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Pokémon Vietnamese Crystal
Pocket Monsters: Crystal Version is a bootlegged cartridge of the Japanese version of Pokémon Crystal Version for the Game Boy Color. The publishers of this counterfeit title as well as its exact release date are both unknown, but it most likely went into circulation around 2001 as the Japanese release of the official game was December 14, 2000. Since its rise to popularity on the internet, it has become better known as Pokémon Vietnamese Crystal due to the cirulation of the cartridges in Vietnam.
What makes this game so popular compared to other Pokémon bootlegs is its translation. As mentioned before, this game is a pirate of the Japanese Pocket Monsters: Crystal Version, but it was not marketed towards Japanese audiences; it was translated to English - and rather poorly, one might add.
What likely happened with this game was that it was translated from its original Japanese script (NPC texts, Pokédex entries, Pokémon, item, and move names, any text in the game that is not part of the graphics) to Chinese by one of the bootleggers, who were most likely natives of China, Taiwan, or another Chinese-speaking nation, and then translated from Chinese to English by another member of the bootlegging team, as there were likely very few people available where they lived who knew Japanese, Chinese and English.
Because of being translated twice, and with nothing near the accuracy of Game Freak's official translation team, the script in many cases makes little to no sense compared to what the official versions of the game say. Romanizations of Chinese transliterations of Japanese names can be found among the translated text, certain words are mispelled (such as Lmaonade) and all letter characters are upper-case. On a side note, the translation created numerous bugs in the game, such as being near impossible to enter the Bug-Catching Contest without the game crashing, soft resetting, or freezing without recovery. The use of certain moves will also crash the game.
“GO TO THE ELF’S WORLD/WELCOME! EVERYONE CALL ME ELF MONSTER/ELFS, HERE ARE CALLED MONSTER/THEY EXISTED EVERYWHERE/……../THEY PLAY FRIENDLY/HELP EACH OTHER/LIVE WITH PEOPLE/BUT WE DON’T UNDERSTAND THEM ENTIRELY/THERE ARE MANY SECRETS INSIDE TO KNOW THESE RIDDLES/I DO A INVESTIGATION FOR EVERYDAY
PLEASE TELL ME WHAT IS YOUR NAME
>player inputs name<
>name<! DO YOU GET READY? YOUR STORY WILL START FROM NOW AT ONCE/FOR THE FUTURE YOU WILL MEET MANY TRIALS AND HARDSHIPS, BITTER AND SWEET/TO EXPLORE THE DREAMS/LET’S GO TO THE MONSTER’S WORLD/START/SEE YOU LATER
-- Professor Oak's Welcome to the World of Pokémon! speech
I AM VERY DISGUSTED WITH THE TRASHY MAN. IN SPITE OF THE MONSTER, AND THE COACH, ONLY TRASHY, I WILL BEAT DOWN THEM ALL. FOR THIS I MUST STRENGTHEN MYSELF. THE MONSTER IS THE SAME TOO. COLLECT ALL THE TRASHY, RIGHTEOUS FELLOW ALL ARE UNPARDONABLE! YOU DON'T AFFECT ME. THE TRASHY STROLLING IS AN EYESORE! (Silver)
>Pokémon name< HAVE A PILLORY (Text displayed when Pokémon is sent back to Poké Ball)
Although the game came into being around 2001, it did not become popular for years. It's first appearance on the internet was on a YouTube video uploaded by user Jizg on November 9th, 2006, titled "Pirated Pokemon Crystal," that shows a brief five-minute playthrough of the game. The video has gained just short of 50,000 views to date, which is not that much taking into account that it has been on YouTube for over eight years at the time of this article's publication. Jizg did, however, lead to another event that caused the hacked game to skyrocket in popularity.
On March 8, 2011, DeliciousCinnamon uploaded the first episode of a Let's Play series of Vietnamese Crystal that has gained over 890,000 views at the time of this publication. This video popularized the bootleg game and is responsible for it reaching status as a meme. Jizg helped spread the ROM file of the game by giving it to user WarlordShinkouhyou, who in turn offered it to viewers of DeliciousCinnamon's video in the video's comments section.
“I have this rom, I am willing to give anyone who messages me the link to it, since apparently you can't post links in comments. also, thumbs-up this comment so it doesn't get lost!”
“@WarlordShinkouhyou Or the video owner could reply and bring it up there too :P I gave it to him personally, so it is indeed the same ROM.”
After DeliciousCinnamon's video, talk of the pirated video game spread throughout the various corners of the internet. Catchphrases derived from the game such as VOLCANO BAKEMEAT, TRASHY, and GO TO THE ELF'S WORLD became popular, and image macros and fanart were made centered around this terrible translation. Even today, Pokémon Vietnamese Crystal still remains one of the most popular memes in the Pokémon fandom.
This was the second article of Gotta Meme 'em All, a column whose purpose is to provide in-depth explanations on the origins and spread of various Pokémon memes. If you have any suggestions as to what future articles should feature, as well as any general questions, comments, and criticism, the author can be contacted here.