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‘Official’ Game Boy emulator for Switch leaks online

Supposed Game Boy and Game Boy Advance emulators for the Nintendo Switch have leaked on 4chan, which suggests that GBA games might be coming to NSO.

STR News / Reuters

The Nintendo Switch offers official support for retro systems like the Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis, but classic handheld consoles like the Game Boy Advance have been conspicuously absent — until now. Early this week, an anonymous leaker uploaded two emulators to a filesharing site, and they appear to be official Game Boy and Game Boy Advance emulators developed by Nintendo for the Switch.

According to GBATemp, hackers with modified Switches have already transferred the emulators onto their consoles, and they actually work. The Game Boy Advance emulator is called Sloop, and its original Game Boy counterpart is Hiyoko. The leak was apparently dumped from a Switch console itself, rather than mined from Nintendo's servers. It also appears that the emulators have some support for old-school link cables, which players could use to swap Pokemon and play multiplayer together.

While this leak is certainly surprising, the idea that Nintendo would try to add more retro consoles to the Switch lineup isn't. Eurogamer first reported last September that the classic handhelds would be coming to the Nintendo Switch Online service. Of course, the mere existence of this leak certainly suggests that Nintendo is working on this functionality, but it ultimately doesn't mean that these emulators will come to Switch soon in an official capacity — or ever, really. But yes, there’s a chance you'll be able to revisit Super Mario Land on your Switch sooner rather than later.

As a whole, while it's nice that Nintendo is committed to making Nintendo Switch Online and its Expansion Pass a better deal, it's still difficult to recommend the service. Playing emulated games on consoles — especially weaker ones like the Switch — can result in poor performance and graphical inconsistencies. We recommend sticking to PC, if possible.