Game Freak

Pulseman [MD GEN – Beta]

Pulseman is a side-scrolling action platform game developed by Game Freak and published by Sega for the Mega Drive / Genesis in 1994. The game was released in cartridge format only in Japan, with the North American version being released via the Sega Channel as an “exclusive”. When first announced, Pulseman was originally named Spark.

Derboo found a screen of the beta Spark  from the Korean gaming magazine, Game World #5 (1994). The on-screen display changed, and the screenshot shows a boss from the game with a slightly different sprite in a totally different situation.

The palette is also different, but the article also shows artworks with the characters colored just like in the final game, so it was probably just the prototype palette for the underwater effect.

Thanks to derboo for the contribution!


Final Version:


Pokemon Red / Blue (Capsule Monsters) [GB – Beta / Concept]

Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue (Pokèmon Green in Japan) are the first installments of the Pocket Monsters series of RPG developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy 1996. The Pokemon project originally started in 1990 and was internally know as “Capsule Monsters”, as found out by Celebi23 in his researches on the development of the saga.

The name “Capsule Monsters” is inspired by Japanese gashapon machines. Apparently, Tajiri had trouble trademarking the name “Capsule Monsters” so he changed it first to “CapuMon” and then later “Pocket Monsters”.

It looks like development started in the Fall of 1990 & was scheduled to be released in December of 1991. From what I can tell, there was not enough funds to continue development so, “Capsule Monsters” was put on hold in early 1992. About 80% of the music was already finished. They then developed “Yoshi” for the NES & the GameBoy.

The surprising success of that game helped to give GameFreak the resources that it needed. In 1993, it was put to an internal vote as to whether Game Freak should complete the Pokémon games (then still called Capsule Monsters). 80% were for finishing development. In the summer of 1994, “Pocket Monsters” resumed development. While development has started once more, numerous interruptions (all money related) kept popping up. And as such, they developed many other games while still working on Red/Green.

You can find more info on Celebi23’s researches on his website!

Tajiri was also influenced by Square’s Game Boy game The Final Fantasy Legend, noting in an interview that the game gave him the idea that more than just action games could be developed for the handheld.


In Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow it’s possible to discover a mysterious truck in the north-east of the Anne S.s. ship anchored at the port of  Vermillion City. This van is technically unattainable, located at a point of the game where it is visited only through GameShark or external programs.

In reality however there is a way for reaching it with an in-game glitch, that is to lose a fight (and so do a “game over”) and then Start over to another location. That truck was probably designed for some reason, but ultimately was not used in the final game.

The van is present in the original Gameboy version and also in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen for the Game Boy Advance. Since it is still unused and unreachable (this time it cant be reached without a GameShark) is thought to be a reference and homage to the original one.

Thanks to Enricothedark for the contribution!

What exactly is MissingNo?

Missingno. is the Glitch Pokémon that appears after viewing the Old Man’s tutorial in Viridian City on how to catch Pokémon, then immediately Flying to Cinnabar Island and Surfing along the right hand side of the island until one is encountered, without visiting any other areas.

Whenever the game “sets up” the planned battle against the Old Man’s Weedle, it needs to change the player’s character name to “OLD MAN” so that it will display “OLD MAN” instead of the name the player has entered.

The programmers decided to use the area of data where wild Pokémon information is as a temporary storage area for the player’s name, due to the lack of memory on a Game Boy. Normally this wouldn’t cause any abnormal activity, as the correct data for the wild Pokémon available is written to this area in memory whenever the player travels to an area where it is possible to catch wild Pokémon, such as walking in tall grass or using a fishing rod.

Along Cinnabar Island’s coast, however, there is no data indicating which wild Pokémon are catchable, and the same is true for both Viridian City and Cinnabar Island itself, at least by movement in long grass. The game uses whatever data was already in the corresponding area of data when determining which wild Pokémon encountered and their levels—now the player’s name. Normally this space in memory would hold the data of the last area visited where wild Pokémon were catchable in grass and their level data (this same glitch allows players to exit the Safari Zone and Fly immediately to Cinnabar Island to be able to catch and fight Safari Zone Pokémon in the same way as they would in other areas, as Fuchsia City also has no wild Pokémon data for long grass), however, since in both Viridian City and Cinnabar Island the data is empty for Pokémon obtainable in the grass, the active data is never overwritten, leading to Missingno.’s. availability, among other things.

The name of the player has six hexadecimal values in it. The game needs only three “slots” of wild Pokémon data to store this.

The wild Pokémon the player encounters along the coast are determined by the third, fifth, and seventh characters of the player’s name, while the levels are determined by the second, fourth, and sixth characters, respectively. By knowing which letters and symbols match which species and levels, through use of certain calculators and charts, it is possible to set the player name at the start of the game so as to find specific Pokémon at specific levels.

Also, Coolboyman found a beta song in Pokemon Red! You can listen to it in the video below



Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire: more beta infos

If you search in the codes of Ruby & Sapphire, you can find music from Generation 2 (Gold, Silver, Crystal). Known pieces include:

  • BGM from Route 38 & 39
  • BGM from Pokemon Communication Center
  • BGM from Generation 2 Saffron City
  • BGM from Crystal’s legendary beasts battles
  • Team Rocket’s Theme

Is unknown why these music tracks were put in it. Maybe it was for being able to go to Johto or even Kanto, or just stand-ins.

There was also two beta Pokemons: Shellos & Gastrodon. If you’ve played Pokemon Diamond/Pearl you sure know which these are, and they were actually going to be included in Ruby & Sapphire. Shellos & Gastrodon though were not supposed to look like they did in Diamond/Pearl. This how they were going to look like:


Shellos‘s beta back sprite


Gastrodon‘s beta back sprite

For more infos: Bulbapedia 

Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire [GBA – Beta / Unused Sprite]


Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire are the third installments of the Pocket Monsters series of RPG, developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance in 2002 / 2003. In the early screenshots we can see various beta differences:

  • Wynaut is green instead of blue Shroomish has a different sprite

  • more evil looking Sharpedo and different HP font hmm weird tornado

  • female sign should be red

  • different layout of trees different fisher bottom

  • the mart has a red roof and the sign should say mart

  • wow.. never seen a cave that hazy

Also, if you search in the codes of Ruby & Sapphire, you can find music from Generation 2 (Gold, Silver, Crystal). There was also two beta Pokemons: Shellos & Gastrodon. If you’ve played Pokemon Diamond/Pearl you sure know which these are, and they were actually going to be included in Ruby & Sapphire. Shellos & Gastrodon though were not supposed to look like they did in Diamond/Pearl. This how they were going to look like:


Shellos’s beta back sprite


Gastrodon’s beta back sprite

Thanks to FullMetalMC for the contribute!

More infos: Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire beta hacks


Pokemon 2: Gold & Silver [GB – Beta / Concept]

In 1997, Nintendo put the first details and screenshots of their next Pocket Monsters game online. It was initially named “Pocket Monsters 2 Gold & Silver”, and was developed for Game Boy and Super Game Boy and was planned for release at the end of the same year.

One of the main points posted was the addition of a skateboard as a secondary transportation method besides the bicycle from the previous games. It was said that the skateboard would allow the player to go to unusual places. Also mentioned in the releases were the integrated RTC (Real Time Clock), additional evolutions for Red/Green/Blue Pokémon, breeding and Pokémon eggs, 100 new Pokémon boosting the total amount to 251, new technical and hidden machines, new attacks, and better in-battle graphics. The game’s communication abilities were also improved, adding trading and fighting between each version and backwards compatibility with R/G/B.

The Pokémon in Pokémon Gold and Silver were just a few of many different designs that Game Freak created. Only 100 new Pokémon were added, and even those often went through redesigns before making it into the final product.”

Info from:

The original Starters were Kurusu, Honooguma and Happa (early design for Chikorita).

The Beta Safari Zone is an area programmed into Gold, Silver, and Crystal Versions, which the programmers attempted to remove from the rest of the in-game world by deleting the entrances. It was intended to be located in Fuchsia City, as its Pokemon Red & Blue counterpart was. Although the entrances to the Safari Zone were removed, the warps still exist, so it is possible to enter the area. However, players should not save within the area without a teleporting Pokémon because the exits were fully removed. It’s possible that this zone was not finished because the team did not have enough time.

Thanks to Enricothedark for the contribution! Info from:

You can also find a lot of information on the development of the games from Celebi23’s Poket Monsters 2 archive! Credit to “I am Christina Aguilera” from Lost Levels forums for the “Japanese Gameboy Magazine” scans!


Video (from 1:58 to 2:05: POKEMON GOLD BETA):