Gaming Post 36: Pokémon Crystal Version

A long time ago, the Random Number Generator chose Pokémon Crystal Version to be the next game I would write an article about on this website. It has been several years since then, in part because I wasn’t truly finished playing the game at that time. My quest in that game has recently ended, which has in a sense, potentially opened the floodgates for me to continue writing articles here.

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I bought a copy of Pokémon Crystal when it came out. I may have purchased it on its American release date, but I can’t be sure. My memory of anything that happened in my life before I was 10 years old is fuzzy.

What I do know is that by the time I started Pokémon Crystal, I had already beaten Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver. Having played both of them, I knew that they were basically the same game with a different cartridge color, title screen, and creature spawns. My hope was that Pokémon Crystal would be something new and exciting, but it turned out that it too was basically the same game as Gold and Silver.

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The cartridge of Pokémon Crystal is very pretty, but aside from that, I didn’t experience Crystal as a different game from Gold and Silver up to the point when I gave up. Crystal was the first main series Pokémon game to let you choose between being a boy or girl, but since I was a boy and a coward, I chose to play as a boy despite the fact that playing as a girl would be the biggest possible gameplay difference Crystal could offer. Also, since it was my third time playing a game set in Johto, I went ahead and chose my third favorite Johto starter, having already chosen Cyndaquil in Gold and Totodile in Silver.

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Chikorita is my third favorite Johto starter.

I’m not entirely sure why, but I became bored enough of the game to stop playing once I arrived in Ecruteak City. It’s true that the Pokémon sprites were a bit more animated in Crystal, but I had essentially played Pokémon Gold to death by that point, so to me, it felt like there was very little reason to carry on.

I eventually beat the story of Pokémon Crystal in 2014 when I recorded a video project called The Crystal Quest, a sequel to a different video project called The Yellow Quest. In The Crystal Quest, I catch 99 of the Generation 2 Pokémon legitimately in regular Pokéballs and Park Balls, and then I catch Celebi in a Pokéball by cheating the event only “GS Ball” item into the game and then not saving after.

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To be fair, I did have a GS Ball in real life.

Here’s a playlist of The Crystal Quest if you ever want to see it.

When I played Crystal all the way through for this video project, I was 21, so I noticed things I maybe wouldn’t have noticed when I was younger. It’s stated in the game that the legendary beasts, Entei, Raikou, and Suicune were the reincarnations of Pokémon who perished in the burning of the western pagoda, The Brass Tower. This is said to have been caused by a lightning bolt 150 years ago at the time that the games take place. A popular theory was that the three Pokémon who perished were a Flareon, Jolteon and Vaporeon. Lending stock to this theory was the fact that in Pokémon Crystal, the story of this event is told to you by three monks who each have a Noctowl followed by one of those three Eeveelutions. This theory is seemingly contradicted in what happens to be my favorite episode of “Pokémon Generations” as seen below.

The three Pokémon that become the legendary beasts appear to be something close in shape to the Pokémon Houndour, or a regular dog. That said, it’s pretty clear that “Pokémon Generations” isn’t 100% canonical.

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This is probably a regular dog.

What I love about this episode is that it takes place in the past of Johto, which looks a lot like the past of Japan. This implies that the Pokémon world had the same basic history as Earth, with us sharing the same passing fashions and architecture styles.

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People from that episode dressed in a different fashion to the more modern era fashion of the main series’ present day.

I should note that the Galar region contains architecture in the ancient Roman style, namely the Hero’s Bath in Circhester. This, along with the name of the nearby “Hotel Ionia” implies that Galar itself was in part settled by the PokéRomans just like how England was settled by the real Romans in actual history. If there’s ever a Pokémon game set in a region based on Italy, I expect to see some ruins there that look the same as the ones in Circhester.

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The Hero’s Bath (Circhester, Galar)

In 2018, a modified version of Pokémon Crystal was released on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console. Unlike the original Pokémon Crystal, this one had a legitimate way to obtain the GS Ball and fight or capture Celebi without needing a real life event to take place. This was the first time since the original Crystal version that shiny Celebi could be legitimately obtainable and sent to the most current game. Because of this, many people attempted to encounter one, despite the odds of one appearing being 1/8192 each time you put the GS Ball in its pedestal.

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Before Crystal came out on the Virtual Console, I had never purposefully tried to encounter a shiny Pokémon and succeeded. That said, Shiny Pokémon had a way of finding me. I did start successfully hunting shiny Pokémon whenever I participated in Pokémon GO Community Days, but the odds of a Pokémon being shiny in that game, especially during a Community Day, is much higher than it is in the regular mainline series, so I wouldn’t really consider that to be the same thing as shiny hunting.

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I had purchased a Japanese 3DS and European 2DS for multiple purposes. One of those purposes was to catch every form of Vivillon that I previously had to trade with other people for. That took maybe a few hours. After that, I wanted to use those systems along with my other two functioning 3DSes to hunt shiny Celebi with four games at a time.

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I had four Crystals just like in the Final Fantasy.

Hunting Celebi with 4 games at a time would change the chance of encountering a shiny from 1/8192 per reset to 1-(8191/8192)^4 or about 1/2048 per reset. Even with that advantage I wasn’t motivated to actually do the hunt until recently, when it occurred to me that looking for the non event-boosted Gigantimax Pokémon in Sword and Shield without cheating would be more of a hassle than finding shiny Celebi.

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Gigantimax spawns are unfair. Mr. Krabs is in there.

I got my array of game systems ready, and started hunting after work one night. I decided to multitask and so I started to rewatch Full Metal Alchemist on my phone. I almost got to the end of the second episode when my plans for watching anime were foiled.

I didn’t count the number of resets I did, but by my calculation, the hunt had to be less than 15 hours total, with me taking maybe 40 seconds or more per reset. Shiny Celebi arrived too soon I think. I shouldn’t be complaining though. I realized that I can finally write this article with its true ending, now that my adventure in Crystal is over. It seems to me like it’s finally time to consult the Random Number Generator once again.

Thanks for reading!

-Zelgerath

Gaming Post 35: Pokémon Silver Version

The random number generator chose Pokémon Silver Version. That’s interesting.

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Pokémon Silver Version was a Game Boy Color game that came out in October of the year 2000. It was one of the two video games that introduced players to the second generation of Pokémon (the group of 100 Pokémon that were revealed to players after the first 151). Silver Version’s mascot is the legendary Pokémon Lugia, who had been introduced to audiences earlier that year in the second Pokémon Movie, “Pokémon the Movie 2000”.

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When Pokemon Gold and Silver came out, I didn’t get Silver right away, but I did get Gold Version the first day it came out. I chose Gold instead of Silver because I preferred Ho-oh over Lugia. To me, Ho-oh seemed like a Pokémon that was even newer than Lugia, and that is what made me decide to get Gold first.

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I eventually received Silver as a Christmas present, seemingly on Christmas of 2001, but it possibly could have been 2000. My memories of that time in my life are a bit fuzzy. The only evidence against me having gotten it for Christmas of 2001 (that I can think of) is that Pokémon Crystal was already out at that point, and Silver was considered to be inferior to Crystal. I can’t say for certain whether or not I got Crystal on its release date, but if I really did get Silver for Christmas of 2001, it seems that Pokémon Crystal might have been received on another occasion some time after its release date.

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Thinking about this feels like a time paradox.

I was about 9 back then, and looking back at it, I seemed to be more focused on playing through the story rather than playing beyond the end. I got all 16 Badges in the game and beat Trainer Red like I had done in Gold Version, but in Silver, that’s where I stopped. My starter Pokémon was Totodile because I had already chosen Cyndaquil in Gold, and because Chikorita was in my opinion the lamest of the three.

 

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In those days, I had a guide which I attempted to use with my friend Jonah to complete the Pokédex, but it was a fruitless endeavor. There was no known way to get Mew or Celebi without cheating, and I wasn’t goal-oriented enough to capture the other 249 that were possible to catch. My first real attempt at catching em all would have to wait until Generation 3.

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I lost this guide some time in the past 15 years.

I remember reading that Pokémon Silver Version was considered by the Scholastic Book of World Records to be the most sold video game. I don’t think it was true though, even at the time it was printed. Maybe it was the most sold game during a specific year, but I’m not sure. Even so, if it was true that more copies of Silver were sold than Gold, it seems to indicate that people favored Lugia over Ho-oh at that time, even though the metal Gold is usually considered to be more valuable and thus better than Silver. The reason for Lugia’s popularity might be its design, but it seems to me that people were starting to prefer Pokémon that they were familiar with over those that were perceived to be new. Lugia had its movie, and although Ho-oh did appear in the first episode of Pokémon on TV, I know I never saw that episode until years later, so to many, it was completely new. The sentiment of preferring the familiar would drive some people who had previously liked Pokémon to dislike the newer Pokémon simply based on the fact that they were new and not of the original 151.

 

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As for me, I liked the shiny cartridges.

Pokémon Silver Version was good, but it was pretty much the same exact game as Gold. It was because I had already beaten Gold and Silver that I later found Pokémon Crystal to be not worth finishing until I finally did in 2014, but that’s a story for another time.

 

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Technically, I have still not played through the remake of Pokémon Silver that came out in 2010. I played Heart Gold but it was my brother who played Soul Silver. I’ll be sure to think of an excuse to play through Soul Silver one day.

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In Soul Silver, the HM background color is Silver! Not Gold! It’s Different!

I played Pokémon Silver again in the year 2014. I won’t tell you why, but you may be able to guess. Until the time is right, I’m leaving it as a sloppily kept secret. By the way, here’s a trailer for The Yellow Quest!

 

And here’s a link to the playlist

Thanks for reading!