My Top 10 Handheld Games
I have already listed my top 10 console games of all time and this list wasn’t much easier to make. It is tough to narrow down my favorites to 10, but you will also see a few honorable mentions along the way.
My first video game system was a Game Boy Color. I had played a little original Game Boy before that, which is what hooked me in the first place. I then got a Game Boy Advance followed by the Nintendo DS, and finally the Nintendo 3DS. So clearly this is a Nintendo-heavy list. You won’t see any phone games. Here we go:
Honorable mention: Moon – DS
A surprising, tension-filled shooter. Definitely a standout for a Nintendo system.
#10 Super Mario 64 – DS
Yes, this is a remake of a Nintendo 64 title, but it’s still a DS game! I didn’t get to experience the original, so this was a fantastic way to dive in on some video game history. This one previously revolutionized 3D gaming and has certainly stood the test of time, playing excellently still today.
#9 New Super Mario Bros. – DS
Released in 2006, this game revitalized the Super Mario Bros. series of fantastic side-scrolling platformers. With crisp graphics, new features, and the genius level design we’ve come to expect from Nintendo, this one was an easy pick to make the list.
Photo from emuparadise.me
#8 Mario Kart DS – DS
Clearly, Mario titles on the DS were rocking back in the mid-2000s. Mario Kart is a great series and there hasn’t been a bad one. This one brought three-dimensional racing the DS in a big way, sporting a bunch of beautiful courses, many racers to choose from, and the ability to race against your friends on the go.
Honorable mention: Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 and 3 – GBA
You didn’t have to be a skater to appreciate these fun ones on the Game Boy Advance. Trying to do new tricks to beat your high scores didn’t get old.
#7 Yu-Gi-Oh! The Sacred Cards – GBA
I collected Yu-Gi-Oh! cards as a kid, even though I wasn’t big into the show. I tried three games, two of which weren’t very good, but this one was a gem. There were a ton of cards to collect to strengthen your deck, many duelists to fight, and a good learning curve from start to finish. The nerdiness is strong with this one.
#6 Metroid Fusion – GBA
Metroid: Zero Mission certainly needs a nod here as well, but Fusion is undeniably my favorite. The exploration, level design, all-around gameplay, and feeling of isolation make this one a memorable, nearly flawless experience. (I am currently playing Metroid: Samus Returns for the 3DS and it is great as well)
Photo from metroid.wikia.com
Honorable Mention: Final Fantasy IV – DS
I’ve given a few FF games a try and this one stood out with the most memorable characters. One of the deeper handheld experiences out there.
#5 Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland – GBA
One of the first video games I played was Kirby’s Dreamland for the original Game Boy. Playing on a friend’s handheld, it started my affection for the pink puffball. Nightmare in Dreamland was the first Kirby game I owned. The bright colors, fast-paced action, and fun gameplay make it stand out as a personal favorite – especially the second to last boss battle with Meta Knight.
#4 Wario Land 3 – GBC
I put a lot of time in on Wario Land 4 as well, but that wouldn’t have happened if not for this jewel on the Game Boy Color. Essentially Mario with toilet humor, Wario is one of my favorite characters from the Mario Universe. This unique platformer was funny as well as fun, delivering memorable worlds and one of my favorite video game anti-heroes in Wario.
Photo from gamestop.com
Honorable Mention: Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap – GBA
My favorite Zelda game made exclusively for handheld gaming. Unlike my next pick…
#3 Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D – 3DS
Like Super Mario 64, I missed the original Nintendo 64 version of this one. I played it a little later on, but it didn’t hold my attention from my newer console games. I gave it another shot on the 3DS and was sold. This is one of the most expansive and engaging worlds you can dive into in a handheld game.
#2 Super Smash Brothers – 3DS
On my list of top console games, Super Smash Brothers Melee took number two. Now, the 3DS entry will be runner-up here. The fighting game translates well to the small screens of the 3DS. You still get to play as your Nintendo favorites pitted against each other in familiar locations. The formula remains as fun as always!
Honorable Mention: The Pokemon series: Game Boy – 3DS
Again, much like my console favorites, this list could have easily been dominated by just one series; the main reason for me having handheld systems. From favorites such as Pokemon Yellow to the newest Pokemon Sun entry. But especially…
#1 Pokemon Silver – GBC
As I mentioned previously, the Game Boy Color was my first video game system. Pokemon Silver was among my first video games and remains a personal favorite. The feeling of adventure made me play this game long after I had completed it. I nerded out on this game RPG-style like no other. My original copy doesn’t work anymore, but I still keep the cartridge as a memento to an incredibly fond childhood memory.
Photo from static.tvtropes.org