20 years later, Pokemon Red and Blue pals can finally be freed from their Gen 1 prisons with this homebrew

Pokemon Red
(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

If you're like me, you have an old GBA somewhere in your parents' attic which you've presumed to be the final resting place for so many Pokemon Red and Blue pals you caught during your childhood. Not so fast! Thanks to a new homebrew, you can rescue your old Pokemon from their Gen 1 prisons and add them to your current collection, including Pokemon Home and Pokemon Bank.

For the uninitiated, the Pokemon games are impressively streamlined when it comes to trading between generations. Right now, you can dig out your old copy of Pokemon Ruby or Sapphire and transfer pocket monsters you caught back in 2002 to your Sword or Shield save. Granted, it's not as simple as busting out your GBA and connecting to your Switch via Bluetooth - we have a dedicated guide on Pokemon Home transfers if you're interested - but it is possible. 

Pokemon from Gen 1 and 2, however, have been lost to time unless you've been brave enough to try one of the variably sketchy DIY solutions currently available, which are usually complicated and legally ambiguous. Now there's a much easier solution, thanks to Redditor Lorenzooone, who came up with a homebrew that lets you easily trade between Gen 1 and 2 and Gen 3 with nothing but a link cable. "This can be useful to bring your Pokémon 'trapped' in the Gen 1/2 games to Pokémon Bank and Pokémon Home," said the creator. 

Trading Pokémon directly between Generation 3 and Generation 1/2 is now possible! from r/pokemon

Of course, it's still a process, since there's still no Nintendo-supported way to link up your Switch with your old GBA, but Lorenzooone's tutorial makes it look surprisingly manageable. One thing worth mentioning is that there's a chance your old Gen 1 saves are permanently lost if your Red or Blue copy's original battery died, since those old cartridges held their save files on a SRAM chip instead of flash memory like the newer games. But let's hope that's not the case!

Once you do get your old Pokemon transferred to your new-gen collection, you'll notice they'll automatically become their Gen 3 versions (Fire Red is the default, but you can change that), as it's then that Nintendo's official support for trading between newer Pokemon games starts. Aside from the visual change, there are also some Gen 1 moves that aren't supported in Gen 3 and beyond, so those will be removed from your move lists. Otherwise, you can trade, battle, and pal around with your OG 'Mon like it's 1996.

Find out where your favorite ranked on our list of the best Pokemon games.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.