It’s difficult to find people who have unconditional love for Game Boy music (or Game Boy for that matter). If you had video games as a kid you probably had Nintendo. Game Boy was supposed to be a supplementary system kids took on trips, but it was my primary system for a long time.

That’s OK, though. I loved that Game Boy. The games were cheap enough that getting new ones wasn’t impossible if I worked at it. I would either save allowance dollars one week at a time, trade my current games in for new ones, and then there was that garage sale where I sold all my He-Man action figures and several Ninja Turtles and bought The Flash.

Selling my possessions was probably how I got most of my games. I didn’t have the patience to save for for twenty weeks and lacked that ingenuity to mow lawns or help old ladies with chores for quarters. Trading games made each purchase more meaningful because it meant giving something away first.

In that sense, The Flash was probably my first disappointment. It gave you unlimited continues and I beat it in one night – most games weren’t like that. I spent years chipping away at Battletoads. Getting to that 8th stage was stressful. Dying there meant starting all over again. When I finally beat the game I put it down for good.

But when you only have so many games you spend time appreciating them. The Flash‘s gift is that your fearlessness encourages you to go as fast and as recklessly through stages as possible. Whether the game was easy or difficult it was usually the ones with the best soundtracks that I kept around. Going back to them now you could say the source of every nostalgic erection I have originates from this playlist.

Some Game Boy music was just recycled NES music and easily forgotten. But certain games like Metroid II were composed so thoughtfully they became memorable franchise history.

Across all my gaming experiences Game Boy titles were the longest. I got stuck in Final Fantasy Adventure for like three years. I was in the desert and this kid told me he would give me a hint on how to find the desert palace. I hate that kid. “Palm trees and 8 … got it?” I went back to that game off and on for years attempting all those bat-shit crazy ideas we try when we get desperate in puzzle games. I would go to the screen with palm trees arranged in an eight formation and hit the center eight times, I would charge my weapon to full strength eight times and attack that center spot, I would try hitting it with eight different weapons, I would leave and re-enter that screen repeatedly hoping to see eight enemies appear, and of course, I tried killing the kid in eight swings. But mostly, I would just walk around the whole world killing enemies, hoping to stumble into a clue. I leveled my character as far as he would go. It wasn’t until my Father introduced me to “the internet” I solved it.

“What can you do with the internet?” I asked him. “Well,” he replied, “say you wanted to know something. Just type it into Altavista and it will probably have an answer for you.”

There was only one question I’d ever had that I’d never solved. I typed: “Palm trees and 8 … got it?” A page came up that told me to walk around these two palm trees in an eight formation.

I killed that kid once more before I continued and beat the game.

So here’s a YouTuble music playlist of all those games I once owned, struggled with, loved, traded away, as well as music titles from games I included as honorable mentions. Let me know if there are some great tunes or games I missed.

The other day on Twitter I asked if anyone else got a little emotional when the Wind Fish sounded it’s call. Nintendo Legend answered. It was good to hear.

I remember in university I stumbled across the music for the Southern Shrine. A friend of mine came to my room while I was listening to it and I told him that the scene in Link’s Awakening for this music was a magical experience. I tried to relate the scene to something he’d understand. “It’s like Plato’s Allegory of the cave,” I told him. “You find a cave that has no item, or dungeon, or quest, or reason to go there. It merely has an inscription on the wall that suggests your reality as you perceive it might not be correct.” He laughed at me and said, “What, did they just throw something under your rock every once in awhile to keep you happy?”

I wish they had thrown more game experiences like that under my rock. Then again, that might diminish moments like that one.

To the finder, the isle of Koholint is but an illusion… Human, monster, sea, sky… a scene on the lid of a sleeper’s eye… Awake the dreamer, and Koholint will vanish much like a bubble on a needle… Cast-away, you should know the truth!