Pokemon Crystal -- Preserving the Patched Version (Mobile Adapter)
First, allow me to introduce myself, since my only posts so far (aside from a quick jaunt in the arcade board) were inquiring about something in the for sale section months ago. My name is MasterFygar, and I'm a member of a small online group called the Pokemon Beta Alliance that is dedicated to preservation/discovery of elements in the earlier Pokemon titles that have been lost to time (specifically about games that were never released--a 3D RPG for the Nintendo 64 and a GameBoy Color game called Pokemon X that eventually became Pokemon Crystal). We've slowed in progress in our search for the beta versions of Gold and Silver (featuring Pokemon, items and locations that did not make it, and don't exist in the code of the final game), and now we're focusing on the Japanese version of Crystal, and the preservation of the 'fully patched' version.
I'm sure most Pokemon aficionados know this already, but the Japanese version of Pokemon Crystal could connect to Japanese mobile phones and allow battling, trading, and updates for the title... it was essentially the prototype of the system that was later implemented with the Global Trade Center in the DS titles, and was one of Nintendo's earliest forays into "network" gaming. Dialogue for certain characters was changed by these updates, and interesting side characters, such as a time-traveler named Chieko, who had interesting anecdotes for the player and would bring quizzes and minigames. This data was accessed by a device called the News Machine in the Pokemon Communication Center, the hub for connecting and interacting with the Mobile Adapter service.
The interesting thing to note is that these additional elements were apparently added by some form of patching: the data for Chieko, as well as the other minigames and events triggered by the Mobile Adapter service, does not exist in the retail ROM of the game. Because of this, and because of the suicide-save-battery in the GameBoy Color Pokemon titles (caused by the internal clock constantly draining the save-battery's energy), there is a bit of a predicament regarding this data. To access this information and data, a working save file is required... one that has interacted with the Mobile Adapter service and has taken advantage of the patches it offers.
Our current goal is to obtain a cartridge--or the data from a cartridge--with a working save state that has at least the infamous GS Ball update (the item that triggers the events that allow one to capture Celebi) of either April or May 2001; one with additional News Machine updates would be even better. ASSEMbler is known for obtaining and preserving rare and unusual games and versions of games, so we hoped we may be able to get some assistance from the members here. We have a rudimentary knowledge of Japanese and the only place we know of to look for such a cartridge is Yahoo Auctions Japan, where there is no good way of telling which cartridges have--or have not--interacted with the Mobile Adapter service. This step would not be necessary if a dump of a working save file with these patches has already been released but I have been unable to find anything of the sort thus far and don't think it's out there. Feel free to prove me wrong, we would be overjoyed about it. Any and all information, input and assistance is welcomed and appreciated. Thank you!
That's quite a request (I mean, it's really hard to accomplish) but good luck! :)
Pokemon crystal was and probably will always be my favorite of the franchise. Had no Idea the japanese version had more capabilities... Gotta start looking for a japanese copy... Does japanese gol/silver, or any other older pokemon games have extra stuff the american ones dont?
Crystal is, I believe, the only older game with region exclusive features. Pokemon Green (Japan Only) had a set of terrible sprites that weren't used in any of the American games and the Japanese versions had a lot of glitches that were ironed out before the game went westward, but nothing of substance was ever removed. The Mobile Adapter service wasn't available in international versions of Crystal for several reasons:
Originally Posted by Cyberghost
1. Cell phones, especially among children, were rarer here at that time and lacked many capabilities of Japanese phones.
2. In Japan there were only about three different types of data-ports on phones, so making a cord that fits is much simpler. American phones were much less universal.
3. Such a service would have been less feasible over the large service area of the USA (Japan has less area to cover).
Keep in mind if you do get a Japanese cartridge that the service was discontinued ten years ago and, unless the cart has downloaded the updates, having access to the building with the News Machine is entirely useless. That's why this is such a difficult task. However, I HAVE read that battling/trading via a service provider's server if it's done peer to peer (on Japanese phones only of course).
Doing peer to peer transfers is a bit hard then it might seem as there are three Mobile phone adapters for the Gameboy Color, the PDC version (blue) is for 2G phones, this was the most popular of the three and it is the only one I have seen second hand personally, however the PDC service is now obsolete and most have withdrawn their services (only NTT Docomo still have this service and this will be withdrawn in March 2012). There is a DDI version (Red) which still works on the Willcom phones (this ironically is a 2G phone) and lastly a CDMAone version (yellow) which is the only 3G one and it is still possible to get compatable phones that work on the CDMA 1x service.
Nintendo still have there mobile webpage up so you can use google translate to read it if anyone wishes too.
I do see tons of Crystal carts around, but I have no idea how to check if any of them have any features, is there a webpage or pictures that would be easier to check?
I'm a friend of MasterFygar's and I'd like to clarify a few things:
The key terms that are relevant here are 'ジーエスボール' (GS Ball) and 'ニュースマシン' (News Machine). Based on my experience with Yahoo Auctions, it seems that few sellers are offering a game cartridge with a working save file. Do you have a different experience? Which websites have you browsed? The best way to determine whether or not the cartridges are suitable is to contact the sellers, which I have recently done at Yahoo (only half of them have replied so far).
Originally Posted by Jamtex
In case anyone is wondering, the monthly News Machine update involved a mini-game and/or quiz, as well as a prize item for a successful playthrough. There were three months (April, May and August 2001) in which the prize was the GS Ball, and as described on this page, the process entailed a chain of events (the details of which depended on the month) that revolved around an event-exclusive character called Chieko (who is apparently Kurt's grandfather from the future). It is unclear whether or not the update was entirely text-based. The other 21 updates were probably of lesser magnitude, but according to text dumps from the latter half of 2002, some quizzes were hosted by familiar characters (Blue and Blaine). I'm guessing that the 2001 updates as a whole were more interesting than their 2002 counterparts.
Can anyone hypothesize if the updates to the save file were permanent (even if the text subsequently became inaccessible in-game)? Or is it more likely that each update was overwritten by its successor, meaning that we'd only be lucky to find the data for the last update?
Last edited by Silktree; 10-28-2011 at 05:10 AM.
I can pick up crystal cartridges in second hand shops for a few dollars or so each. The issue is trying to work out quickly if the cartridges have any content that would be deemed worthy. My Japanese skills are pretty poor (despite the time I have lived here), so if there was a quick way I could whack a cart into a GB and see if there is an new content then that would be useful.
There is a quick way to do just that - look for "モバイル" (Mobile) and "モバイルスタジアム" (Mobile Stadium) in the start-up menu. Any game with those modes (even just one, but they appear together) had to have been connected to the Mobile Adapter at some point, in which case it probably received at least one News Machine update.
I would also think that the News Machine would display the last news feed, but I can't be absolutely certain about that. In fact, if the machine displayed nothing unless the game was currently connected to the Nintendo server, that would mean the data was stored in the RAM, rendering our efforts futile. However, it is most likely that either the save file or ROM was patched, as even the pre-programmed text dump suggests that old news could be displayed. Still, if you find a game with a Mobile mode, you may want to check the News Machine before you buy it.
Last edited by Silktree; 10-27-2011 at 07:55 PM.
Good to see you here, Silktree! He's much more knowledgeable about this subject than I, so I'm glad he was able to clarify some things. Also, just since it wasn't mentioned, the News Machine is accessible in Goldenrod City in the building marked "PCC" (just a generic building in the American version). Thanks for your reply Jamtex, it would be absolutely wonderful if you could locate such a cartridge.
Last edited by MasterFygar; 10-28-2011 at 09:44 PM.
Has there been any success with this project as of late?