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volume 1, issue 41

Today in loonygames:

New!! The Archives have been cleaned up, fead links fixed, and printable versions restored! Also, don't miss the new comments on the front page!

Livin' With The Sims: theAntiELVIS explores the wild and wacky world that is Will Wright's The Sims, asking the inevitable quesiton, "is The Sims the first step toward a virtual life where everyone is Swedish?"

Pixel Obscura: Josh Vasquez on Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

Real Life: Check out our newest comic strip, Real Life! Updated daily!

User Friendly: Updated daily!

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Game Boy for President: Nick F's love for the Game Boy.

Game Programming in the 21st Century: James Hague's look at the future of the industry, and how the GameBoy will affect it.

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Random Feature :

Put a Little Love in Your Pocket!: Trying to understand Pokemon? Our loony editor got to the bottom of the GameBoy phenomenon.

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Put a Little Love in Your Pocket!

By Jason "loonyboi" Bergman


But it gets better. See, there are two different versions of the Pokemon game cartridge, the Red and Blue versions. And there are some pokemon that are cartridge-specific. So if you want to capture all the pokemon out there, you're going to have to buy both cartridges and transfer them across to each other. Or at least hope your friend manages to catch them for you. And a surprisingly large number of people out there are buying up both versions of the cartridge (and I've heard stories of people with two GameBoy systems just so they can transfer the files to themselves).

Three screenshots from Pokemon Pinball.

But wait, there's more. Few games in the history of the industry have ever caused such a cultural phenomenon as Pokemon has. In addition to the Pokemon GameBoy game, there's also the Pokemon television show, which is the #1 rated kids show in syndication. There are Pokemon DVDs, home videos, action figures, t-shirts, a best-selling card game from Magic: The Gathering makers Wizards of the Coast, and more. All of this adds up to one major franchise.

Nintendo is going out of their way to make sure that the Pokemon craze doesn't die off anytime soon. This month they're going to release Pokemon Pinball for the GameBoy Color, which has the distinction of being the first GameBoy cartridge to incorporate a rumble pack. You read that right, a rumble pack. When the pinball machine shakes in Pokemon Pinball, the entire system shakes. Pretty cool stuff. Also coming soon is Pokemon Yellow, a special Color GameBoy edition. While there isn't anything really new in Pokemon Yellow, it does add more Pokemon to the giant list, and therefore all those pokenuts are going to run out and get it. The real draw to it, is the fact that unlike the previous two Pokemon games, this one has been made specifically to be played in color. If you popped Pokemon Blue or Red into a Color GameBoy previously, everything was in the shade of the cartridge (blue for the blue cartridge, and red for the red one, naturally). That's all fine and good, but it does get irritating after a while.

Three screenshots from Pokemon Yellow.

While Pokemon is directly responsible for the resurgence in GameBoy's popularity, there are other factors that have kept it alive for so long. While the system has had some lulls in software releases, there's no question that there's a huge library of titles out there. Someone buying a system today can pick up games from the last 10 years, many of which are very affordable.

Another interesting wrinkle in the GameBoy history, is the Super GameBoy cartridge for the Super Nintendo (SNES) system. The Super GameBoy is a little device that's basically a SNES cartridge with a slot in it for a GameBoy game. It's a cool little thing that allows you to play any one of the many GameBoy titles (except for the Color GameBoy exclusive titles) on your SNES. Which means you can play them on that big ol' TV of yours. It's definitely a novelty, but as novelties go, it's one of the longer lasting ones. The concept of being able to play a game of Zelda at home, and then stick it in your pocket and continue the exact same game is just too cool for words.


(Continued on next page)


Credits: Illustration © 1999 Michael Krahulik. This article is © 1999 Jason Bergman. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited, so don't try it, or I'll sick my Pikachu on your ass.