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6 Game Boy Advance games that should head to Switch Online

As a console that can be taken with you on the go, it makes sense that players have been asking Nintendo to bring Game Boy Advance games to the Switch for so long. Thanks to a new slew of rumors (along with the launch of Nintendo’s Expansion Pack online service), that fervor has ramped up once again. This time around, the rumor comes from Twitter user trashbandatcoot, who shared screenshots of a leaked, supposed Game Boy Advance emulator for the Nintendo Switch.

The screenshots show a long list of games, including Mario Bros. and Pokemon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire. Another series of screenshots shows the emulator actually running games, including entries from the F-Zero and Super Mario franchises. Of course, these screenshots aren’t solid evidence without a source, much less confirmation from Nintendo that Game Boy Advance games are coming to the Switch. However, the company recently began selling a new version of Nintendo Switch Online that lets players access a library of Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games. It doesn’t take a massive leap of faith to believe that the company can do the same with Game Boy or Game Boy Advance games.

If Nintendo does end up bringing Game Boy Advance games to the Switch, it has a healthy library of fantastic titles to choose from. The Game Boy Advance had plenty of hits spanning every genre, from RPGs to 2D platformers. Here are six games that would fit right in on the Nintendo Switch.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

Mario and Luigi jumping over ropes in Superstar Saga.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you think of a typical Mario game, you probably imagine the stocky Italian plumber wahoo-ing across colorful 3D worlds and beating the snot out of Bowser. But there was a time when games in the Mario franchise would team the iconic character up with his brother for full-on RPG adventures, turn-based combat and all. The Mario & Luigi games were fantastic for building out the world that one of gaming’s most memorable characters lives in, and it all started with Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga.

Taking players to the mysterious Beanbean Kingdom, Superstar Saga is a wholly unique entry in the Mario franchise. It explores outside of the Mushroom Kingdom, introduces new enemies and villains, and features some stellar, inventive turn-based combat. Whereas other Game Boy Advance RPGs made things complicated with numerous systems, Superstar Saga is simple and immediately fun, making it a perfect game on the go.

Kirby & The Amazing Mirror

Kirby flying above another yellow Kirby in Kirby & the Amazing Mirror.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

One of the major strengths of Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack is that subscribers can play classic games with other players. For some of the Nintendo 64 games included in the service, it’s the first time they can be played cooperatively without every player being in the same room. That strength can also apply to a small number of Game Boy Advance games, including one of the Kirby franchise’s best adventures, Kirby & The Amazing Mirror.

Kirby & The Amazing Mirror is set apart by two key factors. First off, it’s a bit of a metroidvania, giving players a large maze-like map to adventure through. Second, and most importantly, is that the game supports multiplayer. Up to four players can join a single game, with each controlling a different-colored Kirby. Seeing how the Switch has an extreme lack of Kirby games on it — though a new game in the franchise, Kirby and the Forgotten Land was recently released — a co-op entry in the franchise would be a fantastic addition.

Wario Land 4

Wario blowing up a boss in Wario Land 4.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Today, Wario is relegated to the WarioWare franchise, which gives players a buffet of extremely short mini-games (called micro-games) to play through as the game progressively gets faster and faster. For some time though, Wario also had his own platforming franchise, and its peak was Wario Land 4. This game is one of the Game Boy Advance’s best when it comes to platformers, and I don’t see how any Game Boy Advance collection on the Switch would be complete without it.

Wario Land 4 has a lot of trademarks of 2D platformers from the time it was released. Players have to navigate through sprawling levels using unique transformations to gather up treasure. The twist is that levels don’t simply end after collecting that treasure. Instead, players have to escape, as if they were in an Indiana Jones movie. A timer starts counting down as the structure begins crumbling, making each level a race against the clock for players to escape with their loot. It’s a thrill to play, and one of the few truly essential titles for any Game Boy Advance collection.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

A shrunken down Link stands on a lilly pad in The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

After the bombastic successes that the Legend of Zelda franchise had in 3D with The Wind Waker, the franchise delved back into its 2D roots with The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap. And unlike Wind WakerMinish Cap feels like a classic Zelda adventure. Players explore the wide world of Hyrule, but instead of changing the seasons or traveling through time, they can shrink down in size and explore a whole other world.

The puzzles in Minish Cap work in Link’s size-changing abilities brilliantly, having him grow and shrink to progress through dungeons or find new paths through the game’s overworld. Couple that with Ezlo, Link’s wry talking cap (eat your heart out Cappy), and the intuitive dungeon designs throughout the game, and Minish Cap distinguishes itself as one of the premier handheld Zelda titles.

Metroid Fusion

Samus stands in front of her ship in Metroid: Fusion.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If Metroid Dread proved anything it’s that players still have a lot of love for the long-running franchise. What better way to capitalize on that than with another one of the game’s best entries that also happens to be extremely similar to it? Metroid Fusion doesn’t have robots that skewer Samus in an instant, but the classic title delivers a different kind of powerful enemy to keep players on their toes.

Like most other Metroid games, Fusion has players collect new powers as they explore the game’s world. Plagued by SA-X, a parasite living inside Samus’ old power suit, players wouldn’t have the option to fight. Instead, they would have to run away and hide, just like in Metroid Dread. For Switch owners, exploring Fusion would be the perfect way to follow up Dread‘s own game of cat and mouse.

Mother 3

Lucas stands on a cliff with his friends in Mother 3.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Let’s be real for a second here. Mother 3 is the least likely game on this list that could actually come in a Game Boy Advance library on the Switch, but it’s worth holding out hope. The Mother (and EarthBound) games are classics themselves; I started playing EarthBound after it was added to Nintendo Switch Online’s library and there’s nothing like it to this day. Sure, a ton of games have taken influence from the franchises, but none have captured its tongue-in-cheek tone.

That tone is part of why Mother 3 was never released outside of Japan. The game deals with intense grief and has instances of drug use and animal cruelty. These aren’t exactly the subjects that Nintendo is comfortable with, and considering that the Switch is often marketed toward children, the company’s stance on it likely hasn’t changed. But if a Game Boy Advance collection does come to Nintendo Switch Online, this could be one of the best (if not last) chances for players outside of Japan to finally properly play the game.

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Otto Kratky
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Otto Kratky is a freelance writer with many homes. You can find his work at Digital Trends, GameSpot, and Gamepur. If he's…
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