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Can you play classic Pokemon games on Nintendo Switch Online?

Nintendo Switch Online added Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games and fans are wondering if they’ll be able to play classic Pokemon games soon.



charizard and venusaur with a Pokemon logo

With the recent addition of Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games to the Nintendo Switch Online catalog fans are wondering if you can play classic Pokemon games.

Nintendo revealed that over a dozen of Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games are already available for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers, so naturally, fans are wondering if there are Pokemon titles ready to play.

The popular franchise made its debut in Nintendo’s portable system and its games are considered top-tier experiences in each platform’s catalog. We’ll answer one of the most asked questions this week: can you play classic Pokemon games on Nintendo Switch Online?

Pokemon Trading Card game for Game Boy Color screenshot with cards in the background
Pokemon Trading Card Game was originally released in 1998 for the Game Boy Color.

Can you play classic Pokemon games on Nintendo Switch Online?

The short and disappointing answer is no, you can’t play classic Pokemon games on Nintendo Switch Online just yet.

At the time of writing, NSO subscribers have access to nine Game Boy games, including titles like The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX, Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare, Metroid 2 – Return of Samus, and Kirby’s Dream Land.

During Wednesday’s Nintendo Direct, the company announced that the Pokemon Trading Card Game will be available at a later date.

The Game Boy Advance catalog includes experiences like Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, and The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, but no sign of any Pokemon adventures.

It remains to be seen if classic Pokemon games will make their way to Nintendo Switch Online subscriptions. The Pokemon Company have a huge opportunity to make an official announcement on February 27, also known as Pokemon Day.

Fans are keeping their hopes up since the only way to get games like Pokemon Red or Pokemon Gold is via the Nintendo 3DS eShop, which will cease to exist on March 27.

Main characters from the Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire games
Pokemon Gen 3 was introduced with Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire for GBA

How to play Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games on NSO

For those who want to be ready in the event that Pokemon games make it to the catalog, here’s what you need to know. The Game Boy content is available to all Nintendo Switch Online subscribers.

The basic subscription tier also includes NES and SNES games from an expanding catalog, online multiplayer, cloud saves, voice chat, and more.

The Game Boy Advance catalog, on the other hand, is only available for NSO + Expansion Pack subscribers. This tier offers everything the basic subscription does and a collection of Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis titles. Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ paid DLC, Happy Home Paradise, is also included in the Expansion Pack.

We’ll make sure to update this information if any of the classic Pokemon games make it to the Nintendo Switch Online service.

For more Pokemon, check out our guides:

How to get Mega Gardevoir in Pokemon Go | How to heal Pokemon in Pokemon Go | How many Pokemon are there? | Best Pokemon for PvP battles in Pokemon Go | How to get revives in Pokemon Go | Pokemon Go best attackers ranked | How to get Master Ball in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet | Are Pokemon Scarlet & Violet getting DLC? | How many Pokemon types are in Scarlet & Violet?

Image Credits: Nintendo /Game Freak / The Pokemon Company