Pokémon 99 (ポケモン99), stylized as POKÉMON1999 on the game's boxart, is a 1995 unlicensed video game made in Japan for the Super Famicom in disk drive format by Oddish, Gloom and Vileplume. The game was designed by Toshio Matsumoto, a Japanese film director and video artist, who said the game was made in about a week. The game has gained a cult following in Japan and Taiwan for its notoriously poor quality – it has been ranked as a kusoge, which literally means "shitty game", a game considered "so bad that it's good".
Quoted from the game's English mode with spelling and grammatical errors left intact:
- The year 1999 has arrived. A herd of freaking ugly Pokémon are rushing from the mainland. Crime rate skyrocketed! Japan is ruined! Therefore, the famous Pokémon named Pikachu for the massacre of the wild Pokémon. He is an Electric-type. Wipe out all 1.2 billion of the wild Pokémon! However, in mainland Japan, there was a secret project in progress! A project to transform the deceased Gengar into an ultimate weapon!
Immediately after the introduction above (which follows some ads and the title screen), the game starts without any warning (what usually follows is an instant game over). The player controls Pikachu, an Electric-type Pokémon who is renowned for being the most well-known and recognizable Pokémon. Agatha brings out Gengar while Ash uses Pikachu in the battle. Agatha comments on how Pikachu is very strong. Ash scans Gengar with his Pokédex. Pikachu starts out with Quick Attack which completely misses Gengar since it is a Ghost-type Pokémon, which Ash forgot, to Agatha's criticism. Pikachu uses Thunderbolt as Gengar flattens its body to move under Pikachu and dodge the attack. Gengar uses Shadow Ball as Pikachu dodges. Gengar tries to use another Shadow Ball but Pikachu jumps on top of it and then uses Iron Tail to hit Gengar, sending it to the ceiling. Pikachu tries to use another Iron Tail but Gengar uses Double Team to completely surround Pikachu. Gengar uses Shadow Ball as Pikachu uses Thunderbolt to hit all the fakes and the real one. Gengar uses Shadow Ball again as Pikachu dodges before using Iron Tail to land another hit. Just before Pikachu is about to finish it off with Thunder, Gengar uses Hypnosis and Dream Eater to defeat Pikachu.
If Pikachu is hit by anything other than the invincibility item the game is immediately over, and an image of what appears to be a corpse shows as the game over screen. The words "PIKACHU IS DEAD!" in English and in grammatically incorrect Chinese – "Píkǎqiū sǐ wáng" (皮卡丘死亡) can be interpreted as either "Pikachu is dead", or as a proper name, "Dead Pikachu" – are superimposed on the game over screen. The game then goes to the credits and back to the title screen and repeats again. The game is noted for its difficulty, one of the factors that made the game a kuso-ge.
The game can be played in English, Japanese or traditional Chinese.
Upon turning on the game, the dramatic title music of an unlicensed Venezuelan Sega Genesis game called "CrazyBus" can be heard. The theme will loop endlessly throughout the game until the game is turned off, and is the only actual audio that plays during the game. There are no sound effects in the game.
Oddish, Gloom and Vileplume distributed the games themselves, but few retail stores were interested in getting copies of the game at the time. After this game, Oddish, Gloom and Vileplume was never heard from again; therefore, actual hard copies are extremely rare, and the ones commonly available are emulated ROMs.
Although this game is difficult to obtain through legal means, it gained notoriety years after its release for portraying an actual event in bad taste and bad quality, and was thus spread on the internet. Soon it became famous enough in Japanese gaming forums that it was featured in articles of underground books and magazines. The game eventually spilled out of Japan, and received a following in Taiwan. This is probably because of the relative familiarity with the transfer of sovereignty in 1997 and the awkward Chinese subtitles that were also available in the game.