Discussion Game Boy family vs. DS family - which has your favorite software library?

portable poll

  • Game Boy/Game Boy Color/Game Boy Advance software

    Votes: 22 31.9%
  • Nintendo DS/3DS/New 3DS software

    Votes: 47 68.1%

  • Total voters
    69

Mekanos

Super Game Guy
Pronouns
he/they
gameboyheader.jpg


NintendoFamily-5b05bdf0ff1b78003bd15946.jpg


Two historic lines of portable Nintendo consoles, decades of games. Both had reigns of similar length (15 years for GB/C/A, 13 years for DS/3DS) before a new console family debuted.

For the purpose of this thread, no Virtual Console titles for 3DS allowed, that's too easy, but ports/remakes are fair game. So the Super Mario Advance series counts for the GBA, and OOT/MM 3D counts for 3DS.
 

Clix

Chain Chomp
Banned
DS/3DS by far.

I love the GBC/GBC/GBA, and they have so many great games, and GB holds up so well - and often better than NES - because the games were tailored for the portable experience at the start, so many bangers played to its strength. Also feel that its games - despite being monochrome - were more refined than on the NES with the exception of Mario Bros.

But the DS and 3DS libraries were just - firing on all cylinders. 3DS is my fave of their systems I think.
 
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Phantom Thief

Life Will Change
Pronouns
He/Him
DS without question.

Basically it breaks down as:

Gameboy: 5/10
Gameboy Color: 7/10
Gameboy Advance: 10/10
AVERAGE: 7.33


DS: 10/10
DSi: 4/10
3DS: 10/10
AVERAGE: 8
 
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Aurc

#TeamPrimeRemaster
Moderator
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My experience with the DS family of systems is admittedly quite limited, and as such, I don't feel as though I can draw fair comparisons between it, and the GB line.

That said... the GBA is my second favorite console of all time, right behind the PS2. There were so many hitters in that library, it's wild. The obvious stuff, like Pokémon, Mario, Metroid, Kirby, sure, but also gems like WarioWare: Twisted!, Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II (and Buu's Fury), the Mega Man Battle Network series, and more. I'll always have love for the GBA.
 

Weebos

Plural
Founder
If we're including the 3DS it's the DS family by a country mile.

The GBA is fantastic on its own, but DS + 3DS are much better than GB and GBC.
 
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OP
OP
Mekanos

Mekanos

Super Game Guy
Pronouns
he/they
DS without question.

Basically it breaks down as:

Gameboy: 5/10
Gameboy Color: 7/10
Gameboy Advance: 10/10
AVERAGE: 7.33


DS: 10/10
DSi: 4/10
3DS: 10/10
AVERAGE: 8
5 for Game Boy? Harsh. I get it, but I still miss a lot of those quirky and weirder bite sized versions of big Nintendo series.

My experience with the DS family of systems is admittedly quite limited, and as such, I don't feel as though I can draw fair comparisons between it, and the GB line.

That said... the GBA is my second favorite console of all time, right behind the PS2. There were so many hitters in that library, it's wild. The obvious stuff, like Pokémon, Mario, Metroid, Kirby, sure, but also gems like WarioWare: Twisted!, Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II (and Buu's Fury), the Mega Man Battle Network series, and more. I'll always have love for the GBA.
Yeah, I think the GBA library is generally slept on. Mega Man Battle Network 2 is one of my favorite games of all time, and I'm really excited for that remaster. It was just an exciting system in general, the idea of a portable SNES was mindblowing at the time (even if in practice it fell short in a few technical manners, like sound).

For me, I think the DS family just barely edges it out. The Pokemon lineup on the DS alone is beastly. But I still think fondly of a lot of Game Boy games.
 

Phantom Thief

Life Will Change
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5 for Game Boy? Harsh. I get it, but I still miss a lot of those quirky and weirder bite sized versions of big Nintendo series.
Most of the Gameboy was before my time, and it was hard to return to for my tastes. I will always love Tetris and Link's Awakening and Pokemon 1/2, but other than that there's nothing on there for me.
Even Color, with so many DX rereleases and ports, not counting original games, was better for my tastes.

Neither holds a candle to the systems that would follow, GBA is a GOAT, DS is somehow GOATer, 3DS is less GOAT than DS (and maybe less GOAT than GBA) but still GOAT
 

PixelKnight

Chain Chomp
Moderator
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Loved them all, but DS+3DS by a long way for me. Monster Hunter and Etrian Odyssey carry a lot of weight for me in terms of portable systems. I loved my GB as a kid though, it was my prized possession.
 

WestEgg

King of the Krocs
Administrator
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Every couple years I dig my SP out of its drawer and it still has a charge somehow. I think I can acknowledge the DS line is an upgrade, that duel screen design was special and unlikely to be satisfyingly replicated, and the games were great… but I definitely have fonder memories of the Gameboy line. After all, that’s where Link’s Awakening came from.
 

Barely Able

Darknut
DS is my favorite Nintendo console library, and 3DS is also very good (and somewhat better from the first party perspective than the DS). So much variety and the unique stuff coming out is probably only rivaled by the original PlayStation when looking at the entire library.
 

psilex

Cappy
Pronouns
He/HIm
Game Boy is alright, has some stand out games such as Donkey Kong 1994 and Link's Awakening but I don't care for much else.
GBA's library gets a weird amount of scrutiny for not having an original 2D Mario because otherwise the first party titles are pretty great. On the third party side I'd say Mega Man Zero & Battle Network stands out in particular.
DS has a fantastic third party lineup but I find that the first party was pretty lackluster outside of Pokemon games and some others like Rhythm Heaven.
The 3DS is in a weird spot for me where I played way less third party titles, but I also didn't find many first party titles I played any better than "good". Nothing really felt like the peak of the franchises I cared about.
Regardless, I think I have to give it to DS/3DS but it's very close.
 
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JoshuaJSlone

Koopa
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he / him
That's... an incredibly easy one. Old Game Boy had its solid hits, but its early years were mostly lesser and simplistic stuff. Game Boy Advance was a step in the right direction, but had a short life. DS just picked up where GBA left off, but lasted longer and hit higher. It's also where the portable line started to properly feel like an alternative, rather than just the lesser option.
 
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Rhythm Shift

Shriekbat
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Game Boy as I prefer pixel art over the 3D of the DS'. I do appreciate some of the creative stuff that was released on the latter, and I hope we'll see some of those franchises back on the Switch family.
 

Vampfox

Rattata
Pronouns
She
Gameboy has Wario Land games. DS has no Wario Land games, so Gameboy wins my heart.
 
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GamerJM

Like Like
I go DS/3DS pretty easily, though honestly I don't think the GB/GBC/GBA gets enough recognition for its breadth, especially the GBA. Both the DS and the 3DS are in my top 5 platforms of all-time though (along with PS2/360/SNES).
 
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Lord Azrael

Chain Chomp
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I think I could count the games I'd go back to on the Game Boy family on two hands lol

(Maybe that's a bit harsh, but no more than two hands and feet)
 
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PixelKnight

Chain Chomp
Moderator
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Game Boy as I prefer pixel art over the 3D of the DS'. I do appreciate some of the creative stuff that was released on the latter, and I hope we'll see some of those franchises back on the Switch family.
I wasn’t a fan of a lot of the 3D DS art, but the DS did have some great pixel art too. The Castlevania games, Contra 4, Metal Slug 7 all spring to mind.
 

Dunban

Riki may well be the softest of all Nopon
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The DS still has my favorite handheld library of all time, PSP being a close second. So definitely DS+3DS. GBA has some absolute classics too though.
 
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shoptroll

Darknut
Contributor
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Don't make me choose!

Ok fine. Probably DS since that got a lot more RPGs. Gameboy had some good stuff but I think there a fewer highs, but those highs a really freaking good. Slight edge to the DS I'd say.
 
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Rhythm Shift

Shriekbat
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I wasn’t a fan of a lot of the 3D DS art, but the DS did have some great pixel art too. The Castlevania games, Contra 4, Metal Slug 7 all spring to mind.

Oh sure! These are great examples. Space Invaders Extreme is probably my favorite 2D game on the system, and it was of course home to arguably the best version of Chrono Trigger yet. :p
 
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Mostly GBA, but that’s just nostalgia I think. I wasn’t interested in the DS at the time and I only dabbled in the 3DS.
 
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wakko

Rattata
That is a tough, tough question, but I may have to give a slight edge to the DS family

Game Boy has Donkey Kong '94, Wario Land, Advance Wars and Golden Sun.
But DS/3DS had some amazing games like Ghost Trick, Kid Icarus Uprising, Super Mario 3D Land, and A Link Between Worlds.

I had so many fond memories of playing Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart 7.
 
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freedomseekr

life is noise
Pronouns
he/him
DS/3DS, no contest.

I like the GameBoy fine, but I have zero attachment to it and there are very few games on it that I would consider replaying, even the more meaty ones. It got better as we shifted towards the Advance (which was my first handheld console) IMHO, but the DS was just... fire. A lot of great games with a lot of variety as well (something I feel the 3DS lacked a bit, if I can be honest) and that was on a system that was... well, if you were there at the time, you might recall the reception being a bit mixed, though the DS never caught the flack from... "Nintendo haters" the Wii got.
 
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Red Monster

Rawr
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I have to go with the Game Boy line on this one. Game Boy had stuff like Metroid II, Link’s Awakening, Kirby’s Dream Land, Super Mario Land 1 and 2, Wario Land, Donkey Kong 94, Tetris, Pokémon Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold and Silver and so much more. And that’s just Game Boy! Game Boy Color has Pokémon Crystal, Pokémon Pinball, Wario Land 2 and 3, Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons, Super Mario Bros Deluxe which isn’t the best port in the world but it’s how I first played SMB. Then the GBA had banger after banger: Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, Pokémon Pinball Ruby and Sapphire, Metroid Fusion and Zero Mission, Zelda Minish Cap, Mario Kart Super Circuit, Wario Land 4, Golden Sun, Advance Wars.. it’s nearly endless. Not to mention the long list of third party games.

I grew up on the Game Boy line so I’m probably biased. I loved my DS and my 3DS, they have a ton of great games too. But childhood nostalgia is too strong for me. Memories of playing Pokémon Red on road trips as a kid is enough for me to give it to the Game Boy.
 

MissingNo.

Triangular Tactician
Founder
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Hard for me not to go with the Game Boy family. Link's Awakening and Gen 2 Pokémon are too strong. Add to that stuff like Mystic Quest, FFTA, Metroid Fusion, Fire Emblem, the list goes on. The library was really good.

Plus, I grew up with them, so I am naturally biased.
 

PixelKnight

Chain Chomp
Moderator
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Honestly there’s so many games if you look at it as GB/GBC/GBA vs DS/3DS. That’s like 30 years of Nintendo portables, split roughly in two. I could probably make a top 100 for both (given enough time!) and still change my mind on any given day. Portables have been my constant companion, first as a child, then when I moved away from home, then as an adult commuter. I’ve always had a stronger connection to them than home consoles.
 
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Earthbounder

Boing!
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The answer that first comes to my mind when I see this question is the DS, but then I remember I find many of its first-party offerings to be dull. So I go with the GBA here.
 
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em

Moblin
Pronouns
They/Them
The GBA is my single favorite system, but there's only a handful of games on the GB/GBC that stand the test of time, IMO. Gotta give it to the DS and 3DS.
 
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Asking to choose between the two libraries is like asking a parent to choose their favourite child!

It's the Game Boy library. (But I still love you DS library, you just don't have Link's Awakening.)

Both libraries have incalculable stone-cold classics. The DS library had a lot of sequels of games previously on GBA like Advance Wars and Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy Tactics and the IGAvanias, so it is close. I also love the Etrian Odyssey games that wouldn't have worked nearly as well on a single-screen device.

But there's something about the accessibility and simplicity of the Game Boy that still draws me in to this day. Games like Donkey Kong ('94), Tetris, Mario Land... Timeless and so replayable. I also fondly remember receiving a Super Game Boy for Xmas one year and being dazzled by Link's Awakening on the big screen, making my own colour palette and truly appreciating every last one of the 8-bits these little grey cartridges had to offer.

I hope Nintendo takes a (new) leaf out of their illustrious history book and makes the Super Switch backwards compatible. I'm sure they will but it goes without saying that the GBC and GBA and it's varients proven so popular because of the massive backwards compatible library.
 

Phosphorescent Skeleton

I'd better activate my prayer capsule
Pronouns
She/Her
Both extremely solid, but I think DS has a higher batting average, especially in regards to weird, unique games and deep cut curios. Bangai-o Spirits, Retro Game Master, Miles Edgeworth, Contact, just such a deep and varied library on the original DS alone. And the 3DS was a mini golden age for Nintendo before Switch imo
 

chocolate_supra

Must proceed at a high velocity #TeamDecade
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I just have so much fondness for the Game Boy lineup. I know it's bias, as I was mostly out of handheld gaming by the time the DS rolled around (I only have a DS and 3DS for the Zeldas) but I just have to give shout outs to the Game Boy line as it got me through so many childhood vacations. No matter how far from home I was, I at least had my little anchor.

Link's Awakening introduced me to Zelda, not sure when I would've gotten into the series without it. Mario Land of course, portable Metroid was wild, Kirby had phenomenal vibes, and this seems out of left field but the Taz-Mania game for GB burned itself into my brain. Lots of fond memories.
 
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smoothies

Boo
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This is an interesting question. I've got blind spots for both. I've never touched a Game Boy Advance, and there were so many games on the DS that I have just scratched the surface so far.

I voted for Game Boy because I've been thinking about games like Tetris, Samus Returns, Dr Mario, Qix, DK '94 and the Kirby series out of the blue for the past week or so. I appreciate the wide variety of games on the DS systems (and this probably has more to do with my age than anything), but the DS games that live large in my mind are games like Animal Crossing: New Leaf, WarioWare D.I.Y., and maybe just an overall sense of experimentation, but I don't think I've become one with the system in the same way as the Game Boy yet.

I think that both the NES and Game Boy are underappreciated.
 
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The DS is such a powerhouse of a console filled to the brim with amazing titles it's really hard for other systems to compete. Add the 3DS on top of that and it becomes an even more one sided affair.

I love the GBA dearly and think it also has an incredible library, but it also had such a truncated life span and was so immediately replaced by the DS in addition to having to pull even more weight given a lot of the GB's library doesn't super hold up for me that I just can't really elevate it higher. I love the GBA's library so much, but the DS had 8 years of non-stop greatness on its own to over take it, and the 3DS completely trounces the GB/GBC libraries I only slightly care about to begin with.
 
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goldenpp72

Tektite
While I have an attachment to the GB line, I can't really say it deserves to stand against both the DS and 3DS. The reality is that most original GB titles are either not good, or very short clocking in an hour or so. One Kid Icarus Uprising on 3DS is going to net you way more meat than most of the GB library, even when combining them. It doesn't help that those consoles ages in a way that makes them more difficult to go back to in contrast.

The GBA is in itself fantastic and feels sort of like a spiritual successor to the golden age of 2D, and it's the only reason this can even be an argument, but the DS and 3DS combine to be a very strong library that also cater very well to on the go play. I say this as someone who has been using his Analogue Pocket, I recently beat Adventure Island, Mario Land 2 and Kirby, all were fun, all also took me a couple hours... Combined. I'm also starting Gargoyle's Quest which seems really strong, but again, it's not gonna be better than the 3DS Kirby games either.
 
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