You've probably played your fair share of Pokémon games. Heck, maybe you've played 'em all. But if you think the official games constitute a complete collection of the Pokémon experience, you're sadly mistaken. Lurking in the pocket monster fandom's deepest trenches is a treasure trove full of mystery and, more importantly, fan games. Specifically, ROM hacks. Lots of ROM hacks.
While some Pokémon fan games are horrifying and others are brilliant, all of them are completely unforgettable. Read on to find out about some games that take inspiration from one of the best franchises ever developed.
Pokémon Ash Gray
For people who loved the original Pokémon animated series, this fan-made ROM is perfect. Ash Gray allows you to play through the entire first season of the show's story. You can relive all your favorite moments firsthand as Ash Ketchum. From Ash's encounter with the Squirtle Squad to his resurrection by Pikachu's tears (from the first animated movie), all your favorite plot beats are included.
In the darkest corners of the Pokéverse, rumors existed of a fan-made ROM derived from both Pokémon Blue and Red. Its name was Pokémon Black, and it enabled the player to slaughter trainers with their very own homicidal Pokémon. Though its existence has never been proven, Pokémon Snakewood was created to substitute for the legend, featuring an apocalypse-riddled narrative, a unique disease-type line of Pokémon, and the ability to fight trainers to the death. In addition, Snakewood actually has a pretty solid sense of dark humor about the whole situation.
At first, you might wonder what makes Quartz so special - after all, the sprites aren't great and the translations leave a lot to be desired. But for all the superficial shortcomings present in Quartz, one thing sets it apart from the rest of the fan-made ROMs: every single Pokémon in the game is an original character. Not one Pikachu or Bulbasaur is to be found here - just OCs all the way to the finish line. It's an impressive love letter to a series that can inspire this level of creativity in its fandom.
Pokémon Fusion Generation
Curious as to what the lovechild of Charizard and Squirtle might look like? No? Well, this game still exists to satisfy someone else's curiosity about the subject. The premise is simple: imagine fighting the fusion of your favorite Pokémon with hybrid monsters of your own. Cool, right? Well, the good news is the game executes its core concept successfully, delivering on the promise of jovial, good-natured Pokémon DNA experimentation... until it's revealed at the end of the story that there's a basement full of failed fusion Pokémon begging to be put out of their misery.