Nintendo Switch Online Game Boy emulator includes Metroid, Mario and Zelda

Samus Aran in Metroid Fusion
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Audio player loading…

Official Game Boy and Game Boy Advance emulators may soon be hitting Nintendo Switch Online, porting a slate of classic titles across the handheld consoles.

As shared by Twitter user trashbandatcoot (opens in new tab) and spotted by Nintendo Life (opens in new tab), leaked files of the emulators have been shared across internet forums. They mention an official Game Boy emulator codenamed “Hiyoko” and a Game Boy Advance emulator named “Sloop”. The leaked files contain screenshots of both emulators being tested on a Nintendo Switch, fuelling rumors that they'll be making their way to Nintendo Switch Online sometime in the future.

Both are described as functional, if buggy, and appear to have been developed by Nintendo Europe Research & Development, which has handled several official Nintendo emulation projects in the past, including Nintendo Switch Online’s NES and SNES library.

Twitter user RatgorlHunter shared a recording of the emulators running on a Nintendo Switch. While the account has since been deleted, stills of the videos can be viewed via the Wayback Machine (opens in new tab). Kotaku (opens in new tab) also reports, through its own sources,  that the emulator only works on Switch dev kits and has seen footage of the emulator running the Game Boy Advance RPG Golden Sun.

See more

Dataminer Mondo Mega (opens in new tab) has released a full list of all 40 Game Boy Advance games mentioned in the leaked files. The files show they have been tested for the emulator, and include notable picks like Metroid Fusion, Castlevania: Aira of Sorrow, and The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. The full list includes: 

  • Astro Boy: Omega Factor
  • Car Battler Joe
  • Castlevania: Aira of Sorrow
  • Castlevania: Circle of the Moon
  • ChuChu Rocket!
  • Drill Dozer
  • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
  • F-Zero: Maximum Velocity
  • Game & Watch Gallery 4
  • Golden Sun
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age
  • Gunstar Super Heroes
  • Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town
  • Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
  • Kirby and the Amazing Mirror
  • Koro Koro Puzzle Happy Panechu!
  • Kuru Kuru Kururin
  • Lufia: The Ruins of Lore
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
  • Mario Golf. Advance Tour
  • Mario Kart Super Circuit
  • Mario Party Advance
  • Mario Tennis: Power Tour
  • Mario vs. Donkey Kong
  • Mega Man Battle Network 5 – Team ProtoMan
  • Mega Man Battle Network 2
  • Mega Man Zero 3
  • Metroid Fusion
  • Metroid: Zero Mission
  • Driller 2
  • Ninja Five-O
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team
  • Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire
  • Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation
  • Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis
  • Wario Land 4
  • WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames!
  • Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

Collection of Game Boy systems

(Image credit: TechRadar)

As Mondo Mega highlights, that these games have been tested with the emulator doesn’t necessarily mean they'll be available to play. Rather, they indicate that Nintendo is developing the emulators to be compatible with a range of first- and third-party titles.

Switch dataminer OatmealDome (opens in new tab) has suggested the leaks show the emulators are in early development and found they will support multiplayer by emulating the Game Boy’s Link Cable, which allowed players to physically connect their handheld consoles to play with or against each other.

Word that Nintendo’s classic handhelds would be emulated for the Switch first broke last year when Nintendo Life (opens in new tab) and Eurogamer (opens in new tab) confirmed that Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles will be coming to Nintendo Switch Online. They would join the service’s library of SNES and NES titles. 

However, it’s not currently known whether the Game Boy emulators will be available through the base Nintendo Switch Online subscription or its premium Expansion Pack tier, which includes access to N64 and Sega Mega Drive titles. No potential timeframe of the emulator's release has been revealed, either – either officially or through a leak.

Callum Bains
Gaming News Writer

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games.