It's been a hot minute! Once again we continue our journey to save 'em all. We're hoovering up all the unique pokémon in the main series games going all the way back to Pokémon Sapphire. Here's the introduction to the series, clearing out Fire RedPokémon Colosseum and 'most recently' Pokémon XD Gale of Darkness.

Whenever a new pokémon game comes out these days, there's always an incredibly boring contingent of the community that complains about change. More often than not, such whingers are unhappy about how the game has been made easier or doesn't live up to the standard of [insert that person's first and formative pokémon game]. Having had to spend a lot of time in Pokémon Sapphire trying to 'ribbon up' a motley crew of special pokémon from in game trades and purified pokémon I can emphatically state that previous games were such. a. slog. It was easy to run out of money. Effort value (EV) training was painstaking and even with items and a strategy, levelling up pokémon required quite a commitment. 

As a consequence, OLBH, has significantly slowed in its tracks now I am on Pokémon Sapphire so it's time for FILLER CONTENT. 

The reason why there's not been an update on this series for a while is because in order to start collecting the sapphire ribbons, I needed a decent team to carry these losers through the brutal battle tower and the Elite Four. Having fairly exhaustively cleaned out sapphire, first time around I needed to put together a team, EV train them and level them up to 50 for the level 50 battle tower. I decided to sell out and go for third generation heavy hitters metagross and salamence but boy catching them, EV training them and levelling them up to 50 has taken me several hours of, let's face it, not fun playing. Running up and down the same few routes battling the same pokémon over and over and over again. It's hard to keep motivated at the best of times, harder still when Pokémon Shield, Pokémon Legends Arceus and at this point, even Pokémon Brilliant Diamond are sat *just there*. 

When the third generation of the pokémon games came out, they went all in on inter-game connectivity it seems as well as relaunching the series on the GBA. Not only did you need a small fortune to buy the games alone, the hardware and connecting cables, the time needed to play through them all was quite a big ask. Although DLC is taken for granted as a part and parcel of video gaming today, it was quite novel (and frustrating) back then to be expected to buy a whole other £50 game just for the prospect* of getting an otherwise unavailable or rare pokémon. In addition to 'proper' games like Coloseum and XD there were a handful of pokémon available from side games and some extra content available in the games themselves when connected to the GBA games. Let's check them out.  

Pokémon Dash

This screen-breaking oddity for the Nintendo DS didn't give you any pokémon for the main games, however, taking advantage of the DS cart and cartridge slots, if you had one of the GBA games plugged in you could play courses shaped like pokémon on your current team and the course would be different depending on the level of the pokémon. Sadly I didn't play dash so I've not experienced this myself and from a quick search online it seems there weren't enough diehards for dash to show what these levels looked like.  

Pokémon Channel

One of my favourite pokémon games and the only reason I played it initially was to get access to mythical pokémon Jirachi. Unlocking Jirachi to transfer Pokémon Sapphire and Pokémon Ruby was no small feat. You had to convince an ADHD pikachu to watch the entirety of the short film The Pichu Bros. in Party Panic, which had to be unlocked by ummm watching virtual TV with a pikachu. Unlocking the film was easier than trying to 'convince' pikachu to watch it all in one go without changing the channel. Doing so however, nets you with a Jirachi with the OT Channel and ID No. 40122. You can see from my HOME screenshot, I then put it in a box and never touched it. Interestingly, this Jirachi was distributed through the preorder bonus, Pokémon Colosseum Bonus Disc in Japan and wasn't available through Channel as it was in the EU and Australia. I don't think it was available at all in the USA.   

Pokémon Box: Ruby & Sapphire

Another one that was less available in some regions, is 'pokémon organising' software Pokémon Box: Ruby & Sapphire. In the states it was only available at the New York Pokémon Center, whereas in Europe it was bundled with the special Pokémon Colosseum Mega Pak which included Colosseum, a memory card and GBA link cable and black GameCube and controller. Pokémon Box: Ruby & Sapphire is the grandaddy to storage software 'games': My Pokémon Ranch, Pokémon Bank and later Pokémon HOME. It was the first game to feature fan favourite Brigette, sister of Lanette, who returned as the 'host' of Pokémon Bank There wasn't a huge amount to 'do' in Box beyond transfer pokémon in and out of it but it did allow you to play Pokémon Sapphire and Pokémon Ruby on the big screen with the relevant game in a GBA connected via the link cable. There were four gift eggs available for playing the game for the first time and depositing 100, 500 and 1499 pokémon into the game. Given the clunkiness of the GBA games and the faff of setting up the connecting cable getting the last two gifts was, in itself quite a feat. The eggs have to be hatched in one of the GBA games so have your trainer OT and ID. 

When you start up the game, you are gifted a swablu that knows the exclusive move false swipe. For depositing 100 pokémon you receive a zigzagoon with the exclusive at the time move Extreme Speed. Zigzagoon can now learn this as an egg move. After depositing 500 eggs you get a special skitty which knows Pay Day and at 1499 you get a pichu egg with the 'exclusive' move surf. That last one is somewhat less exclusive these days as a number of surfing pikachu have been made available over the years. Although I am fairly sure I got the swablu, zigzagoon and skitty at the time, I'm not sure I put in the effort for the pichu, they're not currently in HOME, however, meaning they could currently be trapped in another game or more likely My Pokémon Ranch. 

So that's it for my third generation pokémon side game filler post. At some point I'll have a go at locating those box transfer pokémon and possibly, possibly, chase that 1499 pichu down if I didn't get it first time around. In the meantime wish me luck with Pokémon Sapphire contests and battle tower ribbons on the loser squad until then. Depending on if I make progress this decade, I might do an interim post to extensively whinge about how the best time to do this challenge was back when my copy of Pokémon Sapphire had a working battery, I hadn't transferred all the items away, I had in-game cash, I had a decent team to help carry and I had hours more free time. 

Until then, catch you later. 

*Of course, they're games in their own right but let's conveniently skip over this to make the point.  


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