which Game Boy games do you think of as "large"?

nonono I mean

technically it’s also measurably large but the way it reveals makes a big impression as well


Yeah i came in to say Donkey Kong '94. There are 100 stages in that thing! Including all the levels from the original Donkey Kong! and Mario has this expansive, articulated moveset. So good, so big.

PKMN G+S+C is a truly massive game. i’ve never felt like i’ve approached 100% in it and i doubt i ever will. between the 251 mons and the most in-depth use of the day/time system yet (it debuted with that gen and i swear it’s never been topped), it feels like there is so much possibility nested within those tiny cartridges.

YES! The way you get hints of future levels via the stage backgrounds is brilliant and fantastic and I love it.


If we are counting GBC games, in my distant memories of Super Mario Bros Deluxe that game is eternal. You will never run out of levels to beat.


Which I suppose is funny because the games I am mentioning feel large compared to Super Mario Land 2 which always struck me as on the small side of things

I was wondering if SMB Deluxe’s challenge modes is one of the earliest examples of that level of challenge record-keeping, speedrun encouraging, and–well–achievements actually being built into the game. I can’t think of anything that pre-dates it, though I was pretty out of touch with mainstream consoles around then.

Its multiplayer mode was rad as hell, too.

The thing had a planner with decades of future dates and a fortune teller in it.

SMB Deluxe continues to be a thing of wonder to me. I was so bummed when I found out the Super Mario Advance series on GBA wasn’t doing something similarly awesome.


Was the first one that came to mind.


was the first game I remember gave me the feeling that large things were actually possible on the GB–it seemed like a massive leap from what I’d played before.

Kinda wanna say Ultima 2, too. But maybe that just feels dense more than large. I can’t really remember anymore.

Picross 2 … has a lot of puzzles.

My family had, like, 20 GameBoy games when I was a kid, and I seldom added to the collection. Since I was the younger brother and constantly being dragged to tee ball games and scout meetings, I pretty much mastered each of those twenty games, even if I had no real interest in them.

The most notable exceptions are Metroid II which just never gelled with me and FFL1, which I so thoroughly wanted to “get,” but which I now understand to have been so esoteric in its systems that my being a child probably wasn’t the sole reason I found it inscrutable.

Basically, I just used to dick around in the area around the first castle, battling monsters and watching my mutants transform in unpredictable ways. Because eating monster meat was THE COOLEST, I would make my party all mutants, though my much-older brother (who bought and beat the game) would eventually tell me that the mutants are the worst class, and I should just pick humans and buy better weapons. The mutants probably aren’t actually the worst class if you have a mutation tree, but–y’know–who did? Literally no one!

It was also my brother that told me that to get past the first gate in the game you have to walk through a wall. I have no idea if this is hinted anywhere.

I don’t think we ever found a copy of FFL2, but I found FFL3 much more manageable. And because of the time traveling aspect with the different world maps, that game felt very “big” to me. I never finished it, though–I think because I messed something up irrevocably or just didn’t know what to do next.

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God, I broke that game over my goddamn knee.

I like that it had real bosses and that they had a consistent method of interaction.

'Course it’s pretty easy, and it’s one of those games that I was playing since, like, birth with a sudden awakening in consciousness when I was, like, 8 or 10.

Media that you participate in from a very early age throughout your life creates these really cool benchmarks in your life. Like, when was 8 or 10, I was suddenly able to “get” all these games that I could never beat as a child, and when I turned 12 this light switch flipped and suddently I was like, “Whoa. The Simpsons is totally genius.”

It really allows you to figure out when you’re going through major brain developments.

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dragon warrior monsters came out in the wake of the first pokemon craze, and in the uk at least, got no hype or advertising or anything. so while pokemon’s limits were well-known: 150 monsters, travel round the region until you beat the elite four, and so on, DWM had no such popular documentation. so it was this weird rpg that was of an unknown length, and not only had an unknown number of monsters to obtain, but they could also be fused to make new ones! it seemed unimaginably vast. ( i think it was also the first dragon quest game to ever come out here, too)

game boy advance might be pushing the limits of this thread a bit, but the gba port of street fighter alpha 3 was far better than seemed possible. and the gba fire pro wrestling games were incredible, too. before (and since, even) handheld wrestling games were always ugly, incredibly simple games with tiny rosters obviously going for the same “dumb parents” market that every other licensed shovelware game is aiming at.
the fire pro advance games were fully-featured games with massive rosters and even create a wrestler modes, and they’re still the best handheld wrestling games there have ever been.


Well, a version of Alpha came out on SNES, and isn’t the GBA basically a little SNES?

I’ve never played the GBA Alpah 3 or SNES Alpha. I should make a note to try to get a copy of each.

alpha 3’s a much bigger game than alpha 2 (which the snes has), though! one of my friends actually has snes sfa2! it plays alright, but there’s loading times before each round, the music is awful, and sodom is called katana, like in the snes version of final fight

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Metroid II feels immense and aimless like Shadow of the Colossus before you start honing a mental or graph paper map. The scale of the large rooms on the small screen feels claustrophobic, like your window into SR388 is too small to see hazards ahead.


Survival Kids


[I think part of my never “getting” The Return of Samus was that I was never really sure what my goal was. I mean, we probably had this game since shortly after my birth, so my introduction was opening a half-finished file when I was six and being like, “Huh. You can’t really do anything in this game but shoot bugs. Whatever.”

But I don’t think I realized until I heard a synopsis of the game at 17 that you’re hunting Metroids. I guess it probably says that in the opening crawl, but…I dunno. Anytime I boot it up I’m just like, “What am I doing and why and who cares?” I’ve since played through Super Metroid and played a bunch of the original. But that one still feels pointless to me. So whatevs.

That’s part of why I make the SotC comparison - it’s both focused (counter in the corner of how many Metroids there are left to kill) and meandering (tiled rooms with no clear sense of geographic progress due to the graphical limitations). The markers of progress are the metroid kill count and the music degrading from an upbeat melody into harsh chirping.

the Gameboy castlevanias were all pretty frustratingly hard and as a kid that led to them having this sort of mythic scope - like a mountain I could never climb and see what was on the other side.


Wow, I don’t even remember the counter. I may never have known what it was!

Actually, the music in M2 had a bigger influence on me than the game. I don’t know that I ever actually enjoyed it, but it stuck with me as weird, haunting, alien, mechanical.

In my teens, I figured out how to make a lot of the sounds on a Yamaha keytar that I think had the same soundchip (or similar) as the SNES. I had to set it to a toy piano-style, high treble sound profile, then turn some sort of tone control on full treble, then tweak the pitch shifter up to full treble as well. That finally broke the chip enough that it made those haunting ping noise. And you got a great square wave effect on the tone as you pitch shifted, which was fun to do to an instrument specifically desgined to not sound square-wavey.


Seconding DW Monsters and Metroid 2. I played the holy bejesus out of DW Monsters, and it never really felt “solved.”

The Game Boy Camera is maybe a weird answer? But it had just enough weird secrets and minigames to make me feel like I was missing something, like there was some weird thing I could unlock if I just hit the select button on the right screen… It also had a tiny little DJ program which was great!


the GBA hardware is actually not too much alike the SNES with the exception of the 2D graphics hardware which has similar layer and sprite scaling/rotation features (back when this was too costly to do in software), it just happened to be technologically comparable in people’s minds. mostly this is because the SNES hardware was actually pretty weird; there were only two or three commonly used 8 and 16-bit CPUs (plus their derivatives) and the SNES, along with its expansion chips and sonud processor, doesn’t too closely resemble any of them.

Of the GB saga games, I liked the first one best; I managed to finish it when I was 9 or 10 and the way you scale the tower and visit the different worlds was really neat. The second one is supposed to be the classic because it’s a more coherent version of the first and the third is probably the least saga-like saga game; it was actually a pretty straightforward jrpg.