Classic Pokemon games coming to 3DS eshop

Wouldn’t it be really cool if Nintendo added the original Pokemon games to the 3DS eshop? It’s what people have been asking for since about the time the 3DS was released. If this video from the official Pokemon YouTube channel is an indication…

…that’s just what they’re going to do.

I think this is some pretty cool news. I have some fond memories of the original Pokemon games, and one of these games would help to relive some old memories of treks in the Kanto region.

Hearing about this takes me back to the late nineties. I remember going to school and having shows like Home Improvement and Goof Troop to watch on TV. And Quack Pack. And Doug. So yeah, I was happy that I had a Game Boy for entertainment.

So we’re not missing out on the important feature of trading, it’s going to be possible through local wireless! Another neat thing about this announcement is the timing. At about this time, many of the original Pokemon games have depleted the internal battery that was used to store save data.

At one point, game saves were stored using battery backup, likely because the game cartridges used some sort of SRAM, which is a kind of volatile memory that loses its contents when power is no longer supplied to it. In such cases, an internal battery would have been used to keep power supplied to the SRAM even when the player wasn’t playing and the cartridge wasn’t in the system. If the battery ran out of charge, however, the player lost their save data, which was especially tragic for players that had pokemon that they liked. Recently, a Japanese man made the news after having left his Super Famicom on for 20 years because he did not want to lose his Umihara Kawase save data.

The good news is that because the 3DS games are saved using non-volatile memory, game saves would not be lost due to a depleted internal battery.

When playing the original games again, one might think about how the Pokemon series has come a long way. Some of the noticeable quirks of the original games include:

  • Back then, TMs could only be used once.
  • When a pokemon forgot a move, it usually didn’t have a way to relearn it.
  • The Psychic type was pretty much at the top of the game.
  • Missingno. was easy to find. It would be surprising if it weren’t removed.
  • Mew was considered unobtainable, but that didn’t mean that some players didn’t look for it anyway. However, a glitch was discovered that made it obtainable. Whether it remains in the game is to be seen.
  • The option to play as a girl wasn’t available.
  • Pokemon didn’t have abilities
  • They also couldn’t hold items
  • You couldn’t breed pokemon, for all of Brock’s talking about it. This means that if you picked a Squirtle and also wanted a Charmander, finding someone to trade it to you was really hard.
  • They might fix some of the bugs, but the original Pokemon games were so buggy, that it might have been how some players were introduced to hexadecimal.

And there’s more. None of that means that Pokemon Red, Blue, Green or Yellow are bad games. However, some players are likely to better appreciate the features available to them in newer games by playing a version of Pokemon where those features are absent.

However, some new features may be implemented. Perhaps some sort of move relearner will be implemented. Perhaps TMs will be reusable. Maybe the female main character from FireRed and LeafGreen will be selectable in a low-resolution form (that would actually be pretty cool).

Or maybe (this would be a big one) there would be a feature that would make these games trade compatible with 6th gen games, with newer pokemon appearing in the games with sprites in an older graphical style. If a person sets their expectations high, they might be setting themselves up for disappointment. Still, it’s fun to think about how a pokemon like Chespin or Goomy would look in Red/Green style.

Now that classic Pokemon games are announced for the eshop, there are other possibilities. Personally, I’d like to see the Gold, Silver and Crystal games added to the eshop. Perhaps, in time, that’ll happen. There’s also the possibility of the GBA versions, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, though they’d probably be on the Wii U eshop, considering that many GBA remakes have been appearing on that platform.

Oh yeah, here’s a cool feature that many of us who played the classic Pokemon games didn’t get to experience: playing them on a handheld with a backlit display screen. The original Game Boy (and even the GameBoy Color) didn’t have a backlit screen, so many of us had to play somewhere bright to see what was going on onscreen. Also, on the original, there was the challenge of getting the adjustable contrast just right.

Another feature that will help is the presence of a rechargeable lithium ion battery in the 3DS. When Pokemon Red and Blue were released in the United States, there was a temporary shortage of AA batteries, which were needed to power the original Game Boys.


I’m likely to get one of these games. One question would be, “which one?” I think that the Yellow version will probably be the most popular. If the Green version is released on the American eshop, I’d probably get that one. However, the Green version wasn’t released in the States, so that might not happen. Maybe I’ll get the Red version. I like the Red version’s exclusive pokemon.

Also, there’s the question of which starter to go with. I’d probably pick Bulbasaur.

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