Pokémon Games After Pokémon Snap That Should Arrive On NSO Next

Nintendo has announced that on June 24, the original Pokémon Snap will be the first Pokémon game on Nintendo Switch Online, opening the floor to speculation on what games might come next. The company's been bringing old handheld installments of the popular monster-taming franchise into the modern era via remakes and ports since the release of Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen in 2004. However, its console releases haven't always received the same treatment - prior to NSO, Pokémon Snap was the only non-handheld Pokémon game included in the Wii U's Virtual Console catalog of older Nintendo titles. Regardless, the possibility remains that Snap's adaption for the current console generation may represent similar prospects for its Nintendo 64 relatives; but which ones?

It's easy to see how a port of the Nintendo 64 rail "shooter" spinoff is particularly timely. New Pokémon Snap, the game's sequel for the modern Pokémon fanbase, came out in April 2021. In addition, between the successful release of Pokémon Legends: Arceus in March and the upcoming Pokémon Scarlet and Violet release set for November 18, 2022 is proving to be an eventful year for those who follow the series as a whole. But Snap isn't the only past Pokémon installment that could ride the franchise's current momentum and find a new, fitting place for itself.

Related: Pokemon Snap Could Lead To Gen 1 & 2 Games For Switch Online

If brought to Nintendo Switch Online, Snap's fellow Nintendo 64 release Pokémon Stadium could fill a niche providing the challenging battle experience that many older fans find the series lacks today. Ever since 2002's Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire introduced the Exp. Share - originally an impressive item for a Pokemon to hold that, as its name suggests, allowed that single Pokemon to gain experience from battles it did not participate in - the mainline series has introduced features to make team-building easier with every installment. These changes come with a degree of understandability, as the series is geared toward a younger audience - and even amongst adult players, more time-consuming aspects of Pokémon training such as level grinding aren't for everyone. However, not all of these changes are opt-in, which disappoints a large number of players who find gratification in the focus and elements of planning that training a strong team requires in older iterations of the series.

Released in August 1998, Pokémon Stadium is often cited today amongst series fans as one of the hardest Pokémon games. The RNG behind its determination of critical hits, move evasion, and infliction of status effects infamously favors the computer. This source of difficulty places all the more responsibility on the player to put together the most solid team that they can if they want to beat its Gym Leader Castle and all of its Stadium Mode's Cups. As released, the game gives the player two options on this front: they can either assemble a team from its built-in stable of "rental Pokémon", or they can import their own from Pokémon RedBlue, or Yellow.

While a Nintendo Switch port of Stadium may not necessarily need to remove the option for players to import Pokémon, leaving it in would likely need to come with strict limitations: namely, to Pokémon from the original Pokédex of 151, with only moves introduced in Pokémon Red and Blue. Either way, modern Stadium players would need to approach the game with a pool of Pokémon and moves that they may not find optimal; and this kind of experience may appeal to the same kinds of players who enjoy self-imposed Pokémon challenges such as single-type playthroughs and the popular Nuzlocke challenge, which includes limitation on the number of Pokémon a player can own among its common rules.

Hey You, Pikachu! is another Nintendo 64 spinoff that would need alteration for a port to Nintendo Switch Online. The nature of those alterations means that such a port is probably unlikely - but they could have an interesting effect on the game and its reception.

Hey You, Pikachu! casts the player as a human child who has made friends with a wild Pikachu, which they communicate with verbally. The Pokémon pet simulator received mixed reviews at the time of its December 1998 release. Some appreciated its unique gameplay elements and its low-key, slice-of-life format, while others found that it didn't hold much appeal outside of its young target audience and that that gameplay was restrictive and at times frustrating, as the Nintendo Voice Recognition Unit (VRU) add-on was limited and not reliable in identifying voice inputs.

Related: Other Pokémon Spin-Offs That Need Revivals Like Pokémon Snap

The Nintendo Switch lacks a microphone, so a modern re-release of Hey You, Pikachu! would likely need to replace its voice mechanics with another method of communicating with Pikachu, such as with conventional button inputs or touch-based mechanics. On one hand, this would require less-literal interpretation of what already isn't Pokémon's strongest major story. But on the other hand, it would make the game more accessible, possibly improving it as an experience overall, and bringing a truly unique Pokémon game to a new audience.

Whatever potential there may be in a Stadium or Hey You, Pikachu! port, the most likely Pokémon title to see addition to the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack service is Pokémon Puzzle League, released in 2000. While Snap was the only console Pokémon game on the Wii U Virtual Console, it was one of two on the original Wii's, the other being Puzzle League. The match-three game stands a chance of joining Snap again, as it would almost certainly be the most straightforward N64 Pokémon game to port to Switch Online.

The past few years have been ones in which new Pokémon has always been in the works. With attention focused on Pokémon Scarlet and Violet's impending release, not only is it difficult to gauge any plans Nintendo might have for past releases, it's difficult to get a good read on demand. As active as the franchise has been when it comes to both all-new content and modernization of past outings, however, if games such as Stadium and Hey You, Pikachu! aren't added to NSO any time soon, that may be because they're due for their own New Pokémon Snap-style sequels first.

Next: Pokemon: The Hardest Elite Four In The Entire Series



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