O.G. Game Boy Games Are Still Being Made (And Look Amazing)
Surprisingly, people are still making new games for the original Game Boy family of consoles, even though we live in the year 2021, where your watch and most of the appliances in your kitchen have better graphics. Even more surprisingly, some of these new games look awesome. The world of homebrew Game Boy games is bafflingly vast and sometimes just baffling, but it's also home to legitimately talented developers who have decided to pour their sweat and tears into making games for grey bricks. Here are a few recent examples that caught our attention:
The Shapeshifter 2: An Adventure Game Too Big For One Cartridge
The fact alone that someone managed to cram a full Monkey Island-type adventure game into the original Game Boy without causing the console to explode is already cool enough, but that's not even the most interesting part of this one.
No, what makes The Shapeshifter 2 doubly special is that it's the first Game Boy game that needs two cartridges to be played, and we don't mean in a "collect monsters and trade them with yourself to please your OCD" kind of way. At specific points in the game, you're asked to pick between multiple paths, and some of them require switching over to the other cartridge and entering a code to access a certain game chapter -- it's like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book but even nerdier, in a good way.
The Shapeshifter 2 is currently on Kickstarter, and before you say that this is all an elaborate scam and the creator plans to spend the money on a gold-plated Game Gear or something, consider that they've already Kickstarted, finished, and physically delivered another adventure game for the Game Boy in 2021 (hence the "2" in "The Shapeshifter 2").
Infinity: A Massive (For Its Console) RPG 20 Years In The Making
Infinity is an RPG for the Game Boy Color that was started in 1999 and officially canceled in 2002 because publishers figured that no one gave much of a crap about the GBC by then. They may have been right, but it turns out that a lot of people give a crap about these ancient consoles in 2021, as evidenced by the fact that the same game no one wanted to touch back then just gathered over $300,000 in a crowdfunding campaign.
See, kids? Sometimes, procrastinating on your projects pays off. The developing team (which includes some of the original '90s crew) has promised unique combat modes, over 50 explorable areas, 20 hours of gameplay, and "an elaborate script with more than 3,000 lines of dialogue and 20,000 words" -- that's more than the first four Zelda games combined or like 40 times this article.
They've also confirmed the game is being ported to Nintendo Switch and Steam, but that's the coward's way. Real gamers will play it on a brick, sitting by a window or under a lamp so that they can actually read those 20,000 words.
Goodboy Galaxy: The First New Game Boy Advance In 13 Years, And Already One Of The Best Ones
Goodboy Galaxy is described by the developer as "kind of like Cave Story, or a cuter Metroid." Another good way to describe it is "the reason thousands of people went digging into their closet for a GBA, even if they never had one in the first place."
According to the developers, Goodboy Galaxy will be the first commercially released Game Boy Advance game since 2007's The Bee Game (no relation to Jerry Seinfeld), and the free demo alone is already impressive enough to wash off the bad taste from that turd. Seriously, this thing is more polished and better animated than some current-gen AAA games, and the developers probably didn't even have to ruin any underlings' health to achieve that.
This one is also coming to Steam and Switch after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Hopefully, this causes Nintendo to take notice and develop new installments for their GBA franchises because, dang, we don't remember any of the old Super Mario Advance games and such looking this nice. Are you really gonna let some randos show you off like that, Nintendo? The Power Glove has been thrown.
Top image: Jason Scott/Wikimedia Commons