Pokemon Spin-Off Turns 20, and Fans are Begging for a Nintendo Switch Release

Will the Pokemon Pinball games ever come to Nintendo Switch?

On August 25th, the official Pokemon Twitter account celebrated the 20th anniversary of Pokemon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire, which released on Game Boy Advance in 2003. Earlier this year, Nintendo Switch Online added a GBA app, which is available to those that subscribe to the service's Expansion Pack tier. Unfortunately, no Pokemon games have been made available on that app yet, and fans responded to the anniversary by begging for that to change. Pokemon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire did see a release on the Wii U Virtual Console a few years ago, but that service ended earlier this year.

"Please make a collection of both Pokemon Pinball games and release it on the Switch with a physical version," replied Twitter user @FPS_Freek. User @MiddayHaunter also chimed in, asking "are you gonna port this and the 1st one to the Switch?"

What is Pokemon Pinball?

The Pokemon Pinball series first appeared on the Game Boy Color in 1999. The original game featured characters and scenarios based on Pokemon Red and Blue, and served as one of the earliest spin-off games in the franchise. The standard pinball was replaced with a Poke Ball, and players could use it to catch Pokemon that appeared on the table by completing certain tasks. A few years after the game's release, Pokemon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire refined the formula, offering gameplay inspired by the then-newest Pokemon generation. The two Pokemon Pinball games were critically and commercially successful, but the spin-off series never received another game.

Why was there never a Pokemon Pinball 3?

While a third Pokemon Pinball game was never officially announced, it was revealed in 2021 that developer Fuse Games was asked to pitch a Pokemon Pinball game for the Nintendo DS. Fuse had previously developed Mario Pinball Land and Metroid Prime Pinball. The game would have apparently taken advantage of the system's two screens, and would have built on the formula from the first two games. Fuse was apparently planning to incorporate Pokemon battles into the series, and the game would have even featured type-matching. Unfortunately, the game never progressed past the demo stage, and the spin-off series has never seen another entry.

What Pokemon games are available on Nintendo Switch Online?

So far, Nintendo Switch Online has received several Pokemon spin-off games that originally appeared on Nintendo 64 and Game Boy. On the Nintendo 64 app, Pokemon Snap, Pokemon Puzzle League, Pokemon Stadium, and Pokemon Stadium 2 are all currently available. On the Game Boy app, Pokemon Trading Card Game is currently the only Pokemon game available. As of this writing, Nintendo Switch Online releases for Pokemon Pinball and Pokemon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire have not been announced. Hopefully that will change sometime in the near future!

Are you hoping to see the Pokemon Pinball games added to Nintendo Switch Online? Would you like to see the series return in some form? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!