Since the tagline of this here blog states that it is supposed about video games as well, not only about tabletop/card game related nerddom, I wanted to show you something of the former category, which is kinda funny:
Look what I discovered on ebay:
I knew there existed numerous Pokemon Rom Hacks which you could download and play on your computer or any other mobile device with a GBA Emulator but I was really astonished when I discovered those on ebay! I can still hardly believe it that such a thing even exists! Pokemon Rom Hacks on physical, officially looking Gameboy Advance cartridges, which work perfectly on the original console (which is my prefered way of playing old games)!! Despite the fact that I could just play all the Hacks, including the not-suited-for-kids due to foul language Pokemon spoof “Pokemon My Ass”, in which you are beating up people, solicite drugs and Brock looks like some gay guy in a latex suit, similar to Mr Slave in South Park, on my GBA flash cartridge, I was so exicted about these curious finds on ebay that I had to get them, as a curious addition to my retro-gaming collection. I just love odd, obscure stuff like that.
Let me tell you a bit more about each of these pokemon hacks I have on the “official” cartridges (I numbered them as you can see above. In general I have to say that the hacks I have played so far, and there exist quite a few, all include MAJOR changes such as different storylines, totally new maps and even new Pokemon especially made for the respective hack. So it is not just that they added some swear words like “shit” and “fuck” to the dialogues, as they have done, and as you won’t find in any official Pokemon games, which is a shame… Also please note that I have obviously not had the time to play through all of the above, and will most likely never do so as I got to waste my time with more important stuff these days. Still I have tried each long enough to give you an overview of what is new and characteristic to them. And a last disclaimer: Please know that the actual hackers who made the pokemon hacks are not in any way related to the people in China who put them on actual GBA cartridges. The latter are just pirates who grabbed the rom hacks from the internet and made them into cartridges, illegally selling them on the web or obscure markets. I even got ripped off on one of the games, Chaos Black, where they put an Alpha (unfinished) version on the cartridge and the game ends pretty early on when you are inside of Mount Moon, which is a shame as the Chaos Black hack is finished now and has a lot going on for it…
So here some infos on the individual hack on the cartridges seen in the photo above:
1: Pokemon Dark Cry:
The last of the 5 Pokemon Hacks I got in the mail just yesterday. I got this one from China and it came shrinkwrapped and brandnew in a pretty good looking GBA game box as you can see in the photo. I guess this is where these obscure original cartridge Pokemon rom hacks originate from, as China is probably the main source of pirated and plagiarized stuff. In the cardboard box was of course the official looking Pokemon Dark Cry cartrigde as well as a tiny booklet in which, hilariously, some of the many typos contained in the game were rectified! In the game itself, Mew must be playing a central roll as it is both on box and booklet and on the startup screen when you start playing the actual game. Now the biggest, most obvious changes they have made in Dark Cry, which seems to be a hack of Pokemon Fire Red or Leaf Green as the base rom, is that there is a brandnew, pretty good looking in-game map, meaning they changed the layout of the world completely. Secondly, they have somehow managed to get the generation 4 Pokemon into this GBA game and you can choose between the generation 4 starter pokemon which made their first appearance in Pokemon Diamond & Pearl on the Nintendo DS. I don’t know how they got the sprites implemented in this GBA hack but all looks pretty good. Funny side note: I have mentioned it before, but this is one of the hacks with the foul language. You won’t see a trainer saying “fucking Pokemon” in an original Nintendo game!
2: Pokemon Quartz:
This is probably the most original of all the Pokemon hacks I have seen so far, as they went through the trouble of creating, as far as I know, over 300 all new Pokemon with everything like proper new sprites for battles and in the menu. While there are some funny ones among them, like Plug-Oink, the Electro-Pig-Pokemon which can form chains with others of its kind by plugging the plug in which its tail ends into the snout of another Plug-Oink which looks like a socket for that plug, I must say that the Pokemon sprites look quite awkward and not too well executed for my taste. Well I will give them credit however for creating a truckload of all new Pokemon especially for the hack. I think I would have done a better job on the Pokemon but still, they have my respect for making such an unique and original hack. With the 300 new Pokemon being the most obvious novelty in Pokemon Quartz, they have changed the story to something totally new as well and all the world map is new and different from the official games as well. I must say the fact that there are more than 300 new Pokemon to discover, catch and train motivates me somewhat to actually keep playing this one! All in all if you want to try a great Pokemon hack, I would recommend this one.
3: Pokemon Chaos Black:
This would be another great Pokemon hack to play. Only problem with the one I got myself on a cartridge: As mentioned before they just pirated an Alpha version of the hack so when you get to Mount Moon and get one of the fossils, you are stuck as rocks are blocking your way. On the web I read that this was an early version of the Chaos Black hack and they put that on the cartridge. I was a bit pissed as I had enjoyed this one until the game ended so early on. There are some all new Pokemon, with much better sprites than the Quartz ones and a new story and world map as well. However there is hope, not that I am desperate about it, as the creator of Pokemon Chaos Black has released a finished version of the hack which can be downloaded and played via emulator on the computer or any console that emulates GBA games. I have access to both a GPX WIZ which plays GBA nicely and to an original GBA with a flash cartride so I will be able to play the finished version of Chaos Black on the original console eventually. If I find the time to that is – I am surely curious about the new Pokemon as the ones I have seen so far are pretty cool. I suspect that “Mewthree” will make an appearance sometime in the game as it is on the cartrigde and can be seen on the startup screen as well.
4: Pokemon Naranja:
This is another excellent Pokemon hack which does not shine by introducing a bunch of new Pokemon, but by appealing new world graphics, and a totally new story which may be familiar to those who watched the (early) Pokemon animated series on TV back then. Pokemon Naranja (the hackers are Spanish and this just means “Orange”) retells the story of Ash’s and Misty’s adventures on the Orange Islands, as seen on TV, or you play through that story to be more accurate. The differences start right before the actual game begins, as you can choose either to play as Ash, with his trusty Pikachu, or Misty (I don’t know which one is her starter Pokemon). As I said the story is totally differnet from the original games and the map was totally changed to recreate the Orange Islands area. You arrive on the Orange Islands with a zeppelin and have to fight Tracy who gives you a Lapras if you defeat him which you have to train so it learns Surfer in order to proceed in the game and travel from island to island. While there are no new Pokemon, the wild Pokemon you find on the islands all have a different color than their normal counterparts. I think this is the most unique Pokemon hack I have when it comes to plot, story and world map. If you don’t mind some bits of Spanish the makers forgot to translate I can only recommend this one.
5: Pokemon Crystal Shards:
Well about this one I cannot say much. I have not tried this hack as it sounds like it was the least original and hence exciting of the five I have. It is just a “port” of the Gameboy Color Crystal Version for the Gameboy Advance. There are GBA versions of Gold and Silver known as “Shiny Gold” and “Shiny Silver”, which came even before the re-release of those on the Nintendo DS in the form of Heart Gold and Soul Silver. So I am guessing Crystal Shards will be something similar, just the Crystal Version “transferred/translated” to the GBA system.
OK that is all I can tell you about my curious, somewhat funny find from the murky depths of the world wide web. If you are curiosu about these and the other Pokemon rom hacks in existance, I recommed to google for them or, if you want to see what they look like, to look them up on youtube. There are plenty more Pokemon hacks and more are being made as we speak, some of which I have on my handheld consoles. If you are into Pokemon and Pokemon games in particular and have access to a device with a GBA emulator I can wholeheartedly recommend you try some of those, as, some more and some less, they provide a fresh, new Pokemon adventure and are good alternatives to the original games.
Well done, hackers!