Long before we enjoyed games on iPhone and Android tablets, and well before Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, there was the Game Boy. In 1989, Nintendo launched its handheld alongside a classic version of the addictive puzzle game, Tetris, and history was made.
Now we're celebrating the 25th anniversary of the system, and decided to take a look back at its 10 most defining titles. There are plenty of nostalgic favorites, as well as games you may be interested in playing again. We know we certainly are.
10.) Donkey Kong Land (Nintendo)
Even though the Donkey Kong Country games were of higher quality on the SNES, the handheld equivalent is worth a look, with sharp visuals and solid gameplay to keep players addicted. Good luck finding all the secrets!
9.) Gargoyle's Quest (Capcom)
It's hard to believe that one of the main villains from the Ghosts 'n Goblins series, Firebrand, received his own game – and a great one at that. Gargoyle's Quest is a fitting, enjoyable role-playing/action game with hours’ worth of replay value, especially when it comes to finding its ghoulish secrets. If you never tried it before, hunt down a copy.
8.) Metroid 2: Return of Samus (Nintendo)
Before the arrival of the brilliant Super Metroid, players turned to the Game Boy to get their Samus fix with the excellent Metroid 2. Featuring wonderfully designed levels, features that enhanced the gameplay and plenty of challenging boss encounters, it's easily one of Nintendo's best sequels to date.
7.) Operation C (Konami)
While the NES Contra games are considered classics, Operation C deserves equal praise. This sequel features plenty of action that lights up the Game Boy screen, along with responsive gameplay that guarantees you won't lose your weapon – well, unless you have lackluster skills.
6.) Donkey Kong (Nintendo)
Nintendo pulled off a nice trick with this contemporary take on the arcade classic. It featured the first four levels from the '81 game, and then dove head first into larger, more complex stages for players to tackle. The game did quite well on the Game Boy, and was also one of the first titles to be compatible with the SNES-friendly Super Game Boy peripheral.
5.) Kirby's Dream Land (Nintendo)
Although the original Super Mario Land is worth its weight in gold, many fans felt that Kirby's Dream Land was the first true quality platformer for the Game Boy. It certainly lived up to the hype, with unique ability-acquiring gameplay and delightful visuals and sound that made proper use of the hardware. Kirby's legacy continues to live on today, with Kirby Triple Deluxe hitting the 3DS early next month.
4.) Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 (Nintendo)
Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins did a superb job solidifying the plumber's legacy on the Game Boy, so why shouldn't his nefarious adversary get a turn? Super Mario Land 3 offered a diverse, fun new gameplay experience with the fiendish Wario, having him collect coins to no end while saving the day. Here's hoping we see the mustached anti-hero get another adventure, maybe on the 3DS.
3.) The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Nintendo)
It's hard to live up to the legacy of a classic like The Legend of Zelda: A Link To the Past, which became a SNES favorite for years. However, Nintendo managed to do the impossible with the thoroughly enjoyable Link's Awakening, an in-depth adventure with an original storyline and a handful of amazing abilities, as well as the classic gameplay we've come to expect from Zelda games. A modified version came out later for the Game Boy Color, but nothing beats the original.
2.) Pokemon Red & Blue (Nintendo)
Yes, before battling friends via the Nintendo Network and collecting hundreds of Pokémon through your Pokedex, the series made its humble debut on the Game Boy. With the Red and Blue releases, millions of players became hooked, turning it into a legendary franchise that sells by the truckload.
1.) Tetris (Nintendo)
A lot of great experiences came to the Game Boy during its life, but surprisingly enough, the one that still stays with us the most is Alexei Pajitnov's puzzle classic, Tetris. There's just something about the way it plays and sounds that draws us in, trying to complete four-line Tetris pieces while avoiding costly mistakes that cause towers of unwanted blocks to appear. Tetris DS would later go on to perfect the formula, but in 1989, this was all the gaming you needed.
This article originally appeared on Modojo.