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The Games You Haven’t Played Part 3 – Pokemon ROM Hacks



The world of ROM hacks can be a scary place. Diving head first into the community with little prior knowledge is a frustrating experience. There are tons of hacks for just about every popular series and platform out there, with vastly varied quality and goals. Luckily for you, your old pal Casey is here to help you out. Last week’s edition covered Metroid. If you missed it or the history and guide on how to play ROM hacks, check it out!

Pokemon! If you’ve been following these articles, I’m sure you’ve been waiting for the Pocket Monsters to make an appearance.There’s a mountain of ROM Hacks available for Pokemon games from almost every generation. I’ve played many a PokeHack in my day, so I’d like to share with you some of my favorites now. I’m sure you’ll find something that appeals to you here!

If you’re a kid of the 90s, there’s a pretty good chance you not only played the early games but watched the Pokemon anime as well. I loved the first few series of the show, so when I stumbled upon Pokemon Ash Gray I was ecstatic. This hack of Pokemon FireRed recreates the events of the anime up to the Orange Islands. The player, as Ash, goes through the episode by episode, meticulously reliving the plot points seen on TV. The attention to detail is impressive. Sadly it isn’t finished, and the creator is nowhere to be found. Despite this, there is tons of content here and it’s a lot of fun. Manga fans need not feel left out, thanks to Pokemon Adventures – Red Chapter. This game is also unfinished, unfortunately, but again there is plenty to enjoy. The video below is a couple hours into the game, as to not spoil the opening.

One of the few PokeHacks I’ve returned to after my first go is Pokemon Liquid Crystal. This FireRed hack starts out as a recreation of Pokemon Crystal with the upgraded graphics and features of the GBA games. Players can explore both Kanto and Johto just as the original game, but afterwards, you’ll find there’s even more content to digest. The creators have added a completely new story line set in the Orange Islands. They’ve even added weather effects and brand new hidden areas to the original maps. This is a must play for every Pokemon fan!


Pokemon Liquid Crystal’s tilesets and weather effects are fantastic.

Enough with FireRed for now. What about more recent games, like the Black and White series on the DS? Yes, there are in fact hacks of DS games out in the wild. The two most notable being Pokemon Blaze Black & Volt White and Pokemon Yin Black & Yang White. Both of these hacks are slight modifications of their source, adding in a total of 649 pokemon. Trainers have been edited to reflect the additional monsters and up the difficulty a bit. Like most every PokeHack, pokemon who evolve by trading originally have been modified to make it easier for players on emulators.These games are a great way to get a bit more fun out of vanilla Black & White. If you lean more towards Black & White 2, you’re in luck. Pokemon Blaze Black & Volt White 2 is just for you.

One of the most beloved Pokemon hacks is Pokemon Light Platinum, a hack of Pokemon Ruby. This is a very high-quality original game complete with new characters and a brand new story. Pokemon from Gen IV and V are up for grabs across two new regions. This project has wonderful artwork and a very comfortable difficulty level.

Quite the city, eh? This is just a small bit of Pokemon Glazed.

Let’s do one more, for good measure. This is Pokemon Glazed, a completely original hack built on Pokemon Emerald. Glazed features 2 new regions, Tunod and Rankor, alongside the familiar Johto from Gold, Silver, and Crystal. The new story includes Pokemon from the Sinnoh, Unova, and Kalos regions along with legendaries from Kanto to Unova.

Now that is a lot of Pokemon. Many of these games are long, so you should be good for awhile. Just like Metroid, there are plenty of great ROM hacks I haven’t mentioned here. Check out the PokeCommunity website for even more games and some tutorials on how to make your own. Who knows, you might end up creating the next big thing in Pokemon.

With Pokemon and Metroid out of the way, that leaves us with the king of Nintendo franchises, Super Mario! The mustachioed man was involved in some of the earliest and most (in)famous hacks out there. Keep your eyes peeled for the next installment of The Games You Haven’t Played, coming up next Sunday.

Why hello there. I write about the video game industry. I usually write features about the history and state of the industry, and dive into topics like game design and tech. I'm also a competitive fighting game player and speedrunner. I talk about old fighting games and Mother 3 too often for most people's taste. Money match me in WindJammers if you don't mind losing. Aside from gaming, I work as a professional musician and do a bit of stand-up comedy. You can find me writing jokes and retweeting fan art @PfhorTheWin.