The Best Pokémon ROM Hacks and Fan Made Games


Pokemon is easily one of the largest and most popular video game franchises in the entire world.

Ever since the release of the first two Pokemon titles, Red and Green, in 1996, as well as the anime series in 1997, Pokemon's fandom has only continued to grow and has shown no signs of slowing down ever since.

However, while the series' creators and game developers have not been short of coming up with new and exciting content to help satisfy public demand, for some fans, what's available out there simply isn't enough.

This has led to a robust "modding" scene where the more skillful fans have taken it upon themselves to create their own adventures involving "pocket monsters".

With that said, because these are unofficial releases, not all of the ROM hacks and fan-made video games are so good nor complete.

This is why we've decided to round up some of the best Pokemon ROM hacks and fan-made video games, so that other fans too may experience these unique and one-of-a-kind video games.

1. Pokemon Dark Rising

In addition to Pokemon, Digimon also made an appearance in the latest sequel to the Dark Rising series of games.

Pokemon Dark Rising is one of the more unique fan-made Pokemon games in that it's not just a single game. Instead, what the makers have created is a five-title long series with the latest sequel featuring both Pokemon and Digimon, as well as a remake of the first Dark Rising title released.

The Pokemon game was created by DarkRisingGirl and her team way back in 2012 with Pokemon FireRed (the original remake of the first Pokemon Red game) serving as the game's base.

What sets this series of games apart is that it is very narrative-heavy. It's not like your typical Pokemon series that's child-friendly. Although it does feature a similar plot in that you have a rival and you'll have to battle gym leaders as well, you're also tasked to save the world by none other than Arceus himself.

In addition to this, the game has as many as 386 Pokemon available from across the first until the fifth generations, as well as movesets. The developers even threw in a couple of cameos as well. This includes popular franchise characters like Ash and Brock, as well as the Pharaoh, from the popular Yu-Gi-Oh franchise.

2. Pokemon Uranium

This Pokemon ROM Hack was so popular that Nintendo themselves literally had to shut it down just a week after its release.

Pokemon Uranium isn't just one of the best Pokemon ROM hacks ever made. It's also one of the most infamous.

After a lengthy nine-year development cycle, this stand-alone title, that featured a similar structure to the official games but with an all-original setting (Tandor), a new typing (Nuclear), and over 150 original Pokemon designs, was released in 2016 only to be taken down from the internet after Nintendo issued a cease-and-desist letter to its developers for copyright infringement.

While the game's developers have since stopped supporting the fan-made title, the game lives on over the internet.

You can still download it and enjoy what's easily the most original fan-made Pokemon game ever released.

3. Pokemon Creepy Black

The Pokemon franchise has inspired its fair share of "creepypasta" stories over the years, which, for the uninitiated, are essentially horror stories that have been copied and pasted from one source to another all across the internet.

For Pokemon Creepy Black though, it's the creepypasta that instead inspired the developers to create the game.

What the game does is essentially depict the events that supposedly transpired in real life, as described in the now-famous creepypasta, Pokemon Black.

It's definitely a unique and interesting take of what's a usually cheery world and franchise.

4. Pokemon Reborn

Pokemon Reborn is one of the few complete fan-made video games available online that's not based on an actual Pokemon game. Instead, the developers made the game from scratch using the popular game development software, RPG Maker.

The game is set in the fictional Reborn city, where players will have to work together with other trainers to help put an end to the rampant pollution and corruption. But, of course, because this is still a Pokemon game, it does feature 18 different gyms that players can visit and fight at, as well as a darker plot than most are used to.

5. Pokemon Light Platinum

Pokemon Light Platinum features a completely unique story involving an all-new evil organization set in a new region.

Pokemon Light Platinum is based off of Pokemon Ruby and can be played on any GBA emulator.

This fan-made Pokemon title features a unique storyline that's set in the region of Zhery and lets players catch any and all Pokemon up to Generation 4, including all the legendary Pokemon.

6. Pokemon Insurgence

Set in a cult-filled region, Pokemon Insurgence puts players in the shoes of a protagonist with no memory and a mysterious voice telling him or her what to do.

Another fan-made Pokemon title made using RPG Maker, Pokemon Insurgence is an incredibly detailed original game set in a war-torn region named Torren where gangs and cults are constantly fighting over control.

Pokemon Insurgence comes with a bunch of features both seen in other official Pokemon titles and others that are unique to it. This includes, among others, trainer-customization, secret bases, mega evolutions, as well as an entirely new species of Pokemon known as delta species.

7. Pokemon Adventure Red

If you're a huge fan of the Pokemon Adventure manga, then Pokemon Adventure Red is definitely right for you.

Ever since the release of Pokemon Yellow, Nintendo and Game Freak hasn't really worked on a title that follows the anime closely. However, while no complete Pokemon ROM hack has ever attempted to recreate the anime, one hack, in particular, decided to follow the Pokemon Adventure manga series more closely.

Following the exploits of Red from Pallet Town, Pokemon Adventure Red sees the protagonist from the first generation of Pokemon titles from his adventures in the Kanto region all the way up until Alola.

In addition to essentially re-telling Red's story, this ROM hack has a couple of unique features as well. This includes, among others, a completely functional Day/Night cycle system, as well as a much-higher level cap of 255, custom sprites, and even new Pokemon typing such as Shadow and Fusion.

The Best Pokemon ROM Hacks Ever

As you can see, there are tons of Pokemon ROM hacks and fan-made video games available out there.

Once you're done playing through these 7 that we've rounded up above, we recommend giving others a try so you can check out for yourself the works of other die-hard Pokemon fans out there.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is a freelance content writer based in the Philippines. He is a lifelong gamer and a PC hardware enthusiast. He builds and repairs laptops and computers for friends and family in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.