The official Game Boy and Game Boy Advance emulators may soon be coming to Nintendo Switch Online, bringing a roster of classic titles to handheld consoles.
As shared by Twitter user trashbandatcoot (opens in a new tab) and spotted by Nintendo’s life (opens in a new tab), leaked emulator files have been shared on internet forums. They mention an official Game Boy emulator named “Hiyoko” and a Game Boy Advance emulator named “Sloop”. The leaked files contain screenshots of both emulators being tested on a Nintendo Switch, fueling rumors that they will make their way to Nintendo Switch Online in the future.
Both are described as working, albeit buggy, and appear to have been developed by Nintendo Europe Research & Development, which has managed several official Nintendo emulation projects in the past, including Nintendo Switch Online‘s NES and SNES library.
Twitter user RatgorlHunter shared a recording of emulators running on a Nintendo Switch. Although the account has since been deleted, still images from the videos can be viewed via the return machine (opens in a new tab). Kotaku (opens in a new tab) also reports through its own sources that the emulator only works on Switch dev kits and has seen footage of the emulator running the Game Boy Advance RPG Golden Sun.
Nintendo’s official Game Boy Advance emulator for the Nintendo Switch has just leaked. Now we just have to wait for NSO to add GBA. pic.twitter.com/mEJcKrRtzLApril 18, 2022
Dataminer Mondo Mega (opens in a new tab) released a full list of all 40 Game Boy Advance games mentioned in the leaked files. The files show they have been tested for the emulator and include notable picks like Metroid Fusion, Castlevania: Aira of Sorrow, and The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. The full list includes:
- Astro Boy: Omega Factor
- Joe the car battler
- Castlevania: Aira of Sorrow
- Castlevania: Circle of the Moon
- ChuChu Rocket!
- Drilling bulldozer
- Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones
- F-Zero: maximum speed
- Games and Watches Gallery 4
- golden sun
- Golden Sun: The Lost Age
- Gunstar Super Hero
- Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town
- Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
- Kirby and the Incredible Mirror
- Koro Koro puzzle Happy Panechu!
- Kuru Kuru Kururin
- Lufia: Ruins of Knowledge
- Mario & Luigi: The Superstar Saga
- Mario Golf. Advanced visit
- Super Circuit Mario Kart
- Mario Party Advance
- Mario Tennis: Guided Tour
- Mario vs. Donkey Kong
- Mega Man Battle Network 5 – ProtoMan Team
- Mega Man 2 Battle Network
- Mega Man Zero 3
- Metroid Fusion
- Metroid: Mission Zero
- Driller 2
- Ninja Five-O
- Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team
- Pokémon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire
- Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3
- Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation
- Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis
- Earth Wario 4
- WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames!
- Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3
- The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
As Mondo Mega points out, the fact that these games have been tested with the emulator does not necessarily mean that they will be available to play. Rather, they indicate that Nintendo is developing the emulators to be compatible with a range of first-party and third-party titles.
Change data miner OatsDome (opens in a new tab) suggested that leaks show the emulators are in early development and discovered that they would support multiplayer by emulating Game Boy’s Link Cable, which allowed gamers to physically connect their handheld consoles to play with each other others or against each other.
Word that Nintendo’s classic handhelds would be emulated for the Switch first broke last year when Nintendo’s life (opens in a new tab) and Eurogamer (opens in a new tab) confirmed that Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles will be coming to Nintendo Switch Online. They would join the service’s library of SNES and NES titles.
However, it’s currently unknown whether the Game Boy emulators will be available through the base Nintendo Switch Online subscription or its Premium Expansion Pack tier, which includes access to N64 and Sega Mega Drive titles. No potential release schedule for the emulator has been revealed either – either officially or through a leak.