The story is simple and for children, and pretty much The Plot of every merch-driven narrative. The evil new Team Rocket has stolen all the Pokemon Cards and kidnapped the strongest card players, can you rescue the cards and the strongest card players?

English Patch Overview

You don’t need to play the first game to get into this. The English Patch is extremely highly recommended, as NPCs share hints and several fights require speciality decks.

The fan translation is extremely organic sounding and high quality, although it’s translator admits they don’t know Japanese that well. It is what’s called nowadays a Machina Translation Post-Editing effort, with the machine translation used being over a decade old. It could even be considered a rewrite rather than an extremely accurate translation. But MTPE or rewrite, the translation is extremely good, reads naturally, and contains all the gameplay clues and information a player would need. It’s good work, its excellent for what it is.

The only sign its a fan translation is the fact it lets you use hiragana and katakana in names. This is an option the original game had, which an official localization probably would have removed. Leaving it in just adds more opinions for naming, and a fine thing to leave in, I love options. You can use the character which looks like a face, ツ (tsu). It’s epic.

The fan translation was done by Artemis251 (the main translator guy) and Jazz (credited as supplying the base; adding the ability to write English text, and doing a menu/card translation).

Get the fan translation: Romhacking.net page or Arty’s Generic Site.

Finding a JP Rom is up to you. The legal thing to do would be to buy a cartridge and dump it yourself, and I am obviously a law-abiding guy. I don’t advocate crimes, but WowRoms of a 20 year old abandonware game wouldn’t be unethical to acquire. Original devs and Nintendo aren’t getting paid either way, so who cares. Hypothetically + In Minecraft.


The game is easy, but has a difficulty curve. The endgame trainers are a fair challenge, but its still a game that children can beat. The earlygame is fairly open-ended, but the game gets more linier as things go on. This isn’t a bad thing, it lets the developers control the difficulty curve more.

There is no penalty for losing a card game, except in rival fights, which reward you with rare cards for winning on the first try. But you can complete the game fine without those rewards. Like in irl card games, sometimes you will lose fights to getting a bad draw at the start. But this can also happen to your opponents. There is also no forfeit option, meaning if you’re in a no-win situation it can take a while to lose and try again. There’s autosaves in battle and systems to discourage save-scumming, so you can’t restart in a no-win scenario.

Progression is very horizontal. Each fight wins you a new booster pack of pokemon cards, and more flexibility within the in-game metagame. This adds complexity organically.

Everything is very close to the real card game, with pixel art translations of actual art. All of them look fine, although several look better than others. A lot of them are attempting to translate a variety of art styles into pixel art, to mixed results. Everything being pixel art does flatten the range of art styles its imitating, but it still conveys the original art at the same time.

Yes, you can get the famous Charizard card. In the game. I don’t think Charizard is actually a very good card. It’s a glass cannon and resource hog, which leaves you in a nigh-unrecoverable state if it shatters. Charmelon is definitely one of the best second-stage Pokemon, however.

There are various NPCs who will give you suggestions for strategies in decks. Perhaps these strategies would also have been interesting if performed in the irl card game of the day, although I assume the metagame has advanced somewhat in the past 20 years.

I don’t know how people who were into the modern card game would react to this game. Its a blast from the past, and would either be interesting for that reason, or too different from the modern game for those people to enjoy.

How fun you find this game does depend on how you feel about the Pokemon trading card game IRL. I was a casual fan as a kid, so I found the game very fun. If you can’t fucking stand the Pokemon trading card game, this game won’t save it for you. Oh well.

The field pixel art is gorgeous. It looks very much like Pokemon Crystal, but with a lot of tile animation which makes the environments come alive. Its very cute.

The Team Rocket grunt characters are wearing red uniforms. Very cute.

Team Rocket

Characters face sprites have three emotions, netural, happy, and sad. The characters faces react when they draw a new card, and based on how they feel about the match. NPCs have absolutely no poker face. This makes gameplay more interesting, as it adds an element of attempting to read and predict your digital opponent. Its very simple, but its compelling.

I like this game. Good times. If you’re a pokemon fan and it sounds interesting to you, give it a whirl.

Blorbos from my game

Was Ronald the first friendly-rival in a Pokemon videogame? I’m sure somebody knows for sure, sperg out in the comments #engagement

Old men from pkmn ????

Palette limitations on the GBC meant they had to give this girl green tears. I love it. I like when small children crey, welcome 2 my twisted mind nah

thank god they gave Courtney an anime laugh in this game. Very good game design.

The way they’ve drawn this guy’s glasses is great. They’re like fucked up eyes

always love a Anime Scientist

Introverted Pikachu-loving NEET.

Team Aqua

nuclear family

glub glubbo

Rancid old man

Rancid old lady

Facemasked chef.

Extroverted Pikachu-loving NEET.

Firey chef men (return of the fucked up glasses)

These motherfuckers. kinda gay ngl

More mother fuckers.

The guy in the hat wants you to build a deck with all the legendary birds and dragonite in it? And they’re such bad cards and its a three type deck why. I ended up building a deck based around the birds, the eeveelutions, and the dratini line. It ended up working pretty well, and it was an interesting challenge building a three-type deck. but it also fucking sucked

anyway the girl just looks cool

christ the final boss is so good. look at him. he has evil red eyes its so good

imakumi? red version

President and CEO of The Pokemon Company, and the producer of Pokemon, Tsunekazu Ishihara

One of eight powerful post-game bonus bosses, a ghost locked away in a sealed shrine for being too good at pokemon cards, cat faced man

see, this is one of the things which keeps me coming back to media for children occasionally. It’s just so fun and corny and brazen to play this shit completely straight. yes, somebody could be so good at pokemon cards they need to be sealed away. its not even noteworthy, this is just a common trope. its mundane. a ton of kids shit does this and it owns. other ghosts include a clown and a plague doctor