With the announcement of the new Pokemon series release earlier this year, Pokemon fans are scrounging to fulfill the Poke-cravings before Pokemon Sun and Moon.
— Pokémon (@Pokemon) February 26, 2016
If you’ve kept up with the series until now and find yourself with nothing to do, or have yet to experience the utter joy of playing a Pokemon game, don’t fret. Packed with hundreds of new Pokemon along with adventure and feature options, these fan-made Pokemon games will surely keep you occupied until Sun‘s and Moon‘s releases.
Disclaimer: These games are incredible, fan-made homages to the classic Pokemon games. They are also, however, unofficial and buggy. While you certainly will be getting what you paid for — nothing — these games aren’t perfect. Take the developer into consideration and enjoy the heck out of what these games have to offer.
To play these games, you are going to need an emulator. Emulators are essentially programs which act as gaming consoles for particular video games called ROMs. Emulators can not only be installed on your PC but on your iOS, Android and Windows mobile smartphones as well. For the avid gamer who enjoys a classic as much as a modern, AAA-rated game, video game emulators are a must. Once you’ve downloaded and installed the emulator, simply load the ROM file to get started. You might have to unzip it first.
Since all of these games require a Game Boy Advanced emulator and I am using a Windows computer, I used Virtual Boy Advanced. Remember to research the best emulator to fit your gaming and OS needs.
Starting off the list is a formidable fan-made Pokemon game touting thousands of players and an extensive wiki. Beyond the large user community, Pokemon selection and innovative features is a gritty story line of cultist leaders and Pokemon experimentation. Be warned, Pokemon Insurgence is not afraid to renovate the typical Pokemon experience as a casual adventure game.
The sprite collection and general gameplay gives an official feeling to the game. Add in mega evolutions and creative delta species, where a player can mix the DNA of two Pokemon to create a third solution, and there’s no way you can pass up the experience.
If you happen to run into any trouble in the game, or you’d like a bit more information before diving head first, Pokemon Insurgence is the subject of forums and a weighty subreddit to assist you in your journey.
There’s nothing quite like pitting old gen versus new gen Pokemon. Pokemon Light Platinum is touted as one of the most complete Pokemon ROMs on the Internet to date. Based off of the popular Pokemon Ruby version, Pokemon Light Platinum features impressive graphics and a wide array of Pokemon along with new regions and gyms to keep any Pokemon fan occupied for hours.
With 16 gym badges, two Pokemon leagues and a world championship, Pokemon Light Platinum has a lot in store. If you’re looking for a safe, familiar alternative to the official Pokemon games, Light Platinum is it.
One of my personal favorites, Pokemon Ash Gray is a fan-made Pokemon game based off Fire-Red which simulates Ash’s journey in the monumentally popular, original Pokemon animated series.
I was a huge fan of the animated series growing up, so Pokemon Ash Gray is definitely a pleasant trip down memory lane. Train Pikachu and ward off mean sparrows yourself with this fan-made game!
Pokemon Dark Rising is essentially the Dark Souls of Pokemon. With the difficulty level bumped up to an 11, it’s typical to wipe out multiple times before getting to the first gym leader. The beginning of the story line is enticing in itself:
You are a young Pokemon Trainer in Core Region. The game plot starts when you sleep and have a strange dream. You see a strange Pokemon that appears incidentally in your dream but you don’t know or meet it before. This Pokemon says it chooses you to be its owner and wants you to save it and the world.
From the rival battles to the random battles, this game will leave you hanging on by a thread. Your starters are all dragon-types for a refreshing early game experience as well, while the game itself spans the first five generations of Pokemon.
This game can get frustrating at times, but that’s a large part of its allure. If you find yourself bored with other Pokemon games quickly, this is definitely the fan-made game for you.
While most fan-made ROMs attempt to make the most out of Pokemon characters rather than trainer development, Pokemon Godra tries to make that leap. In this popular fan-made ROM, you can lead a life outside the gym. With a series of career paths set up for your trainer, you can be a War Party Leader, a Military General and a Safari Zone Warden just to name a few possibilities.
Don’t let the name fool you, Pokemon Glazed is one of the best and cleanest Pokemon fan-made games to date. The polish of this ROM is due completely to the continually updated content; slowly but surely Pokemon Glazed is keeping up with the growing Pokemon population and game play features.
It’s both the newest and most impressive fan-made ROM of the list, and just last year won the Hack of the Month award on Reddit’s Pokemon ROM hacks subreddit. Even the subtler options made by the developers such as naming the beginning region Tunod — or donut backwards — makes Pokemon Glazed an enjoyable experience you won’t believe isn’t official.
Bonus: That’s Not All, Folks!
Pokemon fan games extend to more than the typical Pokemon adventure game. Here are a few bonus games to fit a little more Pokemon into your gaming routine.
Pokemon Type Wild is just that, wild. Although Pokken officially takes the prize as the best and most impressive Pokemon fighting game, this fan-made 2D fighting game is nothing to scoff at. Resembling earlier Street Fighter games in both graphics and mechanics, Pokemon Type Wild is a genuinely entertaining experience.
The Japanese developer responsible for creating this game is also rumored to have been an original artist for the Pokemon animated series. Overall, Pokemon Type Wild looks good, plays well and is definitely worth the download.
Pokemon 3D is a surprisingly refreshing fan-made project. A remake of Pokemon Gold and Silver, Pokemon 3D simulates the world of Pokemon in a popup 3D environment.
Although Pokemon 3D follows the typical Pokemon adventure format, the impressive popup effect definitely gives the original game new life. Besides, you can never cease adding graphical capabilities to the original Pokemon games (as is often the case with Unreal Engine 4).
A Pokemon MMO just makes sense; why not fill a world with Pokemon and players from around the world? That’s exactly what the developers of Planet Pokemon set out to accomplish.
Planet Pokemon was a rigorous and difficult project from the get-go, yet the playable, pre-alpha stage version of this game is still an impressive feat. Although word of development has quieted over recent months, lead developer Cains had this to say in a recent YouTube comment regarding future support:
The game itself is not dead or cancelled, it’s simply changing its scope and goals quite a bit from what they were originally. The previous idea for the game is dead and cancelled, but a new one is taking its place. A new update — which is actually an entire rehaul of the game rather than an update — will be coming out extremely soon, and we plan to keep updating afterward. The passion and vision for this project has been recently reinvigorated, and we are now much more capable, experienced, and organized.
It’s safe to say we can expect great things from this Pokemon MMO project and projects like it.
Gotta’ Try ‘Em All!
It seems like every months there are a few fan-made Pokemon games attempting to revive and restructure the Pokemon universe. Through the efforts of freelance artists and developers, Pokemon continues broadening its franchise to allow a Pokemon fanatic virtually countless hours of fun! A big thank you to the creators of these fantastic games and to the Pokemon ROM hack subreddit which continually provides updates on fantastic fan-made Pokemon content regularly.
Have you ever tried out a fan-made Pokemon game? If so, what’s your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!