The Pokemon Mini handheld console may be making a comeback, if a new update on the Nintendo UK website is any indication. While this update could be unrelated to the Pokemon franchise’s 25th anniversary, it’s hard to see the timing as purely coincidental.
At the height of its popularity in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Pokemon franchise achieved unprecedented success on Nintendo’s Game Boy. However, the franchise didn’t stop there; an entirely new console known as the Pokemon Mini let players access exclusive Pokemon games on a humble black-and-white screen. The Pokemon Mini stood out for its small form factor, budget price, and some surprising quality-of-life features for a system of its size. For example, it included motion detection, multiplayer via infrared communication, and vibration.
The Nintendo UK website includes a search function letting visitors sort historical games by console. The general purpose of this search feature is to let users find modern ways to play classic Nintendo games. By searching Super Nintendo classics like Super Metroid, for example, users can discover versions of the game on 3DS and Wii U. The page apparently just added the Pokemon Mini to the list of consoles available to select, suggesting that something new is on the way for the Pokemon Mini. More specifically, ports of Pokemon Mini games may come to the Nintendo Switch in the near future.
Nintendo could presumably adopt one of two release strategies for a Pokemon Mini comeback. It could collect all the games made for the system into an anthology collection, or sell them individually. What little evidence the website provides points to the latter strategy. If a hypothetical Pokemon Mini Collection were to be released, this would technically be a new title, and it wouldn’t appear on the Nintendo website yet. However, searching for Pokemon Mini titles on the website now pulls up short summaries of the five games ever released for the system in Europe. This suggests the games will be sold individually, rather than through a new collection.
Fans might be a bit disappointed if the five Pokemon Mini games released in Europe are the only ones coming to Switch. They skew strongly towards puzzle games, leaving out some Japan-only gems. The Nintendo UK website lists Pokemon Pinball Mini, Pokemon Tetris Mini, Pokemon Zany Cards, Pokemon Puzzle Collection, and Pokemon Party Mini. This would leave fans without a way to play Japan-exclusive games like Pokemon Race Mini, the first Pokemon racing game, and Pokemon Breeder Mini, which imitates the pet-raising aspects of the Tamagotchi series.
To be fair, some of the games Nintendo UK lists on its website are not available to play on modern consoles in any form. This includes the Game Boy Color version of Grand Theft Auto. While fans have envisioned 8-bit variants of Grand Theft Auto in the present day, the official game has never been ported to modern systems. This implies that Nintendo UK is listing the game on its website for the sake of historical accuracy. It’s possible that the new Pokemon Mini listings merely serve that purpose as well. Hopefully, however, Nintendo has something exciting waiting for fans of the cult classic Pokemon Mini handheld.