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Category Archives: Game Boy

Pokemon Nintendo Power

Nintendo Power Predicted a “Pokémon Trade War” in 1998

In 1998, Nintendo Power magazine took on the monumental task of trying to explain Pokémon to its American reader base. With Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue fast approaching a September 30 North American launch date, Game Boy owners were going to need the scoop if they were to jump into a crazy new world their Japanese friends had been enjoying since 1996. After all, the West had seen nothing quite like it at this point in history. In Volume 108 (May of 1998) issue of Nintendo Power, five whole pages were dedicated to these strange little pocket monsters. While there’s a lot of good information on those pages, there are a couple points that seem kind of odd in retrospect. For example, the Poké Ball we know and love today was referred to as a Monster Ball. Now, it’s probably safe to assume Nintendo Power‘s information came from Nintendo of Japan, and Poké Balls are actually called Monster Balls in Japan.…
Game Boy Pocket Seriously Distracting

This Game Boy Pocket Ad Is Seriously Distracting (and Seriously Disturbing)

In early 1997, Nintendo ran the following Game Boy Pocket ad in Loaded, FHM, and Viz magazines: We see a woman tied to a bed with a [insert emotion here] look on her face. Which sounds like the start of a porn film similar to what you can see at websites similar to While the agency responsible for the ad (Leo Burnett) filled in that blank with “frustrated” (due to being ignored), many readers found the word “terrified” to be more appropriate. After several complaints, the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) asked Nintendo to withdraw the ad. Crispin Reed, account director for Nintendo at Leo Burnett, defended the ad, saying, “When you look at [our] ad in the context of the environment it appeared in, it’s exactly in keeping with the editorial pages which, I would say, go further than we did.…
Zelda Toys

The Legend of Zelda 30th Anniversary – Celebrate with Us

February 21, 2016, marks the 30-year anniversary of the Japanese release of The Legend of Zelda. We here at Retrovolve are longtime fans of the franchise, and we wanted to find a fitting way to celebrate such a milestone with our staff and readers. So we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite Zelda-related things we’ve published and we thought it’d be fun to share those. You’ll find them below in no particular order. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Is a Beautiful, Profound Masterpiece Josh Wirtanen explains why he thinks The Wind Waker is one of the best video games ever made, looking at the art, story, and emotional impact of the game. Read it here. A Link to the Past and the Mystery of Link’s Missing Pants Mandi Odoerfer explores the instruction manual art of the Zelda series to get to the bottom of a strange mystery: Where are Link’s pants?…
Star Wars Droids and Game Boys

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 30] : It Terraformed My Body with Battery Acid

We’re a very sleepy group this week, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be flying facts and punishing puns — we’ve got plenty of those to go around! We begin by walking through Mandi’s video game journal project, which leads into a discussion of Minecraft and the PlayStation Vita’s Remote Play feature. And that kicks off a fascinating conversation about handheld video game consoles. Would you believe we managed to find a non-TV video game system from the 1950s? It may not have been portable, but we’re talking about it anyway. We’ve also got quite a bit to say about Nintendo’s Game & Watch vs. Milton Bradley’s Microvision, the Game Boy vs. the Game Gear, mobile games vs. modern handheld games, and Japan vs.…
baby t-rex game boy

Baby T-Rex Was the Little Game Boy Game That Could

On June 25, 1993, a Game Boy game titled Baby T-Rex was released to little or no fanfare. Five months later, We’re Back came out for the Game Boy, with similar results. By the year’s end, two more titles, Bamse and Agro Soar, hit shelves, neither of them receiving much attention. Although there are plenty of forgettable titles in the Game Boy’s library, the circumstances surrounding these games is slightly unusual: Every one of them is the exact same game. In the 80s and early 90s, it wasn’t particularly unusual for a game to be re-purposed. Yo! Noid was a re-skinned version of a Famicom game called Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru. Sports-A-Roni, a Commodore 64 title, was ported to the Famicom as a Donald Duck title, and was released again for the NES as Snoopy’s Silly Sports Spectacular.…
Links Awakening

The 3DS Lets Me Play Link’s Awakening Without Wasting Piles of AA Batteries

I’ve always had a very special place in my heart reserved exclusively for my admiration for The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. I spent an enormous chunk of time back in 1998 (or was it 1999?) playing it on a Game Boy Color I borrowed off some kid whose mother dated my dad for a bit. However, I never got to finish Link’s Awakening, and that fact has haunted me for over 15 years now. See, I never got an AC adapter with the Game Boy I borrowed, so I was draining AA batteries at a rapid rate. Since I was only working a couple days a month at that point in my life (and still bouncing between my mom’s place and my dad’s place), I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on batteries.…

Was the Game Boy the First Gaming Console to Travel to Space?

If one were to make a list of the ten best hyper-addictive Russian puzzle games for Nintendo’s Game Boy, all ten items on that list would be Tetris. While Tetris was available on home computers before the Game Boy’s launch, it was Nintendo’s original handheld that infused the addictive-as-crack puzzle formula with the portable format. The resulting cocktail would alter the shape of the gaming landscape forever. While you could argue that portable/smartphone gaming would have taken off by now regardless, the inception of the basic idea dates all the way back to 1989. In 2011, a Game Boy went for sale that had allegedly been to space way back in 1993. The story is that Russian cosmonaut Aleksandr A. Serebrov brought this console with him aboard the Mir space station, where it was his portable companion for over 3,000 orbits around the Earth.…
For the Frog the Bell Tolls

For the Frog the Bell Tolls Is Zelda for Frog Lovers

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is one of the Game Boy’s most beloved titles. It was an instant hit with critics and fans alike, and remained on bestseller lists for more than seven years. It was remade for the Game Boy Color, re-released for the Virtual Console, and is generally considered to be a handheld classic. But while millions of gamers have played Link’s Awakening, few have enjoyed its predecessor: a quirky little title called Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru, or For the Frog the Bell Tolls. Link’s Awakening started out as a port of A Link to the Past, but its engine was based on this obscure Game Boy title. For the Frog the Bell Tolls will instantly feel familiar to any fan of classic Zelda, from the overhead perspective to the use of top and side views.…
Link's Awakening

Link’s Awakening Was the Ultimate Battery Killer

Link’s Awakening was the first Legend of Zelda game to really grab hold of me and not let me go. Sure, I had dabbled with the original NES game before that, but it didn’t captivate me the way Link’s Awakening did. All these years later, I can’t really remember what it was that caused me to be so obsessed with that game, but I know had to borrow a Game Boy Color and the cartridge from my dad’s girlfriend’s kid in order to play it. The thing that stands out the most in my mind about that game, though, is that I was constantly having to find new batteries. I didn’t have a battery charger, so I started scavenging through my things to find batteries that could power my Zelda kick for just a little longer. …
8-bit Nirvana Chiptune

This 90s Grunge Chiptune Mashup Is 8-Bit Nirvana

You may not completely love the 90s, but you have to admit that it’s a hard decade to hate. Weezer and Green Day were still good, it was every kid’s patriotic duty to play with war toys, and games like ToeJam & Earl were allowed to exist. Best of all, Kurt Cobain was alive and pumping out grunge music for the first half of the decade. In the video below (which we originally found on, Nirvana and an impressive line-up of fellow 90s bands get chiptuned. The result is a chiptune grunge medley to rock the sound chip right out of your Game Boy (which actually originally came out just before the 90s started). Can you name all 7 songs?…
Link's Awakening Finding the Sword

Link’s Awakening: Game Emulators Just Aren’t the Same as Retro Consoles

While using an emulator to play a classic video game is technically illegal, sometimes it’s the only way to play an obscure game that’s no longer being sold or supported. Even so, I have to admit that it’s really not the same as playing on the original, intended hardware. I recently noticed this when I was playing Link’s Awakening on my GBA emulator. Link’s Awakening was one of my earliest Zelda games, and I played it even before I played A Link to the Past. I have so many childhood memories of the game, I thought for certain I would love playing it again. Unfortunately, without a big grey block to play it on, my mind kept wandering. I’d get wrapped up watching something on YouTube, or I’d go to playing Bejweled Blitz.…

Anamanaguchi Talks Kickstarter, Space Pizza, and Missing Teeth

On Sunday, May 26, 2013, the worlds of music and video games collided at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with a performance by the chiprock group Anamanaguchi. After a fantastic set that included flashing colored lights, crazy 8-bit videos projected onto a screen behind the band, and the obligatory encore, I had a chance to talk with bassist James DeVito and drummer Luke Silas. For the record, I did offer to buy them each a drink at the bar, but they had just finished paying for theirs when I approached them, so that didn’t end up happening. Still, we had a great chat about Kickstarter, space pizza, fake missing teeth, and even the origin of the name Anamanaguchi. I began the conversation on the most logical of topics: the band’s 2013 stunt of launching a slice of pizza into space.…
Low-Gain AKA Logan Erickson

Low-Gain Interview, Part 5: Life After 8-bit Collective

So what is Logan Erickson up to now that he’s no longer a major player in the 8-bit community? He and I talked about his post-8bc life for a bit. He did mention that chipmusic was still a part of his life, though its role had diminished considerably since the “glory days.” I still come back to it. I still listen to chipmusic all the time. Every now and then I’ll pull out my Game Boys and noodle on tracks that I started a year ago, or two years ago. It is nice to have the break, that’s for sure, because I view music a lot differently now than I did then. Unfortunately, I’d like to think that I was more productive when I was in the chipmusic scene.…
Low-Gain AKA Logan Erickson

Low-Gain Interview, Part 4: Low-Gain’s 8-bit Collective Ban

As the online chip scene continued to grow, a few people realized they could make considerable amounts of money off of it. Some of these people, Like Logan Erickson, had mostly good intentions. Other people, though, were consumed by the business end of this, including 8-bit Collective founder Jose Torres, who was accused of stealing program code from a pair of guys from Poland. (You can read more about this in the previous segment of this interview.) All the while, Logan and Jose’s friendship was deteriorating. Somewhere, he and I had some sort of a falling out. Whether it was because I was selling my products and he was selling his, and we were viewing each other as competitors or something.…
Low-Gain AKA Logan Erickson

Low-Gain Interview, Part 3: The Dark Side of the Chipmusic Scene

Be sure to read the previous segment of the Low-Gain interview, which you can find here. 8-bit Collective ( was hugely influential in connecting the chipmusic scene in way that would otherwise have been very difficult due to how scattered its audience was. Under Logan Erickson’s guidance, the site continued to thrive and grow, but it wasn’t without its controversy. The larger any community grows, the more work is involved in keeping it organized. 8-bit Collective’s community had become pretty massive by this point, and it was becoming harder and harder to manage. This was only exacerbated by the noncommittal attitude of site owner Jose Torres, who had also started to dabble in some things that a lot of people in the community weren’t exactly comfortable with.…
Low-Gain AKA Logan Erickson

Low-Gain Interview, Part 2: Blip Festival and the Rise of 8-bit Collective

(Click here to read Part 1 of our Low-Gain interview.) In the mid-2000s, the chipmusic scene experienced something of a boon. No, it didn’t technically break into the mainstream, but its worldwide community finally found a place to meet up, share music and encouragement, and just thrive. As I mentioned in the first part of this interview series, this wasn’t any physical venue, but an online one. In 2006, Logan Erickson (Low-Gain) and Stefen Keen (Unicorn Dream Attack) discovered 8-bit Collective, or We both joined 8-bit Collective probably around late 2006. It was shortly after it had started up. I think it had to have had somewhere between like 250 to 500 members at the time. 8-bit Collective was cool because [8bc  founder Jose Torres]’s concept was [to] just have a place where people can upload songs and have a forum.…
Low-Gain AKA Logan Erickson

Low-Gain Interview, Part 1: A Conversation with an 8-bit Legend

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I pulled up to Logan Erickson’s home in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis. I mean, I knew the man was something of a legend in the chiptune scene, but this is a music scene that’s remained fairly subversive and has stayed below most people’s radars, meaning its history isn’t a very well-documented one. I was hoping to change that. Now, before I get too ahead of myself here, let me explain what chiptune music is for those who don’t already know. It’s a form of electronic music that’s basically programmed on retro videogame machines. (If you want to look at the earliest roots of the genre, you’ll find instances of what eventually became known as chiptune music being programmed on home computers in the late 1970s.)…
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Pokemon Nintendo Power
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