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Lite: Remembering Pokemon digital distribution 1996 style

Digital distribution and downloadable content are big business these days. You can download whole new campaigns, maps, tracks, characters and horse armour.

But in 1996 these kind of things hadn’t even been thought up yet in the console realm, PC games had mods sure but for consoles or handhelds to have DLC it was unheard of.

So how did you get extra content into you game in the 90s? There was no simple internet download, Nintendo events were seldom held outside of Melbourne and Sydney (in this case there was an event in Perth) so what else is there left to do? What if you can’t get to one of these events?

Send your cartridge into Nintendo.

Now for someone the same age as me this mightn’t seem like a crazy idea, but if you were born the later side of 1992 this might seem crazy. Vook, this crazy man, mailing games to Nintendo, what madness is this?

Yes it’s true, for me and many other people to get our hands on Mew in Pokemon Red and Blue we needed to wait 21 days to post the cartridge to Nintendo, have them spent 5 seconds to load him on and then wait for it to come back.

To prove we’re not making this up, one of our writers, Daniel Miller, scanned his letter he found while digging through his old gaming stuff. I also got the letter as well, I sent off both cartridges we had here at home, even though you were only allowed 1!

I don’t think that Games Hotline number works anymore, but that’s for another story. That main number though still works, 1300 3 MARIO. If you ever do need to send anything to Nintendo.

We doubt they’re taking Pokemon Red and Blue carts anymore though.

Photo’s by: Daniel Miller

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About The Author
Daniel Vuckovic
The Owner and Creator of this fair website. I also do news, reviews, programming, art and social media here. It is named after me after all. Please understand.
7 Comments
  • missingo
    September 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    was so much easier going to the events ūüėõ

  • dr luigi
    September 4, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    that just tells you how much video games have progressed over the years.

  • Histopher
    September 4, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    I remember my cartridge came back with TWO Mews! I couldn’t believe my luck ūüôā Those were truly the days.

  • Jabjabs
    September 5, 2012 at 3:59 am

    I never heard of this little deal they had going. I suppose that was just as the first big wave of Pokemon excitement was in full swing and stuff like this seemed necessary for the fan base.

    Just goes to show the crazy lengths that companies would go through to do what is absolutely mundane today thanks to the proliferation of the Internet.

  • Ninja Catfish
    September 5, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    I never knew you could send your carts in! I thought it was limited to events only.
    I did send a cart to Nintendo as recently as Pokemon Sapphire, to fix the “Berry bug” where the in game clock would stop working after a certain date, and berries would never grow.
    Got an alt. coloured Zigzagoon too.

  • Firaenix
    September 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Well it seems like the 1300 3MARIO number does indeed work, it redirects to the Nintendo Australia Hotline

  • Jules
    December 7, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    There was an event for this big shopping centres in Brisbane. I took my Yellow, my best friend took her Blue and we got Mew downloaded to our carts. This was in 1999 I’m pretty sure because Yellow had been released in Aus and I didn’t get Red or Blue.

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