Warning: despite the fact that I'm enjoying the hell out of my 3DSes right now--thanks in part to games like Pokemon X, Sayonara Umihara Kawase, Touch Detective: Funghi's Big Breed and, yes, Animal Crossing: New Leaf--that system actually pales in comparison to the original GameBoy and its catalog when it comes to taking up space in my brain at the moment.
Yes, I'm currently a bit obsessed Nintendo's first handheld. Actually, I've been obsessed with it for a few months now--ever since I became aware of and wrote about import-only curiosities like Noobow and Peetan.
Reading about and eventually playing those titles prompted me to do some digging to find a few similarly overlooked (by myself, if not by others) "gems," three of which can be seen in the photo above.
Although the GameBoy port of Snow Bros. Jr. (above, upper left) is well worth checking out, especially if you're into single screen platformers like Bubble Bobble, the games I want to focus on in this particular post are Painter Momopie (upper right), Penguin Land (lower right) and Osawagase! Penguin Boy (lower left).
Painter Momopie's probably my favorite of the bunch right now. Why? Because it stars an adorable little witch, for starters. Also, it's a surprisingly appealing Pac-Man clone--which tasks the aforementioned witch with racing through a home (hers? I'm not sure...) and painting (I think) its floors while avoiding various baddies. Sure, it gets a little repetitive after a while, but the same can be said for the iconic Pac-Man, so I'm not going to be too harsh on that aspect of it. My only real qualm: that its developers never released an updated version for the GameBoy Color.
As for Penguin Land: well, it's actually a port of Sega's Doki Doki Penguin Land, an odd little game that brings together the platformer and puzzler genres in a really unique (and fun) way. (Play revolves around guiding an egg to the bottom of each level by moving or destroying blocks that are in the way.) The Master System and Mega Drive versions of this title look better than this Pony Canyon-made one, of course, but I still wouldn't say the latter is at all unattractive. Plus, as is often the case with old games like this, there's far more to Penguin Land than its outward appearance.
Finally, there's Osawagase! Penguin Boy, released in North America as Amazing Penguin. I'm not exactly sure how this one escaped my attention for so long, although I think its rather terrible box art may have played a role. Thankfully, I first discovered Penguin Boy via a review of its gameplay, so the crappy cover didn't keep me from giving it a try once I became aware of it (the game, not the cover art). As for its gameplay: it's basically a mash-up of Pac-Man, Pengo and Qix, if that makes any sense. If not ... uh, watch the video above, which explains things pretty well.
See also: 'From the back of my boyhood closet, part seven'