Hi there! My name is Josh. You might have seen a few of my articles on TCGplayer about Magic: The Gathering in past months. Today, though, I'll be delving into the Pokémon Trading Card Game—specifically why the classic Game Boy Color game is bad for the Old School 1999 format.

Before I begin, I'd like to explain a few things about Old School 1999 and the Game Boy Color game. For those of you not in the know about Old School 1999, it's a format for the Pokémon Trading Card Game that isn't too far off from Magic: The Gathering's Old School 1993-1994 format, which seeks to use the oldest cards from the oldest sets, and nothing else.

In Pokémon's Old School 1999, the same is true. The first three sets in the game—Base Set, Jungle, and Fossil—are the only expansions in the format. The only other legal cards in the format are the four promotional cards released with Pokémon: The First Movie and Mew. Mew, specifically, was actually originally released in Japan in the Fossil expansion set, so despite it being the eighth Wizards of the Coast Black Star Promo, it's legal for this reason.

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Beyond the scope of the format, Old School 1999 is played the same way it would be back in 1999. The Burned condition is nonexistent in Old School, as are Dark, Steel, Fairy, and Dragon types. Furthermore, players do not draw as a result of their opponents taking mulligans at the start of the game. Past that, the rules are effectively the same.

The Pokémon Trading Card Game for the Game Boy Color also does not have very different rules from the games we play in real life today. Using a similar core to Old School 1999 as a whole, the Game Boy Color game melds the card game with a Pokémon League style not unlike the main series Pokémon RPGs. However, the game is clunky and slow to start.

However, the clunkiness and speed (or lack thereof) that this video game possesses are only the tip of the iceberg on why it's a bad game for people looking to get into Old School 1999. Here are a few more reasons why it's not a good choice for interested players:

Of course, the Game Boy Color game isn't all bad. In many ways, it's a great advertising tool for Old School 1999. Plus, it teaches the basics of the early years of the card game. However, these pros are far outweighed by the cons.

For what it's worth, the game has progressed far beyond what Old School 1999 could ever hope to be. After all, the scope of the game overall is more than those three sets and five promos. But the lessons of the present can be applied to the format of the past. Here are some things to keep in mind:

It's important to apply these tips to the Old School 2000 format, which includes the Rocket expansion as well as Gym Heroes and Gym Challenge. The Pokémon Trading Card Game for the Game Boy Color is even more ineffectual here, however, as none of these cards even exist in that format, besides what's in Old School 1999.

All in all, the Game Boy Color game doesn't stack up to actual play with the cards it uses. In other words, the finished work, while fun in some ways, is lesser when compared to the sum of its parts.