Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Finding the Diamond in the Rough: Gameboy (and Color)

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Back in 1989, the release of the GameBoy liberated many gamers from the need for a free television in the house and cursed our parents with a new need to keep fresh batteries always stocked and losing our attention at basically any moment in the day to day.  Whether it was getting taken on the bus, found in lockers, interrupting dinner, sneaking it into church, or whatever other inappropriate moments you found yourself in with your GameBoy, this portable is no doubt notable.  Unfortunately due to quality and quantity, not to mention the relatively low price of each game, there’s not too many treasures to be found.  There are a few, though, and here they are:

GameBoy Games

  • Castlevania Legends: If you aren’t aware, all of the GameBoy Castlevania games are pretty terrible, but Legends is probably the best of the three.  Released in 1998 just before the GameBoy Color hit the scene, this magic heavy linear title was somewhat unique, but given the inconsistencies with the series cannon (a factor that had Igarashi-San remove it from the official timeline) and the Symphony of the Night team shunning it meant sudden death for the game.  There were also many better games out at the time including the aforementioned Playstation title that just made this poor, albeit better than the previous two, GameBoy title to be shunned and thus quite rare.  If you have this, ditch it for the much better $50 price tag.
  • cool_ball_boxCool Ball: This is a pretty standard affair for a GameBoy game – you control an anthropomorphic ball in a platformer.  What’s not standard is the rarity of this game that is quite fun to play on the go.  At $60 I’m betting most would be interested in selling in, however this is probably one of the hardest games to acquire for a US complete set so if that’s in your plans you may want to hold out.
  • Kid Dracula: So basically GameBoy Castlevania games are the key to striking it rich here and Kid Dracula, a spin-off of the Castlevania series that was previously only in Japan, is a tough call when considering whether to sell it or keep it.  Valued at $57, it can be tempting, but since we never got the Famicom original, this great action platformer’s remake and sequel hybrid on the GameBoy is the only time we touched it in the US.  A Virtual Console release could solve this quick, but as it stands you have to pony up to enjoy this rock solid title.
  • Mega Man V: The ports of the NES games to the GameBoy are quite strong, and I even know a handful of people who only played the portable iterations, but they all still suffer from the large sprite, small screen problem.  Still, the late release of Mega Man V fetches nearly $80 today.  With the super short campaign, impressive graphics for the portable, and the fact that it’s on Virtual Console, sell the cart and re-buy it with less than 10 percent of that newly earned cash.
  • NIV Bible and Lost Levels Joshua: Ah Wisdom Tree, that Christian unlicensed developer that only distributed in book stores, how I love the value of your games.  I’ve never taken the time to play this game, so in all fairness it could be excellent, but that doesn’t change the extreme rarity and subsequently astronomical $120 price tag.  The price skyrockets to nearly $500 if you happen to have box and instructions.  If you have it, sell it.
  • spud_boxSpud’s Adventure:  This is an interesting action and RPG hybrid where a young potato has to save the tomato princess.  It’s an earlier Atlus game, which means extremely low print run.  When we say low, we mean that the game has never seen a sealed copy for sale and wears a $175 cart only price tag.  Easily the rarest and most expensive game, it’s really up to you what to do with this gem of gaming history in the unlikely event you possess it.

Even though the GameBoy Color is truly a different (and not forward compatible) system, most people who look for GameBoy are also on the hunt for GameBoy Color so we’ve included them here.

Gameboy Color Games

  • International Superstar Soccer 99: While one side of Konami was hard at work with Pro Evolution Soccer (PES)/Winning Eleven there was an Osaka group that was busy making these titles.  With a home console version on the Nintendo 64 and the fact that the game was relatively early in the days of the GameBoy color, it just didn’t sell well.  Apparently it’s more advanced than even FIFA or PES at this time, but the lack of sales constitutes the very nice $75 price you can fetch for this title.
  • No Fear Downhill Mountain Bike Racing: No Fear was a fun little t-shirt brand back in the 90s as was the concept of Mountain Bike racing, but I think these two properties are best left off portable consoles.  I have never played this game, but at $125 as a going price I would be too busy selling it to give it a chance anyway.
  • Shantae: It’s a good thing that WayForward’s first original work Shantae has re-released on the 3DS Virtual Console because it’s a really good game that’s quite difficult to find.  It didn’t sell well, due mostly to the fact that it released after the GameBoy Advance, but it’s an impressive work on Nintendo’s little 8-bit portable.  With a $240 price tag, the rarity is clear and I guess I’m not much of a collector because I could easily part with it to get the digital VC version for $6.
  • zelda_ooa_oos_leLegend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons Limited Edition: This is a super rare and super expensive bundle that was only available in Europe, so you can imagine the price it fetches.  A very un-Nintendo like bundle, this 500 print run package (according to Nintendo of Europe) gives you both fantastic games and whole lot of goodies all wrapped into a neat little box.  To have this item is to be quite proud but to fetch this item you’ll be looking at a nearly $2,000 price tag ($1,871 to be exact)  and that’s if you can ever find one for sale since there’s only been one in the history of eBay.  Someone does have a sealed VGA 90 boxed version they want $30,000 for, but shockingly no one has bitten.  $2,000 is steep, but then this has easily got to be one of the rarest Zelda items of all time.

Written by Fred Rojas

May 13, 2015 at 3:46 pm

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