A serial code, usually referred to simply as a code (Japanese: シリアルコード serial code) or password (Japanese: あいことば password), is a string of numbers and uppercase letters that players can enter to download a gift, typically a Pokémon or item. They first appeared in Generation V for Pokémon Global Link promotions, but these passwords were entered through the Global Link website. Starting from Generation VI, codes are entered from the main menu in core series games, under the Mystery Gift function, after choosing "Receive Gift" and "Get with Code/Password". This requires connecting to the internet.
Types of codes
Serial codes can be split into two types: one-time use codes and common-use password codes.
One-time use codes are mostly random strings of numbers and letters that can only be used to receive a gift once. If a gift from a one-time use code is downloaded and the internet connection is interrupted before it properly completes, it is possible that this will count as the code's single use and it will be unusable afterwards. One-time use codes can also be validated by entering the code in a game and declining to download the gift when the game asks whether the player wants to receive the gift that was found; this does not count as the code's use, but it does lock the code to that game for approximately one hour, temporarily preventing other games from using that code.
One-time use codes are generally distributed to individuals directly. This may manifest in a physical form, with stores commonly distributing special cards with unique serial codes to visitors; or it may be accomplished electronically, such as by sending unique codes to different submitted email addresses or through a newsletter (such as the Pokémon Trainer Club newsletter, on a few occasions).
Presumably as a measure to avoid confusion, one-time use codes for the Nintendo 3DS games do not use the numbers "0" or "1" and the letters "B", "I", "O", or "V"; serial codes for the Nintendo Switch games do not use the letters "O", "I", or "Z"—the ability to enter these characters on the keyboard is also disabled.
One-time use codes also have certain fixed prefixes for certain events. The first four characters are often the same for all codes for the same event; occasionally, however, this prefix may differ depending on where or how the code was received. Different PAL region countries, for example, often have different prefixes for the same event.
On the 3DS, The first character also usually corresponds to the region it can be used with: "A", "E", "J", "K" or "T" for American region, PAL region, Japanese region, Korean region Taiwanese region games (respectively); or "F" for codes usable with more than one region. The second digit in the prefix generally matches the singles digit of the year when the code was released. The last two digits in code prefixes often exhibit a nearly consecutive upward trend across different events, with the letter "Z" used as a stand-in for the number "0" and "A" used as a stand-in for "1" (since those numbers are not used in one-time use codes).
On the Nintendo Switch, codes still have fixed 4 character prefixes, however the first character may represent a different region, the following opening characters are used:
- A codes originate from Asia; Specifically ASEAN countries, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao.
- E codes originate from Europe, Middle East, Africa and Oceania.
- J codes originate from Japan.
- K codes originate from South Korea.
- M codes originate from Pokémon movie distributions. These are usually Japanese and will allow for multiple codes to be redeemed on the same save file.
- U codes originate from the United States and other countries in the Americas.
Password codes are usually constructed as intelligble phrases made from combinations of words related to the event, such as SERENA01 for Serena's Fennekin.
These codes are released publicly and are intended to be used by any player. Thus, they do not have a limit to the number of times they may be used by different players or other such restrictions.
When a password that is less than the maximum length is entered, the game effectively considers the unused spaces at the end to be 0's. This means it is technically not necessary to include any 0's that may appear at the end of a common code (e.g., the code GENESECT20 could be entered as GENESECT2). Similarly, any number of 0's can be appended to the end of a password and it will remain valid.
- Serial code event Pokémon distributions in Generation VI, by region: Japanese, American, PAL, Korean, Taiwanese
- Serial code event Pokémon distributions in Generation VII, by region: Japanese, American, PAL, Korean, Taiwanese
- List of event Pokémon distributions (Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!), all serial code events.
- List of event Pokémon distributions (Sword and Shield)
- List of event Pokémon distributions (Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl)
- List of event Pokémon distributions (Legends: Arceus)
- List of event Pokémon distributions (Scarlet and Violet)
- List of prefixes for one-time serial codes
In other languages
|This game mechanic article is part of Project Games, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive articles on the Pokémon games.|