Whenever Nintendo Switch Online is a topic, it’s normally the folks asking why the Nintendo 64 and GameCube titles haven’t arrived, or a laugh at releasing another trailer that’s being thrown in. forgetting. While Nintendo offers plenty of retro games and a few exclusive “ 99 ” titles with the service, and with options to get one-year access very cheaply with the Family Pass in particular, it is often compared unfavorably to competing services from Sony and Microsoft.
Nintendo, it has to be said, is not the kind of company that is too benevolent in terms of content distribution, even when we pay small amounts, admittedly, for it, but the debate around Switch Online can become rather fiery. It’s also worth pointing out that not everyone thinks we should get a bunch of N64 and GameCube classics through the service, some just want the chance to buy the games. Still, one hope for the service that doesn’t pop up often is for classic portable titles, which is odd like Switch. is a laptop that connects to a television.
We’re talking, of course, about Game Boy – and, if we’re greedy, Game Boy Advance. From a personal perspective, I didn’t have either of the two systems growing up, so playing some of these titles on the 3DS was a revelation, even though the ACS on the system was limited to the ‘Ambassador Program’. Surely there will be a number of Switch owners, among the tens of millions around the world, who have not experienced these classics either?
It’s not like emulation has to be a technical fix, even though the Switch’s NVIDIA Tegra architecture means Nintendo can’t just dump its 3DS or Wii U emulators onto the newer system without some work and testing. Ah yes, remember the Wii U had GBA games. It was an odd arrangement, perhaps to try and make the Wii U a little more desirable as it struggled for sales; you could only buy Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles on the 3DS Virtual Console (apart from the aforementioned Ambassador games), while the Wii U only had GBA games on the front of the laptop. Along with the Wii U Virtual Console games, Nintendo’s own blurb emphasizes off-TV gaming on the GamePad, which is of course a good match for Switch.
We’re betting titles from all of the Game Boy generations could really pop up on the Switch screen
There are also some unique fun possibilities to have these old portable titles on Switch. In the pocket, the options are obvious; as with NES and SNES, you can offer gamers the ability to stretch or have a pixel-perfect presentation, as well as filters to have the beige or polka dot green look for Game Boy displays. We’re betting that titles from all generations of Game Boy could really pop up on the Switch screen.
For grounded play, Nintendo could perhaps break through the Switch Online streams and have “ Super Game Boy ” versions of classics, mimicking the effects of that famous material. It would be smart, it would grab the attention of retro fans on social media and create entertaining marketing. We’re not saying deny portable gamers access to Super Game Boy, of course, but it would be fun to joke that this is a TV version of the Game Boy classics.
There would also be the possibility of partnering with major franchise anniversaries. Pokémon, Metroid, and The Legend of Zelda have iconic and popular portable inputs on Game Boy and GBA (although we have already been redone), all of which could raise awareness of other inevitable celebrations and ties to the system. Longing combined with birthdays can be a powerful combination.
As we’re in a post-Virtual Console era, we’re probably close to where Nintendo is improving and improving Switch Online, at least to some extent. There has been a movement to make My Nintendo a little more desirable, although our expectations need to be controlled as well. Nintendo, like Sony and Microsoft, tends to be relatively careful when it “wins” in a generation, before reacting and trying bold moves when it’s on the back foot. Nintendo is undoubtedly winning at the moment, which means grand gestures and surprises have been relatively rare, at least lately.
Considering the capabilities of the hardware, however, it should be a straightforward task to give us the best of Game Boy and Game Boy Advance on the Switch, and I for one would love to see them again.
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