10 Game Boy Advance Games We Want On Nintendo Switch Online

10 Game Boy Advance Games We Want On Nintendo Switch Online

The announcement that Nintendo Switch Online’s Game Boy Advance range is to receive RPGs Golden Sun and Golden Sun: The Lost Age is incredibly welcome news. But there are still some absolutely colossal gaps, some all-time great GBA games that we’d love to play on our Switches. Nintendo! Hear our pleas!

The current GBA catalogue consists of 12 games, that make up an amazing primer for one of the best handheld consoles ever made. In there you have all-time classics like The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, and Fire Emblem, joined by bangers like Kuru Kuru Kururin and Kirby & The Amazing Mirror. The $US50 a year is certainly not quite the rip-off it was at launch.

But there are many more titles we’d love to have a legitimate way to access, even if a way to actually buy and own them would be infinitely better. It might seem a weird time to start making demands of an online catalogue in a year that’ll likely see a replacement for the Switch released, given Nintendo’s proclivity for rapidly moving on. However, given the more substantial subscription model of Nintendo Switch Online (NSO), there’s reason to hope that it and its games might carry over to the Super Switch U, or whatever it will be called.

So with all this in place, here are the top GBA games we’d love to see added to Nintendo Switch Online. Oh, and please, feel free to suggest all the Harvest Moon games we haven’t included and anything else you want to see added to the service.

Mario Golf: Advance Tour

Screenshot: Mobygames

Would you look at me funny if I told you this was one of my all-time favorite games? You’ve be immediately forgiven for thinking this is a golf game, what with the title, and the picture on the box, and all the screenshots of people playing golf. But it really isn’t. This is one of the loveliest RPGs Nintendo ever put out, developed by the geniuses at Camelot—you know, the same people who made Golden Sun.

It’s about turning up at Mario’s golfing academy (playing as either Ella or Neil), getting to know the staff, competitors and learning the absolutely delightful overarching story, and then—sure—taking part in some golfing tournaments in between. In doing so, you gain XP, which you can then spend on improving aspects of your character’s game, the whole process feeling much more like improving spells than golf swings.

There are secrets to find, bonus competitions, and every course can get Mario-fied with bizarre extra elements like warp pipes, mushrooms and question blocks. And it’s all so overwhelmingly positive. This needs to be added to the archive, stat.

Castlevania: Aria Of Sorrow

Screenshot: Capcom / Nintendo

According to Metacritic, Aria of Sorrow, and indeed the GBA’s other Castlevania game, Circle of the Moon, are the two joint-highest-rated CV games ever released. So while it seems like the earliest and most nostalgia-weighed titles in the long-running series tend to get heralded as the best in most ranked lists, on release it was definitely thought otherwise.

So, you know, could we get one of the classic platformers on NSO? Well, the chances aren’t brilliant, given Capcom is very much in the habit of endlessly reselling us the same fifteen games over and over, for every new machine, for the rest of time. As such, both games are included in the cross-platform Castlevania Advance Collection, alongside Harmony of Dissonance and for some reason the SNES’s Vampire Kiss.

But one of them? Maybe? You could call it advertising for the rest of the $US20 collection?! Go on.

Rhythm Tengoku

Screenshot: Mobygames

The very last game released by Nintendo for the GBA was a herald of some of the joyful madness that was to come with the advent of the Nintendo DS. Rhythm Tengoku foreshadowed so much of the hilarious and surreal gaming that follow-up handheld would revel in, and it would be so much fun to see it properly remembered with an appearance on NSO.

These were games about hitting buttons in time with a tune’s rhythm, but in a world that seemed to have been spawned by the same developers’ WarioWare. Micro-levels included playing as mice hiding behind tea cups from a grumpy cat, plucking hairs from the chin of an onion, or a magic flying witch-man who plants and grows flowers as he whizzes around in circles.

Tengoku was released in Japan only, but that didn’t stop the rest of the world finding out about it, and—you know—getting hold of it. Its sequels were thankfully international, albeit with about 17 different localized names per title, and the secret to all of them—aside from the absolute insanity—is the quality of the music. They’re packed with J-pop brilliance.

The series has lain fallow since 2016, and with no imminent remakes, it seems a natural contender to add to the GBA collection.

Pokémon Emerald

Screenshot: Nintendo / Mobygames

Mainline Pokémon games almost always seem to be excluded from Nintendo’s various retro collections. The various Virtual Consoles sometimes feature spin-offs like Mystery Dungeon or Pinball, but only the 3DS’s incarnation ever saw a core entry, and then it was only the games from the 1990s.

Of course, Game Freak and Nintendo like to remake Pokémon games ad infinitum, so perhaps they’re afraid to preclude yet another remake of an earlier entry in the series, but surely 2005’s Emerald is fair game 20 years on?

The third game set in the Hoenn region, Emerald combined Ruby and Sapphire, fixed a bunch of issues and improved a lot of details, added some post-game content, and made Rayquaza the star.

Of course, then there was Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire in 2014, and that’s generally the end for the relentless reinvention each entry receives. So maybe we could have Emerald as part of our fifty dollar subscription to two-decade-old games now?

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

Screenshot: Activision / Mobygames

Most of the games appearing on NSO were either originally published by Nintendo, or involve some hefty license juggling, so requesting this Activision title—now of course owned by Microsoft—is a bit of a stretch. But that won’t stop us. Because this is truly one of the best GBA games of all.

Obviously, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is a wonderful game, but there was something extra-special about the Advance’s version. This was not a port, but rather a reinvention made by Vicarious Visions (now, bah, Blizzard Albany), the team that brought us 2020’s wonderful Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 remake for modern consoles.

This was a launch title for the GBA, the game reimagined with an isometric view, the controls simplified, and the results a piece of arcade magic.

Drill Dozer

Screenshot: Game Freak / Mobygames

This all-time classic action-platformer has previously received Nintendo’s retro blessing, appearing on the Wii U’s eShop, but it would be such a stellar addition to NSO.

Controlling Jill, you must fight your way through enormous levels using her drill, defeating enemies, destroying crates, and targeting vast bosses. The result was one of the GBA’s most popular non-Mario-related platformers, and surely a perfect choice for the subscription service—not least since Nintendo originally published it.

What you may not realize is this came from Pokémon creators, Game Freak, and was directed by Ken Sugimori. Yup, that Ken Sugimori, the guy who designed the original 151 Pokémon. It’s downright peculiar that there’s never been a sequel, but then nor has there to any of Game Freak’s occasional steps outside of the pocket monsters, including HarmoKnight, Giga Wreck Alt, Little Town Hero, and surely best of all, Tempo the Badass Elephant.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

Screenshot: Square / Mobygames

Someone once sat down to try to draw a family tree that lays out all the Final Fantasy games and how they relate to one another, but that person’s now dead. Don’t do it. However, in controlled doses one can remain safe, so let’s focus specifically on the Tactics offshoot.

The original Final Fantasy Tactics came out for the PlayStation in 1997, a tactical RPG set in the new world of Ivalice, with turn-based battles on gridded battlefields. 2003’s Final Fantasy Tactics Advance was, of course, neither a sequel nor a remake, because that would be too easy. This time it’s about some kids from St. Ivalice, who get transported to the world called Ivalice, via a pesky magic book, although the battles remain grid-set, turn-based affairs. And was a massive success, and remains absolutely adored.

So put it on NSO for heaven’s sake! It was on the Wii U’s Virtual Console, so it’s unlikely rights issues with Square Enix are unsurmountable.

Mario Vs. Donkey Kong

Screenshot: Nintendo / Mobygames

The absence of puzzle-platform game par excellence, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, from the currently available list has left me so mystified I’ve gone back and triple-checked that I’ve not missed it. Then I remembered—oh yeah, it’s getting a remake. They don’t want to cut into that.

This 2004 release was a reinvention of 1994’s Donkey Kong, the bait-n-switch Game Boy game that began as if the same as the original arcade game, before turning into a puzzler. Here, in a toy factory, Mario is trying to recover Mini-Mario clockwork toys that DK has stolen, by figuring out the correct routes through its platformy rooms.

This game spawned a series of six more sequels, up until 2016, whereupon the franchise went quiet. It is, of course, about to be reborn once more—next month in fact—when Mario vs, Donkey Kong is getting a complete remake as a modern Switch game. So no, it’s unlikely to appear on NSO any time soon. But wouldn’t it be brilliant if buying the new version gave you access to the original via the service?

Astro Boy: Omega Factor

Screenshot: Mobygames

This could be another pipe dream, given rights are likely to be an issue, despite Sega being the original publisher of Astro Boy: Omega Factor in Japan and the U.S. The anime character the game was based on is now seemingly owned by Sony, which is problematic if you’re Nintendo, and the game itself was developed by two different developers, Treasure and Hitmaker, the former now barely existing and the latter absorbed into Sega 20 years ago.

But in our fantasy world where we get what we want, after world peace and shorter queues in Starbucks, we’re adding this to Nintendo Switch Online so it can be legitimately enjoyed all over again, 20 years since its first release.

This was a beat ‘em up made by people who worked on Gunstar Heroes, for goodness sakes. It’s still heralded as one of the best examples of the side-scrolling action genre, despite not having been available on any device since the GBA.

Mario Tennis: Power Tour

Screenshot: Nintendo / Mobygames

Let’s finish on something much more realistic—a Nintendo-owned title that should have been on NSO from the moment GBA games were added. Mario Tennis: Power Tour is to tennis as Mario Golf: Advance Tour is to golf: a Camelot-developed game that renders the sport as an entire RPG.

It’s so important to stress for those who didn’t partake in the GBA era that these Nintendo sports games were nothing like the versions released today. Camelot’s recent Mario Tennis Aces and Mario Golf: Super Rush entirely lack the RPG wrapping that made these early ‘00s games so utterly delightful, and feel so lacking as a result.

Power Tour, however, remains a classic. You can play as either Clay or Ace, in a daft story about waking up in the Royal Tennis Academy, where everyone’s being challenged by masked tennis players who may or may not be Mario characters… It’s fantastically silly, as well as being a super-fun tennis game. And please, Nintendo, hand it over.

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