No stranger to offering emulated titles among its lineup, Nintendo has recently announced the release of a range of Game Boy and Game Boy Advance (GBA) games on the Switch. A natural move for the company, players have been left wondering what took so long, though there remain concerns about the quality of these ports, with Nintendo's track record being rocky at best.

The New (Old) Titles 

According to The Verge, the new set of Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games are arriving on Switch via the online store, which makes sense. Considering Game Boy games measure in kilobytes, printing out full cartridges with gigabytes of empty space is more than a little wasteful. As for GBA games, these will be exclusive to Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscribers.

Titles in the initial launch window include Tetris, Metroid 2: Return of Samus, Mario Kart Super Circuit, and The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. All of these games are established classics, and all have a proven track record on handheld systems, so their suitability to the Switch is guaranteed.


Moves and Fears 

The reason for the shift to the Switch is simple; a bigger library gives players more reasons to engage. More engagement means more users, and more users mean more money. Plus, with the Switch recently becoming the third-best-selling system of all time, Nintendo would probably like to continue building the platform's legacy. On top of this, Nintendo making the Switch a dual handheld/console has already consolidated two sides of its library into one, on top of which they’ll want to add more.

This move is hardly new in the entertainment space, as shifting titles onto new systems has been equally graced by others in the interactive entertainment market. The online casino industry is one of the standout examples in this regard, with the titles on their websites converted to mobile platforms from desktop thanks to new HTML 5 code. If you play Rainbow Riches in the modern age, the game can now be enjoyed on a huge range of tablets, smartphones, computers, and laptops. With the addition of welcome bonuses, games like this similarly help online casinos like Nintendo’s move helps the Switch.

There is some concern, however, about how well these emulation jobs will perform. Nintendo has a long track record of putting handheld games on other systems well, as it managed with the Game Boy Player for the GameCube. Less encouraging are recent efforts like the GoldenEye 007 re-release. As mentioned by Metro, there are issues in this game that have persisted since the original Nintendo 64 version. Considering GoldenEye has notorious performance issues that can easily be bypassed today, this lack of effort is less than welcome, especially since fan ports and emulations have long since solved the problem.

Early signs from Nintendo’s release of these Game Boy and Advance games are good, so as long as the pace is maintained, this move still appears a positive one. Whether for classic players or newcomers to the library that made Nintendo what it is today, Game Boy games shouldn’t be overlooked for their simplicity. For current Switch owners, we’d especially recommend giving Minish Cap a try, as we prepare for the upcoming release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.