Distribution device

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Various distribution cartridges for Generations IV and V

A distribution device is any device that is used to distribute Pokémon events.

Distribution devices include dedicated machines, regular Pokémon game cartridges, game cartridges with special software, and Nintendo GameCube discs with special software. They distribute events through a variety of methods, including directly plugging the cartridge into the device, Game Link Cables, Game Boy Advance Wireless Adapters, infrared, and local communication.

Pokémon machines

Special machines

The Special Machine (Japanese: 特製マシン), sometimes referred to as a Mew Machine or a Celebi Machine, was used to distribute event Pokémon in Generation I starting with the Nintendo Space World '97 Mew distribution. It was mainly used to distribute Mew but also other events like Surfing Pikachu. An updated version was used starting with the Nintendo Space World 2000 Celebi for all Celebi events during Generation II. At separate events, Pokémon game cartridges containing event Pokémon downloaded from the special machines were sometimes used as "distribution cartridges", and the event Pokémon were exchanged via Game Link Cable.

Internal structure

Video evidence shows that users of the distribution machine would insert their game cartridge into a slot on the front of the machine to initiate the download, which was then followed by a trade animation of the player receiving the event Pokémon. In 2021, actor Cody Burns interviewed ex-Nintendo representative Jeremy Hepworth on the 9th episode of the Every Pokémon Ever charity benefit. Hepworth stated that the internals of the machine had specially designed proprietary software that could transfer a Pokémon to a cartridge without the need to trade a Pokémon from the player. Rather, the player had to have an empty slot in their party for the download to initiate. When asked about the location of any existing machines, Hepworth stated that "If they do still exist, they're probably sitting around in a [Nintendo] storage unit somewhere... forgotten". As of 2023, the location of special Mew/Celebi distribution machines is still unknown.

Generation I

Generation II

Pokémon Distribution Machine

The Pokémon Distribution Machine (Japanese: ポケモン配布マシン), also known as the Pokémon Vending Machine, was used to distribute campaign distributions in Generation II at Pokémon Centers and debuted with the opening of the Pokémon Center New York for the distribution of the Gotta catch 'em all! campaigns. It was also used in Japanese Pokémon Centers to distribute the Mystery Egg campaigns. An updated version of the machine's software for Generation III was made in June, 2003 and used for the distribution of Wishing Star Jirachi at the 18th World Hobby Fair and Pokémon Festa 2003 in Japan. In August, 2003 the machines from the Pokémon Center New York were updated for the distribution of the Gotta Catch 'Em All campaigns in Generation III. The Pokémon Center New York machines were promoted as "Gotta Catch 'Em All Stations" and later succeeded by a different hardware setup promoted as the new Gotta Catch 'Em All Station which was used for the wireless Mystery Gift distribution of the Wish Eggs campaign.

The distribution machine was connected to a developer Gamecube and stored configurations, logs, and other information on a memory card. While Shiny Pokémon could be configured, this was never used in Generation III. The devices distribution could was used as the Trainer ID starting with 1. If more than 65535 Pokémon were distributed without restarting or powering off the device, then the ID would overflow to 0.

Generation II

Distribution cartridges

Game Link Cables were used to distribute many events until the start of Generation IV. Starting in Generation V, infrared was used to distribute certain events in Japan and South Korea.

Distribution cartridges are given to stores for event distributions, and are not sold commercially. Starting in Generation IV, they only contain information for the event Pokémon, and have no actual game data or save possibilities. These cartridges use DS Wireless Communications to distribute events starting in Generation IV. At the end of an event, they are intended to be sent to Nintendo's Waste Management facility in Redmond, Washington, where they are presumably destroyed. However, sometimes, distribution cartridges are leaked or sold to the public.

No distribution cartridges are known to exist for event distributions for the post-Generation V games, presumably due to the advent of full digital games.

Generation I

Generation III

Generation IV

Generation V

See also


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