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Individual Values: A Pokemon Feature - Week 33: Saving Grace

Jonathan Higgins

Welcome to the thirty-third week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday.





Saving Grace



Last week, the Japanese Pokémon Global Link service issued an announcement regarding stricter hack checks coming to the sixth generation (and presumably future) Pokémon games. If you“re caught with a modified save file or modified Pokémon, you won“t be able to participate with the rest of the community via Rating Battles or the Battle Competition. While the nature of these “checks” are ambiguous, much less how loosely or tightly defined the term “modified Pokémon” is — why this is all happening is very clear.


Apparently the save data of innocent players is being at best affected, and at worst corrupted/deleted, just by encountering hackers with modified saves via random battling online. It“s unknown if (and probably not likely that) the hackers were doing this on purpose, knowing that encountering them would lead to a loss of data... but the point still stands. Junichi Masuda actually commented on this issue via Twitter. It“s really crazy that the hacking scene — at least at one point — has gotten so bad that it“s literally corrupting or destroying the experience of other innocent players.


Maybe I“ll get into the cheating/hacking scene in these games in a future article. For now, though, especially given the recent news, I wanted to spend some time talking about save data.


In case you didn“t know already, the Nintendo 3DS features a Save-Data Backup tool that you can find under the 3DS tab via System Settings & Data Management. You can effortlessly backup and restore data from almost all of your 3DS games here, in case something goes wrong... say during a System Transfer, for example. But...there are exceptions.


You can“t back up Animal Crossing data, and you can“t back up Pokémon. I mean, I certainly get the point. If you backed up your Pokémon save data, then traded away any Pokémon to another person“s game, then restored it & traded them back... it would make Pokémon cloning and cheating easier than ever before.




But at the same time... people have been able to transfer their Pokémon from one game to the next since the third-to-fourth generation, which started all the way back in 2003. Whether it was through Pal Park, the PokéTransporter, or recently Pokémon Bank... a small group of people (like...me for example) could potentially own Pokémon special to them, Pokémon that are over a decade old. The Time Travel Award offered to players who bring over Pokémon from the original Ruby & Sapphire to ORAS lends credence to the fact that Game Freak knows this.


I think the time has come to offer the ability to backup your Pokémon data, even if it“s to a digital cloud and behind a paywall of some sort. Call me crazy, but I would happily pay the price of a full retail game or more to recover over 719 lost Pokémon and ten years of hard work, if my 3DS were ever stolen or my data corrupted. I don“t know what I would do if my save data suddenly disappeared. I can guarantee I wouldn“t start all over again, though.


Mark my words — the day Pokémon stops allowing transfers from one game to the next and forces players to start all over again... is the day I make my exit from the series. Thankfully, with a subscription service like Pokémon Bank being commonplace, I don“t foresee that ever happening.


Bringing up Pokémon Bank is how we solve this saving problem, though. What if you could create backups of Pokémon through Pokémon Bank that could be restored in the event of a crisis? It could reduce cheating if you put something like this behind a paywall, and if players were only allowed to restore a certain Bank Box from a backup once per Pokémon Pass period. Reduce the temptation to cheat by making restoration cost $20-60, and only able to happen once a year.


Surely this idea has potential, right? Do you have any ideas as to how to solve the saving problem without an easy exploit for cheaters? Do you think I“m wrong to keep Pokémon that are important to me in my games, where I can play with and use them, versus stored away in the cloud of Pokémon Bank where no data corruption can touch them? I“d love to hear your thoughts.

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