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What’s on this $10 Handheld? Two: My Arcade Go Gamer Edition


Son of The Answer Man
As we’ve established, I periodically need a “project” to keep me entertained. Two years ago, I spent $10 on a Retro FC Plus (and then another $14 on a Games Power 500-in-1) and catalogued What the heck is on this $10 Retro Game handheld?

The Retro FC Plus was a Famiclone device, a NES-on-a-chip with a built in SD card full of roms, and some niceties like a rechargeable battery.


The My Arcade Go Gamer Portable (which the title screen calls the Family Sport 220 in 1) is a different beast. It doesn’t appear to be running emulation software, at least nothing that I recognize, and while I’m sure we’re going to find a few knockoffs, my first cursory glance didn’t find any commercial roms or hacks thereof.


The device itself is roughly the size of a Game Boy Pocket; 5” tall, 3” wide and about an inch thick at the fattest point, with a 2.5” screen. It has four buttons and a D-pad (the central buttons are Reset and Start), and the general build quality is “crappy”. I’m not sure if you can tell from photos, but that D-pad sticks up quite a bit, and those bumps on it are not great on the ol’ thumbs. Hopefully we won’t be expected to input any Street Fighter combo moves. The only port is a headphone jack, and there are volume up/down buttons on the left side.

The red buttons light up when the device is in use. Really, everything about the design of this screams, “Cheap toy for children!” (As if there are children in America who don’t have tablets that can play shovelware minigames already.) I’m not going to say that my son wouldn’t be fascinated by this if, say, we were waiting in a long line or at a doctor’s office, but he’d forget it ever existed by the time we got home. It’s a pick-up-and-play distraction, though my initial impression is that it does that pretty well.


It runs on 3 AAA batteries, and the battery case has a screw (like most battery-operated children’s toys sold in the US).

Granted, I bought this used so it might have suffered some aftermarket damage, but I found that if I screwed the battery cover on too tight, or held the device so that it put too much pressure on the battery case, then pressing the D-pad would also press the Reset button (or somehow otherwise reset the game). My best guess from that is that the inside of this isn’t terribly well-designed; but doing a teardown would require prying out the faceplate so if that happens at all, it’ll have to happen at the very end of this project.


I already made a list of every title, and there are indeed 220 of them: The main menu has 19 “sports” games and secondary menus for Education and Mini Game.


Within Education are 41 titles, and within Mini Game are six more categories: Puzzle, Action, Venture, Table, Sport, and Relax; each with their own list of games. These categories seem pretty arbitrary to me, but we’ll see as we try out the games.

So, given that the “sports” portion of this is front-and-center, I figured I’d go through the main screen games first.


The sports games don’t have title screens; they jump straight to an options menu and from there right into the game.

This has a bunch of options for your opponent and the court, but the actual game is weird in that you can’t see yourself or your racket, so you need to guess when the ball is actually close enough to hit. (And some combination of the D-pad and buttons hits the ball, but I had to button-mash to get the game to work.) So right off the bat, the complete lack of play instructions is already an issue.


The pause screen for a bunch of the games I’ve tried has this “Exit” option, which means you end up back at the menu you started on, rather than Reset sending you all the way back to the title screen. I consider that a win; it certainly makes this project more convenient.


A pretty standard golf game (not that I know a lot about golf games). You pick your club, aim, hold the button to power your swing, and let fly. It also lets you look at an overhead view of the full course whenever you want. I managed par on the first hole!


These all seem to feature the same “settings” screen, with this one letting you choose a field and a team (each team is apparently nine clones of the same person). You can choose your type of hit while batting, but I didn’t see any real difference in them, and the AI never throws outside the batter’s box and I never managed a foul ball, so I’m not sure a walk is possible. The umpire is voices, announcing the strikes and “Safe!” When pitching, it’s unclear how much control you have over your fielders (who are terrible at baseball and tend to randomly flee from the ball), but I discovered that while the AI very rarely strikes (holding a direction while pitching seemed to help?), it is possible for the AI to hit a homer.


Table Tennis
This has the same quirk as Tennis that you and your paddle are invisible, but apparently the only thing you need is a vague sense of timing: If you press A when the ball is close enough to your side, you’ll hit it no matter where on the table it is.




It’s pretty obvious these were all made by the same programmers using the same assets, right? This is a perfectly reasonable single-player bowling game. You edge left and right, then click to bring up a curve meter, then hold the button to throw.


This one is a little different: The dart rotates around the board and you click to stop it, then it goes towards the center and you click again to bring up the power meter, then you hold and release to throw the dart.

And then the batteries ran out. Granted, I used older batteries that had probably been sitting around my house for years, but still, I had maybe an hour of gameplay logged on this thing. I think I’m going to need to order a fresh box of AAAs. (Compare against the Retro FC Plus, which made it something like 6 hours on a charge!) I’m going to guess that the light-up buttons aren’t helping the battery life.

There are 13 more sports games in the main menu; I think it’ll be interesting to see if any of them stand out from the pack.


Summon for hire
Yup, this is definitely the unit I saw for sale at CVS (though I think they were charging $20 for it!). From the box screenshots I was expecting something more Famiclone-like, but I guess in order to be safe for US sale from copyright and trademark issues they had to start from scratch. Interesting that the box gives like zero indication that it focuses on a set of sports games in a pre-rendered style, instead showing more 8-bit-like stuff that presumably is relegated to the mini-games menu. I'm also hella curious if the other unit, that just looked like the exact same thing re-skinned in a gray shell with different styling, is the same inside or if it's a different collection. This one was labeled "Go Gamer Retro" while the other was "Go Gamer Classic".


Son of The Answer Man
Yup, this is definitely the unit I saw for sale at CVS (though I think they were charging $20 for it!). From the box screenshots I was expecting something more Famiclone-like, but I guess in order to be safe for US sale from copyright and trademark issues they had to start from scratch. Interesting that the box gives like zero indication that it focuses on a set of sports games in a pre-rendered style, instead showing more 8-bit-like stuff that presumably is relegated to the mini-games menu. I'm also hella curious if the other unit, that just looked like the exact same thing re-skinned in a gray shell with different styling, is the same inside or if it's a different collection. This one was labeled "Go Gamer Retro" while the other was "Go Gamer Classic".
Well, this does originally retail for at least $20, but I got a used one from eBay for $10, and I also ordered a new-in-box gray one (a whopping $17 when you include shipping!) that's supposed to arrive in the next couple of days. So I'll get to try them both and see how they differ.

I'm laying even odds that the ~160 Mini Games include some Nice Code stuff. We'll find out!


Son of The Answer Man
So, remember how I said the batteries ran out? No, apparently they didn’t. I think the battery connections are messed up on this thing. I kept having problems if I held the device wrong or played for more than ten minutes straight. Is it a genuine design flaw or damage because it’s used? Eventually I’ll crack open the new-in-box gray version and we’ll find out for sure. For the moment I’m going to try to struggle along with this.


This has no settings, and instead jumps straight to a lay-up game: The hoop moves slowly from side to side, and you need to hold and release A to shoot.


The lack of instructions definitely struck again here! You’ve got floating gloves to represent your character against the enemies boxer, but it really wasn’t clear what combination of button mashing actually made me block or attack as we shuffled back and forth.


I feel like jrpg minigames have spoiled me for simple games. In this one, you need to press up at the right time to bounce, then the game will give you sequences of A, B and directions to press to do flips and earn points. After a certain number of bounces, you dismount and are scored against the CPU.


Choose a lure and then cast off, and the lure will sink into a pool of fish which might snag it, Then you need to reel in the fish without going over the tension meter or letting it escape. Remember the fishing game in Link’s Awakening? It’s like that, but kinda less fun.


Ice Hockey
You have a limited time to score goals against a goalie and two opposing players, who each move slowly back and forth. The pucks will slide in from the side, and you need to line up, hold A to pull back and release to swing. Entertainingly, you get extra points for getting an opposing player in the nuts with the puck. (Pegging him while he’s down is actually more points than a goal!)


So, you aim and then shoot, but then you also have to rub the brooms together as the stone is sliding to try to slow it or something? I can’t understand what they’re shouting while that’s happening. And you’re trying to knock each other out of the circles, which I guess is the goal of curling? I’m not Canadian enough for this shit.


City Battle
Oh, hey, this is a Gradius clone! It’s pretty simple—there are only a handful of enemy formations that seem to repeat endlessly while they deplete your health meter and five lives; the Missile and Ripple powerups are pretty useful (and stack for added effects!) but the Laser has a slow rate of fire that makes it a downgrade. It’s actually a startlingly good power-up system for a game with no real meat to it.


Crazy Moto
I keep reading the title as “Crazy Mofo”. A fairly standard 3D racing game, but the power-ups are police batons and hammers—you are apparently supposed to use B to punch and kick other racers so you stay ahead of them.


The “On your marks, get set” is voiced, followed by a gunshot-ish sound, but then the background for the rest is some kind of vague shushing I’m guessing is crowd noise. Do you remember the original NES Track Meet game, where you had to alternate A and B to run? That’s the control scheme here, but I only found it by guessing.


“En garde” and “Allez” are voiced here, too. A to thrust, B to parry, and the D-pad moves you forward and back. Then it’s just three minutes of shoving your opponent into a corner and stabbing him.


I couldn’t figure the controls for this one. You dive in and then there’s what I’m guessing is a breath meter, but I couldn’t actually get my dude to either swim or breathe.


No options, this dumps you straight into the race. You’re trying to win, clearly, but there are coins on the track and you’re apparently trying to collect at least 30 of them. (I collected well more than 30 and nothing happened; I have no idea if they do anything.) There are power ups that include a booster, a ghost (that makes you pass through obstacles) and an invincibility effect. The #1 concern while racing is running into another racer, which slows you down and gives them a boost; though there are also rocks and banana peels on the track. (The other racers seem to move at arbitrary speeds, sometimes zooming much faster than you and sometimes just being pokey. I think they tried to artificially create tension by having the other racers speed up and slow down and certain points.) Trying to drive off the track slows you down, but you can’t actually off-road. There are additional tracks if you beat the first one. This may have been the deepest game we've seen so far, though that isn't actually saying much.


Mini Fighter
Okay, those guys look familiar. Are those Super Puzzle Fighter characters? This is a slow-moving Street Fighter clone—and when I say “slow-moving”, I mean it feels like you’re playing a NES game that’s lagging badly and had crappy controls to begin with. It’s painful to play, especially with the lousy D-pad and the fact that the system resets itself if I grip it too tightly.

That wraps up the front section. People seemed excited about the Education section, so I figure I'll do that next and then tackle the minigames.


Summon for hire
That’s wild that the main list is all asset-sharing sports games (well, I guess trampoline and fishing are a slightly different asset set), and then... a Gradius clone and a poor Street Fighter clone with stolen art. Huh.

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
It’s… weird that so many of the stock characters in this thing are chubby babies wearing boxer shorts, right?

Is that a weird thing?

Also they’re probably yelling “Hurry Hard” in the Curling game as that’s what you’re supposed to yell during it, and the goal is to slide the puck (or rock) as close to the center of the bullseye as possible, and you can deflect your opponents rocks while they’re in there since the field doesn’t reset until every rock has been slid


Son of The Answer Man
There are many things that are weird about this; the design of the stock characters feels like the tip of the iceberg. But yeah, City Battle and Mini Fighter are clearly the odd games out. If I had to guess, they were made by different people / at a different time but whoever put this device together wanted some indication that there were non-sports games front-and-center rather than hidden in the Mini Games menu.

"Hurry hard" is possibly what they're yelling, but that doesn't make it make any more sense to me.

But anyway, let’s get some Education!


1. Uppercase Letters
Hey, we get title screens in the Education section. But this…isn’t a game? It announces the letter and slowly fills it in as if you were writing it. Then it moves to the next letter. This is a YouTube video for toddlers.


2. Lowercase Letters
The same as Uppercase Letters, except with lowercase letters.


3. Numbers
And this one has numbers instead. We’re off to a really strong start with the educational set, folks!


4. Find the Largest Numbe
Okay, actually has you doing something, as you get to pick between two numbers. If you pick the bigger one, it announces the name of that number.


5. Number Sequence
This gives you a sequence of single-digit numbers and puts one of the missing ones into a cloud, and you have to put it in the right place. Great for kids who can read well enough to navigate this device but don’t know how to count to ten!


6. Missing Letters
Okay, and we’ve just jumped up the target age range: This gives you a word with a missing letter (and a picture clue) and you need to pick which of four letters goes in the blank. If you get it right, it announces the word.


7. Find the Picture
A reading game: You need to pick the picture that matches the word.


8. Find the Shape
A simple shape-matching game, where you have to pick the one of three gems that fits into the hole.


9. Colors
A colorblindness test, where you pick the color that matches the color of the item shown.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not particularly optimistic about the quality of the rest of the Education set. I’ll probably try to blitz through them in the next post.


Son of The Answer Man
I expect my later posts to be shorter, but the Education games are…well, they mostly don’t qualify as “games” and are pretty uniformly terrible, so I’m not going to stretch them out.


10. Find the Differences
“One of these things is not like the other…” Picking the correct item that doesn’t match gets you a checkmark.


11. Sound
The game makes an animal sound and you have to pick the correct animal.


12. What Goes Together
The game shows you an object and gives you three choices for something that “goes with it.” I think it’s pretty obvious at this point that every entry in the “Education” subset is going to be running on the same engine and they’re all going to be ridiculous. (I wonder if there was an “educational” multicart that this collection was all cribbed from. Like, it’s pretty obvious most of the sports games were made at the same time, by the same people and using the same assets. I’m reasonably sure all of the Educational games share a developer, but I’m not sure it’s the same one as the sports games.)


13. Learning Rhythm
This looks like it’s going to be whack-a-mole, but it’s dumber than that: Three moles pop up and play tones in a rhythm, and you need to press A to whack the fourth mole in the same rhythm.


14. Learning Time
Practice telling the time off an analogue clock.


15. Matching
Match the two halves of a shape. The thing is, in addition to these not being interesting as games and not being actually useful educational tools, they aren’t even good distractions. Like, when my son was a toddler, I remember finding a tablet app that was just bubbles to pop. That’s it, poke the bubbles to pop them. It didn’t even have a counter. It was nominally teaching hand-eye coordination or something, but really, it was a distraction that allowed me to keep him from fussing in a restaurant or a waiting room. Nothing here even has that!


16. Find the Word
I was secretly hoping there might be a word-find puzzle or something, but no: It gives a picture and you need to match the right word.


17. Find the Law
This one at least has a good, badly-translated name. It’s actually a “find the pattern” game, where it shows you plates of apples and you need to pick the next one in the sequence.


18. Hide and Seek
This one plays an animal sound, and then you need to pick which side of the picture the animal is hiding in. It merges the important lessons you learned in “Sound” into a hidden pictures game.


19. Which One is Redundant
And then we hit something that is actually kinda clever as a puzzle game (even if the title and instructions aren’t helpful): The numbers are made of matchsticks and you need to figure out which one to remove to make the equation true. It limits you to removing a matchstick from a specific number (which limits the available puzzles) and the equations are only addition/subtraction, but there’s a kernel of an idea here.


20. Find the Other Part
Remember the bonus games in Super Mario Bros 3 where you were trying to line up the three spinning pieces of the Mushroom, Flower or Star? This is the grossly simplified version of that.


21. Find the Figure
The same game as “Find the Shape”, but with slightly different set dressing. They didn’t have a lot of ideas here.


22. Tangram
I was briefly excited because I’ve always loved tangram puzzles. This isn’t those, of course, because those involve unique pieces that you can rotate. This is another variation on “Find the Shape” where you need to pick which of four options fits into the indicated space, but you’ll slowly filling up a picture by doing so. This is another one that might almost qualify as a game.


23. Divide Cookies Evenly
…It's even dumber than you think. You need to pick the cookie that’s split evenly in half.


24. Find the Most Heavy
Two animals are on a see-saw. You need to pick the one that makes the see-saw go down.


25. Percussion
Rather than having a lesson or win condition, this lets you press the D-pad and A button to make sounds from the various percussion instruments.


26. What is the Most
Each balloon has some number of two objects pictured in it. Pick the one that there are the most of.


27. Learning Fruits
This is just a straight vocabulary-builder: As you scroll through, it says the names of fruits and shows pictures and the words that go with them. Clearly it’s the cheat sheet for the other games.



And you know what? I’m not going to bother taking pictures from here on, because the rest of this section is: Learning Food, Learning Animals, Learning Clothes, Learning Sports, Learning Vegetables, Learning Body, Learning Toys, Learning Family, Learning Occupation, Learning Transportation, Learning School, Learning Stationary, Learning Colors, and Learning Shape. They’re all the same; just the vocabulary changes.

We’re going to try one of the Mini Game categories next time and hopefully get more “game” in our Go Gamer device.


Son of The Answer Man
Please do not waste time taking a picture, but what is this one? Identifying paper?
I scrolled through the entire "game" and the words in it are pen, pencil, pencil-box, eraser, paper, book, bag, ruler, notebook, ink. That's it.

FIND THE LAW is… sticking with me as a title
I know, right? That's some pretty solid titling. I mean, it's no Awful Rushing, but we take what we can get.


Son of The Answer Man
I did a little research and it turns out that the Bootleg Wiki has some info about the contents of these handhelds!

So, apparently DreamGEAR (and particularly their division My Arcade) have been making variations of these for almost a decade. They usually produce devices with titles that come from the Chinese company JungleTac and our old pals at Nice Code, and those systems run on system-on-a-chip hardware called the VTxxx series, a descendent of the Famiclone hardware we saw on other handhelds.

The Family Sport 220-in-1, however, appears to be a different beast: It was originally released as a Wii-like form factor; and feature the Family Sports series of games developed (or at least assembled) by Senca. Then the whole thing was dropped into the DreamGEAR Gamer Go Portable, which is what I’m playing with now. I think this is an answer to Octo’s question of why the characters all look like fat toddlers: They’re off-brand Mii characters. (And also why we're getting a lot of faux-3D, first-person stuff in the sports games, because they're trying to mimic Wii Sports on the cheap.)

The wiki also theorizes that the “Education” section was all a separate plug-and-play series that got merged into Family Sport at some point later to boost the game count.


I’ve made an executive decision to start with Action from the Mini Games because I really can’t take the risk of more Educational stuff right now.


1. Hare Fighter
Right off the bat: Those are Waddle Doos. Woo, stolen assets! The Hare Fighter can toss spikey bombs that explode when they hit enemies, and every monster has the same 1 HP and is worth the same 100 points, and respawn infinitely to walk back and forth in the same place. Every 1,000 points makes you go to the next level, where the enemies are palette-swapped but otherwise identical. Touching an enemy kills you and forces you to respawn at the bottom of the screen. Game Over sends you back to the Action menu.

The Bootleg wiki calls this a simplified take on Bubble Bobble (VERY simplified, I’d say) and notes that the main character is a recolored version of Don from Don't Pull (from the arcade multigame Three Wonders).


2. Jumping Mary
This seems to be a Q*Bert clone; you hope from block to block on the isometric tower trying to land on them all, grab and bonus items that appear and avoid monsters.


3. Robot War
A fairly straightforward top-down tank battle game that reminded me of Battle City for the NES, only with diagonal movement and shots and a lack of walls, destructible or otherwise. Enemy tanks come in from the two doors and take one hit to kill (and only sometimes actually shoot at you), then eventually a boss tank with lots of HP shows up and kills you with spread fire.


4. West Cowboy
You’re the black-hatted cowboy in the foreground. Each round you’re shown a Wanted poster and then there’s a countdown from 5 until the duel starts. You can dodge left or right and fire from any of the positions, and your opponent will do the same. Once you get through a couple of rounds there start being more than one varmint at a time. A single hit means Game Over.


5. Balloon Boy
A clone of Balloon Kid for the NES; with slightly better controls because you can just hold A to rise rather than having to press it repeatedly. Despite the fact you’re carrying three balloons, a single hit from anything will kill you. (“Anything” includes teddy bears with balloons, jumping piranha fish if you go too low, and lightning-shooting storm clouds.) There's a definite New SMB influence to the score and coin counter. The Bootleg wiki says this is based on Bird Knight from the Sport Vii (a different Wii-knockoff), which was in turn based on Nintendo's Balloon Kid. It also notes that one of the enemies is the protagonist of Nice Code's Bug Catcher.

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
Actually, you CAN raise by just holding the button in Balloon Fight, but it's with the B button, which, oddly, nobody ever tries to do.

It's slower, but much more maneuverable than pressing A repeatedly.


Son of The Answer Man

6. Crazy Fighter
A top-down shmup with a limited, very repetitive enemy selection but an actual health bar and a very robust power-up collection. I’m wondering if this and City Battle had the same designer, because they definitely have the same sensibilities. If there was more to this beyond an endlessly repeating swarm of the same half-dozen enemies, it could actually be half-decent.


7. Jumping Boy
Jumping Boy, the strange little monkey/toddler/whatever, has to collect all of the coins in each level to complete it, while avoiding being eaten by fish or plants or falling into holes. You could almost call this a puzzle-platformer, because there’s a short time limit for each (very small—maybe two screens wide) stage and you need to maneuver carefully. There are powerups that seem to provide extra jumping, brief invulnerability and extra lives. There are at least 6 unique levels; I’m not sure how far it goes.

The Bootleg wiki notes that this features the same protagonist as Balloon Boy--which I was unobservant enough to miss--and that Level 2 uses graphics of Lakitu's cloud from New Super Mario Bros.


8. Rescue Pets
Assorted mice bounce out of the left side and you need to maneuver the skateboard boy with the trampoline cape to bounce them into the pile of leaves on the right. Most pets require one bounce, but some require two. If you catch a falling apple it gives you a 1-up. When you reach the goal points (each pet is worth 100), you move up to the next level and the pets get faster; though I think there are only two screens that alternate.

The Bootleg wiki tells me this is a clone of the "Leaf Bounce" level in the Flash game Hamtaro's Day Out. Hamtaro himself is removed, but several other Hamtaro characters remain (Bijou, Boss, Cappy, Dexter, Maxwell, Penelope, and Sandy/Stan).


9. Crossing
A Frogger clone. Each level gives you three lives and 100 seconds to get five frogs across the road and river. Frogger was never my favorite game, but this is a decent recreation of it. It even makes a decent bouncing sound as you hop. (It’s possible that this was actually JungleTac’s licensed port of Frogger with the name changed.)


10. Climbing Expert
A runner game with less-than-spectacular graphics (it’s hard to see several of the falling objects because they’re too similar to the background colors, and honestly I didn’t realize most of the things that are obstacles were until I hit them). Note that you don’t have a life meter; getting hit costs you time but you keep going. Flip sides on each vine and jump between them to dodge obstacles and collect coins, and go for as long as you can.


Son of The Answer Man
Point of note: While I can find a few of these games mentioned in the Bootleg wiki and occasionally manage to notice or Google other details, I’m far from an expert here. If you recognize a game and/or have any trivia tidbits to offer (or a potential rabbit hole to send me down), I want to hear about it.


11. Jack Adventure
A stupidly-hard, slow-moving platformer. Touching water kills you, touching the whale’s spout kills you, touching any creature kills you. The controls are muddy and you have no options. I saw the “YOU DIED!” message more times in two minutes than I do in a Ghosts ‘N Goblins game, and it didn’t even feel like it was because the designers hated me. It felt like it’s because the designers didn’t care.


12. Seize Jewelry
A Donkey Kong clone, with a shield instead of a hammer and rocks instead of barrels. The big DK is replaced by a giant pirate. I felt like I should recognize the redhead protagonist; the Bootleg wiki claims it’s a modified version of Link from the Zelda series (particularly because of the shield), but I don’t know if I see it. The wiki also notes that the game is very ‘notorious’ for the playable character’s hitbox being a bit large for the barrels, which lead to the game being sometimes unfair. I can confirm this observation.


13. Greedy Girl
It took me a minute to realize that this is a Snakes game! The girl moves continuously (though slowly) in whatever direction you indicate and needs to collect the blue bubbles, which trail after her once she gets them. Touching a wall, monster or obstacle makes her shrink down to nothing and you lose a life.


14. Spring Mice
This feels like a Nice Code game, but I can’t quite place it--the closest I could come up with was Power Robot. Your mouse continuously bounces on his pogo stick. You need to get across the moving platforms and collect treasures as you climb towards the top, where the end of the stage awaits.


15. Rope Skipping
Press A at the right time to jump over the rope. You’ve got a set goal to hit before the rope speeds up. Pretty simple.


Summon for hire
I feel sure I’ve seen the Spring Mice concept in a different skin somewhere, but I can’t remember any details.

Meanwhile, the Rope Skipping character are straight up from Pokemon. Left to right that’s the male and female PC characters from the Sinnoh games, plus I wanna say maybe a rival NPC from a different gen?


(he / him)
Barry's actually the rival from the Sinnoh games, so they're all from the same generation.

I also wanted to react to this:
13. Learning Rhythm
This looks like it’s going to be whack-a-mole, but it’s dumber than that: Three moles pop up and play tones in a rhythm, and you need to press A to whack the fourth mole in the same rhythm.
which sounds like the first part of a Rhythm Heaven level. (Throw in a couple other types of mole, or have to handle multiple lanes -- and you've got the rest. Oh, and an appropriately timed song to go along with it...)


Son of The Answer Man
See, that's the kind of insight I need! My son is the only Pokemon player in our household, so I never would have recognized the characters.


16. Pool Party
Another, different timing game. The attendees at this pool party want to jump into swim rings and onto floats, but not into buckets. You need to press A to have them jump at the right time. DJ Mouse continues rocking out the entire time.


17. Elvish Boy

Another lousy platformer, though this one isn’t quite as bad. The Elvish boy can throw balls that stun enemies and has three hearts (and regains them if you grab fruit), but his jump physics are really bad. Like, if you throw a ball or hit an enemy in mid-air, you fall straight down. Also, the balls don’t throw at a consistent arc, so it’s really hard to hit a moving or flying enemy. The spike-nosed guys from Hare Fighter appear as enemies here, too.


18. Space Sword
Hey, an intro screen! Your space knight launches from that giant ship! This plays like a more advanced version of Defender, in that you fly through space in two dimensions (with momentum!), using the radar to hunt down enemies to kill. A slashes your sword, B brings up a shield. The fact that you’re slashing rather than shooting combined with your momentum makes it easy to overshoot and miss enemies. I didn’t see anything indicating different levels; you just fly around blocking missiles and energy balls and finding enemy space knights and satellites to kill. Oh, and collecting violations of the Geneva convention to restore health.


19. Save the Fallen
This is something new: You’re the army guy next to the tent, and you need to maneuver around the screen rescuing each of the injured men in turn. (You can pick up and carry one at a time and have to bring them back to the tent.) While you’re doing so, missiles rain down and the area is littered with land mines and other traps. Levels are timed, which adds a puzzle element to things. You have a gun (and there are gun power-ups), but there doesn’t actually seem to be anything you can shoot. This is perhaps the most accurate video game recreation of the horrors of war I’ve ever seen.


20. Hell Marksman
The Bootleg wiki notes that this is a clone of Twin Shot. Your character is an incredibly slow-moving archer whose arrows persist when they hit things so you can use them as platforms. In each stage, you need to kill all the monsters and collect the coins they drop. Oddly, you press up to jump instead of the unused B button.


21. Anti Gravity Robo
Remember Metal Storm for the NES, where the big gimmick was your ability to flip gravity? This just takes the puzzle aspect of that and makes it the whole game. You seem to have infinite lives (and die if you fall into a top or bottom pit, and explode if you touch spikes), though the time ticks up and as you cross the various screens, so I guess there’s a high score based on play time? Irritatingly, A switches gravity and Up is jump even when you’re upside-down. Also, you can’t flip gravity in mid-jump (only when on the ground), so a lot of the potential speedrunning finesse is lost.