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New Game Boy Game Released, and I’m Lovin’ It

I sometimes complain about the lack of surprising news in the gaming industry. Well, here’s what I’m talking about. A new Game Boy Colour game has been released… and it’s been put out by McDonalds.


No, this isn’t a madlib. You heard it right. The game, Grimace’s Birthday, can be played in your browser or on your phone. It even sits on a suitably retro website.

Or, because this is the internet and people take seconds to do this sort of thing, it can be downloaded as a ROM. Meaning with the right equipment you can play it on the original hardware.

It’s a fairly solid retro title that has quite an interesting little backstory. Yes, even beyond it being a new Game Boy game by McDonalds in 2023.

This is the second time in a week I’ve been impressed by marketing. The first was with the Starfield presentation, which showed how open communication can be a catalyst for impressing gamers. Not always – Starfield fell victim to that in earlier presentations. But when it’s ready.

This is another case of a company going above and beyond anything anyone ever expected them too. The retro ad that’s been appearing for the Grimace’s Birthday campaign alone would have been enough for McDonald’s. But they created a video game that has such niche appeal that only oldies like me could possibly be interested. And I was very interested.

Grimace’s Birthday – Gameboy Colour Review

We don’t have a Game Boy Colour section of the site. Maybe we should have one.

This isn’t really a full review, but I wanted to give my initial impressions. Because, honestly, this game is better than it deserves to be.

Yes, it’s a Game Boy Colour game, with everything that entails. You’re not getting full CGI cutscenes and an open world action-adventure.

And that’s what makes it feel so fresh. Outside of the tie-in – and fans of Cool Spot know that was nothing new – this is definitely something I might have played in the 90s.

Only I’d have had to pay for it in the 90s. Which makes the surprise release all the sweeter.

It’s pretty simple. Skate through levels collecting items, dodging obstacles and grinding on your sweet skateboard. In incredible 8-bit graphics, you get to live your best Grimace life.

It’s not especially difficult, which isn’t very Game Boy Colour. But it’s certainly a surprise to be playing a new title that still feels so familiar.

I’m not going to write 1,000 words on this, like I normally would for a review. Because you wouldn’t read it, and you can click a single button and get a feel for it yourself.

But what I will say is this: let’s continue to support games as marketing. Not marketing for games, but clever games released to celebrate milestones or anniversaries. Sonic did it. Now McDonalds. It takes time, it takes effort – but it’s so, so worth it.

To the point where, for the first time in nearly 15 years, I have willingly given space to what is effectively an advert for a fast food company. What an incredible move.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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Twitter: @matgrowcott