Weirdest Pokemon Bootlegs

The world of Pokemon is a bright, colorful place full of unusual animals based on Japanese folklore and zoology. If you're anything like the average gamer, you've spent hundreds of hours wandering through the wilderness, looking for Pocket Monsters to fight, capture (more like abduct), and train to fight for you. It's a vicious cycle, and that underlying weirdness has given rise to some of the strangest, creepiest video game bootlegs and mods of any series out there. After seeing these unsettling Pokemon bootlegs, we're not sure if you'll want to catch 'em all.


Pokemon Black

The bizarre rumor of Pokemon Black (not the 2011 Nintendo DS game) popped up around 2005 when someone supposedly found an all-black Game Boy cart at a flea market, according to a story on Tiny Cartridge. The game gave you the option to start out with your standard Pokemon. The big change is that you can start out with Ghost, a Pokemon that can do only one thing: instantly terrify other Pokemon and trainers to death, leaving a trail of gravestones in its wake. Normally, your opponents would just get their Pokemon knocked out and everyone lives to fight another day, but not when Ghost is ripping out their souls. Finally, at the end of the game, your trusty Ghost turns on you, and you too are dragged into the cold, cold ground.


As with most online horror stories/creepypastas, Pokemon Black probably wasn't a legit cart, but the weird Internet story inspired multiple modders to bring the game to life in ROM form. Download it if you'd like a sleepless night or two, pondering the ethics of being a Pokemon trainer. Just watch out for those Ghost-types.

Hypno's Lullaby

A mod that arose from a creepypasta poem, Hypno's Lullaby is all about the titular hypnotic Pokemon and his secret penchant for kidnapping small children and bringing them to his cave in Berry Forest. One could argue that every single Pokemon deserves a bit of revenge for how they're treated by their trainers, so Hypno's Lullaby is Pokemon revenge at its worst.


Made of sprites from Pokemon FireRed, your hero really has no option but to grab a starter Pokemon and wander into the woods, where he's immediately captured by Hypno and trapped in a cave with other zonked-out kids. As you work your way out of the cave, you have no choice but to order your Pokemon to kill Hypno's juvenile slaves, who block every exit. Then, you work your way through a tower full of unbeatable ghosts and the spirits of the children you've killed. Eventually, Hypno throws one last barrage of children at you before trapping you in a room where he eats your dreams for all eternity. This is why Hypno is our least favorite Psychic-type Pokemon.

Pokemon Snakewood

Pokemon Ruby is a popular entry of the series to mod, and Pokemon Snakewood is just one strange example of the results. Snakewood crosses Pokemon with The Walking Dead and presents a game in a post-apocalyptic setting populated by zombies and demons, where even the Pokemon have adorably creepy names like Poliwraith and Headoom.


In true Walking Dead style, your hero wakes up in a destroyed town, encounters a local being attacked by zombies, and finds a safe zone. As you play, you eventually battle the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which is a great indicator of just how far a departure this is from the standard Pokemon fare, where your worst opponent is just some other rich kid who likes forcing animals to fight one another. It's a surprisingly robust story for an unofficial game. Snakewood proves that Pokemon has its fair share of weird—and inventive—fans.

Pokemon Quartz

Do you love the concept of Pokemon but hate all of those corporate, Nintendo-approved monsters? Well, Pokemon Quartz is the game for you. Dedicated Pokemon bootleggers modded a copy of Ruby and replaced all of the official Pokemon sprites with their own malformed creations. While these Pocket Monsters' names and appearances have changed, their powers and stats remain intact. Why have the Bulbasaurs and Charmanders been replaced with Squirritis and Seeggs? Our best scientists are still working on an answer.


Quartz was criticized for being relatively amateurish and incomplete, but the visual overhaul of so many lovable and popular Pokemon is just so weirdly obsessive (and pointless) that it can't be ignored.

Pokemon Sweet

Time for some palate cleansing. Modded from FireRed, Pokemon Sweet reimagines the entire world of Pokemon as a surreal, Candy Kingdom-like place. Here, everything is made of desserts and delicious danger lurks around every corner. Because just walking around cotton candy fields isn't enough, your favorite Pokemon, now called Pokesweets, are now named after snacks. Bulbasaur turns into Brownisaur and gets a dollop of whipped cream and a cherry. Popsichu has a giant wooden stick shoved into its head. Pokemon types are now flavors instead, and you basically just ruined your dinner. The deadliest attack in the game? Diabetes.


Moemon Emerald / FireRed

For all those who wanted the Pokemon experience to be weirder, Moemon is for you. It replaces all of those totally unattractive monsters with sprites of cosplay girls dressed up as Pokemon instead, raising even more ethical questions than the original.


Because pitting animals in deathmatches against one another isn't horrifying enough, you now send costumed girls into the arena to fight one another until one finally passes out from the pain. Instead of building your Pokemon collection, you slowly grow a violent little harem.

Pokemon AshGray

True Pokenerds know the differences between the original Pokemon games and the anime/manga of the same name. AshGray inventively tweaks the original game's script and missions to actually follow the events of the offshoot media, including many episode-specific events, from giving donuts to Primeapes to leaving Pikachu to live with other Pikachu in the forest. The result is a bevy of Easter eggs for devotees of the Pokemon universe, who may have found the original games lacking after seeing the more colorful anime.


Pokemon Advanced Adventure

As far as narrative structure goes, the Pokemon anime/manga series is pretty flimsy. Ash doesn't have any real motivation to be the best Pokemon trainer in the world, aside from the fact that it's something to do in a world without standardized education or non-Pokemon-based employment opportunities. Pokemon Advanced Adventure flips the script and rewrites Ash as a kid struggling against poverty, genetically modified Pokemon, and Professor Oak's insane, tyrannical grandson whose only purpose is to train Pokemon to kill. Finally, Ash is written as an actual hero, and not just some animal hoarder with dozens of neglected pets.


Pokemon Vietnamese Crystal

While most of these games are intentionally strange, there are also a few examples that are amazing by accident, like Pokemon Vietnamese Crystal. Fake Pokemon carts are a huge business, and Kotaku reports that this was a genuine bootleg (made from—you guessed it—Pokemon Crystal) that circulated in Vietnam before it was poorly translated into English. As a result, the game's text is hilarious: it regularly drops F-bombs, calls Pokemon "elves," and barely attempts to make sense.


Since it's just an improperly translated Pokemon game without any big changes, it plays just fine, if you can make the right text selections through the garbled menus and stop laughing about phrases like "volcano bakemeat," which sounds exactly like something Guy Fieri would serve.

2003 Pocket Monster Carbuncle

Unlike most Pokemon bootlegs, which take existing code and scribbles all over it, 2003 Pocket Monster Carbuncle actually attempts some originality, according to a GeekParty review. The resulting game plays a bit like like Dragon Warrior, but also reduces the number of Pokemon to a scant 20, tossing biodiversity out the window.


The word "carbuncle" usually refers to a cluster of boils, it's also an obscure word for a red gemstone, which fits in with Pokemon's recurring title theme (like Ruby, Crystal, etc). Unfortunately, 2003 Pocket Monster Carbuncle is a garbage game, and it doesn't play like Pokemon in any sense whatsoever, but points for trying something new, unknown foreign plagiarizers!

Pocket Monsters GO! GO!

Now, we're going into the realm of the truly terrible. For no reason whatsoever, other than to dupe unsuspecting Pokemon fans, some horrible soul switched out sprites from The Smurfs' Nightmare for Game Boy Color, made it run at half speed, and pretended it was a Pokemon game. Even the most lonely fanfic writers never asked for a Smurfs/Pokemon crossover, but anything is possible when you have no friends.


Starting off your adventure, a talking Meowth head tells you, "You are here so I very fear. There is some hate that will not go away." Then, you send your morbidly obese Pikachu through some kind of Satan Town with flickering, seizure-inducing backgrounds. Hopefully, if you're one of the unfortunate owners of this craptastic bootleg, you can quickly pull the cart out of your Game Boy and throw it across the room before it's too late.

Pokemon Stadium: Super Nintendo Edition

Despite Pokemon's relentless popularity, there was never an official game made for the original Nintendo Entertainment System or the Super Nintendo. In fact, the first major Pokemon game for consoles was the Nintendo 64's Pokemon Stadium, so it makes little sense to bootleg an N64 cartridge to a much-older gaming system. The SNES was too outdated by this time to make the bootleg economically viable. It's like trying to sell a fake dial-up modem; even if it was real, no one needs one.


Much like the real Pokemon Stadium, the SNES bootleg is a turn-based fighter, but with a limited roster of twelve Pokemon. They all have incorrect names: Diglett is Dagut, Mewtwo is Mu, and Jigglypuff is Pulin. It's a fully functional game, unlike most bootlegs, but it's a step in the wrong direction.

Pokemon 4-in-1

Pokemon 4-in-1 is an attempt at being one of those crappy anthology titles that crams four minigames onto a single cart. This calls back to similar cartridges sold for the NES long before Pokemon's popularity began, which makes it weird that Pokemon 4-in-1 was done in such a manner.


There's Picaclick, where you click on groups of matching symbols; Picadance, where you tap on Pokeballs along to a song; Picaslot, which is a slot machine for amateur gamblers; and...Pacman, which is Pac-Man, but starring a disembodied Pikachu head. Every single aspect of this bootleg is a waste of money and time, but since it's bizarre and obscure, collectors would sell one of their kidneys to get their hands on one.