Rumours are swirling that Switch Online’s library may add a new shelf for Game Boy titles. Should this come to pass, here are our top five most-wanted games from Nintendo’s classic handheld.
Nintendo’s Switch Online service is competitively priced, compared to its Xbox and PlayStation counterparts, and comes with a suite of NES and SNES titles. Now, according to reports by the Nate the Hate podcast, and backed up by NintendoLife and Eurogamer, the Game Boy may be the next platform to join the subscription-based Virtual Console.
This is great news for retro gamers, though Nintendo hasn’t exactly nailed the line-up for NES or SNES so far. Glaring omissions exist in both libraries, while some truly bizarre third-string choices are available. So in the interest of nudging the Big N in the right direction, here are the top five Game Boy games we’d love to see on the Switch.
The first titles to hit Switch Online, or any other iteration of Nintendo’s Virtual Consoles, are the most standard fare. For NES, it was the classic Super Mario Bros trio and The Legend of Zelda; for SNES, it was Super Mario World and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
By the same token, the most obvious choices for Game Boy are Tetris and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. The legendary puzzle title made history as one of the handheld’s bundled titles, and Link’s Awakening is so popular it’s already been remade for Switch and will be included in this fall’s anniversary Game & Watch edition. These aren’t the most exciting choices, but they’re also required content.
The Super Mario Land Series (1989-1994)
These may fall into the same category as the Honorable Mentions, but Mario’s adventures on the Game Boy may be more exciting than you think. Super Mario Land introduced Princess Daisy and her home of Sarasaland, while also featuring some interesting vehicular segments. Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins saw the new subseries truly come into its own graphically with six diverse worlds, and graced us all with Wario’s debut. And without Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, there would be no WarioWare or Waluigi.
Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman (1994)
Speaking of Mario’s evil clone, the Game Boy also featured a fantastic crossover between Nintendo and Hudson Soft’s Bomberman. More than a cheap cash-in, Wario Blast is a definitive version of the NES franchise, originally released sans-Wario in Japan as Bomberman GB. As either mascot, you must lay bombs to destroy blockages and find power-ups, and ultimately blow up all your foes to clear each stage. After winning three rounds in each zone, players face a boss, who unlocks a whole new ability when defeated.
The round-based combat is perfectly suited to the Switch’s portability, while it would also benefit from the Super Game Boy’s enhancements. Online multiplayer would also make this a great addition to Nintendo’s subscription service.
Kirby’s Dream Land series (1992-1995)
Masahiro Sakurai’s beloved pink puffball may have broken into the mainstream with Kirby’s Adventure on the NES, but before that, he was created as an approachable entry point for action games. While his signature ability to copy skills from enemies was absent in the first Dream Land, his Game Boy debut established a lot of conventions for later games, like the tradition of walloping Whispy Woods as the first boss.
A lot of Sakurai’s design philosophies can be traced by to these original games, making them a worthwhile history lesson to incude on Switch Online for Smash fans.
Metroid II: Return of Samus (1991)
Metroid II: Return of Samus was remade for Nintendo 3DS just a few years ago, and before that as the notorious fan-made AM2R. While these revisions are fun and well-made, they ultimately lose some of the atmosphere. The Game Boy version was tight and intense, due to the handheld’s small screen. At times, this feels like a huge detriment, but the team at R&D1 also used this limitation to their advantage.
The series’ signature tone and haunting design are on full display despite hardware constrictions, and serious fans should definitely check out this version. Capitalizing on the upcoming release of Metroid Dread, Nintendo would be remiss to leave this off of Switch Online.
Pokémon (Red/Blue, Yellow, Gold/Silver, Crystal)
A few years back Nintendo and Game Freak brought the first two generations of Pokémon games to the 3DS’ Virtual Console. These ports supported wireless connectivity and could connect to Pokémon Bank (and thereby, Home), allowing new fans to experience the originals authentically and conveniently.
If Game Boy games are added to Switch Online, these six titles will likely be at the top of gamers’ wish lists. This would bring four regions of pocket monsters to the Switch once Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl launch this November, and the connectivity to Pokémon Home would be a huge boon for dedicated trainers.
The Game Boy was a massive success with a huge library, however, so there are surely many favourites we’ve omitted. Time will tell if these reports come true, but if they do, then there will be a big influx of value to Nintendo’s cheap service—and maybe we’ll get lucky, and also get the Game Boy Advance’s equally epic catalogue.