Not a hoax, not a dream! It's a legit good racer on Game Boy

"Roadster? I don't even know 'er!"

Last week I had the tremendous displeasure of exploring one of the worst Game Boy games I've ever seen in my 100-plus-title journey through the platform's library to date: Monster Truck by Another and Varie. Well, in case you ever doubted the existence of karmic balance in this godawful universe in which we exist, here's something for you to chew on: The very next release in the Game Boy library belongs to the same genre (racing) and absolutely knocks it out of the park.

You've probably never heard of Roadster by TOSE and Tonkin House, because it never left Japan and seems to be fairly esoteric even there. The game sells for a lot more than the average obscure Game Boy import without having any sort of massive online cachet, which suggests it was produced in pitiful numbers. And that's a shame, because it's a genuinely good racing game. It's immediately intuitive to play, balanced in a way that makes it friendly to people who don't play a ton of racers while offering challenge through more extended race options, and even has a charming personality. Roadster is great, and I say this as someone who doesn't even care about racing games.

The TOSE/Tonkin House combo doesn't exactly inspire confidence. They previously collaborated on Malibu Beach Volleyball for Game Boy, which was… fine. Tolerable. Roadster, I think, is much better than that. I don't know, maybe the relief of playing something that wasn't Monster Truck has distorted my sense of perspective. You be the judge.

Incidentally, this game seems to have no relationship to Roadsters (that's plural) for Game Boy Color, though there is an interesting anecdote to be had in the video above. I guess original names came at a premium on Game Boy.