Completing the Pokédex: Gameplan for the last 28.

This is really a personal entry, but by making it public I want you to hold me accountable. People who tell others about their goals are 70% more likely to complete them, or at least that’s what I’m told in the pop-psychology self-help blogs and diary products I have found myself glazing over during this now prolonged unemployment. Earlier I mentioned that part of the problem for me was the open-ended nature of Pokémon and by having partially complete save files across several games I’m left unfocused. In this entry I will delineate a path to follow through the games while leaving myself the flexibility to keep them fun and give myself multiple chances to pickup missing Pokémon along the way. This entry will be regularly updated with a checklist at the bottom crossing off accomplishments and in-game milestones outlined under each game subheading.

Last updated 29th of March, 2019. Pokédex complete. Most games sold.

Pokémon Red

The first game to finish is Pokémon Red from the 3DS Virtual Console that I apparently bought over two years ago. I’m now 3 gyms deep and have obtained Fly so the map has really opened up. There’s three Pokémon I should try to collect along the way; Dodrio, Hitmonchan and Weezing. I could go after Hitmonchan from the unnoffical Saffron City gym now-ish but I want to collect a Gastly first to make it laughably easy. I haven’t defeated Erika yet so Pokémon over level 30 wont always obey me but for funsies I want to try to beat Koga first. Might even be able to pickup a Doduo at the Safari Zone and use it to beat Erica before evolving it to Dodrio. From there it’ll be a bit of a slog through Saffron City and the Seafoam Islands before acquiring a Koffing on Cinnabar Island to evolve into Weezing. Dodrio, Hitmonchan and Weezing are a fairly dynamic trio and it might be fun taking them to the Elite Four. Haven’t really decided on a team and it’ll probably just depend on who I get attached to and can use the required hidden moves along the way. Once the Elite Four is defeated, I’ll catch Mewtwo and send all my monsters to Pokémon Bank.


  • Obtain Hitmonchan
  • Obtain Dodrio
  • Obtain Weezing(Optional) Defeat Elite 4
    • (Optional) Capture Mewtwo
  • Transfer all Pokémon to the bank


Finished 11th of July! 5 days ahead of schedule! Going through Red gave me a lot of feels and maybe they’ll come together in a future post looking forward to Let’sGo. I went to execute the Mew glitch today but apparently Pokémon Transporter will not transfer such an illicitly obtained Mew. Tomorrow I leave for Singapore and have a few hours of flying to get a good run at Silver.

Pokémon Silver

I’m just two badges into this game and it’s almost overwhelming how much more there is to do here compared to Red. Stepping back and playing these two it really is amazing how much more open the games were generally than the signposted experiences of more recent Pokémon games, even if the first signs of linearity are there. Anyway, there are potentially four more Pokémon for me to prioritise from this game; Togetic, Jumpluff, Hitmontop and Smoochum. Togepi and Skiploom are both already in my team so I shouldn’t have any problem getting their evolved forms, Skiploom will be worth keeping for the Elite Four too. The other two require some thought though. Smoochum is acquired through breeding Jynx but I can’t remember if Jynx is easily obtainable in Silver and I’ve decided to not look it up. Discovering a Jynx will be part of the fun. Likewise I know that Hitmontop evolves at level 20 from Tyrogue when the defence and attack stats are aligned but I don’t recall how or if the Hitmon Pokémon family appear in Silver. In any case I have a Jynx and two Tyrogues in my Pokémon Bank so these will not be a priority as I play through. Also, I don’t know if I have the stamina to charge through Hoenn again after beating the Elite Four for the first time, I’ll see how I go. Togetic and Jumpluff are the priority and completing the game to a level that I feel satisfied with. Silver is potentially a 200 hour plus slog and I don’t think I want to be doing that. When I feel I’m done I will drain the save file of its Pokémon and leave myself in a location hard to escape from so there’s little temptation of going back.

Joey calls

  • Evolve Togepi
  • Evolve Skiploom
    • (Optional) Obtain Smoochum
    • (Optional) Obtain Hitmontop
    • (Optional) Defeat Elite Four
      • (Super Optional) Obtain all 16 badges
        • (Unlikely to happen) Defeat Red
  • Transfer all Pokémon to the bank


Complete as of the 21st of July, over a month ahead of schedule. The game was a lot shorter than I remembered and I still had Pokémon levelled in their thirties when fighting the elite four. Kanto was desolate in the post game too, it seems my memory was clouded by HeartGold. I challenged Red but his Espeon swept me and I hadn’t bothered to capture Ho-oh.

Let go of Generation Three

I still have access to my FireRed and Ruby cartridges with main quest complete save files as well as a Sapphire cartridge that used to belong to my sister and another copy of Ruby that I obtained somehow. If you skipped ahead though you’ll notice I don’t have to obtain any Pokémon that were introduced in these games. I’ll be booting up the games just to check that they have all been drained of their Pokémon and if not, establish a possibly days long routine of doing that. I’m pretty sure they are though. Then I will sell these games. I might even get a bit because I still have the boxes.

Bonus side quest

A great (awful) way to absolutely make sure I’m ready to part with these games will be to backup the save files. As an intrepid high school internet game journalist I was given a review copy of the original EZ-Flash GBA backup tool. I’m currently in a month and a half long process of moving house. Should this EZ-Flash show up while packing I’ll probably waste an afternoon seeing if I can connect it to my dying Windows PC and extract the save files. You know, just in case. I really hope I sent that thing to e-recycling.


  • Check all games
    • Transfer any remaining Pokémon
    • Bonus sidequest (N/A, GBA Card reader has been recycled.)
  • Sell games


There were only 18 Pokémon that I still needed to import. Thank you past Roland for being so diligent. Haven’t sold any games yet, will move to Perth where the secondhand market is bigger. I caught a Duskull in my Ruby file and named it “Goodbye” before preparing the remaining 12 for transfer.

Cleanup of Generation Four

Even if I avoid the pitfalls of the “bonus” side quest detailed above, things will get messy here and will require even more subheadings. I have four game cartridges; Pearl, Diamond, Platinum, and HeartGold. It’s almost a complete set. I have potentially eight Pokémon to pickup here; Infernape, Empoleon, Roserade, Mothim, Lopunny, Toxicroak, Shaymin, and Arceus.

Pokémon Diamond

The copy of Pokémon Diamond I have actually belongs to my sister. Her save file has 7 badges from 44 hours of play and I will be claiming the Infernape and Roserade from it for myself. I love my sister but she lives in Canada now and her relationship to Pokémon is an appreciation for the retro gaming aesthetic as opposed to the agonising mental torment Pokémon holds over me. So I’m sure she won’t mind me mining the digital genetics of Pokémon from her old game. Besides if I have to, the save file is backed up.


  • Trade Infernape to Platinum
  • Transfer all other Pokémon to Pokémon Black
  • Restore save backup

Pokémon Pearl

With 220+ hours and 120 trades made, this is one of my most comprehensively played Pokémon games. Despite this, after backing up the save file I’ve found there is still significant post game content unplayed, including legendaries like Heatran. The bad news though is that it has mostly been raided for its Pokémon already, with only those I recently dumped onto the cartridge from their excursion at Pokémon Ranch remaining. This makes it a less than ideal candidate to use to pickup spare legendaries for trading and other post game content. This might seem like an easy decision for some, but I am deciding now to rule a line under this save, empty the game and possibly even sell the cartridge.


  • Transfer all Pokémon to Pokémon Black
  • Sell game

Pokémon Platinum

At just 33 hours played for a paltry 3 gym badges, I’m not sure what I was doing with Pokémon Platinum. When I look closer at the save though, with Buneary and Prinplup in my party, and a male Burmy and Croagunk in a box, it’s like I planned for this day. I’m going to pick up where I am, stack my party with the Pokémon I need to complete the dex and traipse through Sinnoh one last time. I’ll hit up all the end game content because spare legendaries are good trade bait for event Pokémon I need in later generations. For Shaymin and Arceus though, I’ll hack the required items into my bag and tackle them post game. One day I might write an essay on the ethics of hacking Pokémon, but the tl;dr is that it’s fine for event Pokémon, especially ones like Arceus who were never even distributed the way they were meant to be.  Arceus comes at level 80 so I’ll need some tough, Elite Four hardened monsters prepared, much tougher than the ones I still have in my Pearl game. When it’s all done I’ll transfer to Black and sell the cartridge. Gotta catch ’em all, gotta let go.


  • Inject Oak’s Letter Wondercard.
  • Receive Infernape from Diamond
  • Evolve Prinlup
  • Evolve Roselia
  • Evolve Buneary
  • Evolve Male Burmy
  • Evolve Croagunk
  • Defeat Elite Four
  • Catch Shaymin
    • (Optional) Collect spare legendaries
  • Tackle post game content
  • Transfer to Black
  • Sell game

Pokémon HeartGold

This one is mostly done. 16 badges, 120 hours but Red remains. I had told myself that Red doesn’t matter, but then I learnt he bestows ribbons on your champion Pokémon. Sadly, I learnt that right after I transferred my very capable team to Black. If there was one one way transfer I wish I could reverse it is that one. Maybe I’ll evaluate my Platinum team, once they’re Arceus strong, and give them a shot against Red. We’ll see. For now this’ll be a straight transfer to Black and maybe selling the game. I say maybe on this one because the sought after PokéWalker is long lost and an incomplete set isn’t worth as much. Maybe I’ll see how much they go for second hand and take Pokémon on walkies over the next six- NO!


  • Assess viability of taking on Red, possibly with the Platinum team.
  • Transfer all Pokémon to Black
  • Sell game


This has been a big effort. There are currently over 400 Pokémon that I’ve transferred to Black that are awaiting transport to Pokémon Bank. The initial Pokémon Diamond and Pearl tidy up took an afternoon but I spent a good couple of weeks playing through Pokémon Platinum with the team tailored for completing holes in the Pokédex. Platinum is a really great game, it’s better balanced game with smoother progression and more variety than Diamond and Pearl. However the new content added doesn’t seem to gel as well with the rest of the experience, for example the new character Looker barely figures in the adventure and doesn’t make any meaningful contribution to the story until the post-game content. The journey to distortion world also seemed completely out of place and was tedious at best. The postgame content is solid, mostly built around engaging in competitive battling at the battle frontier, but that wasn’t a focus for me at all. My focus was picking up the event Pokémon Shaymin and Arceus. The Shaymin expedition was a charming frolic and it’s a pity Nintendo never properly introduced Arceus to us. I vacillated on how I would get Arceus, hacking the event trigger is more difficult than Shaymin and Darkrai so in the end I decided to just hack an Arceus that was distributed by Mystery Gift directly into my Ultra Sun game. I followed suit with the rest of the event Pokémon that I had missed too because it became clear that all the ones floating across the GTS were obtained through similar means anyway.

Meanwhile, in the real world, I moved house from Geraldton to Perth, 400 kilometres south. This process was much more stressful than I anticipated and itself felt like a chapter had closed on my life. I found it very hard to get back to Platinum after the move and went at least two weeks without touching it. It was very hard to motivate myself to grind my Pokémon up enough levels to trade them over to HeartGold and take on Red. Although I gave myself until the 1st of October to reach this point of the journey, and it’s only the 23rd of September today, I am drawing this section to a close. For those of you who have been following this post closely, expect to see the ‘Sell games’ milestones be crossed off this week as I’ve located a friendly used game retailer. I also need to focus on another personal milestone; getting a new job.

Also, some extremely interesting developments place yesterday at the Pokémon Go community day event and I need to keep a close eye on those. Did we just see a new Pokémon? Whispers from Europe suggest Zeraora is coming too…

Generation Five: Pokémon Black

I’m now planning 3 months into the future and expect that plans may’ve changed somewhat. It’s possible by now I might’ve skipped some of the optional tasks. In fact everything before this is optional. I could expedite the process and move everything through Black to the Pokémon Bank and run through UltraSun for the remainder. Hell, I could just hack them all onto my UltraSun cartridge. But that’s not what this is about. Completing the Pokédex isn’t itself going to give the sense of fulfilment and ultimately rest that I’m seeking. It’s doing it properly, comprehensively and earning the sense of self determination to do it on my terms. My save file on Pokémon Black is 115 hours in, with the elite four defeated but most of the post game content untouched and just 10 Pokémon to my name. By the time I get here though I will’ve imported a significant cast of Pokémon from the fourth generation of games and might wander through the Unova region. This will be my first chance to pickup Virizion as well as Kyurem whom I’m pretty sure is still in the cave. Some fans have encouraged me to purchase a copy of Pokémon White 2 and play through that to grab the alternate forms of Thunderous, Landerous and Tornadous but I expect to be too tired for that. Besides all I really need to do is evolve a Dwebble to Crustle and even that can wait till later. There’s like 20 Dwebble in my bank, why haven’t I evolved one yet?

Roland consults with his fans on Pokémon White 2 (Artist’s depiction)


  • Gather Pokémon from Gen 4
    • (Optional) Hunt down Virizion
    • (Optional) Find Kyurem
    • (Optional) Maybe catch and evolve a Dwebble into Crustle.
  • Transfer everyone to Pokémon Bank
  • Sell game


I’ve begun to deviate from the plan and caught Virizion and Kyurem in AlphaSapphire instead, although turns out Kyurem was not in the cave as I’d planned. With no ribbons on offer, I simply moved everyone through – all 900 of them…

Sixth Generation Tidy Up

Despite my digital copies of Pokémon X and Pokémon AlphaSapphire still being “live” in that they have active internet services, including withdrawal from Pokémon Bank, I don’t plan to spend long with them. These games were the main workhorses of the last 100 or so Pokédex entries and I have knocked over most of their post game content in the process. Which is good because I don’t have the same access to backup save files to track some of the finer progression points. Maybe I’ll give Virizion another shot and I’ll run adverts with my surplus legendaries on the GTS for various event legendaries but hopefully you the reader can help me with this task. Event legendaries are mostly bullshit but I need em and I wasn’t paying attention the earlier times they were distributed. I guess ribbons are nice, maybe I’ll get some ribbons.


In something of an anti-climax I mostly skipped this step. I still have over a thousand Pokémon compatible with these games in my bank for now. At some point I’ll get some ribbons.

Pokémon UltraSun

I bought UltraSun at launch as a kind of bookend to my 3DS collection. It’s the only physical game I have for the machine. I was hoping it’d be the expanded sequel tour de force that I’m told Black and White 2 are. It’s not. It’s the last game with the colour saturation turned up. That all said, with most of the Pokédex building work behind me it’ll be nice to drift into the Alola sunset with just Poipole and Blacephalon to look out for along the way. There’s opportunities for me to pickup any of the Pokémon I previously labelled optional but honestly I hope I don’t have to.


  • Advertise for Marshadow and other event Pokémon
  • Collect Poipole
  • Evolve Poipole
  • Catch Blacephalon
  • Trade Blacephalon for Stakataka
  • Defeat Rainbow Rocket
  • Defeat the Elite Four
  • Enjoy the post game
  • Listen for news of Zeraora

Complete, for now

I might have more to say in another post but it was enjoyable enough to play through Ultra Sun and there was a final hiccup in the retrieval of Zeraora. There’s still more to play, including migrating all the Pokémon across to Ultra Sun so the game registers my completed Pokédex. Nintendo announced Melmetal like, 10 minutes before I registered Zeraora to my Pokédex which seems particularly hilarious timing but I knew this was coming and since it isn’t obtainable yet, I’m not bothered.

And Then?

Then I can finally move on with my life. I’ll give everything one final sort in Pokémon Bank and weigh up the viability of pushing for a living Pokédex. I’ll then grapple with the ethics of hacking my UltraSun save to complete gaps. I’ll read some reviews for LetsGo but right now I’m thinking it’s not for me. I’ll look at what might be coming for the eighth generation of Pokémon in 2019 but for now, for once in my life, I look forward to ruling a line under Pokémon. Maybe I’ll come back in 2019, or maybe I’ll wait a decade. Introduce a child of my own to this game and we can discover the next 400 Pokémon together.



  • Catch a Doduo at the Fuchsia City Safari Zone and evolve.
    Completed 6th of July, 2018


  • Defeat fighting dojo in Saffron City (Pokémon Red) and choose as a prize.
    Completed 5th of July, 2018.


  • Catch a Koffing in the mansion, evolve to Weezing.
    Completed 7th of July, 2018, on Route 13, while football was coming home.


  • Playthrough Pokémon Silver, evolve Togepi through friendship.
    Completed 12th of July, 2018, while flying to Singapore.


  • Playthrough Pokémon Silver, evolve Skiploom.
    Completed 16th of July, 2018, while flying to Perth.


  • Investigate getting one in Silver.
  • Hitmontop evolves from Tyrogue from level 20 provided its attack and defence stats are identical.
    Completed 19th of July, 2018.


  • Breed a Jynx.
  • Hatch the egg.
    Completed 19th of July, 2018.


  • Transfer from my sister’s Pokémon Diamond.
    Completed 23rd of July, 2018.


  • Evolve Prinplup in Platinum.
    Completed 28th of July, 2018.


  • Find a Shiny stone.
  • Evolve a Roselia in Platinum.
    Completed 30th of July, 2018


  • Evolve a male Burmy in Platinum.
    Completed 26th of July, 2018.


  • Evolve through happiness while playing Platinum.
    Completed 27th of July, 2018.


  • Evolve Croagunk at level 37 in Platinum.
    Completed 28th of July, 2018.


  • Use PKHeX to load Wondercard to Pokémon Platinum.
  • Navigate to the Flower Field.
  • Catch Shaymin.
    Completed 13th of August, 2018.


  • Inject via PKHex.
    Completed 5th of August.


  • Evolve a Dwebble at level 34 in AlphaSapphire.
    Completed 25th of September.


  • Catch in Pinwheel Forest on Pokémon Black. Or,
  • With three full effort pokemon in my party, catch it on a Monday or Thursday on the pathless plain Pokémon Alpha Sapphire. Or,
    Completed 17th of September.


  • Catch in Gnarled Den in Pokémon OmegaRuby.
    Completed 13th of September, 2018.


  • Trade excess legendaries.
    Completed 3rd of July, 2018, while writing this article!


  • Inject via PKHex.
    Completed 5th of August, 2018.


  • Inject via PKHex.
    Completed 5th of August, 2018.


  • Trade excess legendaries.
    Completed on 31st of July, 2018


  • Inject via PKHex.
    Completed 5th of August, 2018


  • Playthrough Ultra Sun and receive as gift.
    Completed 12th of October


  • Evolve Poipole through learning Dragon Pulse.
    Completed 13th of October.


  • Trade for on the GTS.
    Completed 13th of October, trading for Articuno


  • Playthrough Ultra Sun until post-game and catch.
    Completed 13th of October


  • Contact friend in the UK
  • Have them send me a code.
  • Pickup Zeraora from Pokémon Centre
    Completed 24th of October

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