Nintendo Has Finally Realised The Switch Isn’t Just A Home Console

I was surprised when I found out that I’m in the minority among TheGamer staff when it comes to my Switch playing habits – I almost entirely play handheld. Editor-in-Chief Stacey Henley is obsessed with the idea of playing Pokemon on the big screen (presumably so she can see those stunning Paldean cliff textures in 4K or something) and many more colleagues plug in their Nintendo for playtime.

There’s some part of it I get. The Pro Controller is one of my favourite game pads ever and I’m stuck with drifting Joy-Con. I did play most of Breath of the Wild on my telly so I could better take in Hyrule, too. But when undocked, I can play my Switch in bed, or on the toilet, or on the sofa while my girlfriend watches something else. It’s almost like the console is versatile and can do both, or ‘switch’ between them, if you will. However, just as many of my colleagues have forgotten, Nintendo seems to have forgotten that the Switch is a portable console, too.

I’m talking about the Virtual Console. Up until yesterday, Nintendo had only ported its old home console games to the Switch. The NES and SNES were a great place to start – I’ve played through so many classics that were released before I was born now – and the Sega Genesis was a pleasant surprise, too. But skipping the Game Boy and heading straight to the N64 felt like a statement of intent. “We’re only porting home console games because the Switch is a home console,” Nintendo intimated. I was certain we were getting GameCube next (something I still hope for), but I’d given up all hope of playing Metroid 2 or The Minish Cap on the Switch.

Now, the doors of opportunity have been blown wide open. The Game Boy, and especially the Game Boy Advance, host some of the finest games that Nintendo has ever produced. Aside from the likes of Zelda, Kirby, and WarioWare that have already been released, the likes of Metroid Fusion, Golden Sun, and, dare I say it, Mother 3 could be introduced to a whole new generation of gamers.

I haven’t even talked about Pokemon yet. While no Pokemon games have been announced for the Game Boy and GBA Virtual Consoles so far, I’m certain they’re on their way. Snap and Stadium are already on the system, and everyone has their fingers crossed for Colosseum and Gale of Darkness with the inevitable GameCube release. Pokemon has already released a bunch of its handheld games by Virtual Console though, with the first two Generations available on the DS, so those ports seem likely. If Game Freak deigned to do the same for Emerald, though… It’s a license to print money.

Will they come if they haven’t been announced? I think so. Nintendo updates the games on its Virtual Consoles semi-regularly, and I think the issue will be regarding who gets to make the announcement. I’ll be crossing my fingers at the next Pokemon Direct, that’s for sure.

The Switch is a versatile console, and it’s good to see Nintendo finally embracing its portability. Rather than treating it as the next GameCube or N64, Nintendo must continue to embrace the console’s versatility. I understand that porting DS games will be difficult due to the two screens and touchscreen controls of many games, but doubling down on the Game Boy and GBA titles before moving onto the GameCube will cement the Switch as an all-time great. Just make sure you do Pokemon, okay?

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