Pokemon Blue Becomes An IDE

With WiFi, Wonder Trade, and new Pokemon that are freakin’ keys, you’d think the latest generation of everyone’s reason to own a Nintendo portable is where all the action is, right? Apparently not, because Pokemon Blue just became a development tool for the Game Boy.

Despite all notions of sanity, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen someone program a Game Boy from inside a first generation Pokemon game. Around this time last year, [bortreb] posted a tool assisted run that deposited and threw away in-game items to write to the Game Boy’s RAM. Using this method, [bortreb] was able to craft a chiptune version of the My Little Pony theme inside Pokemon Yellow.

A year later, [TheZZAZZGlitch] has gone above and beyond what [bortreb] did. Instead of a tool assisted run, [ZZAZZ]’s hack can be done manually on a real Game Boy. This trick works by using an underflow glitch to obtain item ‘8F’ in the player’s inventory. Here’s a great tutorial for doing that. With this 8F item, a few items can be tossed and a ‘programming’ mode is activated where code can be written to RAM by walking to an X Y position on the map, using the 8F item, and writing a program byte by byte.

The maximum amount of code that can be written to the Game Boy RAM is 254 bytes, just large enough for [TheZZAZZGlitch] to write a very, very simple version of Akranoid, Breakout, or one-player Pong. Not much, but very, very impressive.

Video of [ZZAZZ] ‘jailbreaking’ his copy of Pokemon Blue available below.

20 thoughts on “Pokemon Blue Becomes An IDE

  1. Mindblowing. After watching it I had like the craziest idea. Some say that we live in the matrix or that the world we know is just someone’s simulation – if so then we could probably recreate this. We could turn the entire universe into a pong game! /jk

    1. Yes, but then you would unfortunately die, because the program execution loop would jump from “reality” to “pong” and everything else would cease to exist.

      1. Fortunately, universe.elf is most likely a threaded program. So the only things which will crash is the nearest neighbourhood, the sun, jupiter, etc. (Perhaps this is the elusive answer to those mysterious gamma ray bursts? :))

        Also, I agree that this is quite impressive.

    2. I’ve long fantasized about an RPG where the quest journal is an in-game smart phone or whatever that’s actually a full blown VM running an OS. You would be able to find dev tools in game, and the VM would have a deliberate flaw that would let you jump out of the sandboxing into (a portion of) the game’s scripting engine. If you use this to cheat the in-game interdimensional reality police would extradite you to 7-space criminal court, at which point the game would completely change genre.

  2. I wish I owned this version of pokemon, I have some old dev stuff for GB’s it would fun to write a serial bootloader for it, I’m surprised this hasn’t happened yet. 254 bytes might be enough to bootstrap data from serial into another 254 block area, that executes a full download into the GB’s 16k ram. Does the pokemon cartridge have its own ram?

  3. I have a gameboy colour/pokemon blue. I am tempted to try this. Unfortunately it would take SO long to get the pokemon and items required just to start.

    1. You clearly have no idea what you are talking about then.You know you can easily use a search engine to see his and other people’s similar hacks in detail ( http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Pokemon+glitch+8f+explained ). The previous hacks have been verified and tested and ZZAZZ specifically (under this and other handles) have done a host of different hacks.

      Your kind is seriously thee worst of the internet, worse then obvious trolls and people who believe everything on the internet. At least one has a purpose and the other has hope, you have nothing but an inferiority complex. The kind that just shouts ‘Fake, Photoshop, Edited, This isn’t reall’ without any evidence whatsoever, just because it’s the safe approach if you don’t actually comprehend what’s going on.

      Is everything on the internet real? No, obviously not. A healthy amount of skepticism is a good thing, hell it’s a great thing. However, how about doing some research of your own before just calling everything fake, or if you have done some research then post your thoughts on the matter instead of just bashing stuff you don’t understand so it must be fake.

  4. if it is real (and given you have a mean to write a byte to RAM through a buffer overflow and can jump to it, why not), this is a grand. Kudos.

  5. I actually agree with blue footed booby on the first part of what he said (The hack cops
    thing seems kinda lame but the first part) I mean, why aren’t there more games about hacking the game? I think a long time ago there was this game where you wrote a virus
    that would compete against an opponent’s virus for the board, not sure where it went.
    Somebody’s gotta start on that (not me cause i suck at making games)

  6. Most impressive glitch/exploit ever in any game ever! seriously all other glitches are and will be pathetic in comparison,

    The only way this could ever be beat is if some one found a glitch in a game that rewrote reality.

    this it is truly the god pokemon it’s purest form as the very fabric of the pokemon game world

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