A goldmine of vintage treats is coming to the Nintendo Switch next month, Eurogamer reports. Switch Online is offering Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles starting September to commemorate the store’s third anniversary. The news comes as a pleasant surprise to players still hooked on Nintendo’s expansive back catalog; to those unaware, classic NES and SNES games can be accessed via Nintendo Switch Online for free via separate applications. Adding Game Boy and Game Boy Color entries to the mix would improve and diversify the retro experience entirely and make plenty of 90s kids very happy.
Rumors of an expanded inventory can be traced to an unlicensed datamine all the way back in January 2019. Twitter users @OatmealDome, @KapuccinoHeck, and @Simon1844 hacked into the NES Nintendo Switch app and found four emulators pre-installed into the system: Kachikachi, Canoe, Hiyoko, and Count. Kachikachi is codeword for NES Classic. Canoe stands for SNES Classic. The last two ports remained a mystery until respected insider Nate the Hate made intriguing predictions on his August 30 podcast. NateDrake, as he is more popularly known, went on air with co-host MVG and suggested Hiyoko, at the very least, refers to Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles. Sources close to Eurogamer and Nintendo Life would later verify the rumor, with an official report published on Friday.
Check out the tweet about Nintendo Switch that started it all:
As for Count, the logical approach is to consider the Game Boy Color’s successors, which means Count may be a codeword for Game Boy Advance — or perhaps the Nintendo DS. Handheld ports could reasonably be emulated without difficulty on the Switch, given the technical similarities. Another possibility would be the arrival of console games on the Nintendo Switch, anything from the N64 to the GameCube and Wii. Unfortunately for players still pressing Nintendo to augment Switch Online’s built-in backward compatibility, developers are currently remastering classic Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS entries into individual offerings. An Advance Wars port is on the way, with more to come as players call for remasters of their favorite childhood games. Game publishers may cry foul seeing Nintendo Switch Online give retro titles away for free when restoration remains an enticing, and completely viable, new option.
Nonetheless, Eurogamer assures players “more retro platforms are in the cards.” In the war against Internet piracy, Nintendo is fighting smart; instead of allowing third-party emulators to proliferate and ROM-sharing websites to be the only repository of vintage titles available, the company is providing players with free-to-play versions of beloved classics they would usually bootleg, thereby satisfying demand while also stamping down on pirates.
Nintendo has recently been cracking on ROM-sharing portals in a bid to keep its entire library proprietary, with Matthew Storman of ROMUniverse being the latest to pay damages. Providing fans with constant access to old games is not only good for business, but it also discourages consumers from acquiring vintage gems another way. Perhaps Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS ports aren’t in the pipeline yet, but they will be soon. There’s no better way to battle piracy than to challenge it in its own game.
Nintendo Switch Online is presently offering 80 NES games and 50 SNES games for free on their apps. The platform began with NES ports in September 2018, only to follow them up with SNES titles exactly a year later. The pandemic has hampered developments since, but rest assured new games are added every so often. With Game Boy and Game Boy Color entries arriving this year, it’s not entirely outrageous to assume more content is afoot.