Before we proceed, I must warn you; I’m a filthy liar. The game in the title above is not the final game on the Game Boy Color, but instead, only the last in the Western world. I’ve done this before with Japanese consoles and handhelds, but I still feel it’s well worth a disclaimer. The final game on the system ever, released on the 18th of July, 2003, was Doraemon no Study Boy: Kanji Yomikaki Master. Say that three times quickly with a mouth full of Game Boy cartridges.
Since I figure my audience is mostly from the Western World (although a big “hello!” to those who are not), I’ll be basing this article of the games accordingly. If you do happen to be interested in Doraemon no Study Boy: Kanji Yomikaki Master and feel a bit robbed by the premise to this article, here’s a gameplay video I found. Sorry, it’s the best I can do.
With that out of the way, let’s have a closer look at the handheld. Released in 1998 as a successor to the wildly popular Game Boy (released 1989) its main improvement is exactly what it says on the tin; colour graphics (although spelt “color”, even in territories where the syntax varies). It was completely backwards compatible with the original Game Boy line-up but featured its own library of nearly 900 releases until its discontinuation in 2003.
As far as Western releases go, North America would be the first to fall off the perch. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was released on the 15th of November, 2002. Based on the flick and swishing good times of the movie with the same name, the gameplay is largely turn-based and plays out like an early Final Fantasy game – rather than the action-adventure spin this game adopted on other systems (of which there are a lot of).
As such, this game and another based on the first movie that includes near-identical gameplay are quite popular and remembered fondly on the Game Boy Color (including by this nostalgic author). Thanks to that, it is very easy and affordable to track down in the present. As of writing, it can be had on eBay for under $20 boxed, and under $10 if you’re okay with just the cartridge.
In Europe, the reward for last game ever (but not really) on the Game Boy Color befalls to Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite! Released on the 10th January, 2003 it was also released in both other regions beforehand. Fun fact: it was actually the seventh best selling game on the GBC in Japan, amassing nearly 500,000 copies sold.
Developed by Pax Softnica with Shigeru Miyamoto at the helm as producer (no, really), the series had already begun in Japan but was released in the West to coincide with the Hamtaro: Little Hamsters Big Adventures anime on the Cartoon Network. The premise is as wholesome as you’d expect; Boss, who is the, well, boss of the Ham-Ham clan has just finished building his clubhouse. You’re tasked with rounding up the rest of the Ham-Hams so he can gloat and be congratulated on his work, and to do so is as equally wholesome.
You see, the gameplay is based around the power of language. As you progress, your vocabulary will increase enabling you to solve puzzles by talking. There are no attacks or anything of that nature – just straight up endearing gameplay. It sounds charming and quite a lot of fun if I’m going to be honest, and the quest goes for a reported 15-hours.
It’s not as cheap as The Chamber of Secrets, with the price varying enthusiastically. I did, however, see a few listings in cartridge-only form for under twenty bucks. Maybe I’ll buy one for myself…
Previously, on The Last Official Release:
Neo Geo Pocket Color – SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash 2 (2001)
Neo Geo CD – The King of Fighters ’99: Millennium Battle (1999)
Neo Geo AES – Samurai Shodown V Special (2004)
TurboGrafx-16 – Magical Chase (1993)
Atari 7800 – Sentinel (1991)
Atari 5200 – Gremlins (1986)
Sega CD – Shadowrun
32X – The Amazing Spider-Man: Web of Fire (1996)
3DO – Creature Shock (1996)
CD-i – Solar Crusade (1999)
Atari Lynx – Super Asteroids & Missile Command (1995)
N-Gage – Civilization (2006)
Fairchild Channel F – Alien Invasion (1981)
Atari Jaguar – Worms (1998)
Virtual Boy – 3D Tetris (1996)
Sega Saturn – Undefined Japanese Game (2000)
Intellivision – Spiker! Super Pro Volleyball (1989)
Super Nintendo Entertainment System – Metal Slader Glory: Director’s Cut (2000)
Sega Genesis – Frogger (1998)
Sega Master System – Mickey’s Ultimate Challenge
Game & Watch – Mario the Juggler
PS1 – Schnappi: 3 Fun-Games
N64 – Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3
Game Gear – The Lost World: Jurassic Park
NES – The Lion King
Atari 2600 – Klax
Game Boy – Shikakei Atama o Kore Kusuru: Kanji/Keisan no Tatsujin
Dreamcast – Karous