Five fan-made Pokemon games you absolutely have to play

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There has got to be something we can do to pass the time before Pokemon Go is released! I mean, sure: work, school, family, friends... they're pretty neat, but it's generally frowned upon to capture and force your family and friends to systemically battle each other.

If you're crying out for fresh Pokemon material, then we've got your back! These Pokemon fan games are among the best of the best, and all -- saving one special exception -- are completed games! Hours of catching and battling lie ahead in this slideshow.

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Pokemon Light Platinum

Starting Pokemon: Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle

Light Platinum is the gold standard that other Pokemon fan games aspire to. Right from the beginning, lush spritework and a custom story are designed to draw you in. As one of the only speakers of an ancient language, your character unveils a prophecy that could destroy not just Zhery -- your region -- but whole world, if it falls into the wrong hands!

It isn't a particularly original story, but it's solid and fun. There's plenty of side quests and other events to keep you going, and the game contains Pokemon up the fourth generation. Every last legendary Pokemon is also obtainable through in-game events!

Touhoumon Purple

Starters: Sanae, Alice, Reisen

Most of us out there are familiar with Rule 34. I'd like to propose 34a: if it exists, there's a Touhou Project version of it...probably more than one.

Touhoumon Purple is one of the few completed games based on the Touhou Puppet Play version 1.8 mechanics. It trades out the fun remixes and unbalanced difficulty of other games for a total conversion: all Pokemon and references to them are replaced by the mention of magical puppets that take the likeness of various characters from the popular bullet hell franchise.

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Pokemon Brown

Starting Pokemon: Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle

Among the earliest fan games to gain notoriety, Pokemon Brown has been remade twice since its debut early last decade. It stands as a complete title set in the made-up region of Rijon, and includes updated graphical flourishes, running, an expanded selection of Pokemon, and all sorts of other little goodies. Its script follows a lot of familiar beats for Pokemon fans. 

KoolBoyMan, the fan game's creator, has revisited Rijon twice: once in the similarly complete Pokemon Prism, and again in 2009 for Rijon Adventures, though this final outing appears to have never left beta.

Pokemon Flora Sky

Starters: Turtwig, Chimchar, Piplup

Pokemon Flora Sky tells an original story that's firmly rooted in the canon of the previous games -- a lot of familiar faces are present, and you'll find yourself taking on teams Aqua and Magma once more in a plot that's set after the Sinnoh games take place.

This fan game is set in the Flora Sky region, and is dotted by towns with pragmatic names! You begin in Small Town, for example. Pokemon up to generation five are present, and there's plenty of beautiful custom graphics and gorgeous scenery.

Pokemon Flora Sky also has a thriving website that's full of useful information about the game, should you become stuck or want to read up on any of the changes made between it and the main series.

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Pokemon Toxic Purple

Starters: Rattata. Want something else? Then you'd better steal it!

Live the dream and play as a member of Team Rocket! One of the biggest Pokemon-related disappointments of my childhood was being unable to join Team Rocket when the offer was made during Red/Blue/Yellow, right at the end of the Nugget Bridge challenge. (The biggest disappointment was being told that leaving a Magikarp in the daycare until level 99 would make it evolve into Mew.) This short but sweet title seeks to redress that wound by casting you and your rival as partnered grunts. 

Sadly, Pokemon Toxic Purple is incomplete and abandoned, but what's present is a full mission that will take the better part of an hour to play and involves taking part in Team Rocket's activities in Lavender Town. Play through this outstanding little fan game and dream of what could be.

There are loads of Pokemon fan games still out there, offering complete experiences across regions old and new, telling stories both strange and familiar, and offering refreshing takes on a franchise that's already twenty years old.

Sound off in the comments below if you've tracked down and tried one of these games, or if you have a fan-made favorite of your own!

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Published Sep. 20th 2015

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