January 2022 – Gargoyle’s Quest (1990)

Jeepers, folks! It’s 2022! I’m reclining in the guest room at my parents’ house in Buffalo, NY typing at you after a crazy holiday. I came home, caught COVID, ordered in a bunch of local fare, and played a whole heap of Game Boy. I went and checked out a local mall during one of the healthy days early in my trip and discovered that the whole thing had more or less been converted into independent and mom & pop shops. There were pierogi kiosks, antique shops, records… even a whole place dedicated to handmade pet treats! It was like the mall caught a flea market virus that took over the whole organism. It was super neat. While there I found a really nice copy of Gargoyle’s Quest for twenty-five bux and I couldn’t resist. I played it through or close to through in my youth, but it’s been a while so I’m very excited to revisit it because it’s the game of the month! Picked by… me! 
Let’s see what me has to say –
Gargoyle’s Quest is a great looking hybrid of RPG and platforming goodness by Capcom starring Red Arremer/Firebrand of Ghosts n Goblins fame. The game is super challenging, but rewarding, and the control scheme allows for some flying and hovering that leads to interesting level design and enemy placements. You’ll learn how to maneuver quickly or perish infinitely! The game has some old school RPG trappings that can make progress a bit difficult at times, so don’t feel bad if you pull up an FAQ so you can get back to the fun stuff. If you enjoy it, definitely check out the sequel on the NES or the absolutely gorgeous Demon’s Crest on SNES. I would LOVE to see this game series come back in some form.”
Heck yeah, me! I agree with everything you said!
The cart is about 50 bucks these days so by all means emulate away. You can also get it on the 3DS eShop for… $3.99 US, I think? CHEEP! 
Happy New Years, all! Enjoy the game!   

December 2021 – DuckTales (1990)

GOBBLE GOBBLE and JINGLE JANGLE The holiday season is in full swing! What a gift we have for all you folks: December’s game of the month is DuckTales! Woo! This was picked by our buddy Josh Adams. Let’s see what he has to say:
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I’ve been a fan of the NES DuckTales game for just over a decade when I played it for the first time. Simple but fun and full of discovery. Referencing the original show and the original characters, at every opportunity, especially my boys LaunchPad and Gizmo Duck. Now that I’m such a fan of the remake series, going back to play the NES title is even more fun than when I first played it a decade ago. So, of course, if I’m given the option to choose DuckTales on Game Boy for Yokoi Kids, a companion to the NES game, I’m going to take it.
Funnily enough, unlike a few Game Boy games from those early years, DuckTales on Game Boy actually had all of its levels redesigned from the NES game. Most likely due to a lack of space, from NES Cartridge to Gameboy Cartridge but it definitely makes for a more concise and efficient adventure.
The graphics are just as fantastic as on the NES. Almost like all of the assets were directly lifted but I think that the Gameboy sprites were redrawn but that’s my unsubstantiated hypothesis.
The music and sound effects are just like the NES, although, some notes aren’t held as long for some reason? Like, the note lengths were mistakenly cut shorter, semi-quaver instead of quaver, for example.
The only slight detriment is that the Cane Pogo ability is easy to miss if you’re near the edge of an object or ledge. Though, it’s easier to pull off, compared to the NES version. Just Jump and hold B. Done.
A short, enjoyable, pretty GameBoy romp. Genuinely simple reasons for me to choose DuckTales on Gameboy and it’s just a bonus that I have an excuse to play a game, tied to a show that I adore so much. I hope everyone who plays it for this month takes a break from the difficult, the bad, and the intense Game Boy games, lately and revisit or have a fresh experience with Scrooge McDuck.
–Josh. The guy who makes Metal songs for YokoiKids.
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Thank you Josh for bestowing this classic on us to wrap up 2021. The original NES game is one of my all-time favorite video games overall. I got it for Christmas one year and remember my pops didn’t take to it like other NES games, but my mom loved it. If it wasn’t for her, I’m not sure I would have ever beat it as a kid. I was lucky to be able to watch and glean her strategies. I’m excited to revisit the Game Boy version which I recall being great, just like Josh does. Hope you all enjoy! –IF

October 2021: Tumble Pop (1993)

It’s October! The leaves are crunchin’, the apples are ciderin’, and the ghosts are downright hauntin’. The Boys of Yokoi wanted to pick a new game together that would be appropriate for the upcoming Halloween holiday. Since we recently relaxed our rules for game picking we all said in unison:

“Kid Dracula?!”

But it seemed like we all had a bigger question mark on the end of that than we should have, so we dilly-dallied on confirming it. Luckily, Rick V was on the scene to save the day. In his own words.
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All the other Yokoi Dads were at HQ sitting around our octagon-shaped glass table discussing what Halloweenish game to pick. Now that our price range rules have changed to included games on the Nintendo 3DS store, it seemed like an easy choice. A game was decided. A game you were probably all familiar with. They thought it was a done deal.
Suddenly, I barge in through the back door, covered in brush, thorns, dirt, and a couple of centipedes in my hair.
I was running late and forgot my keys. We seldom lock the back door but I had to crawl through HQ’s overgrowing backyard where Ian insists he is putting in an herb garden. He’s been saying that for three years!
Anywho, I stumble in all disheveled as my so-called associates all flip their gaze to my mud-covered face.
“TUMBLE POP!” I exclaim as I slap my neon green Game Boy Color on that stop sign lookin’-ass table.
Their collective gaze goes from me to the Game Boy on the table. Erik is the only one brave enough to pick up my dirt-ridden Game Boy and boot it up. We all see the Tumble Pop title screen reflecting off his glasses. The boys shuffle in a bit to get a closer look. Nolen pulls out a notebook and starts scribbling frantically while muttering “Tumble Pop” under his breath.
Ian thumps himself on the forehead with his palm and joyously shouts, “Of course! Tumble Pop!”.
I use one of our many unsold Yokoi Kids T-shirts to clean myself up. I hear the “oohs” and “ahs” and occasional scaredy-cat yelps from Johnny as the four mid to late-thirties dudes hover over the tiny Game Boy screen.
“You guys think this is October’s game?” I asked knowing what the answer was going to be.
The room was quiet for long enough for me to second guess that answer.
“Hell yeah, it is!” they all collectively yelled in unison. We all laughed and high fives were given all around.
“All this positivity is really getting me pumped,” Ian said, “It makes me finally want to get started on that herb garden.”
We all laughed because we knew that was never gonna happen.

Tumble Pop is one of those weird games where Data East seemed to do something right! For some reason, they tend to knock it out of the park on the Game Boy (BurgerTime Deluxe, Lock N Chase). You control a little dude who goes pumpkin-house to pumpkin-house clearing out ghosts and monsters with your special little vacuum. It’s a screen-clearing game ala Bubble Bobble, Snow Bros, Zupapa (Go play Zupapa). Hold the baddies in your vacuum to knock out other ones and get bonus items. But be careful, hold them in your vacuum too long and they getcha! Use your bonus items like crazy because there are always dozens more.
Maybe it’s a little repetitive, but the new sprites and new music as the levels go up may keep ya going.
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Well folks, that sounds fine and dandy like trick-or-treat candy to me! I love those old single-screen action arcade games. This one isn’t as expensive as Kid Dracula, but it isn’t cheap, so as always feel free to emulate or download this title onto your 3DS!

September 2021: Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (1998)

It’s September folks and that means a couple of things. First, we’re blowing through summer. Good riddance, I say! I am a cold-weather model human and I frankly think all of this sunshiney nonsense is for the birds. I’m looking forward to any inkling of cool fall days we may get here in Southern California. September also means a new game for us all to play! That’s of course why you’re here, not for my thick-blooded complaints about San Diego. We’re playing Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon, the 1998 Game Boy entry in the long-running and fan-favorite Goemon series by Konami. I know nothing about it! It’s one of those game franchises you’ve almost certainly heard of if you play video games, but the releases in the west were fairly under the radar and relatively few and far between compared to the releases in its native Japan. The games cover a bit of genre territory so while they are often action games there have also been RPGs, board games, and numerous cameos in other series’. This one is a top-down action/adventure game from the looks of it and I’m pretty excited to give it a go and see what I’ve been missing. Maybe I’ll finally get around to the entries on SNES and Nintendo 64 that have been recommended to me countless times! Here’s what our pal Nolen has to say as the fella who chose this month’s game:

“I’ve only played the Mystical Ninja game on the N64 and know that this one is pretty different. I’ve heard this game gets some hate for being boring but it was either this or Battletoads and I don’t want to piss everyone off again.”

An update on game prices and emulation:

When we started this a few years ago (wow!) there were plenty of cheap and readily available Game Boy games on the market. Not just bad ones, but a lot of great ones, too! We decided that we would try to keep our monthly game choices to under twenty buck-a-roos to keep participation Yokoi Kids cheap for those who wanted to add to their collection as they played along with us. That said, we have always been okay with the use of emulators for those who can’t or just don’t want to own the physical cart. We need to reiterate this especially now as the COVID-19 pandemic has sent video game prices skyrocketing. Reasonably priced games are jumping ten, twenty, one hundred dollars in value across all systems. Unless we want to be playing the dregs of the Game Boy library from here on out, we’ll likely have to break our price rules more than a few times. This is particularly true of this month’s game which we think is worthy of checking out, but can fetch up to $300 bucks in an online auction! Who’s got that money?! In the future, as has always been, play the game however you are most comfortable. Emulate away. We are also paying attention to which of these pricier games are available on the 3DS. This seems to be a nice middle-of-the-road solution as you can still play the game on physical hardware and they only cost like three bucks! CHEEP! 

So, in closing: The average price of the chosen games may start to go up, but please feel free to play the game any way you like. We won’t tell on you. Promise.

As always, we look forward to your contributions! 

-IF

August 2021: Kirby’s Block Ball (1996)

It’s AUGUST! That means a new game for the Yokoi Kids and a birthday for me! The fellas over at Drink a Beer and Play a Game have chosen Kirby’s Block Ball and I couldn’t be happier to celebrate the month with the little pink friend. Block Ball is Breakout to the maximum. Just recently we covered Alleyway, a much more traditional take on the paddle genre, but this one throws away the rules! Players have to break all of the different blocks in the given level by bouncing Kirby off a platform and keeping him away from the spikes. There isn’t just one side of the screen to watch, though. Very quickly players will be contending with four walls of spikes, four paddles, blocks of different durability, and different power-ups for Kirby to help with the destruction. It’s a real hoot! Not only do I think the game is great, but I love the look. There’s definitely some artistry to the various level layouts. They just look fun!

Here’s what Jim from Drink a Beer and Play a Game has to say about it:

Ever since my parents took the Atari 2600 down from the attic, I have always been a sucker for Breakout style games. For whatever reason, Kirby was the king of spin-off games that crossed games genres in the early 90s. I really wish that trend kept up. Kirby’s Pinball Land is one of the best pinball games from the era, and this month’s selection (you’re all welcome) might be the best breakout clone not named Arkanoid. There’s so much to do Kirby’s Block Ball and, like usual with Kirby, there is charm for days. You can’t go wrong with this one.

Enjoy, all!–Ian

Kirby’s Block Ball isn’t the cheapest game but you can get it on the 3DS store for $3. Remember, Yokoi Kids isn’t about throwing your money at tiny video game cartridges. To paraphrase my friend Donna Ramone, “Friendship > Capitalist Collector Culture”. Play this game any way you want.

July 2021-Tetris Plus (1997)

Oh Hello!

Ian here to announce this month’s game! It seems like I’ll be filling this role each month in the future. Thrilled to be here! 

Ahem…In July you will be playing Tetris Plus. I’ve never done so and therefore cannot explain what makes it plussier than regular Tetris, but Yokoi Dad Rick V. has given me assurance this one is a swell time. A quick Google search tells me it has an extra mode in which players must eliminate lines to help guide a professor to the bottom of the level. I have a feeling any high score chasing on social media among the Yokoi Kids will revolve around this mode, but feel free to play however you like.
It was picked by Jack who had this to say about it:
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The year is 1996, and the venerable Game Boy is awash with Tetris sequels attempting to cash in on Alexey Pajitnov’s magnum opus. The Nintendo-developed Tetris 2 failed to capture the same lightning in a bottle as the original, and both Tetris Attack and Tetris Blast were just reskins of unrelated puzzle games. Then along came Tetris Plus, arguably the first worthy successor to The Game Boy’s most famous pack-in title.

A port of the Natsume developed arcade game of the same name, Tetris Plus takes the elements that made the original Game Boy Tetris great and adds a little charm and personality for good measure. The main event of Tetris Plus is puzzle mode, starring “The Professor,” a squat archaeologist with subpar climbing skills and a tenuous grasp on self-preservation. Dr. Jones this man is not. Each screen in this mode presents you with a different pattern of bricks that must be cleared for the Prof. to escape the steadily falling spiked ceiling and reach safety at the bottom of the screen. The Professor will attempt to descend to the lowest point on a given stack, but will also climb closer to his death if he is boxed in by a falling block. This is easily the game’s most challenging and frustrating mechanic, and will make The Professor the bane of many players’ existence. Puzzles are split into four worlds of twenty levels each with the final world unlocked after completing the first four. The game includes a battery-backed save feature that will save your high scores and allow you to pick up the adventure where you left off.

Traditional Tetris gameplay is represented here by classic mode and, while the gameplay will be familiar to anyone acquainted with the original, subtle refinements make the play experience far smoother. Though it lacks modern Tetris staples like the hard drop and tetromino swapping, the core experience is still solid. Sadly missing is the traditional Tetris tune Korobeiniki (also known as Type A) but in its place are a number of original compositions that are catchy enough but don’t distract from the gameplay. 

Overall, Tetris Plus provides a captivating and unique experience that is a welcome addition to the Game Boy library. It will always live in the shadow of its famous older brother, but it is a bright spot in puzzle game history that should not be forgotten.
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As always any contributions can come in whatever form you desire, whether you want to make Tetris fanfiction, write a song, cosplay as the professor… anything that you can make thematic. Have fun and get stacking!  

When he’s not dodging spiked ceilings, Jack likes to mod consoles in his spare time and he has yet to mangle a Gameboy beyond repair. Follow him on Twitter @GameboyCruller for occasional bits of amusement.

 

March 2021 Kirby’s Pinball Land (1993)

Hallo! It is me, Ian Ferguson, the prodigal Yokoi Dad. I’ve been up to no good while everyone else has been enjoying the monthly games, but I have returned remorseful and ready for this month’s game Kirby’s Pinball Land! It was released by HAL Laboratories in 1993 as a spin-off to the wildly popular and still brand-spankin’ new Kirby series. Pinball was not new territory for HAL having already released the excellent Revenge of the ‘Gator for the Game Boy in 1989. The design here picks up beautifully where that game left off and consists of multiple tiered pinball lands, all with a final boss to be defeated via frantic flipper action.

Each level is a three-tiered example of bite-size pinball fun. The main focus for players trying to get a high score should be the second level on each table which can provide entry to unique bonus rounds. These are simple and fun and can help build up important multipliers and bonuses. The third level of each stage can lead to a boss battle, and after defeating the boss of all three tables Kirby will face King Dedede. If players drain out of the first level on any table they will have an opportunity to launch themselves back up into play without losing a life, but this requires precise timing and gets more difficult with each drain! Action is easy to follow and incorporates the characters from the series well. The music is bouncy and fun and while the physics aren’t exactly accurate they do have a nice feel. You can reliably learn how the ball will handle and that’s the most important aspect of a pinball game.

In case it wasn’t obvious this is a game I dearly love. I’ve been playing it since I was a kid and it never grows old. I’ve had multiple high-score competitions with friends over the years and always lose! Grab this game and get going on some new high scores I’ll never beat and post ’em to Twitter! This cart is on 3DS Virtual Console and can be had physically for about ten bucks, maybe even less, so get in on the flippin’ flappin’!

New Audio Thing Episode!

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New episode of the Yokoi Kids Audio Thing! Hosted by Rick and Ian. They talk about all the games that I didn’t do episodes for. Those being Gremlins 2, TMNT: Fall of the Foot Clan, Qix, Wario Land 2. We also talk about a bunch of other stuff. Savor it! This will be the last episode like this. It ain’t perfect! Featuring music by Josh Adams.

LISTEN HERE
Or search for it on Itunes.

October 2018: Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1991)

AHOY!

Friends of the revolution it is time for the greatest month of the year, October! Yes indeed the air will be brisk! The leaves will be crunchy! The apples will be delicious and those hoodies quite comfortable! Provided you live in an area where you have seasons. I do not.

You are not here for an ode to the season, though. Oh, no! You are here for our Yokoi Kids game of the month. We “boys in the back room” thought it might be fun to pick something a little spOOky but a lot of the most obvious suggestions, like Belmont’s Revenge or Kid Dracula, fall outside of our price guidelines. After a little mulling on the topic we’ve decided on Gremlins 2, a game based on the more comedy of the two comedy/horror classics. I’m calling both of them classics. Deal. With. It.

Grab a copy and join us! It looks to be a fairly cut and dry platforming romp through the Clamp building with nice graphics and decent music! As always ANYONE can submit ANYTHING related to or inspired by the game! Send us a review, draw a picture, remix music, etc. Check out past games for examples. Have fun!  -IF

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