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Vol. 2, Issue 2
November 17, 1999

Pocket Full o' Love:

GBC Love

by Jason "loonyboi" Bergman




i there! Welcome to Pocket Full of Love. This column is a direct result of our Put a Little Love in Your Pocket cover story from Volume 1. In that article, I looked at all the different forms of handheld gaming, and had a total blast doing it. The article was so popular, and I enjoyed it so much, that we here at loonygames decided we needed more on pocket gaming...so here we are.

The problem these days with handheld gaming, despite their overwhelming popularity, is separating the crap from the really good games (and believe it or not there are lots of great games available). Handheld games don't take too much effort to create if you don't care about the quality...so there's a ton of really bad games out there. Also, believe it or not, there is more to handheld gaming than just the GameBoy and GameBoy Color. In this week's column I'll be focusing entirely on the GBC, but next time I'll talk exclusively about the NeoGeo Pocket Color, the latest and greatest pocket system out there. In the weeks to come, I'll look at some older systems, including a whole bunch of forgotten gems out there for the Atari Lynx and Game Gear (and I'll even tell you how to get one for yourself).

But this week we're going to talk about the GameBoy Color. The GBC is basically a color version of the original GameBoy. It's backwards compatible with all the old black and white (or rather, green) games, and has some cool, if underused features like the IR port that are exclusive to the new system. There are GameBoy Color exclusive titles, but for the most part, the entire GameBoy library works on every GameBoy system. That includes the original system released a decade ago (yes, it's really been that long), the newer GameBoy Pocket, and the Super GameBoy (the adapter for the SNES that allowed you to play games on your TV. A must have for GameBoy fanatics).

If you own an older GameBoy, and are wondering if it's worth upgrading to the new edition, it's ultimately your call. Obviously, the difference between the two is the color, but also, the GameBoy Color has a remarkably long battery-life (I haven't changed mine in six months, and that's with fairly heavy playing).

But the real issue is the games, and that's what this column's for. I play a lot of different games, and I'll be reporting on several of them per issue...so let's look at a few, shall we?

First of all, there are a number of games out there that say "GameBoy Color" on the side bar of their box - try not to be fooled by this. That does not mean the game won't run on your legacy system! It's just a way of letting people know that it's enhanced for the GBC. The enhancements usually mean a native color mode, although some games, like R-Type DX have other features as well. I've noticed that several games (Pokemon Pinball being the most surprising) actually work just fine on my Super GameBoy despite having the "only for GameBoy Color" stamp on the box.

R-Type DX is interesting though. When you pop R-Type into a legacy GameBoy, you're given the option to play either R-Type 1 or R-Type 2. If you play it on your GBC, you have the option of playing either of those, but also you can play R-Type DX, a special version that takes both games and melds them into one.

R-Type DX is a good game, but it suffers from the same problem it did in every previous incarnation - it's way too hard. And I mean way too hard. I've come to the conclusion that bringing it with me on airplanes is just a bad idea...I don't need to get that frustrated when I'm trying to relax (a serious issue for me when I'm up in the air). The game, if you've never seen it, is a side-scrolling space shooter. And like all side-scrolling shooters you go through the game shooting lots of little enemies, and picking up power-up after power-up, making your weapons bigger and bigger as you go. But R-Type distinguishes itself by its "power pod".

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Credits: Illustration © 1999 Dan Zalkus. Pocket Full o' Love is © 1999 Jason Bergman. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, you weirdo.