Can You Play Old Pokémon Games on Switch?

Since the 1990s, the world has loved getting to know the fun creatures known as Pokémon, collecting them to their heart's content. Our Favorite Pokemon games have been available on a variety of consoles over the years and continue to expand as new ones emerge. This has many long-time fans and gamers asking, "Can you play old Pokémon games on switch?"

Unfortunately, all of the older Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games are not compatible with the Nintendo Switch. However, developers are remaking some of the old, well-loved games into new versions. An example of this is the popular Pokemon Yellow whose remake you may know as Let's Go, Eevee! or Let's Go, Pikachu!, executing the same concept on a newer device.

While we love classic Pokemon games on nintendo and the nostalgia and entertainment we get from them, you must own an older console to play them. You can still enjoy plenty of exciting and fun Pokémon content with the newer games available on the Switch, or purchase a Gameboy console.

What Consoles Can You Play Pokémon Games On?

The Pokemon video game franchise has been around since 1996, starting in Japan. Here is a list of the all the video game consoles that you can play some type of Pokémon game on:

  • Nintendo DS
  • Nintendo 3DS
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Game Boy
  • Game Boy Advance
  • Game Boy Color

This list doesn't include that fans can play Pokemon mobile games on phones and tablets. You can use an emulator to play older Pokemon games on your phone or computer.

If you have a Wii U or Nintendo 3DS, you could play older Pokémon games through the Nintendo Online Service until March of 2023. It allowed you to play these retro games without needing to own the older consoles, but the service for both consoles has shut down as of March 27, 2023. No more purchases or downloads for games are available, as these systems are now older.

Can You Play Any Pokémon Games on the Nintendo Switch?

Fortunately, there are quite a few Pokémon games on the Nintendo Switch. Can you play an older Pokémon game on Switch? No, not even on the virtual console but you can still partially experience them.

While some are remakes of older games fans love, most of them are brand-new games building off of older concepts and improving their work. You'll find several great games, including, but not limited to, the following:

Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield

The games are two of the most popular for the Pokémon franchise and out of all the Nintendo Switch games. It's a fun play that involves catching a variety of Pokémon in Pokéballs, battling other trainers as you travel, and exploring the Galar region. Each game has its own exclusive Pokémon. 

Pokémon Legends: Arceus

If you've ever played Pokémon Diamond and Pearl on the Nintendo DS, you'll be happy to learn that Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a prequel game. It involves battling, capturing, and searching for Pokémon as the player travels through Hisui, a location from the past, and enjoys a fun journey.

New Pokémon Snap

Pokémon Snap is a single-player photography game that has you capturing photos of Pokémon in the Lental Region. Professor Mirror helps you with the photography and has a research lab to explore. The game is a sequel to the 1999 game, Pokémon Snap, on the Nintendo 64.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

These recent Switch games are open-world and introduce 110 new Pokémon to fans. You can participate in activities that are common for Pokémon games, such as exploring, battling trainers, and capturing and trading Pokémon. It has two parts for downloadable content and additional fun. 

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl

These two games are remakes of Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl, previously released for the Nintendo DS in 2006. While these are newer games, they have many of the same elements and are a great way to revisit them. 

Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee!

If you're familiar with Pokémon Yellow on game boy (or Yellow Version: Special Pikachu Edition), then you'll likely love playing either Let's Go, Pikachu!, Let's Go, Eevee!, or both. These games are remakes of Pokémon Yellow and look stunning on the Nintendo Switch consoles. You and your chosen starter Pokémon (Pikachu or Eevee) travel through various regions, defeat gym leaders, and collect a variety of exciting Pokémon along the way.

How Can You Play Older Pokémon Games on Switch Consoles?

Unfortunately, you cannot play all of your favorite Pokémon games on the Nintendo Switch. The best way to play these games until recently was to download them on your Nintendo 3DS or Wii U via the digital stores, but this is no longer possible with the store shutdown on March 27th. You'll need to get an emulator, play recent Pokémon games on the Switch (some of which are remakes of older games), or invest in a Gameboy console.

Old Pokémon Games Fans Hope To See on the Nintendo Switch

Many Pokemon games still remain popular today (like Pokémon Red and Blue) despite being over 10 to 20+ years old and made for Gameboys and Nintendo DS consoles. Some Pokemon games fans are hoping will become Switch-compatible are as follows:

Now that developers removed access to play classic Pokemon games via the Nintendo eShop, fans are hoping that another way to play will be available. Since the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS are now older devices, it would make sense to add the Virtual Console service to the recent Nintendo Switch. More fans would have access to the older games they know and love or get to experience these fun games for the first time on a newer console. 

Call Fair Game Retro for Old Classic Games, Consoles, Accessories, and More in Sacramento, CA

Now that we've answered, "Can you play old Pokemon games on Switch?" check out our large selection of retro video games and consoles. We can find all the Pokémon games you want and suitable consoles in Sacramento, CA. Call Fair Game Retro at (916) 944-4263, or visit our store.

1 comment



Well if you hack your Switch then you can run any emulator on it including GBA, DS, GB and all Pokemon games.

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