When I was a kid I sure loved me some Pokemon. The TV show, the cards (I've still got my deck somewhere at home) but I never had a Gameboy. I had a Playstation so I guess I felt bad about asking for another games console. Plus only a few kids had one, and one of the big draws was playing games together. Still, getting to borrow someone else's Gameboy for awhile was a rare treat, especially Pokemon – I must have played that opening bit with your first pokemon a dozen times as, of course, you couldn't save over the owner's game. If you did then, I dunno, you were taken outside and stoned or something. One of my housemates in third year heard that I didn't have a Gameboy as a kid and apparently this is a big deal – I'd missed out on a big part of my generation's legacy (I swap in bits of Anthropology when I don't get the things people do). So out of the goodness of her heart she gave me her old Gameboy and a copy of Pokemon Red. It was great having something to idly mess around on while putting in a long coursework session – it was one of those ones you flip open, so I could set it down on the desk by my mouse and reach over to tap in a few attacks or moves during a break.
Still, I was missing out on something – the trading. Now with one Gameboy, no trading cable and no-one else who happened to be playing a decade-old game at the same time as me I figured that was one area I'd never get into. So I started looking around online to see if someone had made an online Flash version or something, kind of like the games on Miniclip I'd played before. I'd also run into online versions of Mario and Crash Bandicoot so I figured it'd be the same. That's when I ran into Gameboy Emulators. I'd read once about Emulator programs back when I read Playstation magazines as a kid and it seemed incredibly fiddly: you had to run a disc in your computer, then swap it out for the Playstation Game disc (assuming you have the game, the Playstation Magazine but not the Playstation itself). By now though people have copied the simply-programmed cartridge based Gameboy, Sega and NES games into games you can download and play on equally easy download-and-play programs. Even Playstation 1, Atari CD console and (god help us) Phillips CDI games like Link: The Faces of Evil have got programs and emulators you can download. Since there were a bunch of outdated consoles with games I'd always wanted to play but couldn't afford, I figured I'd go exploring. By now I've got programs for the Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, NES, Super NES, Playstation, Mobile Phone and the Virtual Boy, as well as 4 games in the Yume Nikki series. I decided to share the lulz I've come across, as well as mention how to play them if you're so inclined. For example...
Pokemon Red and Blue (Gameboy)
Man that Gengar's an asshole
I got these games after I found an emulator called ((TGB-Dual)), which allows you to run two separate Gameboy games together as though they're linked by a cable, which is good for trading pokemon and... probably nothing else, but it runs well as a standalone game, too. So let's say I want to get something from Red to Blue. Well, I leave my Blue save as it is, then for the Red game I play until I get what i'm after, then change the file extension from .sa1 to .sa2. Then if you boot up Red as the second game it can read the new save file, and you can trade it. When I was just getting the other two starter pokemon I called my trainers on the throwaway saves names like ASS or BUMRAPIST (paging Dr Freud on the anal fixation, there.) Hell, my beta game on Red is called SLAVE; I like to imagine him as a golem operating in another dimension that AWESOME (my player on Blue, because I'm mentally seven years old) uses to collect exclusive pokemon and send them over in exchange for lousy Bellsprouts that he can release into the wild, ruining the ecosystem. Yeah, I think about these things too much. I suppose I could have kept going on them, too, trying to complete the game starting with a Pidgey or whatever I randomly caught to trade.
Come to think of it my actual Gameboy is around here somewhere – my recharge cable broke, so that trainer and his pokemon are trapped, possibly forever, in that cartridge, existentially terrifying though that may be.
Anyway, you can get Pokemon and a couple hundred other Gameboy games -or ROMs as they're called- at RomHustler (the site I use now, since it's virus-free) and TGB-Dual at The Emulator Zone. Just run the file with the game program and the emulator will make the folders it'll need to make saves etc automatically.
In the next part i'll talk about some of the good (Zoids: Legacy), bad (Alone in the Dark) and weird (Jesus: Kyoufu no Bio Monster) games I've been playing. Unless one of you politely comments "Dude, we all totally knew this already, so STFU".