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Why I Love My Gameboy

Gameboy Gallery 2
Yes, we know Yoshi isn't a Game & Watch classic, but don't panic.

Octopus
Octopus in classic and modern configuration.

The Gameboy has been around for more than ten years now, and for the first nine-and-a-half I really didn't care. Oh sure, I played the occasional game of Tetris on one if it came my way, but it never seemed that compelling a proposition to me.

This year, though, everything has changed. Firstly, I became aware of the Gameboy Pocket, which is a lot more attractive and compact than the original model. Secondly, and far more importantly, my brother told me about GameBoy Gallery 2, a compendium of four of the Game & Watch titles with which Nintendo first achieved fame in the early 1980s.

During that time period, I was completely addicted to Octopus, the game where you steal underwater treasure while trying not to get caught in squidlike tentacles. This alone would have justified paying $40-odd for the cartridge. The package also includes Oil Panic, Manhole and Fire. I must confess I don't remember Manhole (even though it sold a million) and I'm really crap at it, but the others are just great.

To suck in the young who don't remember the original Game & Watches, Nintendo has included 'modern' versions with smoother graphics, extra options, and familiar characters like Mario and Yoshi. These are OK, but not a patch on the original.

More recently, Nintendo has also introduced Gameboy Gallery 3, which includes another six classic games. Most importantly, it has Helmet, the only game which ever challenged Octopus for supremacy in the time-wasting department round my way. Also on offer are Chef, Donkey Kong, Parachute, Vermin and (as a bonus game when you get a high enough score), Ball. While I bought this for the classics, some of the modern versions are quite neat, especially that for Chef. The modern Donkey Kong sucks ass, though.

(Note for US readers: since the original Gameboy Gallery doesn't appear to have been released in your part of the world, subtract 1 from the numbers referred to above. I'll add some stuff about 4 when I get the time.)


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