The Absolute Best Game Boy Color Sports Games of All Time

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The Absolute Best Game Boy Color Sports Games of All Time

The Game Boy helped define the fourth generation of video game consoles and became one of the best-selling handhelds. However, the 1998 release of the Game Boy Color (GBC) brought even more excitement. There was still a lack of a backlight, but the GBC had an impressive list of games in full color. The Game Boy had the original Pokemon Red and Blue games, which were immensely popular, but the GBC brought Gold and Silver to the masses. These sequels were extremely successful and would become the best-selling GBC games of all time. While its collection of sports games wasn’t as memorable on the whole, the best Game Boy Color sports games are still worth playing, especially for fans of these type of simulation games.

The GBC does have a slightly smaller screen than the original Game Boy, but this isn’t too noticeable for most gamers. Nintendo extended the battery life compared to the Game Boy, so players could enjoy their favorite games for longer and with more colorful graphics. The console’s also backward compatible with Game Boy games, so is a great way to get the best of both worlds. Game Boy games don’t play in complete color, but preset color palettes are available. Combined with the fact the GBC is often available for a lower price than the Game Boy, this makes the GBC a lovely choice when it comes to retro handhelds.

The console was known for its action-adventure and role-playing games, but there were some excellent games of different genres, with something for everyone. Join us as we explore some of the best sports games the console had to offer.

#7: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

screenshot of tony hawk pro skater
Higher scores are achieved by successfully executing chains of tricks.

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The 2000 release of emPro Skater 2/em has fewer levels and objectives than the original but is widely regarded as superior. The career mode involves completing certain goals within a time limit, while the free skate mode allows exploring levels freely at your leisure. Some new goals are also present, such as grinding a fixed number of objects or collecting hidden letters to make up the word SKATE.

The gameplay involves performing skateboard tricks and completing objectives to obtain cash. This can unlock levels, improve the character’s statistics or collect better equipment.

Unlike the 3D PlayStation version, the GBC version uses pseudo-3D graphics, like many games of its time. So those looking for a more 3D experience will likely prefer the PlayStation game. The GBC version is not without its faults but is considered an improvement over the original version, especially by IGN. Meanwhile, GameSpot highly praised the gameplay, visual details and animation. Pro Skater 2 isn’t perfect by any means, but is much better than its predecessor and deserves a spot as one of the best Game Boy Color sports games.

#6: Madden NFL 2000

screenshot of Madden NFL 2000
Gamers can choose from 31 NFL teams from the 1999 NFL season.

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 was the first entry in the Madden series for the GBC in October 1999. The game was preceded by PlayStation, Nintendo 64 and PC versions in August of the same year. Like other games, the GBC version uses top-down 2D graphics, whereas the PC and console versions use 3D graphics.

Gameplay modes include Full SeasonsPlayoffsExhibition matches and Sudden Death matches (where the first scoring team wins). Many elements, standard in the series are featured. These include substitutions, player injuries, statistics and weather. The opposing team’s AI is also handled well for a handheld game.

While there is no multiplayer, the game plays well, considering the gameplay had to be reduced to a tiny display, and the controls had to be configured to two buttons. There’s also a password system to save player progress, which comes in handy when playing on the go. As many people’s first adventure into portable football in full color, Madden NFL 2000 gets many things right and is one of the best Game Boy Color sports games.

#5: Road Champs: BXS Stunt Biking

screenshot of Road Champs BXS Stunt Biking
Players earn more points by executing a combination of tricks.

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emRoad Champs/em is one of the few examples of a biking game for the GBC and came out in 2000. The game isn’t very elaborate, but fans of retro biking games will find a lot to enjoy. There are nearly 30 courses and over 60 levels to complete in the various game modes, along with 50 tricks you can perform off of objects like pipes and ramps. Players can pick from one of the 27 courses to practice their moves or go for Career Mode. This mode challenges you to make your way from the bottom of the ladder toward being a pro, after which the Tournament Mode is unlocked. The key to success lies in performing various tricks to score the most points.

While the premise is rather simple, there are a lot of tricks to uncover and gameplay modes to explore, which adds a lot of value to the game. For its addictive gameplay and steep learning curve, Road Champs deserves a place in your collection, especially if you’re after the best Game Boy Color sports games.

#4: Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX

screenshot of Matt Hoffman's pro BMX game
Players can choose from eight characters, each with their bikes, tricks and stats. 

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While ported to many consoles, emPro BMX  was first released simultaneously for the PlayStation and GBC in May 2001. Designed to be similar to the Tony Hawk series of skating games, Pro BMX uses a similar game engine, and a demo was even included with the PlayStation version of Pro Skater 2.

Like with Pro Skater 2, points are awarded as the player performs and combines different tricks, but this time on a BMX bike. More points are given depending on the time the trick was maintained, and chaining tricks together and using a variety of tricks rather than repeating the same ones.

Game modes include Career ModeSingle SessionFree RideMultiplayer and Park Editor. These offer different playing styles, such as completing objectives and collecting hidden TRICK letters, achieving the best score within a 2-minute time limit, freely exploring the areas and competing with other players. The Park Editor mode allows players to create their levels, which can then be played in the accompanying modes.

AllGame particularly praised the GBC version, considering it to compete well with the console versions. While the controls can be somewhat stuffy, this is a fairly common criticism of the console. Pro BMX holds its own on the GBC and is often thought of as improving upon Pro Skater 2. The game has a lot of replay value, due to its many possible tricks, ability to create customized levels and fun multiplayer modes. Fans of the Tony Hawk series will likely enjoy this title immensely but packs a punch in its own right. Pro BMX is not to be overlooked, especially if you’re after the best Game Boy Color sports games.

#3: Xtreme Sports

screenshot of Xtreme Sports
A player can select either Fin or Guppi and participate in various events.

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emXtreme Sports was released exclusively for the GBC in 2000, and eventually ported to 3DS Virtual Console. The story follows Fin and his girlfriend Guppi as they see an advertisement for an extreme sports competition. They travel to Xtreme Sports Island to take part in the competition.

Events include skateboarding, street luge, surfing, inline skating and skyboarding. Gamers can practice their moves in Practice Mode, or commence the adventure with Xtreme Island Adventure Mode. The game includes adventure elements in the gameplay, as players maneuver around the island, participating in competitions and exploring. Central to the story is the antagonistic Bone-Heads gang, whose motives are uncovered as the player explores the island. Twitchy Shakes can also be obtained, which grants certain abilities to the next event, such as invincibility or higher speed.

IGN considered the pacing of the game to be too fast. However, AllGame and GameSpot thought the gameplay was rich and appealed to gamers who may not be hardcore sports fans. It’s rare, particularly in the handheld world, for games to include such a selection of gaming modes rendered so beautifully. For these reasons, Xtreme Sports is a no-brainer when it comes to the best Game Boy Color sports games.

#2: Mario Golf

screenshot of Mario Golf
Nintendo 64 version has exclusive characters that can be transferred to the GBC via the Transfer Pak. 

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With the Mario series, sports games aren’t exactly the first thing to come to mind. emMario Golf is the second entry in the Mario Golf series and was released on the Nintendo 64 first. The GBC version doesn’t use 3D graphics and includes role-playing elements, such as experience points.

Playable characters include MarioLuigi and Wario, along with some new characters created by the developers. While more streamlined than real-life golf, variables such as wind strength, wind direction, ball spin and terrain are included. There are a variety of modes to play, including Speed GolfMini Golf and Ring Shot.

Rather surprisingly, the GBC version generally received even more positive reviews than the Nintendo 64 version. IGN gave the game a perfect score, calling it a must-buy for the console. The game was acclaimed for its faithful rendition of golf, gameplay and soundtrack. Golf enthusiasts, retro gamers and even people who love Mario won’t regret getting a copy of Mario Golf. As one of the best Game Boy Color sports games, it packs a lot of fun into a small cartridge.

#1: Mario Tennis

screenshot of Mario Tennis game
Ball spin and shot strength can be controlled by pressing one or both of the two main buttons.

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Another entry into the Mario series, the {amazon link=”B000056WXG” title=”Mario Tennis “]for the Nintendo 64 and the GBC came out in 2000. The title would eventually make its way to the Wii, Wii U Virtual Console and Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console. The game is notable for introducing Luigi’s rival, Waluigi, for the first time.

Like Mario Golf, the GBC version incorporates role-playing elements as the player levels up via practice matches. After this, the player competes in various tournaments before facing Mario, the best tennis player. Up to seven types of shots can be used, depending on the combination in which the buttons are pressed. Characters can be transferred from the GBC to the Nintendo 64 using the Transfer Pak. This also unlocks more characters, including Yoshi, Wario, Waluigi and Bowser, and more mini-games.

Both versions of the game received universal acclaim for the depth of controls, huge amount of content and physics. Mario Tennis was nominated for GameSpot‘s 2001 ‘Best Game Boy Color Game’ award but lost to the console’s Zelda titles. Nevertheless, it’s one of the best-selling GBC games and is a spectacular example of what the console could do. If you’re looking for the absolute best Game Boy Color sports games, look no further than Mario Tennis.

Last update on 2023-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Frequently Asked Questions

When did the Game Boy Color come out?

The Game Boy Color was released in North America on November 18, 1998.

What was the first Game Boy Color sports game released?

The first Game Boy Color sports game was NFL Blitz, released on December 1, 1998.


What was the last Game Boy Color sports game?

The last sports game for the Game Boy Color was Pro Darts, which came out on February 7, 2002.

Which game was the best Game Boy Color sports game?

The console had a fair few sports games to offer, but the Mario entries are often considered the best, along with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 and its BMX-based titles. Xtreme Sports is also a worthwhile play, for its large variety of sports events and adventure elements.

Which game was the best-selling Game Boy Color sports game?

The best-selling Game Boy Color sports game would be Mario Tennis, which sold 1.18 million units.

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