It appears that Nintendo is about to expand its offerings of emulated games on the Switch console. A full Nintendo Switch Game Boy emulator has leaked online, along with an expanded roster of N64 features and titles. This is according to Emily Rogers, a reported and leaker who has been tied to other reports for Nintendo’s plans in the past. “So Nintendo’s official Game Boy Advance emulator for the Nintendo Switch just leaked,” they said on Twitter.
The leak and resulting speculation were originally posted on Famiboards, where the reporter referenced another claim made last September about the Switch and the future of emulation. The claim then was that the roster of N64 games on Switch would be more varied and appealing, compared to the Nintendo Wii and Wii U’s Virtual Console.
Dataminers have already torn into the code, finding some very interesting references. One of the elements found references to the Transfer Pak, a special controller addon for the N64 which allowed gamers to interface Game Boy and GBC games with the console. This peripheral was seldom used on the official N64, really only finding much use with Pokémon games like Pokémon Stadium. This could hint that Nintendo is planning to release a full suite of older Pokémon games onto the Switch via emulation. This is unconfirmed, but it’s possible. Some doubt this possibility, as a dive into the N64 Switch Online app’s code suggests only the ability to detect whether the emulated Transfer Pak is on or off, not the full ability to transfer data.
The leak came with various games being referenced, including both N64 and Game Boy titles. The leaked images show references to multiple Golden Sun games, as well as titles like Pokémon Pinball being added to the launch lineup. Some leaks hint at possible multiplayer functionality in several games, as well as the ability to trade Pokémon in supported titles.
When the Nintendo Switch Game Boy emulator comes to the masses, it will likely be bundled into the already existent NSO premium sub. Nintendo already bundled Sega consoles into the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack, and it will likely want to increase its premium install base. The higher price of the feature-rich NSO subscription is a big barrier for budget gamers, but some may be swayed by the inclusion of Game Boy and GBA emulators.
What remains very uncertain, and may spoil the whole effort, is the question of game support. Nintendo has been very stingy with the games added to the NES and SNES emulators that are offered with baseline NSO. And some users report dissatisfaction with the games on the Sega suite as well.