Does it really count as “Catching Them All?” – A Pokemon Problem

Those jerks at GameFreak only give you one Master Ball. Each Pokémon game contains several hard to catch Pokémon not to mention those Pokémon only available through special events. The entire point of the game is that you “gotta catch them all!” But with several Pokémon not obtainable by regular means how are we as trainers expected to catch them all?

Hack them.

Although I treat my Pokémon as they are my actual creature companions they are essentially just numbers. Without going too much into the coding aspect of video games, the individual Pokémon are series of numbers read by the game engine. Whenever you walk into a GameStop in order to receive an event Pokémon you are just adding numbers to your game.

Nintendo and GameFreak put on events that just add numbers to the game. If they can do it then why can’t we do it as well?

gamesharkThe hacking Pokémon controversy resurfaced last month since Reddit user Frocharocha discovered a vulnerability in Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby’s programming. This exploit takes advantage of the QR Code Reader that Nintendo implemented to make distributing event Pokémon more efficient.

Nintendo will probably patch this exploit in the near future but not after thousands of Pokémon are turned into codes and shared across the Internet.

Hacking Pokémon is not a new issue for the Japanese based company. Ever since the first version of the game, Pokémon Red and Blue, were released in 1996 people have been attempting to cheat. Everybody wants to have Mew. The only way to obtain the little pink legendary was to exploit a glitch in the game or purchase and use a Gameshark (1998) or an Action Replay (1997) device to hack the game.

With every new generation came more Pokémon that were difficult to obtain. People who missed the events that Nintendo held wanted a way to obtain the Pokémon. Some of the best ones such as Keldeo, Darkrai, and Arceus are event only. If you missed the event (which many people did) the only way to obtain them would be hacking or trading with those who have them.

There are several websites devoted to the distribution of hacked Pokémon and games. A lot of them charge real money to create the ones and zeros to enter into the games. Video game cheating is a million-dollar business and Pokémon plays its part. People pay several dollars just to have a shiny white fluff ball of an Eevee.

Nintendo and GameFreak attempts to keep Pokémon cheating to a minimum with small things they do. In Generation III (Ruby & Sapphire 2002) Mew and Deoxys were coded to disobey the player if obtained by hacking. Another method of DMA (dynamic memory allocation) was used in order to prevent cheating devices from obtaining necessary codes.

More recently in December of 2013 (February 2014 for North America) Nintendo released Pokémon Bank. Pokémon Bank was a cloud-based service that held up to 3000 Pokémon. More importantly it was the only way to transfer Pokémon from previous games to Generation VI games (X&Y). Nintendo proPokemon-Bank-Transporter-Compatibility-and-Supported-Games-in-2013grammed the software to reject hacked Pokémon that users attempted to transfer over. Overall, it was pretty successful.

However the longer a game is out the more time that hackers have to dig into the game. Eventually hackers were able to tear apart the coding of the game and find the numbers of three Pokémon that had not been released yet.

I admit that I have some hacked Pokémon in my complete Pokédex collection. I only hacked the event Pokémon that I could not go to myself. I do not have any competitive Pokémon that have been hacked.

The problem with hacking is that it takes a lot of the journey and skill out of the game. Competitive Pokémon trainers would much rather spend hours EV training then take the easier way out with a cheat code. But sometimes it’s easier to just have that level 100, perfect EV/IV, shiny, hidden ability and correct nature appear in the first slot of box 14.

UPDATE: This exploit has been patched on 3DS. The method can still work if you do not update to the newest version of the game. You will not be able to use online functions however until you update.

Written by Michael Lanoie

Michael is a handheld gamer kid who evolved into a console player, the best of both worlds. He attends Chapman University and hopes to achieve his Masters in Creative Writing.

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