During the February 2023 Nintendo Direct, it was revealed that Pokemon Trading Card Game would be coming to Nintendo Switch Online’s newly announced Game Boy library. Since the Switch is the best-selling Nintendo console of all time, new eyes on the classic Pokemon TCG adaptation might inspire a revival for the subseries.
The Pokemon TCG launched an online version of the official game in 2011, but it bore little resemblance to the original Game Boy game. Even with the release of its successor Pokemon TCG Live in 2022, the Game Boy’s Pokemon Trading Card Game still offers something completely original, reminiscent of the original series if it were based on the rules of the card game. Players can traverse the world in order to defeat club masters, collect badges and cards, and ultimately become the champion. While the world is on a smaller scale – contained to points on a map with instant travel – and the story has less content than the main series, this Game Boy title and its 2001 sequel have the bones for an excellent remake or revival.
The Game Boy Pokemon TCG Deserves a Remake
Game Freak has made a number of fantastic spin-offs and seemingly forgotten about them, but the Pokemon TCG is an untapped goldmine of potential. With the online space making competitive play more popular than ever, an audience is already there. It would be easy to make an adventure-focused game similar to the Game Boy version, but add in features of the current online TCG experience. Players could upload their decks, trade cards, and battle in a virtual arena, but also have a story mode to play like in the original.
With the success of mobile games like Pokemon GO and Pokemon Masters EX, there’s no reason why an updated version of the Game Boy Pokemon TCG shouldn’t exist. Between a story mode, co-op battles, and collectibles, it really seems like a Pokemon TCG remake would garner fresh interest in the already popular card game, as Pokemon GO did for main series titles. Virtual adaptations are an excellent way to teach new TCG players the rules, and additional gameplay modes can only add to the fun.
Pokémon TCG Live Needs More
While Pokemon TCG Live has made some improvements over Pokemon TCG Online, many cards and features were left out – including the odd decision to remove card trading. Pokemon TCG Live is also one of many recent spin-off games to ignore Pokemon‘s signature art style, which makes it feel somewhat unfitting in contrast to the art on the cards themselves. The Game Boy Pokemon TCG gets this right by staying similar to the main series games in terms of graphics and music. While reusing some assets from previous games might have been a financial decision, the result is an experience that feels like Pokemon at the end of the day.
The Pokemon TCG needs a complete experience that expands upon what made the Game Boy games special. With decades of technological improvements, there is an incredible amount of untapped potential, and one could look at Pokemon Masters EX‘s ongoing story for inspiration on a revival. Players could make their own character and travel to a tournament in the Pokemon world, where they have to battle, collect cards, and make friends along the way. Even the mobile aspect would be perfect for collecting, trading, and battling with other players. With new players coming to the original Pokemon Trading Card Game after it hits Switch Online, Game Freak should really capitalize on this potential.
Pokemon Trading Card Game is available for the Game Boy, Nintendo 3DS, and will be released via Nintendo Switch Online soon.
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