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Tom Casavant

2,904 Hours Later: A Pokémon Saga


On February 10th, almost entirely because I found a repo that lets you interface with gameboy and gameboy color games via python, I launched a bot that lets you play pokemon by voting in polls in the social web.

At first I looked around for an easy way to play the GBA Pokémon games which I am far more familiar with, but settled on Pokémon Gold for the Gameboy Color.

Playing Pokémon one frame every hour introduces a few more difficulties into the gameplay, the main one being that every single mistake you make could cost anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks to rectify.

This is the journey so far.

February 10th (Day 1) # is created and the bot generates its first post.

Over the course of a few hours, 2-3 people named our adventurer Fry.

Screenshot of pokemon game: text reads Fry, are you ready?
Fry, are you ready?

Early days involved polls with 0 votes, especially polls that happened overnight.

February 11th (Day 2) #

Turned the PC on and then immediately turned it off again

February 12th (Day 3) #

Made our way downstairs to talk with our mother

February 15th (Day 6) #

Our hero meets Professor Elm in order to begin the adventure

February 16th (Day 7) #

Picked up our first pokemon (Cyndaquil)

Screenshot from pokemon gold, cyndaquil's image in the center

February 17th (Day 8) #

Finished naming our new Cyndaquil, meet Ja?

Text window in pokemon game 'Ja?' is typed out
Meet Ja?

February 19th: Fry touches grass (Day 10) #

Fry's very first pokemon battle

February 21st (Day 12) #

Ja? levels up and learns Smokescreen

February 22nd (Day 13) #

It became clear that whenever we entered a battle it was unclear how time was progressing so a feature was introduced to animate all battles into an 'action clip'

February 23rd (Day 14) #

The very first useful clip is generated

February 26th (Day 17) #

Fry arrives at Cherrygrove, he proceeds to take a tour of that town for the next half day

Old man describing to Fry, 'this is the sea as you can see.'
The Sea

February 28th (Day 19) #

First Pokémon Center

March 6th (Day 26) #

Ja? Levels up!

March 7th (Day 27) #

Mysterious man gives us a mysterious egg, that we promptly forget about.

Pokemon screenshot, text reads 'Fry received  MYSTERY EGG'
Mystery Egg

March 8th (Day 28) #

Professor Oak hires us to do his job for him (no pay).

March 9th (Day 29) #

Our first phone call! Professor Elm tells us to get back now- which we promptly ignore.

Pokemon screenshot, text reads 'Please get back here now!'
See you never

March 12th (Day 32) #

Ja? levels up!

March 15th (Day 35) #

Strange man gives us a strange berry

March 19th (Day 39) #

A wild rival appears

Pokemon screenshot, text reads 'What a waste. A wimp like you.'
No you

March 26th (Day 46) #

17 days after Professor Elm called us in a panic we arrive back at the lab, which was fortunate because that's how long it took the police to start investigating the stolen pokemon.

Pokemon screenshot, text reads 'OK! So BUTT was his name.'
Fry, meet BUTT

In classic internet fashion, we name our rival Butt.

Note: We forget to talk to Professor Elm to give him his weird egg.

March 29th (Day 49) #

Ja? levels up!

April 6th (Day 57) #

Small change to the bot, the gif is now generated every single hour instead of just during battles.

April 10th (Day 61) #

Pokémon blocks our path and a new communication is established because we forgot to deliver an egg to the Professor and have just wasted nearly a month walking back and forth.

Since polls happen every hour, people would regularly try to talk with each other in the comments and the only one who was keenly aware of who wanted to do what was me because I got tagged in everything.

Using the group meant anyone could just click into the group and see a timeline of the conversation so far.

April 22nd (Day 73) #

Nearly 30 days after Professor Elm told us to get back ASAP we talk to the professor and give him this egg we've been carrying around in our backpack for weeks.

Pokemon screenshot, text reads 'ELM: FRY, this is terrible...'
You don't know the half of it

April 28th (Day 79) #

Caught our first pokemon!

Controversy strikes as the splintered community try to name this Sentret (Also this starts a series of our most voted on polls, when we named Ja? there were about 10 votes, when we named BUTT there were 30-40 voters, these polls were minimum 50 but maxed out at about 110 votes)

Pokemon screenshot, name editor window reads 'PEID'
Surely nothing can go wrong here

April 29th (Day 80) #

The Sentret is named PEIDO which is slang

May 1st (Day 82) #

Ja? levels up!

May 5th (Day 86) #

Gameboy Color game now played on official hardware

May 7th (Day 88) #

Gameboy Color game now played on the better looking transparent official hardware.

Pokemon screenshot inside transparent purple gameboy color
Now I never have to change this image again, he said, lying.

May 9th (Day 90) #

We finally break through to the other side

May 11th (Day 92) #

Ja? levels up!

May 15th (Day 96) #

Phone call from Mom

May 20th (Day 101) #

Ja? levels up!

May 22nd (Day 103) #

Fry finally makes it to Violet

May 26th (Day 107) #

By popular demand, polling rate is doubled to 2 polls every hour.

May 28th (Day 109) #

Ja? levels up!

June 1st (Day 113) #

Ja? levels up! and evolves into QUILAVA.

Pokemon screenshot, text reads 'evolved into QUILAVA!'
Ja? Is all grown up now

June 3rd (Day 115) #

Ja? levels up!

June 4th (Day 116) #

We obtain our very first HM, HM05 (Flash)

June 7th (Day 119) #

Ja? levels up!

June 8th (Day 120) #

3 months since Fry set off on his adventure he has finally obtained his first gym badge.

Pokemon screenshot, text reads 'FRY received ZEPHYRBADGE'
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