Nintendo Switch Online has continued in its current form for several years now, with minimal changes to its content lineup. That’s despite the Nintendo Switch’s predecessor, the Wii U, boasting an impressive lineup of games spanning multiple generations. There’s plenty the service is still missing, but in news that may pique the interest of classic Nintendo fans, there could be relief on the way.
According to leaker NateDrake, Nintendo Switch Online is due for a major update soon with classic Game Boy and Game Boy Color games joining the service. The rumour stems from a 2019 data mine which found four emulators on the Nintendo Switch, two of which are currently going unused. In a recent podcast, NateDrake asserted these emulators would come into play “very soon”, and this was later reiterated by website Nintendo Life.
While the rumours haven’t been confirmed yet, it would be a great step towards preserving Nintendo’s modern history and giving players easy access to a range of great, classic games.
Should the rumours be true, here’s 8 essential games that should come to Nintendo Switch Online, and why they’re so important.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX is a re-release of the original game for Game Boy Color with expanded features, including colourful new graphics and a brand new dungeon. While either version deserves a place on Nintendo Switch Online, it’s arguably DX that was the more popular and well-loved of the two games.
While it was eventually remade for Nintendo Switch, the mechanics and graphics of this game were genuinely ahead of their time, and deserve to be remembered in their original form.
Super Mario Land
Super Mario Land was the first Mario platformer on the original Game Boy, and also one of the most important for the overall series. It was here that we saw the debut of Princess Daisy and the concept of themed worlds, which would go on to become a core part of classic Mario gameplay. From simple gameplay and gorgeous, alien worlds, a franchise blossomed.
Super Mario Land looks naff now, but it remains a very important turning point for Mario and his pals.
Kirby’s Dream Land
Kirby’s Dream Land is the very first Kirby title, introducing audiences everywhere to the loveable pink blob. While he was technically white in his first appearance, he was still the Kirby we all know and love — and in this adventure, he made a name for himself fighting off against evil trees and other creatures.
This game’s a weird little gem. But it’s also very cute and an essential Nintendo original.
Harvest Moon (aka Story of Seasons) is a massive franchise now, but back when it released for Game Boy, farming simulators were still very, very rare.
The Game Boy version of the game wasn’t the first in the series (that honour goes to the SNES version) but it was the first handheld Harvest Moon title, and the one that so many kids grew up with.
It’s hard to go past the simplicity and bliss of this game, and it would be a great one to revisit.
You can’t have a solid Game Boy library on Nintendo Switch Online without at least one Pokémon title, and Red and/or Blue would the perfect picks. Everyone knows how important these games are, and it’s not something that needs to be argued.
As the first entries in the Pokémon franchise, Red and Blue started a multimedia revolution, and their continued popularity through remakes and remasters is testament to how much of an impact these games made.
Final Fantasy Adventure
Final Fantasy Adventure for Game Boy took a lot of cues from The Legend of Zelda to create its own spin on the action-adventure RPG genre, and the end result is a great little game that’s become one of the highest-regarded handheld adventure games of its era. With plenty to explore and great, simple combat, this adventure really is one for the ages.
Strangely enough, the game actually ended up being remade into another game called Sword of Mana, which became the first in the now long-running Mana series. Big things grew from humble beginnings.
Donkey Kong for Game Boy is a direct adaptation of the 1981 arcade game that saw Mario attempt to rescue his beau Pauline from the clutches of the evil Donkey Kong. You know the drill here. Climb the ladders, avoid the barrels, rescue the damsel in distress. It’s a classic formula for a reason, and this game marked the first time it was available for mainstream audiences everywhere.
Sure, games have long moved past the likes of Donkey Kong — but it was an important stepping stone for the future.
Metal Gear Solid
Metal Gear Solid for Game Boy Color (released with the subtitle Ghost Babel in Japan) is a ground-breaking stealth-action adventure, and one of very few ‘adult’ titles for the console. While it wasn’t alone, the release of Metal Gear Solid did wonders for the Game Boy Color and handheld gaming as a whole because it showed off its potential to create new and different experiences.
While the game doesn’t feature a “canon” story (it loosely adapts the original title in an alternative continuity), it still has an important place in the Metal Gear Solid franchise, and in gaming history.
What Game Boy and Game Boy Color games do you hope to see on Nintendo Switch Online? Disagree with any on our list? Pop on down to the comments below and share your thoughts.