About a week ago, the Pokémon Gold/Silver demo ROM from Nintendo Spaceworld 1997 was leaked online. Pokémon fans went wild looking through all the weird beta Pokémon creatures, digging up buried data, and even translating the game into English. News of the leak and the fans’ findings hit all the major gaming sites in countries around the world.
Most of this happened outside of Japan, though, so a question I’ve been getting is: What do Japanese fans think of the leaked Pokémon demo? So I checked out a whole bunch of Japanese message boards, blogs, etc. to see how fans there responded to the leak and the pile of new information.
Below are random comments from Japanese social media, websites, videos, and message boards that I’ve translated into English. Of course, there are so few comments listed here that they shouldn’t be considered representative of all Japanese gamers – that would be a silly thing to assume. This is only to satisfy readers’ curiosity.
I’ve been waiting for this for so long!
There’s something dreamy about unused content seeing the light of day, you know?
So I guess the rumor about that Mr. Saturn Pokemon was just a rumor after all
Old designs were great
I’m shocked that something like this got leaked!
They could probably put some of these to use now!
That evolution from a gun to a tank cannon makes so much sense!
It’s incredible lately – first Satoshi Tajiri releases his book full of unused Pokemon info, and now this demo from 1997 gets out
Oh, this is all so exciting!
I recognize some of these from other unused Pokemon lists
I bet some of the unused baby Pokemon would’ve been pretty popular
That big tongue guy reminds me of Super Mario RPG
Shellder already had a clear name with Red/Green, so I wonder what they had in mind for that other unused shell Pokemon
I love how they all make the same cry
That Shellder on Slowbro’s tail was actually supposed to be a completely different Pokemon called a “Turbin”??
Oh man I loooove when stuff like this happens!
I’d love to see that scary stingray one in Pokemon Snap!
Much nicer designs than the junk they come up with these days
I love learning about scrapped Pokemon
Some of these remind me slightly of recent Pokemon
Wow, Wataneko looks like a Rabite straight out of Secret of Mana
All these baby ones are hilarious, they’re practically characters from a totally different game
Wow, it really did take place all over Japan originally
LOL @ Kyushu being so in the middle of nowhere
They could make a new Pokemon game with these that’s on a branched-off timeline
I played the demo at Spaceworld but only remember that the water starter seemed a lot like Seel
Thank you for saving this game Iwata
They made the right choice to delay this game’s release back then, based on these
What kind of names are these?!
Seriously, Chikorita’s name was simply “Leaf”?
What horrible names, lol
this feels like “Chinese Pokemon” lol
That Girafarig is SCARY
They must’ve thrown this out there after the terrible response to Let’s Go
Man, some of these names aren’t clever at all
I can really see why these didn’t make the cut
Look at all these mistakes
If this is real, then whoever gave these ones the axe really knew what they were doing
It’s so obvious that this leak was timed just right
Adults shouldn’t be playing Pokemon you know lol
Silent Hill? Haha
It seems like all these extra baby Pokemon would’ve been a real hassle
If they’d sold this version, I bet Pokemon never would’ve caught on
These names feel so low-effort, probably because it was still being developed
You can definitely tell that Gold/Silver wouldn’t have been what it was had they not gone through the various design changes we see here… but many of these designs would never be feasible in today’s Pokemon series
This is way better than that trashy Pokemon Go Switch crap
It seems like most of these are amateur-level Pokemon ideas that got dropped
Some of these are creepy!
ROFL the scrapped designs are better than the final ones
If it’s legit, this is a huge discovery, but I feel like it’s just a well-done fake
Come on, this is so obviously fake
How did they even get this ROM in the first place?!
ROM hacks are really sophisticated these days, this could just be a fake
Why would this only be released now?
So many people gonna get viruses trying to play this rofl
Obvious fake is obvious
All of these look like hacked Pokemon to me
These are obviously fakes that some fan made, when will people ever learn
It’s so easy to do simple pixel art like this that this could all be a hoax
I wonder who leaked the ROM. Game Freak? Nintendo? Someone on the Spaceworld staff?
People calling this fake need to go watch some videos of it in action
Given how much all these things match with known info, there’s no way this could be some elaborate hoax
I did some checking and apparently the leaked ROM is real after all, but I can’t help but wonder why it only got leaked now? I wonder if it’s somehow connected with the recent release of Satoshi Tajiri’s manga…
I so want to know how they get their hands on this ROM
How do you open sgb files? I tried searching but couldn’t find out how
I can’t unzip the ROM
I can’t get the ROM to work
I can’t read English, what do I do???
Just because it isn’t actually for sale doesn’t mean it’s legal to share it
I know it’s illegal to share ROMs and all, but you should at least confirm with a *firsthand* source that this is legit before reporting about it
Nintendo’s gonna sue the leaker for damages, aren’t they?
One thing really stood out among all the Japanese comments: the demo version of the Pokémon named “Porygon2” looked incredibly like “Pon de Lion”, a famous mascot for the popular Japanese “Mister Donut” doughnut shop chain.
Porygon2 is so obviously the Pon de Lion
There’s a Pon de Lion!
That’s totally Pon de Lion lol
Wait, wouldn’t this have predated Pon de Lion? Did the guy who designed Pon de Lion also work on Pokemon stuff or something?
It’s amazing to think that Porygon2’s design was done BEFORE Pon de Lion’s!
Hold on. Pon de Lion first appeared in 2003…
It seems that the Pon de Lion’s designer, Yuichi Ito, actually worked for Game Freak around 1996. The unused Porygon2 design might seriously have been his!
Huh? If this connection is real, then wouldn’t that be really bad info to get out? Taking a design done for one specific client under NDA and selling it to a completely different client?
I looked into the rumor that Yuichi Ito worked for Game Freak and that he worked with them on Bazaru Degozaru no Game Degozaru. He’s nowhere in the credits, so after some further digging it seems he apparently worked on the TV commercial for the game instead – probably this one:
Unfortunately, I don’t know how to check if he worked on it or not, so I can’t really confirm much myself. If anyone has more info, please let me know!
As we can see, there’ve been a variety of reactions from the Japanese side: surprise, suspicion, delight, negativity, and realizations. But most of all, I saw lots of laughs and fans having lots of fun with this new Pokémon info.
BTW, if you liked this look at Japanese responses, check out these articles too - they cover Japanese comments about other popular games and characters!