Pokemon Crystal Had Remote Trade Years Before Nintendo DS
Connecting to the internet is as vital a part of modern Pokemon as catching them all and becoming the Pokemon League Champion. Sure, it’s not exactly a hit, but it’s essential to the overall experience. The Wild Area was filled with other players exploring the open world section of Sword & Shield (which lowered the frame rate, but they were definitely there). The series focuses on Raid Battles in Pokemon Go, Sword & Shield, and continues the trend in Scarlet & Violet, where they seem to be one of the best ways to catch Terastallized Pokemon, which could be a new one. revolutionary mechanism.
You cannot complete the PokeDex without the internet these days, as it is required to trade. Version exclusives continue to plague the single-player experience – something that should continue in Scarlet & Violet – so you can only get that nice “PokeDex Completed” certificate if you connect to the internet. Mine is framed on the wall.
But this has not always been the case. Prior to the release of Diamond & Pearl on Nintendo DS hardware, internet commerce simply wasn’t a thing. FireRed & LeafGreen gave gamers the option to purchase a wireless adapter that did away with the messy link cables of the past, but you still had to be within 10 feet of your trading partner. Amazingly, however, a Game Boy Color peripheral allowed Pokemon Crystal players to trade long-distance years before the Nintendo DS arrived with its wireless capabilities.
The GB Mobile Adapter was only released in Japan, but connected your Game Boy Color to your cell phone and used it as a kind of modem to connect to other gamers. There were lots of stipulations – it was 2001, of course – including the price of 5,800 yen (about £35 at the time) on top of the game. After buying the hardware, you had to register by mail before to be able to connect to Mobile System GB. You could only connect to players from the same mobile service provider as you, but the result was a full-fledged GTS-like system years before the West knew about it.
You can add contacts, set statuses like Ruby & Sapphire’s Easy Chat system, fight and trade. Trading was simple, but you were limited to ten fighting minutes a day to limit excessive phone bills. As such, battles were 3v3 rather than 6v6, and if a player disconnected the AI would take over and play the rest of the match for them.
You could access the pseudo-GTS in the Pokemon Communication Center, which replaced the regular Pokemon Center in Goldenrod City. According PokeCommunity, these exchanges cost 10 yen per pop, added to your mobile bill. For the younger among us, we were buying polyphonic ringtones and pixelated screensavers for way more than that in the early 2000s, so it’s not that bad.
YouTuber Hacky discovered that the GB Mobile Adapter also allowed players to access an in-game publication called Pokemon News, which appears to be mostly quizzes. It costs 100 yen per month, depending on the nintendo official website. Rumors suggest that completing all quizzes will grant you the GS Ball, an item used to trigger Celebi to spawn in Ilex Forest.
The GB mobile adapter sold only 80,000 copies, and the service was finally discontinued in December 2002. The mobile adapter was really ahead of its time, but kids playing Pokemon Crystal didn’t have the money, time, or need for the device of a prohibitively expensive – most of them probably wouldn’t. I didn’t even have cell phones back then. However, that doesn’t stop it from being an impressive prototype of features that were introduced globally in Ruby & Sapphire and online capabilities that came to fruition with the Nintendo DS and are still an integral part of the Nintendo DS. Pokemon experience two decades later.
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