Nintendo recap: Game Boy emulator for Switch 'leaks' and alleged workers' rights violations

Game Boy Advance Zelda Minish Cap Nintendo Switch And Cartridges
Game Boy Advance Zelda Minish Cap Nintendo Switch And Cartridges (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

Hello and welcome to this week's Nintendo recap. Lots of big news came out over the last seven days including a Game Boy emulator supposedly made for Nintendo Switch Online dropping annonymously on 4Chan, along with the list of games that has been tested on it. The excitment continues as Xenoblade Chronicles fans won't have to wait as long to play the third installment thanks to a release date change. In more serious news, Nintendo of America allegedly violated a worker's right to unionize leading to a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board. Is that enough for you? Let's find out.

Sonic Origins remaster angers some fans

Sonic Origins Remaster Chart (Image credit: Sega)

This week, Sega announced Sonic Origins, a collection of four classic Sonic games coming to Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC (Steam and Epic). Exciting news indeed!

However, Sega also released an overly complicated chart detailing what comes in the Standard Edition versus the Digital Deluxe Edition. It is so hard to follow that some people like @LephemStar91 on Twitter have tried to simplify it.

It's common for there to be two or more versions of a game with those that cost more offering extras like a special weapon, skin, or mission. However, Sega has left a sour taste in fans' mouths since players will need to buy the Digital Deluxe Edition just to include seemingly basic things like "character animation in the main menu," or "character animations during music islands."

This spawned several sarcastic responses on Twitter, like indie publisher Devolver Digital posting a mocking chart while also advertising its upcoming game, Trek to Yomi. We'll have to wait and see if Sega gets enough push back that it changes what gets released between these two versions.

Game Boy emulators for NSO seemingly "leak"

Game Boy Color (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

There's been a lot of internet buzz this week around Nintendo Switch Online (NSO) getting emulators that can run Game Boy (GB), Game Boy Color (GBC), and Game Boy Advance (GBA) games. Twitter user @trashbandatcoot posted about an anonymous "leak" where someone had dumped links to the emulator files from a Switch development kit onto 4Chan. The Twitter thread also included screenshots of the supposedly official emulator working.

According to @Mondo_Mega on Twitter, there's evidence that 40 classic GBA games have been tested on the emulator like Pokémon Pinball, The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap, and Golden Sun. Screenshots of berries from Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald have apparently also been found. However, as Twitter user @Mondo_Mega stresses, just because these games were tested on this emulator "doesn't mean they'll actually launch on the service."

Now, we'd already assumed that some kind of Game Boy emulator would be coming to the Switch after noted dataminer OatmealDome dove into the NSO code years ago and discovered four emulator types codenamed "Kachikachi," "Canoe," "Hiyoko," and "Count." Turns out "Kachikachi" was for NES, "Canoe" was for SNES, with the last two remaining unknown.

Now, according to the 4Chan leak, "Hiyoko" is a GB and GBC emulator but there's also a GBA emulator codenamed "Sloop." Supposedly, the GB and GBC emulator was developed by Nintendo of Europe's Nintendo European Research & Development (NERD) while the GBA emulator was developed by a studio in Nintendo Japan. It's worth noting that NERD was also the company that worked on Super Mario 3D All Stars, a collection of three Mario classics that were recently remastered for Switch, lending further credibility to this supposed leak.

After @trashbandatcoot's Tweet went up, @OatmealDome took a look and explained the code seems to be in early development. They also went on to say that the code even seems to simulate link cables between two Game Boys, which is a feature that was required for trading in older Pokémon games like Red and Blue. This might be where those berry screenshots came from, during link cable emulation testing. So if this is real, it's possible trading in classic Pokémon titles could be available between NSO subscribers.

This is all very exciting and seems like it could be the real deal, but it's always good to take these "leaks" with heaps of salt. Even if it is real, it's very possible that Nintendo might not release this list of games all in one fell swoop and we might need to wait for certain functions or games to come to the service over time, like how the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack has been slow dripping N64 games to the service over the last several months.

If this is real, we might see some of these retro games coming to NSO later this year. It would make sense for a GB emulator to come to NSO soon since the Wii U and 3DS eShops are closing soon taking with them virtual consoles for GB, GBA, GameCube, and DS games. In some ways, it would make sense for Nintendo to remove these other places to purchase retro games before introducing a new purchase option on Switch.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 release date moved closer

Over the last few years, we've gotten an increased number of delay announcements due to the pandemic, so it's a nice change of pace that Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is actually getting released sooner than initially planned. Instead of launching in September, the JRPG is now scheduled to launch on July 29, 2022.

Nintendo also released a brand new trailer for the game, which shows off new combat mechanics and how you can fight with up to seven characters on your team. As players progress through the story, they can change their characters' classes and level them up according to the players' preferences. Additionally, the new Interlink system allows tag-team pairs like Noah and Mio, Lanz and Sena, or Eunie and Taion to combine into a giant form with powerful attacks if certain conditions are met.

Now, the question is why Nintendo moved such a large game to an earlier release date. Our theory is that another game had originally been slated for summer and wasn't going to make the deadline, and so Xenoblade Chronicles 3 took its place. This year is already plenty busy with Splatoon 3, Bayonetta 3, Mario Striker: Battle League, Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet all due to release sometime in 2022 but without any official release dates given. So maybe one of these games has swapped its tentative release date with Xenoblade Chronicles 3.

Nintendo allegedly violated workers' right to unionize

Nintendo Logo (Image credit: Nintendo)

An unnamed worker filed a complaint against Nintendo of America last Friday saying that the company and Aston Carter, a contractor hiring firm, violated the worker's right to unionize, as reported by Axios. The allegations listed are relatively vague, but they do allege the company took "coercive actions" against the worker and "indicate the allegations were likely to include claims of surveillance, threats, retaliation, and either layoff or refusal to hire."

Unfortunately, it isn't unusual within the video game industry for there to be labor disbutes, crunch, or other scandals, as is the case with the Activision Blizzard lawsuit. However, Nintendo has managed to keep a relatively clean appearance so far.

On Thursday, Stephen Totilo of Axios revealed that he had received a response from Nintendo of America surrounding this issue. "Nintendo tells me person [sic] who filed the NLRB complaint was a contractor [sic] who, they say, leaked confidential information and was dismissed only for that reason." Nintendo apparently stated that it was "not aware of any attempts to unionize or related activity."

Digimon Survive gets a release date

We already knew Digimon Survive's Japanese launch date, but thanks to Gematsu we now know the worldwide release date too. On July 29, 2022 fans can celebrate 20 years since the original anime by playing this new game on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

This is a visual novel that also incorporates some strategy and turn-based RPG mechanics for a new take on the Digimon series. It's being published by Bandai Namco and developer HYDE.

TMNT: The Cowabunga Collection Collector's Set revealed

Tmnt The Cowabunga Collection (Image credit: Konami)

The highly anticipated collection of 13 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (TMNT) games is slated to come out sometime in 2022 for all major platforms including Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox X|S, Xbox One, and Steam. But this week we also learned that a special Collector's Set will bring even more goodies to Leonardo, Raphael, Michaelangelo, and Donatello's fans.

This Collector's Set comes with a physical copy of the game, a cloth poster, an acrylic diorama of the four turtles, a set of five enamel pins, 12 translucent trading cards, and a 180 page full-color artbook. It will sell for $150 on major retailer sites like Amazon, Target, GameStop, and Best Buy, and is an option for all platforms except Steam. It's definitely something TMNT fans will want to get their hands on. As of this writing, preorders haven't gone live yet.

Don't forget about TMNT: Shredder's Revenge

In addition to this collection, a brand new title is also being developed by Tribute Games called TMNT: Shredder's Revenge. The game is currently set to release sometime in summer. In an official behind-the-scenes video from IGN, the developers talked about the creation process. It looks like the game perfectly captures the spirit of the retro fighters but with beautiful new animation styles. Additionally, we now know that the original voice actor cast who played the turtles in the 1987 TV show have repraised their roles, adding even more to the overall nostalgia.

What an exciting week

That was a lot of exciting news for Nintendo Switch owners this week. With any luck, classic GB and GBA games will come to NSO in the near future allowing us to experience these amazing titles with ease, but it's important to keep your expectations low.

With all this talk, I've whipped out my GBC this week to play favorites from my childhood like Super Mario Land 2: 6 Gold Coins, Wario Land 3, and Pokémon Red.

Until next time.

- Rebecca Spear

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.