Given the swiftness and strength with which Nintendo’s legal team reacts to fan games, we have to assume this one is already on borrowed time.
In its nearly 20 years of providing fun times and happy memories to fans, the Pokémon franchise has stirred the heart of a lot of creative people. Artists, craftsmen, an even chefs have all saluted the series in ways beautiful and delicious.
It’s also no surprise that many aspiring game developers take inspiration from the consistently high-quality Pokémon video games, with some especially dedicated individuals even crafting their own fan games based on Nintendo’s characters, aesthetics, and play mechanics. The latest such endeavor is called Pokémon Prism, which comes from many of the same people behind previous fan game Pokémon Brown.
▼ The preview video for Pokémon Prism (blurriness subsides after about 30 seconds)
Based on Pokémon Gold, Nintendo’s 1999 follow-up to the original Pokémon games, Pokémon Prism has charmingly retro Game Boy Color-style graphics. The video also boasts that the game runs at a steady 60 frames per second, although it’s debatable how important frame rate is to the Pokémon gameplay experience.
The game takes place in a new setting, the Naljo region, where the player can catch over 200 different species of Pocket Monsters. Cool features include the ability to customize your character’s clothing, hairstyle, and color palette, but the most exciting is the ability to play sections of the game not as a human Trainer, but as one of the Pokémon you’ve caught!
The Pokémon Prism team says this labor of love took eight years to finish. However, the game isn’t likely to survive anywhere nearly as long, what with Nintendo’s policy of issuing cease and desist notices to developers of fan games that use the company’s intellectual properties. Granted, the Pokémon Prism video opens with a request for fans to support Nintendo’s official releases, but that’s likely to be as effective as saying “Pretty please” in securing the company’s consent.
▼ Sorry, Pikachu, but even if you close one eye, Nintendo’s legal department can still see you.
Pokémon Prism managed to make its debut on Twitch Plays last weekend, so it didn’t completely die on the vine. Still, the video’s announcement that the game will be available for download in December seems like a courageously optimistic, if not foolhardy, promise, given how quickly Nintendo usually moves in situations like this.