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Gotta Meme 'em All: Vietnamese Crystal

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  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015

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This column has been written by ShinyLinoone. It expresses the views of the columnist, not necessarily those of Bulbagarden networks.
Link to this article
Lucky Ash didn't get shot, or else we'd have a scene way too intense for youngsters... This article contains material that may not be suitable for young readers.
Viewer discretion is advised.


Pocket Monsters: Crystal Version is a bootlegged cartridge of the Japanese version of Pokémon Crystal Version for the Game Boy Color. The publishers of this counterfeit title as well as its exact release date are both unknown, but it most likely went into circulation around 2001 as the Japanese release of the official game was December 14, 2000. Since its rise to popularity on the internet, it has become better known as Pokémon Vietnamese Crystal due to the circulation of the cartridges in Vietnam.

What makes this game so popular compared to other Pokémon bootlegs is its translation. As mentioned before, this game is a pirate of the Japanese Pocket Monsters: Crystal Version, but it was not marketed towards Japanese audiences; it was translated to English—and rather poorly, one might add.

What likely happened with this game was that it was translated from its original Japanese script (NPC texts; Pokédex entries; Pokémon, item, and move names; any text in the game that is not part of the graphics) to Chinese by one of the bootleggers, who were most likely natives of China, Taiwan, or another Chinese-speaking region, and then translated from Chinese to English by another member of the bootlegging team, as there were likely very few people available where they lived who knew Japanese, Chinese and English.

Because of being translated twice, and by translators with far less technical ability than The Pokémon Company's official translation staff, the script in many cases is far less coherent than the official translations. Romanizations of Chinese transliterations of Japanese names can be found among the translated text, certain words are misspelled (such as Lmaonade) and all alphabetic characters are upper-case.

Additionally, the translation created numerous bugs in the game, such as being near impossible to enter the Bug-Catching Contest without the game crashing or soft resetting. The use of certain moves will also crash the game.

GO TO THE ELF’S WORLD/WELCOME! EVERYONE CALL ME ELF MONSTER/ELFS, HERE ARE CALLED MONSTER/THEY EXISTED EVERYWHERE/……../THEY PLAY FRIENDLY/HELP EACH OTHER/LIVE WITH PEOPLE/BUT WE DON’T UNDERSTAND THEM ENTIRELY/THERE ARE MANY SECRETS INSIDE TO KNOW THESE RIDDLES/I DO A INVESTIGATION FOR EVERYDAY

PLEASE TELL ME WHAT IS YOUR NAME

>Player inputs name<

>name<! DO YOU GET READY? YOUR STORY WILL START FROM NOW AT ONCE/FOR THE FUTURE YOU WILL MEET MANY TRIALS AND HARDSHIPS, BITTER AND SWEET/TO EXPLORE THE DREAMS/LET’S GO TO THE MONSTER’S WORLD/START/SEE YOU LATER

  -- Oujiduo's speech  
Pokémon Vietnamese Crystal.png
A Vietnamese Crystal Cartridge
Vietnamese Crystal Title Screen.png
What could possibly go wrong?
GO TO THE ELF'S WORLD.png
Everything
Vietnamese Crystal Item.png
Yes, quite
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Attempting to enter the Bug-Catching Contest may make the game reset and think it is being played on the original Game Boy, resulting in this message.

Famous mistranslations

  • AN ADAPT ARRANGING FOR MOTHER VOLCANO BAKEMEAT! (in Player's house, when looking at the stove with the Cinnabar Island Volcano Burger)
  • I AM VERY DISGUSTED WITH THE TRASHY MAN. IN SPITE OF THE MONSTER, AND THE COACH, ONLY TRASHY, I WILL BEAT DOWN THEM ALL. FOR THIS I MUST STRENGTHEN MYSELF. THE MONSTER IS THE SAME TOO. COLLECT ALL THE TRASHY, RIGHTEOUS FELLOW ALL ARE UNPARDONABLE! YOU DON'T AFFECT ME. THE TRASHY STROLLING IS AN EYESORE! (Silver)
  • >Pokémon name< HAVE A PILLORY (text displayed when Pokémon is sent back to Poké Ball)
  • WHAT ARE YOU!? (defeat text from Team Rocket Grunt)
  • The word FUCK is displayed when receiving an item
  • The text GO AWAY is displayed when the player's Pokémon is sent out in battle
  • LMAONADE - misspelling of Lemonade
  • MONATERS - misspelling of Monsters


Although the game came into being around 2001, it did not become popular for years. Its first appearance on the internet was on a YouTube video uploaded by user Jizg on November 9, 2006, titled "Pirated Pokemon Crystal," that shows a brief five-minute playthrough of the game. The video has gained just short of 50,000 views to date, which is not that much taking into account that it has been on YouTube for over eight years at the time of this article's publication.

On March 8, 2011, DeliciousCinnamon uploaded the first episode of a Let's Play series of a copy of Vietnamese Crystal that he received from a fan. It has gained over 890,000 views at the time of this article's publication. This video popularized the bootleg game and is responsible for it reaching status as a meme.

After DeliciousCinnamon's video, talk of the pirated video game spread throughout the various corners of the internet. Catchphrases derived from the game such as VOLCANO BAKEMEAT, TRASHY, and GO TO THE ELF'S WORLD became popular, and image macros and fanart were made centered around this terrible translation. Even today, Pokémon Vietnamese Crystal still remains one of the most popular memes in the Pokémon fandom.

Elf As Bitch.png
Steak Have A Pillory.png
Trashy.jpg
Volcano Bakemeat.jpg
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Closing

This was the third article of Gotta Meme 'em All, a column whose purpose is to provide in-depth explanations on the origins and spread of various Pokémon memes. If you have any suggestions as to what future articles should feature, as well as any general questions, comments, and criticism, the author can be contacted here.

Also, a special thanks to Eridanus for providing the viewer discretion warning used in this and the last article in this series as well as a picture used in this article.

References


Gotta Meme 'em All
By ShinyLinoone
SmugleafMudkip and MarshtompVietnamese Crystal
PokéGods7.8/10 Too Much WaterTwitch Plays PokémonPokémon Bank Delay
Youngster Joey and Youngster BenDitto