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Riding on the success of the Pokémon franchise, the release of the cleverly-titled Pokémon Trading Card Game attempted to transfer the trading card phenomenon to the Game Boy Color. The entire existing library (at the time) of Pokémon trading cards was translated into the game, where a player could build virtual decks and pit them against computer-controlled opponents. Pokémon Trading Card Game was released for the Game Boy Color on April 10, 2000 in North America, was published by Nintendo, and was developed by Hudson Soft.

Although released for Game Boy Color, the game could be played on a classic Game Boy or Game Boy Pocket.

A later sequel, whose name is roughly translated as Pokémon Card GB2: The Great Team Rocket is Here! , was released only in Japan on March 28, 2001, also for the Game Boy Color.


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Rather than being a straight card fighting game, Pokémon Trading Card Game translates the popular trading card gameplay into the style of the Pokémon role playing game franchise. The game retains many aspects from the previous video games, including "Club Masters," which are essentially the same as Gym Leaders, save for the fact that they can be challenged in any order. The "Grand Masters" (trading card game's " Elite Four") are challenged after beating all eight Club Masters, with a rival also challenging the player.

The major difference in gameplay is, obviously, the trading card aspect. Several card types can be chosen: Pokémon cards, which represent the creatures themselves, energy cards, which are used to power moves and abilities, and trainer cards, which represent items and trainer abilities (although there are other miscellaneous types). Pokémon cards are the main cards, and are on which energy and miscellaneous cards are equipped. Energy cards enable the Pokémon to attack (i.e. what type, damage). Trainer cards can do a variety of effects including reviving Pokémon or damaging an opposing Pokémon.

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Classic "Gotta Catch 'Em All" gameplay is intact, with players collecting over two hundred cards. Most of these cards previously existed in physical form, however some were created specifically for the game. It is possible to trade cards with non-playable characters, a key difference from the role playing games on which this game was based. Other options in the game include a link cable battle mode and the ability to print out cards using the Game Boy Printer.

Another key part of Pokémon Trading Card Game is its non-linearity when compared to the role playing games. The player can fight the eight Club Masters in any order, the only requirement is to have a deck of Pokémon cards (as there are no levels). The game does not penalize losing, but winning gives the player more cards to use (and thus, opening up new options).

Game Locations

  • Mason Laboratory
  • Rock Club
  • Lightning Club
  • Fighting Club
  • Psychic Club
  • Grass Club
  • Fire Club
  • Science Club
  • Water Club
  • Challenge Hall
  • Pokemon Dome

Differences from Physical Game

There are only a few ways in which the gameplay in this Game Boy Color version differed from the rules of the actual Pokemon trading card game.

  • The amount of prize cards each player paces is supposed to always be 6, but in the Game Boy Color version, the amount of prize cards is sometimes less than 6, depending on which opponent you're facing.
  • In this version, there is no penalty for not having a basic Pokemon in your starting hand. You are allowed to keep drawing a new hand over and over until you finally draw a basic Pokemon, and the opponent does not get to draw any cards from this.
  • In this version, the coin flip is not random and it is easily possible to cheat when flipping coins. When pressing the button to flip a coin, it is actually possible to choose the outcome if you get the timing right. Likewise, if you mash the button during successive coin flips, most of the coins will land the same way.

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