There is precedent for the original Pokémon games to appear on modern systems. All of the Game Boy Pokémon titles appear on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console throughout the lifespan of the system. It would have been easy for The Pokémon Company to just throw a basic emulated version of the games onto the Nintendo eShop, but the Virtual Console versions actually had the functions of the link cable, through the Nintendo 3DS’ local wireless features. This means that Virtual Console players can battle and trade with each other, allowing them to capture every Pokémon except for Mew.
A version of Pokémon Red and Blue on the Nintendo Switch Online service could improve upon the Virtual Console release even further. There are lots of Nintendo Switch Online games that have online multiplayer functionality, allowing people to play NES and SNES games online with their friends. If Pokémon Red and Blue are brought to Nintendo Switch Online, then they could also have online multiplayer, making it easier than ever for players to trade and battle in the Gen 1 era. The people who missed out on the chance to catch them all in the ’90s can finally do so on Nintendo Switch.
The Expansion Pack Could Add Pokémon Stadium Compatibility
The Pokémon fans of the Game Boy era had to let their imagination do most of the work during a Pokémon battle, as the hardware of Nintendo’s old handheld was just barely up to the task of playing different battle effects. The players who had a Nintendo 64, a Transfer Pak, and a copy of Pokémon Stadium could bring their Pokémon to life on the TV screen, as Pokémon from Pokémon Red and Blue could be brought into the game and used in battle. Connecting to Pokémon Stadium was also necessary for unlocking the Pikachu Beach minigame in Pokémon Yellow, in order to unlock the surfing Pikachu.
The Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack adds Nintendo 64 games to the service and at least one Pokémon game is on the way, as Pokémon Snap is coming to the Expansion Pack in the future. If Pokémon Red and Blue come to Nintendo Switch Online, then this will be the perfect time to bring Pokémon Stadium to the Expansion Pack, especially if emulating the Transfer Pak is possible, as it will give players the full Gen 1 experience on one system. It’s unknown if either of the Pokémon Stadium games will be coming to the Expansion Pack, but a datamine has confirmed that more Nintendo 64 games are on the way, and they’re a strong candidate for the service, even if the Transfer Pak won’t be emulated.
The Nintendo Switch Could Make Pokémon Home Compatible With The Gen 1 Games
The Virtual Console versions of Pokémon Red and Blue had an additional function that made them useful for longtime Pokémon fans. The Poké Transporter app allowed players to extract Pokémon from Pokémon Red and Blue as part of a one-way process, in order to send them to the Pokémon Bank app. Once the Pokémon were stored in Pokémon Bank, they could be sent to the Gen 7 games or into Pokémon Home. This allowed players to move Pokémon from the Gen 1 games into any of the other titles, so long as they weren’t cut during the Dexit process that has been happening since Pokémon Sword and Shield.
If the Virtual Console games and Pokémon Bank can transfer the Pokémon from the Gen 1 games into the modern games, then surely the same can be done on Nintendo Switch? The Nintendo Switch already has a dedicated Pokémon Home app that can be used to directly connect with Nintendo Switch Online’s apps. This would also give The Pokémon Company an incentive to allow these games to appear on Nintendo Switch Online, as Pokémon Home has a paid subscription option, and compatibility with the old Gen 1 and Gen 2 games might bring in some extra subscribers. The old Pokémon games aren’t bringing in any money, save for the Virtual Console releases that will soon no longer be accessible, thanks to the Nintendo 3DS eShop closing, so bringing them to Nintendo Switch Online could at least inspire some interest in Pokémon Home. The old Pokémon from the Game Boy era cannot be brought forward to later games, due to Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire not being compatible with older games, but Nintendo Switch Online can let players use Gen 1 Pokémon in their modern games.