The ability to play emulated Game Boy games has been discovered in Nintendo Switch files.
Specifically, Nintendo-made emulators named Hiyoko (for Game Boy) and Sloop (for Game Boy Advance) have been detailed as part of a new datamine.
To date, there has been no official word on Game Boy emulation for Nintendo Switch, although Eurogamer previously reported that it was being worked on by Nintendo.
Datamined information published by Trash_Bandatcootsuggested that the emulators were developed by NERD (Nintendo Europe Research & Development) and were “both functional, but with some bugs”.
Reliable Nintendo Data Miner OatsDome added that Hiyoko, the Game Boy emulator for Switch, “seems to have netplay support for link cables” – meaning you’d be able to simulate linking two Game Boy handhelds (e.g. to be able to swap Pokemon).
… called Sloop, and the 7z archive is called Hiyoko, which is a Game Boy emulator, with all Game Boy games being separate apps. These emulators are developed by NERD (Nintendo Europe Research & Development), and are both functional, but with some bugs. (2/?) pic.twitter.com/RRUAVvz2BX
— Trash_Bandatcoot (@trashbandatcoot) April 18, 2022
Interestingly, although it has netplay support, it doesn’t use any of the usual Nintendo network libraries (NEX, pia). Maybe a custom server for testing.
The SDK used is also very old (v6.4.0, around 2018!), which indicates that it is probably a very old version!
— OatmealDome (@OatmealDome) April 18, 2022
As for Sloop, the Game Boy Advance emulator, a list of games being tested has also been put online. It’s worth clarifying that there’s no guarantee these will be games Nintendo will eventually release to play yourself (although it’s hard not to be excited to see Golden Sun and its sequel here).
The library of GBA games they tested for this thing is huge. Tested is the key word; does not mean that they will all actually launch on the service. Yellow = in rom folder at some point but not in leaked version.
— MondoMega (@Mondo_Mega) April 18, 2022
Last year, rumors swirled that Game Boy games would be added to Nintendo Switch Online in the future. In September Eurogamer sources reported that Game Boy emulation for Nintendo Switch Online had been worked on within the company, alongside emulation for other retro platforms (N64 and Sega Mega Drive) .
Currently, access to NES and SNES games for Nintendo Switch requires a basic Nintendo Switch Online membership. Additional games for N64 and Mega Drive require the newer – and more expensive – Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack.
Late last year, Nintendo said it would work to “improve and expand” Nintendo Switch Online, with its subscriber base reaching 32 million worldwide.