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  • Bella Terhune

A Brief History of Pokémon Transfer

Welcome back, Pokémon trainers! Today, I want to give you a brief history of Pokémon transfer: a process in which you transfer Pokémon from older to newer generations. Pokémon transfer allows you to bring your old Pokémon to newer games and gain access to Pokémon that you could not otherwise get in a certain game. Pokémon transfer is almost required if you want to take on the herculean task of completing the national Pokedex. In this article, I will explain how Pokémon transfer works between all the main series Pokémon games.

Generation 1 to Generation 2

Transferring between the first and second generations is unique because it works both ways, a feature not replicated since. Using the Time Capsule in Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal, players could trade Pokémon between these games and Pokémon Red, Blue, Green (in Japan) and Yellow. Any Pokémon could be transferred from RBY to GSC, but a Pokémon from GSC must be gen 1 Pokémon and only know moves introduced in gen 1 to be transferred to RBY. This process handled well the transferring of Pokémon to and from the second generation, which had many features, such as separate special attack and special defense stats, Pokémon genders and shininess, that gen 1 games did not.

Generation 2 to Generation 3

It is impossible to transfer Pokémon from generation 2 to generation 3. I speculate that technology was somewhat involved in this restriction. Gen 2 games were on the Game Boy Color while gen 3 games were on the Game Boy Advance; both had no wireless capabilities, and their link cables, used to connect to other Game Boys, were not compatible. Additionally, gen 3 overhauled much of the Pokémon stat and ID systems, so I suspect that adapting gen 2 Pokémon to the gen 3 systems would have been too difficult. To ameliorate the situation, every Pokémon that existed up to this point was available somewhere in the generation 3 games, so completion of the national Pokedex was still possible.

Generation 3 to Generation 4

Transferring from generation 3 to generation 4 utilized two unique features: the dual-slot mode of the original Nintendo DS as well as the Pal Park present in the gen 4 games. Older DS models had two game slots, one for a DS game and one for a Game Boy Advance game. With a gen 4 game in one slot and a gen 3 game in the other, you could transfer six Pokémon at a time from gen 3 game to gen 4 game. Once the transfer was complete, you would go to Pal Park, which you need the national Pokedex to access, in your gen 4 game. There, you would run around the park and “catch” the Pokémon you transferred (it’s just theatrics: capture is guaranteed). You would also get a score depending on your speed in the task and the rarity of the transferred Pokémon.

Generation 4 to Generation 5

Generation 4 to generation 5 transfer is the first wireless Pokémon transfer process; to do it, you need two Nintendo DS systems. Once you begin transfer in your gen 5 game at the Pokémon transfer lab, which you unlock by simply beating the game, your game communicates with the other DS, and you get an option to do Pokémon transfer on the other DS menu. Then you select six Pokémon to transfer from your gen 4 game, the DS systems will communicate again to send over the Pokémon and you get to play a fun minigame in your gen 5 game where the transferred Pokémon jump between bushes while you slingshot Pokeballs at them. It’s a very smooth process once you know how to do it.

Generation 5 to Generation 6

Transferring between the fifth and sixth generations requires two separate subscription softwares for your Nintendo 3DS: Pokémon Bank and Poké Transporter. Poké Transporter allows you to transfer Pokémon from gen 5 games and gen 1 and 2 virtual console games to Pokémon Bank. You only need one 3DS for the process since Pokémon Bank is an intermediate storage facility between your gen 5 and gen 6 games. Pokémon Bank is a Pokémon storage software that allows you to store Pokémon from gen 6 games, gen 7 games, and the Poké Transporter. Once the gen 5 Pokémon from Transporter have made their way to Bank, they can be easily withdrawn into your generation 6 or 7 game.

Generation 6 to Generation 7

Transferring between the sixth and seventh generations is a piece of cake. Since you can access Pokémon Bank from any of your gen 6 or 7 games, all you have to do is put the Pokémon you want to transfer from your gen 6 games into Pokémon Bank while playing your game, access Pokémon Bank from your gen 7 game and then take the Pokémon you transferred out of Pokémon Bank! It’s the easiest transfer method of all.

Generation 7 to Generation 8

Generation 7 to 8 transfer requires both Pokémon Bank for your 3DS and a subscription software for the Nintendo Switch and mobile phones: Pokémon HOME. Pokémon HOME is similar to Pokémon Bank in that it is another inter-game Pokémon storage system. You can transfer Pokémon from Pokémon Bank to Pokémon Home so that you can move Pokémon from your 3DS Pokémon games to Pokémon Sword and Shield (as long as those Pokémon are coded into Sword and Shield; controversially, not all Pokémon currently are). Pokémon HOME also allows you to store Pokémon from Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee and move them to Sword and Shield.

Thank you all so much for reading this week’s Pokémon article! I learned a lot about Pokémon transfer while writing this article, and I hope you learned something too. See you in a few weeks, Pokémon trainers!



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