considering that the Game Boy's architect, Gunpei Yokoi, produced the original arcade game, supervising a then young Shigeru Miyamoto.  There was no Mario yet, only Jumpman, a relatively generic protagonist with just enough personality to make him interesting.  The tried and true formula of "man saves damsel in distress" hadn't been overtly done in video game form yet, in part because, until Donkey Kong came around, most game characters were space ships, save for Pac-Man himself.  So while the damsel in distress trope had been widely used in film and television throughout the 20th century, video games were still a burgeoning market, teeming with all manner of untapped potential.  To say that Nintendo invented the "platformer" genre with Donkey Kong is to do them a disservice.  Nintendo revolutionized the gaming industry with the game, and the innovative approach of a semi-realistic human protagonist.

We're squaring off with this handsome fella!

The game starts out simply enough, reprising the original 4 stages that made up the arcade game.  After that, however, rather than reuniting with Pauline, Mario (now obviously the protagonist in this reboot) watches as Donkey Kong scoops her up in his hairy arms and carries her off to the Big City, the first set of levels designed specifically for this title.  Things get interesting very quickly, as Mario is given a limited set of moves and abilities from which to pull.  Mario has a new jumping mechanic he can employ, and can duck to miss some enemies or dangerous obstacles, as well as using a hammer (as in the original), climbing ladders, jumping over barrels and enemies, and so on.  A fall from too great a high results in Mario's death, and touching an enemy results in either temporary paralysis, or instant death, depending on the foe.  During boss battles with Donkey Kong himself, don't get close enough to let him get his hands on you, or Mario will die immediately.

This looks familiar...

The basic goal is to pull levers, jump on platforms, run, and climb to reach a key, found in each level, and then pick up that key Super Mario Bros. 2-style, and carry it back to the locked door to open it and progress to the next level.  Do this 3 times, and you'll face off with Donkey Kong himself in a sort of boss battle.  Some of the boss battles play out like stages from the arcade original, where you simply have to make it to the top without getting hit by flying barrels, enemies, or other obstacles.  Other boss battles give you the opportunity to confront the giant ape by picking up stationary barrels he throws down, and then throwing them at him.  After 3 hits, Donkey Kong retreats with Pauline to the next stage.  These boss encounters are varied and enjoyable, because the tactics change from one encounter to the next, and you won't be using the same strategies throughout the game.

The little "cut scenes" between areas are very cute,
and help keep things light.

Much of the innate complexity of this game revolves around the balance between 2 levels of time management, semi-precise platforming and jump mechanics, and figuring out in what order to do certain things or take certain actions.  For example, you may be in a level that has multiple levers to pull that do things like opening the gate where the key to exit the level exists.  However, pulling that lever activates a hidden platform which blocks the key from the easiest path to reach it.  You may need to find another lever to pull which will open a path to reach the key from another vantage point.  You're always working against the clock, so that's a time management scenario, but then, sometimes you need to employ temporary items like a ladder or floor that can be activated by touching the icon floating on the screen.  Once activated, those only stay on screen for a limited time, so that's time management scenario #2 - figuring out how and where to use those, and do so before their time limit is up.  You'll occasionally find that the time required to complete a task, and the time allotted by the temporary floor/spring/ladder/etc. is nearly equal, so the pressure is on to find the most efficient and expedient way to accomplish a task.

If you're like me, you'll also find that less-than-perfect jumps will result in a lot of untimely death for Mario.  You may burn 10 lives or more on a single stage, before you figure out what sequence of events you need to trigger in order to get the key and make your way to the exit door with key in hands.  Did I mention the key is on a time-limit as well?  Yes, if you drop the key for any reason, it only stays accessible for a short time as well, and then reverts back to where you obtained it from.  If you fall from a platform, and fall too far, you drop the key as well.  Sometimes you'll fall far enough to drop the key and go paralyzed, but not enough to where Mario expires, so you might have enough time to get the key before it disappears, though depending on the stage's layout, you may or may not be able to reach the area you need to.  It's a constant shuffle between managing your time and finding the path that will lead you to the exit door with the key.  Because you cannot climb while holding the key, and because the extended jump mechanics don't work with the key either, you'll be finding creative ways to get from one point to another.

Every four stages and you'll face off against Donkey Kong.

There's a deceptive simplicity in the level design, especially early on.  Some levels can be accomplished in a couple ways, based on what obstacles are in the way.  Most, however, require a fairly concise and specific set of tasks to complete in order to obtain the key, and open the way to reach the exit.  Once you expend a few lives on a given level, you'll start to see the pitfalls and paths form, and some manner of logic to the design will start to appear.  I found myself stumped a couple times, and had to consult a walk-through, though out of nearly 100 levels, that only happened 2 or 3 times total.  The majority of the levels will slowly reveal their solution to you as you play through it and think critically about Mario's abilities, limitations, and especially what you can and cannot do once  you have the key.  You'll find that some levels seem easy at first, because obtaining the key is a snap.  The challenge often presents in getting the key to the exit, rather than obtaining the key itself, and vice versa.  And then sometimes, both things seem nigh-impossible.

Graphically, the game is solid, with little bits of animation here and there to highlight the action.  When Mario falls and gets paralyzed, you'll often see Mario look dazed and confused, or if he gets squished by something, he'll end up flat and float to the ground like a piece of paper.  The attention to detail, given the platform's limited capabilities, is impressive.  Another thing I noticed is that, while some levels have busy backgrounds or areas, most of the stages have a minimalist approach, where the bulk of the graphics are in the foreground, so as to allow the player to concentrate on the puzzle solving aspects.  This was a smart design decision, because the graphics then enhance the experience, rather than trying to do too much and distract from the player's ability to learn the levels.  Donkey Kong is well animated, and most enemies and obstacles have some subtle animation that works well.  Some of the animation sequences between areas and stages also serve to demonstrate abilities that Mario might have to use in the coming stages, which is a nice touch.

"Stop! Hammer time!"

The sound design in the game deserves some recognition as well.  While many of the background tunes aren't overly memorable, they are fitting to their respective levels, and mostly unobtrusive.  The sound effects, on the other hand, are where this game often shines.  The little Game Boy speaker and sound hardware isn't overly capable, but with the right programmer, can do fun things.  The "voice" of Pauline yelling "Help!" is a nice touch, though after hearing that yell 15 times in a row on the same level can add to the frustration.  Donkey Kong's grunts and growls are nicely approximated on the hardware as well, in similar fashion to the laughs and other voice work in Mike Tyson's Punch Out!! on the NES.  The rest of the sound effects all make sense, and are a nice addition to the game.  I appreciate the nod to the original with the level intro music, and the tune that plays when selecting a stage on the map screen, as well as the sound that plays when you successfully jump over an enemy or obstacle.

I found the difficulty curve to be rather manageable, until toward the end of the 7th area.  Particularly, I struggled a lot with Stage 7-9, and then again with 8-9.  Thankfully, some of the more difficult levels contain 1Up icons to collect, so you can have a few tries to figure them out.  There are also 3 special items you can collect during each level: a hat, an umbrella, and a handbag.  Collect all 3, and you'll get to play a mini game where you can win extra lives.  You'll need them, because some of the levels will require multiple deaths and attempts before you know just what to do to complete them.  I found that many stages could be completed on the first try with little effort, because the way to get the key to the exit was obvious.  Others are real head-scratchers, and make you work your brain to determine how to approach them.  I will say specifically, patience is a virtue with this game.  Don't go in expecting to barrel through (pun intended) a level with your highly refined platforming skills, because it takes more than a mastery of jump mechanics to get the job done.  Take your time, watch the activity in a level to see how and where enemies appear, where moving platforms go, how long it takes for certain things to happen, and you'll be that much farther ahead in being able to plan your next move.

"Slow ride, take it easy."

All in all, the inclusion of the original levels, nods to the original (and Donkey Kong Jr.) throughout the game, and all the level design ingenuity make for a really fun and rewarding experience.  You might feel like launching your Game Boy into the stratosphere a few times after you've lost 12 lives in a row, but keep pressing on and don't let the frustration overtake you; you'll find that once you figure out what is stumping you, there's an overwhelming sense of victory and accomplishment that is the big payoff for taking the time to figure those hard stages out.  Keep in mind, too, that this game has a battery backup to allow you to keep up to 3 consecutive games going at a time.  Burn through all your lives trying to figure out an area?  Just power your Game Boy off and back on to load the save and keep trying.  Add to that the Super Game Boy compatibility, and you have a pretty complete package that should please both fans of the original arcade game, and puzzle platformer fans alike.  I would highly recommend this title to anyone with even a passing interest in Mario, Donkey Kong, or platforming games in general.  Something this well designed and executed should be in any Game Boy collector's library.  Highly recommended!

Introduction to the Game Boy Guru

My name is Josh, and I've been playing video games, in some form, since I was 5 years old.  I first experienced the thrill of video games at the ripe young age of 5, at a family get together.  My uncle brought his Atari 2600 console, and between Pac-Man, Combat, Battlezone, and a handful of other titles, I was completely smitten with the idea of controlling some small, multi-pixel object on the screen.  Every time we would get together with family, I hoped one of my uncles would bring their Atari 2600.  Every time I'd visit friends, I would beg them to play video games.  And eventually, I would own my own gaming platform, but more on that later.

After having been exposed to the Atari 2600 through family members, and then computer gaming through another uncle, my parents bought a family computer.  Mostly, my dad wanted to be able to do productivity stuff with it, but as much time as I could spend on it, I did, playing various shareware games and games designed for the system.  And while we were late to the game, owning the IBM PCjr well after its marketability had all but dried up, that little machine gave me countless hours of joy.  I had adventures with King's Quest, played hoops with One on One Basketball, destroyed property as a Paperboy, and spent hours exploring space and discovering new life forms with Starflight.  Until I started buying games that didn't really work on the PCjr, due to the limitations of RAM (and no hard drive), that computer was the perfect outlet for my early gaming curiosity.

Image shamelessly linked from Old Computers.  Our PCjr had multiple "sidecar"
upgrades to boost it from the stock 128KB to a smoking 640KB of RAM!

My parents wouldn't buy me a dedicated games console, in part, because they said I would monopolize the TV.  They were right, I absolutely would have.  I did have a short stint with my uncle's 2600 when he let me borrow it during part of a summer.  Sadly, the somewhat broken joysticks led me to fits of young gamer rage, which prompted my mom to pack it up and send it back to him.  Once again, I was relegated to just my PCjr, and various friends' consoles, to get my gaming fix.  Thankfully, my next door neighbor had a 2600, NES, and even an original Magnavox Odyssey, and was happy to have me come by any time to play games with him.

There was light at the end of the tunnel, however.  Though my parents wouldn't allow me to own a home console, with only 1 TV set in the house, they did say I could buy a Game Boy, provided I bought it with my own money.  I didn't get that much in allowance money, but I dutifully saved my cash, rather than spending it on G.I. Joe figures, and saved up until my 13th birthday, April 1990.  I bought the Game Boy, complete with Tetris cartridge, and my parents bought me Castlevania: The Adventure as my birthday gift.  It was a glorious birthday, potentially one of the best ever.

Image shamelessly linked from Wikipedia.  This game
was an integral part of my early Game Boy experience.
It was an impressive use of the modest Game Boy hardware.

What followed over the next 2 years was pure childhood gaming bliss.  I bought over a dozen classic Game Boy games: Super Mario Land and its sequel, Alleyway, F-1 Race, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan, Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters, Gargoyle's Quest, Final Fantasy Legend, Duck Tales, Dr. Mario, and several others.  I poured a lot of time into my Game Boy, and every time my family went to visit my grandparents or other relatives, I had my trusty Game Boy with me.  When I stayed overnight with friends, we each had our Game Boys with link cables, ready to duke it out in Tetris, Dr. Mario, or whatever other 2-player extravaganza we both had.  I also spent countless hours in my bedroom, fighting and clawing to reach the end of Castlevania and Gargoyle's Quest, and a lot of time perfecting my 4-row technique in Tetris.  It was a magical time.

Sadly, that time came to an end in 1992, when I decided that I absolutely had to have a Sega Genesis.  My parents were buying a new TV, so that opened up the possibility that my younger brother and I could buy their old TV, pool our money together and buy a Genesis, so we could experience the awesome power of the system.  I had already played Last Battle, Golden Axe, and the awe-inspiring Sonic the Hedgehog at a classmate's house, and I knew that was what I wanted.  I still didn't have that much money, however, so I ended up selling my Game Boy and all my games to pay for the Genesis.  I don't regret buying, owning, or playing the Genesis, because it's still one of my favorite systems, and I have a ton of great memories of that.  I just wish, in hindsight, that I hadn't let go of my entire collection of complete-in-box Game Boy titles, especially F-1 Race, because I had the 4-player adapter with it.

Image shamelessly linked from GameTrog.
This Genesis model is the one I sold my
Game Boy to obtain.  I still have the system and
box and still use them today.

Thankfully, I recognized my egregious error 2 years later, and when my best friend from school decided to sell his Game Boy, I bought it from him without a moment's hesitation.  Granted, I didn't get back the boxes and manuals, but I did reacquire some favorites like Tetris, the original Super Mario Land, and Alleyway.  I soon purchased Dr. Mario and Duck Tales again, and was reliving the fun of owning a portable system once again.  I snagged Super Mario Land 2: The Six Golden Coins (still have that complete-in-box!), and loved it, as well as a handful of other games, to eventually get back nearly all the titles I enjoyed just a few short years earlier.  By the time I graduated high school, however, I wasn't gaming much, in part because all my money was going toward dating my girlfriend.

I rediscovered gaming again in 1998 when my wife and I took a trip to another uncle's house for a big family get together weekend, and my younger cousin had his PlayStation there.  We spent the better part of that weekend pouring over Tekken 2, and my wife decided at that point that we needed a PlayStation.  We bought one, got Tekken 2 and Tekken 3, and I also picked up a couple shmups and a copy of Final Fantasy VII.  Once again, I immersed myself in gaming, and though my Game Boy laid largely dormant during that period, I was still cultivating my love for gaming, and the memories of that earlier time were still part of what propelled me to continue to invest in games.  I spent a lot of time with that system, and it's still one of my favorites to this day.

Image shamelessly linked from GameSniped.
This DualShock PlayStation model is what I have, and
still have, complete in box.  I sunk a LOT of hours
into a whole cadre of games on this great system.

In 2000, I got the itch to get back into portable gaming again, so I picked up an Atomic Purple model of the Game Boy Color.  I could go back and play my existing Game Boy library, and then also some new games I picked up, like Bionic Commando Elite Forces, Project S-11, R-Type DX, Frogger, and even the goofy game The Smurfs' Nightmare.  Once again, I immersed myself in portable gaming, taking the unit with me on trips and to various places when I had the chance.  The screen was better, it only used 2 batteries instead of 4, was more truly portable, and I could plug in one of those ingenious "snake light" peripherals to give light to the screen without a giant, bulky attachment.  Suddenly, my original Game Boy library came alive again, some titles with a reasonable amount of color, and on a much improved display.

I missed out on the Game Boy Advance immediately, because I was concentrating on mostly console and PC gaming throughout much of the mid-2000's.  I didn't pick up a GBA until years later, sometime in 2008 or 2009, when I found a GBA SP very reasonably priced at a used game store.  Within a short period of time, once again, I found myself enjoying old Game Boy games, picking up more original Game Boy and Game Boy Color games I hadn't owned before, and also buying new Game Boy Advance games that had come out years before.  The advent of the backlit display was a huge bonus, and the GBA SP is still my handheld of choice for playing any of my Game Boy library.  My portable gaming life is now split between my GBA SP (and library of Game Boy family of games), and my Sony PSP, which my wife bought me for Christmas in 2005.  I occasionally cross over, playing some GB, GBC, or GBA titles on the PSP (via custom firmware and emulation, of course), in part, due to save states, and additional color options, but sometimes strictly out of convenience.

Image shamelessly linked from Wikimedia.
The stunning silver Game Boy Advance is my weapon
of choice when it comes to playing GB games on the go!

So now we come to the genesis (sorry, pun intended) of this project!  There are a number of folks who have endeavored to do full system reviews, which are game-by-game analysis of every title for the respective console(s) they've chosen.  You have Nintendo Legend, and Dylan Cornelius' Questicle project to review every North American NES title, and his subsequent descent into all things Sega with his Sega Does website and podcast.  You also have HuCard Heaven, for TurboGrafx and PC Engine games, and Sega Galactico, aka The Sega Legend, working his way through the Sega Genesis library.  Tom Hall, of the Breaking Bits Podcast, calls himself the N64 Connoisseur, and is attempting to review every North American N64 release. Not every system has a "Legend" working on the game library, but it's becoming more prevalent.  In the Game Boy space, there's GameBoyle, a fantastic YouTube series and Twitter account of a great resource for all things Game Boy.  There's also Game Boy World, a great resource of GB game reviews and information.

So why does the world need a Game Boy Guru?  I'm not sure it does, but as my conversation with Dylan Cornelius went (great dude, go follow him on Twitter right now!), the more people exploring the entire game libraries of each console, the better.  The more people that are uncovering the lesser known titles, milling through the shovelware, and truly highlighting the best games of a platform, the better off the retro gaming community will be.  My opinion may be just one in a sea of opinions, but I want to express it just the same.  This will be an outlet for me, but also a learning experience, since the vast majority of the Game Boy library remains undiscovered by me.  As much as I've enjoyed my Game Boy systems over the years, I'd love to play through a lot of the library.  I've been actively buying Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games when I find them inexpensively, and have built a small, respectable library that will be a great place for me to start.

"It's dangerous to go alone, take one of these!"

I hope to build a near-complete collection of North American Game Boy releases, as well as eventually getting close to that with both the GB Color and GB Advance.  I will cover Japanese and European games if and when I can, based on when I can acquire them.  If the site gets good feedback and people are asking for content faster than I can acquire games, I may look into Patreon or some way folks can help me continue to acquire games for review.  I may also look into a YouTube channel, though my existing channel has been quite neglected of late.  Either way, I want to bring you my thoughts on the Game Boy family of handhelds, and I felt like now was the right time to start doing that.  Game on!