Nintendo’s GBA emulator for Switch Online appears to be leaking

A Game Boy Advance is gearing up to make the leap to modern gaming subscription services.

The retro bookcase for Nintendo Switch Online could be reinforced any day. Game Boy and Game Boy Advance emulators for the Nintendo-developed service have apparently leaked online, and it looks like a long list of games, including Mario Kart, golden sunand Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire, have been tested on it.

Twitter user Trashbandatcoot tweeted today that four files leaked on 4Chan earlier today, which included emulators in development by Nintendo Europe Research and Development (NERD). The first, called Hioyo, is for the Game Boy. The second, Sloop, is for the Game Boy Advance. According to Trashbadacoot, both emulators are buggy but functional, and the leaked files contain screenshots of games tested on the Switch.

Another Twitter account, RatgorlHunter, took it a step further and started tweeting real camera footage of emulators booting up and running on Switch. This account no longer exists, although their recent tweets can still be viewed through the Wayback Machine. Pokémon account and game leaks PoryLeeks Told Kotaku the emulator only worked on a switch dev kit and shared images of the emulator running golden sun.

According to the Twitter user Mondo_Mega, the files show tons of Game Boy Advance games have been tested on the emulator. While that doesn’t mean none of them are guaranteed in the future, the list does include titles such as The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Metroid Fusion, Fire Emblem: Sacred Stonesand Mega Man 2 Battle Network.

Strangest of all, the apparent leak included references to EZFlash cartridges in test files. Storage devices have long been used in retro homebrew, and considered by Nintendo as vectors for pirating its games.

“Nintendo internally recognizing EZFlash cartridges makes me feel this leak,” tweeted developer and YouTuber ModernVintageGamer. “I don’t think Nintendo developed it at all if it’s real.”

According to dataminer OatMealDome, however, the leaked GBA emulator is developed by NERD in collaboration with Panasonic Vietnam. OatsMealDome also shared a screenshot of a .git file showing an image of an EZFlash cart was added by a Nintendo employee.

Nintendo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rumors of Game Boy games being added to Switch Online have started circulating at the end of last summer starting with the Nate the hate Podcast. Nintendo’s life later said his own sources had corroborated that initial report, as did Eurogrameradding that “other retro platformers are also on the cards”.

If and when Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games are added to Switch Online, they will be the fifth and sixth retro consoles represented, following the current lineup of NES, SNES, Sega Genesis and Nintendo 64. Game Boy games would be a particularly fitting addition. to the portable console since it was Nintendo’s first successful handheld. It is unknown if they would be added to the base price of the $20 annual subscription or the $50 per year version needed to access the N64 expansion pack. Either way, they would go a long way in making the service online less disappointment.

Nintendo’s Switch Online plans have a history of leaking ahead of schedule. Names for emulator and SNES games were found in datamined files months before their official addition. In October 2021, the the same thing happened with the next N64 games to be added.

About Dorie Castro

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