Format reviewed: Game Boy Color
Submitted by: Richard Moore
In an ironic twist, the card game spawned by a videogame got its own videogame. The Pokemon Trading Card Game (TCG) was a massive phenomenon while Pokemon was at the height of its popularity. Cards were being swapped like crazy across school playgrounds everywhere and those with the most 'shinies' (rare holographic cards) were looked up to in awe by the other kids. Owning a Charizard made you instantly popular for example. I was one of those kids swept up in the craze and no, I never did get a Charizard much to my dismay.
This was just scratching the surface though; the real collectors who actually played the game attended tournaments to show off their (probably nerdy and unhealthy) skills. While the craze was mainly associated with youngsters who hadn’t yet discovered girls, there was a deep strategy to the actual game that even earnt it praise from figures in education for helping to stimulate young minds. Naturally, it was a perfect fit for a handheld console and so Pokemon Trading Card Game was released on the Gameboy Colour. Featuring all the cards from the first three expansions as well as accurate rules of play, PTCG was a dream come true for fans, not least because it allowed collectors to play the game without damaging their precious cards.
In a genius move, the game cleverly mirrored the actual Pokemon games in terms of appearance. Instead of exploring a huge world, the player could select from different gyms on the map. Inside each gym, there were many other people to play against and defeat before challenging the gym leader (sound familiar?). There was even an Elite Four of card players that could be faced once all the gyms were cleared. Of course, it wouldn’t be Pokemon if there wasn’t any collecting involved and as you might have guessed, it’s a complete collection of cards that you aim for in PTCG.
A great game overall that offers a perfect reconstruction of the card game for fans and also isn’t too stingy with the Charizard’s.