Video Works by Jeremy Parish

Another incremental release for Game Boy Color; like Wario Land II, Game & Watch Gallery 2 began life as a monochrome release in one territory (but not the rest). Quirky history aside, it's a fine recreation and distillation of some formative portable history. While it doesn't offer 100% verisimilitude to the source material, this is a loving recreation packed with tons of extra features and some remarkably involved unlockable content. Not bad for a collection of primitive pocket calculators.

Having explored the span of the Virtual Boy's library, let's now create a little context for its existence. There's more to this curious little system than the fact that it bombed at retail and Nintendo cut its life short. It represents designer Gunpei Yokoi's passion for interesting applications for affordable technology, prefigured some game industry design standards, and presented a remarkably solid library of software. Was Virtual Boy flawed? Absolutely. But that doesn't mean it's not worth experiencing, or remembering.

Virtual Boy Works ended on a slightly downbeat note with Virtual Bowling, a fine take on the 10-pin pastime by Athena that remains inaccessible to normal humans thanks to its alarming rarity and terrifyingly high price. Well, here's the happy twist coda: Pocket Bowling is a direct sequel to Virtual Bowling that carries forward many of the other game's core mechanics and design elements, but costs a LOT less and doesn't require a piece of fragile, hard-to-come-by equipment to enjoy. Sure, Game Boy Color can't support the immersive viewpoint and design of Virtual Bowling, but this captures the enjoyable core of the other game quite neatly. Let's hear it for small victories, eh?

Japan-only release for this episode: Warashi's Honkaku Shougi: Shougi Ou.