Nintendo Switch Game Boy Emulator Must Include Pokemon TCG
Pokemon has a slew of spin-off games that far exceed the mainline series we know and love. Many believe that the true quality of the franchise lies not in the turn-based RPGs, but in the weird and wonderful spin-offs that still go cheap to this day. Although Pokemon Snap holds a special place in my heart, I don’t know if any spinoff stands up to SoulSilver or Emerald.
Snap, however, has had the sequel treatment in recent years that many games aren’t lucky enough to get. The spinoff that deserves the most love after Snap, however, is the Pokemon Trading Card Game. Now, it’s easy to get confused here. The Pokemon Trading Card Game is a physical collection of cards that grows several times a year and requires you to collect them all in order to build the strongest deck. There is also a Game Boy game called Pokemon Trading Card Game. It’s not Pokemon TCG Online, an internet-based collecting and battling simulator, or Pokemon TCG Live, the successor to PTCGO. This version, the Game Boy game, is a card-based RPG, and it’s better than all the others I just listed.
I admit that there is joy in collecting the physical cards. I’ve done it on different levels for most of my life. I started with the Power Reserve starter deck. I traded ten rare cards and five for a Dark Celebi when I was about nine years old. I pulled out the rare Rainbow Charizard & Reshiram Tag Team GX from my first Unbroken Bonds elite trainer box. But the hobby is getting more and more expensive and thanks to YouTubers and scalpers, it’s getting harder and harder for regular gamers to enjoy. Building a competitive deck costs a lot of money, and I’ve since fallen in love with the game. That’s not the case in the Game Boy version, though.
Instead of an exorbitant, exclusive entry price, Dr. Mason gives you a Charmander, Squirtle, or Bulbasaur-themed starter deck. This is the only acceptable play to choose Charmander as a starter on Bulbasaur, due to the fact that his deck is vastly superior and contains a Zapdos. None of the other starter decks have a legendary Pokemon card, and Charmander contains the best Gen 1 legendary. It’s a no-brainer.
Your task is to defeat all eight Club Masters (read: Gym Leaders), four Grand Masters (Elite Four), and the Champion (uh, Champion) to collect the four Legendary Pokemon cards to add to your deck. These are Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, and Dragonite respectively, with the latter being featured as an IRL promo card with the Japanese version of the game. You also have to battle your rival, Ronald, along the way.
These legendary cards – the Zapdos is different from the one you start with if you choose Charmander, by the way – aren’t unlocked through microtransactions or spending in-game currency on booster packs with a tiny drop rate, though. , they are just unlocked by fighting the Grand Masters. The games were simple like that. You can even defeat Grand Masters multiple times to add multiple copies of a card to your deck. While my favorite thing to do was to put the three Legendary Birds in a deck with some Dragonites and eeveelutions, you could recreate the IRL meta decks from early tournaments – Haymaker and Rain Dance were particularly powerful. Using the Hitmonchan/Scyther combo with a link cable was guaranteed to cause you to lose some friends, but I’d run it if a remake or emulated version had online capabilities for PvP.
There is no overworld in the Pokemon Trading Card Game, just a card that allows you to quickly get to Gyms in order. However, you can modify your deck as you wish to change your playstyle and perfect your combat technique. I can’t count the number of hours I’ve spent tinkering and polishing this game – I’ve spent far more time meddling in that aspect than battling, thanks to the slightly repetitive nature of the fights themselves. But the best part is that it didn’t cost me a penny! Without resorting to proxies, making changes to an IRL Pokemon TCG deck might cost you a few pounds – depending on the cards you’re testing of course – but here it’s all free.
I’d love a remake of this classic Pokemon game, with a fleshed-out overworld and even more RPG elements, but I know the odds are slim. Imagine it, though, the original could only include the first three Pokémon card sets (that was all that was released at the time of its initial release, to be fair), but a modern version could include every set. to date – or at least legal tournaments – and may add more as DLC when released. However, I don’t think it’s feasible in modern games. The online versions of the TCG use the same gacha mechanics as the actual packs, and unfortunately there just isn’t enough money in an RPG where you unlock all the maps just by playing the game.
It is for this reason that the original should be included in the Game Boy emulator for Switch, which should be released soon. Heck, you can also add the Japanese-only sequel, Pokémon Card GB2: Here Comes Team GR!, though maybe I’m still asking too much. Help me here, Nintendo, I just want to play cards again – and without having to buy a thousand boosters.
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