For over twenty years, has persisted as one of the largest, most well-known franchises in the gaming industry. It provides fans with endless characters, possibilities, storylines, and games.
Did you know that fans have found a way to create their versions of some of the most classic games? These cames carry on the essence of main Pokémon games while taking paths that haven’t been explored by the franchise’s designers.
But that’s not all that Pokémon fans do with their gaming experience. Some very clever players have found ways to modify the existing Pokémon games. That’s beyond my technical knowledge, but you better believe I’ll happily take advantage of their Pokemon ROM hacks.
In this article, we’re going to break down the best fan-created Pokémon ROM hacks and games.
Grab your Pokeballs because it’s time to catch them all.
The Best Pokémon ROM Hacks and Fan Made Games
If you're a fan of the video game Pokémon Emerald, then you'll want to check out Mega Power. This Pokémon ROM hack takes the characters on a quest to make the strongest Pokémon through lots and lots of experimentation. But all of that experimentation comes at a hefty cost. Just as funds start to run out, a mysterious fancier turns up and sends you on a new adventure.
Could it be that your fancier is not on a quest for knowledge but rather a quest to manipulate your strongest Pokémon creations? You'll have to play the game to find out more.
Pokémon Mega Power contains three new areas (or regions), and it builds on the available Pokémon found in the original game. It even features all of the Mega Evolutions and Generations IV, V, VI, and VII.
Pokémon Light Platinum builds on the popular Pokémon Ruby game, allowing you to explore the Zhery Region while meeting and battling brand new rivals. You can put your skills against the region's awesome Gym Leaders, Elite Four, and of course, the Champion. You can even capture and train new Pokémon from the Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh Regions.
Don't forget to check out all of the neat moves and items you can collect while playing the game. You can even participate in special events and the Pokémon World Championship! This game boasts over twenty hours of gameplay, building on an already incredible Pokémon game.
Pokémon Emerald is a game that keeps giving thanks to all of the talented gamers who create Pokémon ROM hacks, and Pokémon Flora Sky is another great addition to the world. In this brand-new story, you can catch over 360 Pokemon, encounter animated sprites, and find new moves and items.
Pokémon Flora Sky may not be perfect, but Nintendo liked it enough to borrow some of the story elements for their new releases. The progression system in Pokémon Flora Sky is next level because it doesn't require grinding. This means to complete the story and progress through the areas; you get to go on a treasure hunt!
If you're familiar with Pokémon Emerald, you'll be pleased to know that Rotom is much easier to catch in the ROM hack, but Ralts proves to be a bit more challenging. This happens to be a reversal of how the original game allowed Pokémon to be caught.
Pokémon Blazed Glazed is another ROM hack of Pokémon Emerald adapted from an older version of Pokémon Glazed (another ROM hack). Once your characters reach the age of maturity, you're given a Pokémon of your choice to start on your brand new quest. Of course, to further the storyline along, you'll quickly find that the world has dissolved into chaos, and you'll have to become the savior of both the real and Pokémon world.
In a shocking turn of events, Pikachu is stalking you for revenge (uh-oh!), and you'll have to deal with them throughout the game.
If you played the previous ROM hack, you'd be pleased to know that Pokémon Blazed Glazed has been loaded with many improvements. The biggest one is that you're able to choose five starters, explore new regions, and play with Dream World Pokémon. They also added Pokémon from Generation IV through VI, included new moves, and changed the spawn locations of the Pokémon.
If the last Pokémon ROM hack caught your interest, you might want to try out the original Pokémon Glazes. While Pokémon Blazed Glazed is an improved version of this hack, it's undeniable that Pokémon Glazed is a fantastic ROM hack.
It's a coming-of-age story set to the world's backdrop falling apart the main character as he works to become a full-fledged Pokémon trainer. Fortunately, part of his journey is saving the world. When it comes to gameplay, it's similar to its predecessor. You can choose from five different starters, explore three regions (Tunod, Johto, and Rankor), and you get to catch Dream World and Legendary Pokémon.
This game features some fun opportunities to gain experience and money as you battle trainers and Gym Leaders. This Pokémon ROM hack is a lot of fun, even if there is a better update available.
It should come as no surprise that Pokémon Emerald, one of the franchise's most popular games, is also one of the most popular games to create ROM hacks from. Pokémon Theta Emerald EX is another one of these hacks that improves something that is already beloved.
There are over 700 Pokémon to catch in the game, compared to the 600 that you can catch in previous game versions. This includes new abilities, TMs, HMs, and Mega Evolutions, as well as Primal Revisions. You can even find new Fairy-types in the game, with the new Repel mechanic.
Another fun and purely aesthetic element are that you can run inside of buildings!
After waiting and waiting, Pokémon Mega Emerald X and Y Edition are finally complete. This Pokémon ROM hack is a bit mundane, but it follows the typical Pokémon adventure game route with a few fun twists and turns along the way.
Overall, this game is similar to Pokémon Emerald, but you'll be pleased to discover that the new Pokémon have sprites edited into the game! Pokémon Mega Emerald X and Y also prides itself on having Generation I to VI (though not all of them) available throughout the game. You can, however, find all of the Legendary Pokémon, which is a fun treat!
If you are looking to spend a bunch of hours into a variation of Emerald, then this is the one to go for!
If you're anything like most fans who played Pokémon Dark Rising, you're probably still traumatized. Fortunately, Pokémon Liquid Crystal ish here to soothe your wounds. The game is bright, colorful, and lends itself to leisurely gameplay.
You can revisit the Kanto and Johto regions, embracing that sense of adventure that Pokémon games do so well.
While the game doesn't bring a lot of new content to the table, it serves as an apology to fans who were disappointed that they couldn't keep their Pokémon when the game progressed from Gameboy Advance Nintendo DS.
Pokémon Gaia is a ROM hack that uses Pokémon FireRed as its base, spawning a far more intricate story than the original. Thousands of years ago, the old civilization worshiped gods until an earthquake consumed the upper areas — now you are tasked to prevent another cataclysmic calamity.
Travel through the regions of Kanto, Johto, Sinnoh, Unova, and Kalos while you fight against time to save the Region of Orbetus and complete the task Professor Redwood has set you out on. The mechanics are new, allowing players to use Mega Evolutions, Fairy-types, and explore underwater locations.
This game is truly a fantastic ROM hack and could easily feel like a spin-off game created by the developers themselves.
While this ROM hack is another game based on Pokémon FireRed, Pokémon Ultra Shiny Gold Sigma is based on the classic Gold, Silver, and Crystal games. But there are new and exciting plot points and elements that are well worth the playthrough.
When you start, you have a roster of over 800 Pokémon (from Generation I to VII) to choose from. You also have Mega Evolutions, Miracle Exchange, and many other cool trading evolutions. EVs and IVs are shown on the menu so that you can avoid complicated calculations during your trades.
This ROM hack emerged as a front runner in the Poke Community Hack of the Year contest from 2013 and 2015, which makes it no surprise that we're still talking about it five years later. This hack is based on Pokémon FireRed and is part of the official Pokémon Adventure Collections.
The story follows along with the Pokémon Adventure Manga and contains most of the events, with a few events expanded upon for longer gameplay. Since it follows a canonical story so closely, you can't pick your own starter Pokémon. Don't worry; you will be able to choose your own later in the game.
This ROM hack features many cool details; a full catalog of catchable Pokémon, root fossils, and so much more.
Pokémon Dark Cry has one of the most intricate stories on this list. At the start of the game, you wake up and realize you're in a mysterious cavern. As you explore the cavern, you find a man with an “R” on his shirt and attempt to stop him without success. From there, a giant earthquake occurs, and a shadow approaches you… just in time for you to wake up a second time and discover you had been dreaming.
Only… your dream slowly becomes a reality.
Pokémon Dark Cry features a new region called Trion, and you can read the PokePaper to get your daily news while you attempt side quests, mini-games, and so many other neat features. Don't miss out on this Pokémon ROM hack.
Pokémon Ash Gray is another Pokémon FireRed hack that you won't want to miss out on. You play as Ash Ketchum, including through the events of the first episode of the beloved Pokémon series. So yes, you get to play with Pikachu, just like Ash himself.
The game embarks on a quest that parallels events from the series and some of the movies. Which we happen to think is a nice little bonus to an already awesome game. As you play, you can catch all the same Pokémon Ash finds during the series, but don't worry; you don't have to play with them.
Pokémon Ash Gray lacks a few features, like Mega Evolution, that some of the previous ROM hacks boast, but it captures all of your favorite Pokémon games' standard gameplay. Who can say “no” to that?
Now onto some of our favorite entirely fan-made Pokémon games. Seriously, it's not fair that these gamers are so talented that they can… create entire Pokémon games.
Pokémon Prism is an insanely fun ROM hack based on Pokémon Crystal for Game Boy Color. You'll need to ensure that you have an emulator or cartridge to play Pokémon Prism, but it's worth the effort to set it up.
The game begins with the Dragon Trainer's child, Lance, playing in a minecart that suddenly loses control and flies down an old track in the region of Naljo. From there, the player adopts a Lavitar and sets off through Naljo to collect gym badges, play mini-games, and encounter over 200 different Pokémon species.
Pokémon 3D is a truly remarkable fan-made game that simulates classic Pokémon in a 3D pop-up style. Players take direct control of their Pokémon's movements and attack sequences, allowing you to choose to retreat while they have their cool-off periods. You can explore the 3D environment and interact with other trainers and Pokémon throughout the game.
This game came out in 2015, and players are still playing the game today. There's a vibrant and active community on the Pokémon 3D site, discussing past and future updates. It's a fun one to try out!
If you're looking for a lengthy Pokémon game to try out, Pokémon Reborn provides players with over 55 hours of gameplay! This fan-made game was designed in an RPG Maker rather than in ROM, so it's not quite a ROM hack.
The game is set in Reborn City, a polluted mess of a metropolis plagued with crime. You are tasked with collaborating with the other Pokémon trainers to stop the evil organization that has taken control of the city!
Sounds fun, right? Pokémon Reborn features 18 different gyms to battle in and introduces the concept of Field Effects into the game. These effects can be used to change up the battlefield to favor different types of Pokémon.
Out of all of the other fan-made Pokémon games, Pokémon Godra focuses on the trainer rather than the Pokémon. This popular ROM hack allows you to choose your career path: Trainer Coalition Leader, Military General, Safari Zone Warden, and many other fun careers. From there, you can find Pokémon from various versions of the classic games, delve into new quests, storylines, and explore the Western and Eastern portions of the map.
Often described as the Dark Souls of Pokémon games, you'll want to download Pokémon Dark Rising if you love complex and difficult games. You play as a young trainer from the Core Region who wakes up from a strange dream to find a peculiar Pokémon you've never seen before. Once Pokémon choose you as its trainer, you'll have to work together to save the world!
This game has a similar premise to a few mentioned above, but the perk to Pokémon Dark Rising is that you can start with all Dragon-types and discover Pokémon from the first five generations.
Pokémon Light Platinum pits old-generation and new-generation against one another, bringing the best of Pokémon Ruby with a variety of regions, gyms, and elite-level graphics you won't see in other Pokémon ROM hacks. The game keeps its players entertained with 16 badges and the ability to compete in two Pokémon leagues in pursuit of competing in the World Championship. Pokémon Light Platinum makes for a great alternative to some of the original Pokémon games.
Set in the region Hawthorne, a war-torn region under the mercy of a tyrannical king, Pokémon Phoenix Rising is a fan-made game developed using RPG Maker XP. Trainers are tasked with finding and resurrecting the legendary Ho-oh to restore peace and harmony throughout the region of Hawthorne.
Pokémon Phoenix Rising features so many impressive features that you'll never find in a mainstream Pokémon game. You control the game's outcome by making choice-based decisions that will affect the quests and in-game events you encounter. You can even customize your skill trees to design different players with different play-styes.
Following the events of a nuclear explosion in the Tandor region, a young Pokémon trainer sets off on a discovery journey as they face strange occurrences and irradiated Pokémon. Pokémon Uranium took nine years to develop before its release in 2016, and this fan-made Pokémon game is one of the most popular ones available to download.
The game features 150 original Pokémon and features some new irradiated Pokémon you've never seen before. Trainers can obtain eight badges, defeat the Tandor league, and work to stop nuclear meltdowns through the region.
If you've ever played with RPG Maker XP, you'll be familiar with how this fan-made Pokémon game was created. Pokémon Insurgence takes a turn towards the dark side, taking players through the region of Torren where war has broken out between those who seek to obtain world domination. The game allows you to customize your trainer, use Mega Evolutions, access secret bases, and create delta species.
What's a delta species? You mix two species of Pokémon to create a brand-new Pokémon! Pokémon Insurgence gives players limitless options and opportunities to explore the world of Pokémon through a new world. There are over 720 Pokémon to play with as you venture through the region of Torren!
Maggie Lovitt is the Managing Editor of Entertainment at Wealth of Geeks where she covers her favorite topics: Star Wars and pop culture nerdery. She is also a freelance writer and News Editor at Collider. She has had bylines at Inverse, Polygon, and Dorkside of the Force. She is also a member of the Hollywood Critics Association.
When she is not covering entertainment news, she can be found on one of her numerous podcasts or on her YouTube channel. In her free time, she is also a novelist, screenwriter, actor, and member of the Screen Actors Guild.