Championship Pool on the Game Boy is a conversion of the classic Bitmasters NES/SNES pool simulation, which some think is arguably the best video game pool sim ever made (myself included). It was first released by Mindscape in 1993.
The game is officially endorsed by The Billiard Congress of America, which unfortunately means that there are no “English pub rules” games available, but that doesn’t really matter too much as virtually every other variation of pool is available to play in the game.
The opening menu allows you to choose whether to play in a 32-player tournament (against computer-controlled AI players), or play a challenge game, a party game, or play freestyle (which is basically a practise mode where you can pretty much do anything, including repositioning the cueball during play)
The game plays similarly to the original versions, which is great because the views and controls work really well. During a match you press ‘A’ to start a shot and hold down ‘B’ while fine tuning it with the d-pad and the spinning ball cursor. Pressing Select gives you a closer view of part of the table, and pressing Start brings up a menu from where you can toggle ball numbers on or off, and also access “Game Control”, which is an important part of the game. With Game Control you can change shot power, set the spin, zoom in or out, or toggle the music on or off. In “Actions” you can call a safety shot, view a replay, look at the scoreboard, or quit out of a game.
There’s no link-up option for playing against another human player on another Game Boy, but two-player games are instead designed for the device to be passed from player to player, which works perfectly well instead.
As a big fan of the Super Nintendo version of Championship Pool I’d consider myself well-placed to review this conversion, and – to be honest – it plays just great. It does have a few things missing from the original version, like – for example – opponent player’s shots are not shown to happen, they are just calculated off-screen, but that’s a minor omission and doesn’t affect the game negatively. That said: I’m not sure how many people would want to play this version when the SNES and Megadrive versions, which are superior, exist, but if you want to play a game of pool on original hardware then no better pool game exists on the Game Boy. Not that I know of, anyway.