Thirty years on and the Game Boy is still receiving new games, DMG Deals Damage is both a new game for an old system, and a celebration of the handheld wayfinder’s birthday.
The Game Boy. Dot Matrix Game, The OG. It holds treasured childhood memories for a lot of people. It killed off all previous handheld systems, and it, with its younger brethren, battled and fought off all comers over the next 30 years. Nothing can touch Nintendo in the handheld realm and who would’ve thought that it all started 30 years ago?
What is really cool, though, is that Dr Ludo — the creator of this game — and the peeps at Catskull games, are actually making games for the Game Boy still. Not only that, they’re making them as real carts. That’s incredible and certainly worth celebrating. Speaking of celebrating…
April 21st 2019 is the Old Boy’s 30th birthday — all he wants is a nice bit of cake. But some of his ancestors, wannabes and the new generation of young ‘uns have stolen it! It’s up to DMG to fight his way through 30 rooms to his cake, so he can finally chill and celebrate.
This is where DMG Deals Damage starts. You are up against a semi-procedural set of rooms and you have to clear all of the enemies out of a room to move onto the next. You can move in 8 directions and the A+B buttons controls your left and right hands. You can fire your hand in the 8 directions you can face, with a view to grab enemies and then either smash them into the wall, or into other enemies. That’s all there is to it. However, as much as a basic game loop as it is, it is surprisingly fun.
Every eight Levels there is normally a boss, these have a variety of attacks and patterns to work out, as they cannot be attacked directly — the first boss spawns Tamagotchis that you can throw back at them to deal damage.
The UI is nice and minimalist in design, with your energy bar represented by four AA batteries (these can be replenished by picking up hearts on the way through) and the room number in the top left. Rooms are a basic box with doors showing as a couple of spheres that disappear to let you through to the next room. The “characters”, for lack of a better term, are very well done considering how small they have to be. The little 16-pixel high versions of DMG and characters such as Nokia and iPhones, Wonderswans, NGages and the superb Watara Supervision all look great while being smashed to bits.
There’s not much more I can really say on the game. It’s a basic game for what, these days, is very basic hardware, but that is in no way a bad thing. It keeps track of the highest room you have gotten to, so you can keep plucking away at it and you can even start after the last boss you beat, so you don’t have to start from the beginning every time — which is nice.
So, yes, this game may be basic, but, give it a chance if you were a fan of the console which inspired (and plays) it. You can get it as a ROM to play in emulators or, soon, on a real cartridge. Catskull also have other games available all on Game Boy Cartridges.
With this game coming out on its 30th Birthday, it would be a good present for your Old School Brick, to have a nice, fresh cart to play.