Pokémon Trading Card Game (game)

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This article is about the Game Boy game. For other TCG video games, see Category:Pokémon Trading Card Game video games.
Pokémon Trading Card Game
Boxart of Pokémon Trading Card Game
Basic info
Platform: Game Boy Color*
Category: Strategy
Players: 2 players simultaneous
Connectivity: Link cable
Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Nintendo
Part of: Generation I side series
PEGI: 3+
Release dates
Japan: December 18, 1998[1]
North America: April 10, 2000[2]
Australia: April 7, 2000[3]
Europe: December 15, 2000[4]
South Korea: N/A
Hong Kong: N/A
Taiwan: N/A
Japanese: Official site
English: Pokemon Cards
TCG JP boxart.png
Japanese boxart of Pokémon Trading Card Game
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Pokémon Trading Card Game (Japanese: ポケモンカードGB Pokémon Card GB) is the first Pokémon game in the Trading Card Game series to be released in Japan, in 1998. The English version was later released in North America in 2000. Pokémon Trading Card Game was followed, only in Japan, a year later by a sequel, titled Template:Card GB 2. It takes place on the Trading Card Game Island and the player's starting area is the Mason Laboratory. A promotional Meowth card was included with the English release of the game. The Japanese version of the game included the special Legendary Dragonite, only to be released in Japan.


The player begins his or her adventure at Mason Laboratory, where Dr. Mason gives him or her the choice of taking along one of three different Pokémon Trading Card Game decks: Charmander & Friends, Squirtle & Friends or Bulbasaur & Friends. The player, known by default as Mark, has an ambition of becoming the world's greatest Pokémon Trading Card Game player; however, Mark's rival, Ronald, has a similar goal. Ronald will duel the player at certain points in the game to test the player's cards; being defeated is an indication for the player to improve his or her deck. Victory, however, results in receiving a Promotional Card.


Based on the hit Wizards of the Coast card game...
The greatest Pokémon Trading Card Game players of all time – the Grand Masters – are looking for one player worthy of inheriting the four rare, Legendary Pokémon Cards! Build new decks with the Auto Deck Machine, hone your skills on the Challenge Machine and test your ability in Challenge Hall. Expand your card collection, duel your way through 8 Club Masters and earn the right to challenge the Grand Masters in the Pokémon Dome! Shadowy figures, wise instructors and powerful opponents await in the ultimate trading card game adventure!

  • Includes over 200 of your favorite Pokémon Trading Cards, plus new cards exclusive to the Game Boy game!
  • Learn how to play the card game, build and manage decks and duel with other card players in step-by-step tutorials.
  • Duel a friend using the Game Link cable (sold separately) or generate new cards using the Infra-Red Card Pop! feature (available with Game Boy Color only).
  • Basic reading skills are needed to fully enjoy the story.


Pokémon Trading Card Game allows players to send and receive cards and deck configurations between two cartridges via a Game Boy link cable. A feature called Card Pop! can also be used between players using Game Boy Colors, as it requires use of the Game Boy Color's Infra-Red Communications Port. This has to be done in order to complete their album without cheating, since two cards can only be obtained through this feature. The Link Cable also makes it possible to duel another player's deck, allowing experienced players to pit their deck against equals.


Similarities to the main series

The Pokémon TCG game cartridge
The object of the game is very similar to the object of the games in the main series: Players can start off with one of the three starter decks, titled after (and built around) the starter Pokémon of Generation I (excluding Pokémon Yellow), Squirtle, Charmander and Bulbasaur. The goal of players is also to defeat eight specialized leaders, the Club Masters (comparable to Gym Leaders), and four Elite challengers, the Grand Masters (comparable to the Elite Four). However, while Club Masters' decks correspond approximately to the types of the Trading Card Game cards, since there are eight Club Masters and at the time only seven distinct Pokémon card types, two of the types are repeated: Fighting and Grass, split in the form of a "Rock" and a "Poison" user, respectively.

Similar to the Gym Badges earned by players after defeating Gym Leaders in the main series, players of Trading Card Game earn Medals after defeating Club Masters. Certain Master Medals allow players to unlock corresponding Auto Deck Machines in Mason Laboratory.

Like the concept of the main series to store Pokémon in a PC, Trading Card Game also allows players to manage their cards via computer. Players can also check their mail for messages from Dr. Mason; Mason will send fifteen e-mails in all over the adventure, each containing at least one booster pack.

An almost exact reception center is also featured in Club lounges in the game, with a Battle Center and a Gift Center; the former which allows players to duel against each other's decks and the latter which allows players to send or receive cards or deck configurations.

Pokémon Trading Card Game also features the ability to run while holding the B button, an element that was not seen in the main series until Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. It also displays the player's location in the main menu before they choose to continue. On a similar note, from the Ruby and Sapphire versions onward, the save prompt can also display the player's location.


There are eight Pokémon Clubs on Trading Card Game Island, each with their own type affiliation. The Club Masters are Nikki (Grass), Rick (Poison), Ken (Fire), Amy (Water), Isaac (Lightning), Murray (Psychic), Gene (Rock) and Mitch (Fighting).

Grand Masters

The there are four Grand Masters located at the Pokémon Dome. The Grand Masters are Courtney (Fire), Steve (Lightning), Jack (Ice) and Rod (Dragon); the Champion is Ronald, who has a deck of mixed types.

Pokémon cards

Containing every card released in the real Trading Card Game's Base Set, Jungle, and Fossil expansions, except for the Base Set's Electrode and Fossil's Ditto, and including many game-exclusive cards which were never produced for normal play, the game emulated the experience of the actual Trading Card Game very closely. No normal counterparts of holographic cards are included.

The game contains pre-recorded data on all 228 cards featured (including Lv15 Mew and Lv64 Venusaur). Despite this, not all Pokémon are available to the player; Card Pop! must occur between players in order to complete their album without the use of cheats, as this is the only way to obtain the aforementioned Mew and Venusaur cards.

Cards can be obtained through booster packs from four expansion sets including Colosseum, Evolution, Mystery, and Laboratory, or by defeating specific challengers (for example, each defeat of the Grand Masters will award the player with a set of legendary Moltres, Zapdos, Articuno, and Dragonite cards). Among the aforementioned four expansion sets is a fifth set, the Promotional Card set. However these cards can only be attained by defeating players such as Ronald, Imakuni?, and the Grand Masters, defeating three Challenge Hall opponents in a row, trading with Ishihara, and Card Popping.

Card Pop!

Card Pop!, a feature much like the recurring Mystery Gift of the main series, can be used only by two players with Game Boy Colors, as it requires use of the Game Boy Color's Infra-Red Communications Port. Card Pop! generates a random card for both players, then records the ID of the cartridges used to Card Pop!. The same two cartridges cannot Card Pop! again until both players have used the feature with so many others that their ID is written over. This feature is the only way of obtaining two specific cards.


Stadium series: Stadium (JPEN) • Stadium 2Battle Revolution
Storage series: Box RSMy Pokémon RanchBank (Transporter)
Colosseum series: ColosseumXD
Other games: Dream Radar
Pokémon game templates

Project Sidegames logo.png This article is part of both Project Sidegames and Project TCG, Bulbapedia projects that, together, aim to write comprehensive articles on the Pokémon Sidegames and TCG, respectively. Project TCG logo.png


The promotional Venusaur card that could only be obtained through Card Pop, could have also been obtained for you personal collection in the Nintendo Power Pokémon Trading Card Game Strategy Guide.

The second Surfing Pikachu, in game, that had rocks behind it, was released in Japan never to be released in English. The card is called the Mt. Fuji Surfing Pikachu.