The Pokémon community can be pretty weird. I mean have you seen some of the fan art and videos out there? Pretty crazy stuff. I'd say Google it, but yeah I'm not here to traumatize anybody. Not for this article at least. I've written about plenty more erotic content in the past. No today I want to highlight the positive fans out there namely the hacking community. It's a subject I've covered twice before and one I'm very passionate about.
It's not like Pokémon fans are starved for new adventures. This series became as yearly motorized as Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty at some point. Why make your own Pokémon adventure instead of sticking to Nintendo's guidelines? Why hack any game for that matter? Well, I don't know the exact answer and I'm sure it differs for everyone out there. Some probably do it for the challenge while others legitimately want to create their own Pokémon world, but are unable to program at a master level.
Hacking is a simple solution to those wanting to get into the game industry. It's different from crafting your own experience, but it's a start. Take Undertale's Toby Fox for example. He made EarthBound mods before crafting his own indie hit. It just goes to show you that great things can come from small beginnings. So you never know. Maybe some of these hacks will produce the next great indie king. Either way these fifteen hacks are totally worth your time. Enjoy Poképals!
15 Pokémon Snakewood
Since it is October let’s begin with a spooky hack. Pokémon Snakewood, based on Pokémon Ruby, puts players in a post-apocalyptic world where humans are all but extinct (as are Pokémon). There are survivors, but most of the people and Pokémon have been mutated into zombies. It’s so dangerous that you actually have to fight through these transformed people in order to survive. It’s a pretty grim outlook on Pokémon, but one I welcome. The one thing that is a bit disheartening is the choice of Pokémon at the beginning: Koffing, Paras, or Baltoy. They’re what I’d call pretty low tier creatures. Not sure if that’s why the game feels harder, or if that was one of the “improvements” of this hack, but it’s a grind fest to be sure.
14 Pokémon Fusion Generation
The Internet exploded when the Pokémon Fusion website appeared years ago. It was only a matter of time before someone came along and turned this unique concept into a game. Using the RPG Maker XP program on PC, Pokémon Fusion Generation was born, which in itself is based on Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire internally. For those without PCs this game might be the hardest to run, but it’s so worth it. Seeing all of the randomly generated fusions come together and actually battle is awesome. The sprite work is rather well done more so than the original website too. The only fusion piece that’s funnier is the crossover between Pokémon and Nicholas Cage. Now THAT would be a video game worthy of that man’s legacy.
13 Pokémon AshGray
Pokémon Yellow was a small attempt at implementing elements from the anime into the previous two games. Instead of deciding between Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Charmander Professor Oak gave you an ornery Pikachu that refused to get in its Pokéball. Plus Team Rocket's dastardly duo, Jesse and James, make an appearance too. Even though these changes were minimal, I loved it. That said someone went a step further and completely remade the game using the anime’s storyline right down to Ash going to see Oak in his pajamas to running away from a horde of Spearow. Pokémon AshGray is based on Pokémon FireRed, which in itself is a remake of Pokémon Red. It won't blow your mind, but the attention to detail is spectacular. Maybe too much.
12 Pokémon Quartz
Okay, how about some actually new Pokémon and I’m not talking about fused ones. Pokémon Quartz is based on Pokémon Ruby and finds players moving to a new region, Corna, with their friend, Professor Baro. Not often do you see the player start out as childhood chums with the game’s professor. Anyway, it’s a Spanish hack translated into English so the script isn’t that great. Stranger than that is the game’s core design. It resembles Digimon more than Pokémon. For example, you start out with Pokémon egg creatures, and all of the new Pokémon look more like monsters and less like animals. It’s a little messy and perhaps not exactly what Pokémon fans may find enticing, but it’s an interesting approach to say the least.
11 Pokémon Clover
Okay, so Pokémon Quartz isn’t the best game out there with original Pokémon. What you should play instead is Pokémon Clover, which is based on Pokémon FireRed. My introductory pitch? It’s got swear words and lewd Pokémon names including Grasshole and Ejacasm. Well, maybe they’re not gut-busting, but seeing a more mature world filled with "charged" Pokémon is a nice side adventure to the more kid-friendly games of Nintendo and Game Freak. Your professor, Professor Stump, even has a wooden leg to create a darker tone. Aside from the puns and the Pokémon designs, I like the fact that dialogue bubbles now have character portraits. It’s a nice touch that’s been implemented in RPGs for like a decade now. Get with the times Nintendo!
10 Pokémon Advanced Adventure
Pokémon Advanced Adventure, based on Pokémon LeafGreen, is sort of like another hack based on the anime. Your sprite looks like Ash, even more so than Pokémon AshGray, and you also begin with Pikachu. It doesn’t follow any anime plot lines, however. It’s more like a “what if” universe where Gary has become the supreme ruler of the world, and Professor Oak has entrusted you with freeing the world from his grandson’s evil tyranny. Oh wait, but there’s more. The game is harder since apparently all Pokémon have been injected with cybernetic enhancements. What a way to explain a spike in challenge. So you basically do the same quest by fighting gym leaders only they’re Gary’s subordinates now. No new Pokémon, but creatures up to Generation V are present.
9 Pokémon Liquid Crystal Version
Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver are still the best games in the series and Pokémon Crystal was just a special edition of that. They added new Pokémon, new tools with the Pokégear and even included breeding. The best part? Going through a redesigned Kanto region. No game has done that since. It actually felt like a sequel compared to just another Pokémon game. So whenever someone wants to remake any of these three games, or enhance them, I’m down. Pokémon Liquid Crystal is a GBA remake of Pokémon Crystal based on the guts of Pokémon FireRed. This mod came out after Nintendo officially remade the games on DS, but it’s still worth your time mainly because of all the updated and additional features that go beyond those official remakes like the anime’s Orange Islands region.
8 Pokémon Vietnamese Crystal
Here’s a weirder mod for Pokémon Crystal and this barely counts as a rom hack, but it’s still amazing. The base game for this is the original Game Boy Color version. There is a Vietnamese bootleg of the game out there that has since been re-translated from its foreign text back into English, or should I say Engrish, and the results are priceless. Here are a few fun examples. “Put in” has been translated into the big F word. Your rival refers to himself as a god, the pronouns for he and she get reversed, some Pokémon are named after their base animal like Bird, or Fish and the list continues. It’s just silly and not something you should play yourself. Just Google it and have an afternoon of giggles.
7 PokéBots: Rescue Team
What if you battled with robots instead of monsters? That’s exactly what PokeBots: Rescue Team is, but it’s not just about fighting any kind of robots. These are famous ones from your favorite anime including Mobile Suit Gundam and more obscure older titles like Mazinger. Another weird detail is that your female character sprite looks like Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion complete with those weird head nodules. This mod based on Pokémon FireRed is still only in a Beta state meaning there’s not much to explore. Also it’s only in Spanish so good luck understanding what’s going on. As cool as the idea of catching mechs is, playing with fused Pokémon robots like MechaChu, or BulbaDroid would be awesome too. Make that happen Nintendo.
6 Pokémon Glazed
I know. Pokémon Glazed is a weird title for a hack and makes me think everyone has been turned into delicious pastries. I’d collection 150 PokéDoughnuts to become the world’s greatest pastry chef. Sadly that’s not what this mod is about. Instead, it’s based on the meat of Pokémon Emerald albeit with a completely new story and world. There are some ancient ruins everyone is after and a mysterious Pikachu with a red scarf keeps terrorizing you. One of the most notable things is its inclusion of Pokémon from Generation V, just like in Pokémon Advanced Adventure. You can even start with those Pokémon including Turtwig, Chimchar, Piplup, Shinx, and Riolu. The story is kind of whatever, but I do enjoy seeing the demade sprites from the newer games in here.
5 Pokémon Theta Emerald
And if you like de-made sprites in your older Pokémon games then you’re going to love Pokémon Theta Emerald. As the name would hint at it’s based on Pokémon Emerald. Pretty much the same exact game with a few tweaks here and there. The biggest is the inclusion of Pokémon up to Generation VII. That’s right you can start this journey with Litten, Rowlet, or Popplio. Even cooler is the ability to literally catch every Pokémon up to present. That’s like 700+ creatures! In that first zone you can find Froakie, which is the water starter from Pokémon X and Pokémon Y. It’s pretty crazy. I’m crossing my fingers that the Pokémon Switch game is going to be that way. No more of this two versions baloney.
4 Pokémon Mega Emerald X/Y
Perhaps less exciting than that is Pokémon Mega Emerald X/Y. Unsurprisingly it’s another mod for Pokémon Emerald, but one less ambitious as Pokémon Theta Emerald. It just goes up to Generation VI so you can start with Froakie, Fennekin, and Chespin. It’s more, or less just an enhanced remake of Pokémon Emerald, but with more content compared to the previous game. For example, you can catch all of the legendary Pokémon whose events are similar for every game they were implemented in. Also there are a few new islands to visit. Oh yeah and as the name implies it includes Mega Evolutions too. For my money I say go with Pokémon Theta Emerald, but for super enthusiasts check out this one too. That is if you have like a hundred hours to spare.
3 Pokémon Prism
Okay enough with the GBA remakes! Not sure why the community hovers around that system so much. Is it just that broken? Ah no matter. Let’s go to the Game Boy with a Pokémon Gold hack entitled Pokémon Prism. This game, while held back by Pokémon Gold’s internal mechanics, is phenomenal. You begin with character customization! There are six sprites for each gender, and you can even choose your color pallet. While on a camping trip you’re asked to gather wood. Searching causes a cave in to block your path home, so you find yourself in an abandoned mine where a lonely Larvitar befriends you. Oh yeah and your Pokémon can wander away from you in order to solve puzzles. Nintendo can learn a thing, or two just from this hack’s intro. It feels more like an RPG than a Pokémon adventure, which is why I dig it.
2 Pokémon Light Platinum DS
Here’s anther hack based on Pokémon Gold, or that is to say the remake of it: Pokémon HeartGold. Pokémon Light Platinum DS is actually a remake itself, because it began as a GBA mod based on Pokémon Ruby. Now things are getting confusing, I know. Let’s rewind. You begin with Generation I starters including Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle, which is odd considering the game’s origins, but whatever. The craziest thing about the hack is that it includes the first four regions of the Pokémon game universe plus a new one along with monsters up to that age, new sprites, moves, and so on. Plus your Pokémon follows you. It’s a huge project and as the only DS mod on this list, I thought it was the most ambitious in terms of content.
1 Pokémon Team Rocket Edition
Let’s end with a return to the very first generation. How could I not? Pokémon Team Rocket Edition is a mod based on Pokémon Red. As the name suggests, it pits you in the shoes of everyone’s beloved vile duo, Jesse and James, from Team Rocket except that you’re brother and sister. Your world sprites look like them, but oddly enough Jessie looks like some random trainer and James is Professor Oak. Ooookay. And as you can probably guess you can choose between Meowth, Ekans, and Koffing for your starter. I decided to subvert tradition and chose Ekans instead of Koffing. It’s not that great and admittedly a downer to end on, but again I thought it only respectful to include one OG hack on here.