Grimace’s Return… To The Game Boy

The current craze with McDonald's Grimace, the longtime purple blob mascot, is a cultural moment here in 2023. Deciding to roll out a purple shake, the fast food chain is putting Grimace front and center in its marketing. Weirdly, the Grimace shake has become a TikTok trend wherein Gen Z is drinking it and making short horror skits out of what happens next. It's weird, and obscure, but also very creative. Now, Grimace is pulling another out-of-nowhere stunt: appearing on the Game Boy Color. Andrew Cunningham at Ars Technica has more.

Grimace's Birthday was developed by Krool Toys, a Brooklyn-based independent game studio and "creative engineering team" with a history of creating playable Game Boy games as unique PR for musicians and brands.

The game is so period-authentic that there's even a screen telling original monochrome Game Boy owners that the game "requires a color device to play." Even on Game Boy hardware, it still makes references to people playing on "mobile devices,"

The game involves simple 2D platforming and skateboarding, not unlike some sections of the Game Boy Color Tony Hawk games; Grimace needs to collect milkshakes and do sick stunts as he tries to track down other McDonaldland characters so he can party with them. It's short—there are only four levels and one bonus round, plus score attack and free-skate modes—but the pixel art is legitimately great, and the levels that are here are cleverly designed.

Ars Technica

While the idea of a berry-flavored shake isn't something that appeals to me, I find it highly interesting that McDonald's would make a concerted effort to take a B-character from their cast and thrust it into the spotlight. As an 80s kid, I vividly remember the McDonald's playgrounds with character playsets and the full cast in the commercials. But in any spot I've seen in the past 20 years or times I've been in a McD's, I haven't seen anyone on display at all. Maybe it's a nostalgia play. Maybe it's the good old "what's old is new again" concept coming full circle. But whatever the reason, I'm lovin' it.