Complete Collectors Guide to the Nintendo Pokemon Mini

Complete-PAL-Pokemon-Mini-CollectionDespite it's small size and even smaller sized library of games, Nintendo's Pokemon Mini sure does pack a powerful 8-bit punch. Today, RetroCollect jumps into Pikachu's world to give you a full guide to collecting Pokemon Mini, while showcasing the hidden gem's within the Pokemon themed catalogue.

Released in Japan back in November 2001, December in America and the following March for Europe, the Pokemon Mini was set to be the extra handheld to have alongside the newly released Nintendo Gameboy Advance. Featuring multiplayer functionality via infrared, built in rumble and changeable cartridges, what was there not to love about this little gimmick!?

Sadly the Pokemon Mini never took off in Europe as much as it should, however it did manage to do a little better in Japan. On European shores, the Pokemon Mini only saw 5 games released compared to Japan's more impressive 10 titles. Among these titles were quite a few surprisingly decent games, including Pokemon Tetris, quite possibly the smallest yet one of the best versions of Tetris around.

Mini 'Pokemon Mini'

Pokemon-Mini-Size-ComparisonThe Pokemon mini Hardware is exactly as it says, mini. Measuring just 74mm x 58mm x 23mm, the handheld only just manages to rise higher than a classic Gameboy cartridge due to the extra curved grip at the base. The screen measures no more than a inch and a half diagonally, making the Gameboy Micro's screen look rather big. However despite the small screen, the display is rather clear in good light and the games have been designed with the limitations in mind.

The cartridges are just as equally small, measuring approx 1 inch in width, slotting rather tightly into the back of the handheld. Similar to the Classic Gameboy, the Pokemon Mini features a cartridge locking mechanism to prevent the game being pulled out during play.

Aside from its size, the Mini holds quite an array of impressive features. Most importantly is it's built in stand-by mode. As there is no start/pause button, a press of the Power button with put your game to sleep, which can be resumed at any time once the Power is brought back. The Mini also features a rather strong built rumble, infrared port for multiplayer gaming and a shock detector allowing you to shake your way through certain games.

As the Japanese commercial above shows off a few of the features, it also details why you're probably best playing the handheld in private to prevent being branded as a Pokefan'ophile.

Pokemon Mini Game Library

As previously mentioned, there were 10 games made commercially available for the Pokemon Mini. It's worth noting that the Pokemon Mini is one of the few consoles with no unreleased games nor missing games, every title ever mentioned for the system saw release.

In Europe, the Pokemon Mini's catalogue consisted of Pokemon Party Mini (Bundled with the handheld), Pokemon Pinball Mini, Pokemon Puzzle Collection, Pokemon Tetris and Pokemon Zany Cards.

In Japan, the handheld was lucky enough to get all of the games mentioned above, as well as Pichu Bros Mini, Pokemon Breeder Mini, Pokemon Puzzle Collection Vol 2, Pokemon Race Mini and Togepi's Great Adventure.

In this guide we will be looking closely at the PAL releases for the Pokemon Mini.

Pokemon Party Mini

Pokemon-Party-Mini-ScreenshotPokemon Party Mini is what Warioware is to the Gameboy Advance, a compilation of madness and a must have title for the system. The game features 7 different mini games to give you a flavour of what the handheld can offer, while setting up some tough challenges.

The first game of the collection is called 'Rocket Start', a game all about reflexes and high scores. Once a timer counts down to 0, you must set Pikachu off on a race with one simple button press. Press it too late and you're left at the starting line.The second game has you judging a Tennis game, the Third a Football/Soccer dribbling game with Chansey and the world's most difficult to control ball.

The remaining games follow the same mini game pattern remnant of the Nintendo Game and Watch days, with a small selection of them offering multiplayer functionality.

View Pokemon Party Mini's scans, rarity and collectors information in the RetroCollect Database

Pokemon Pinball Mini

Pokemon Pinball MiniFor those who have had chance to play Pokemon Pinball on the Gameboy Color will feel right at home. Catching Pokemon while bouncing around a Pinball table, it doesn't get any better than this for Pokemon fans.

Unlike most pinball games though, Pokemon Pinball Mini doesn't allow the ball to roll out of the table. Instead the time is your enemy as the Pokemon themed flippers such as Digglet, must bounce the ball towards the uncaught Pokemon and eventually slot into a small hole. Easier said than done.

The game itself is rather simple, but after a while it begins to get rather addictive as you try to master certain tables and catch those monsters that escaped you previously.

View Pokemon Pinball Mini's scans, rarity and collectors information in the RetroCollect Database

Pokemon Puzzle Collection

Pokemon Puzzle Collection Cover ScanEvery console needs it's puzzle compilation, for the Pokemon Mini it's Pokemon Puzzle Collection. This little bundle of puzzles features four different types of puzzle with multiple levels to slowly work through.

The first puzzle included is the traditional sliding puzzle, with a twist. For those who think sliding puzzles are a doddle might want to look this way as the pieces of the puzzle in this game are animated. If aligning 16 squares of an animated Poliwhirl sounds hard, wait till you reach the final level featuring a wall of falling Voltorbs.

The second game, Shadow Puzzle is a Pokemon retelling of the game where you must place and rotate various shapes into a tight space to form a shape. Upon finishing a shape, the Pokemon it represents will appear from behind to congratulate you.

The third game, Rescue Mission is the puzzle that most Professor Layton (Nintendo DS) players will be familiar with. You must slide blocks around in a tight space, slowly making way for a ball (Pokemon in this case) to make it out at the other side. Easily the toughest game of the lot.

And finally, Power On, a cross over between a sliding puzzle and pipedream. It's up to you to connect the wires to allow Pikachu to light up the room on the current hiding Pokemon.

Overall this collection is a nice bundle for when you have a few free minutes to kill, but don't expect as much as the game below has to offer...

View Pokemon Pinball Mini's scans, rarity and collectors information in the RetroCollect Database

Pokemon Tetris

Pokemon Tetris Cover ScanAlso known as Pokemon Shock Tetris (in Japan), Pokemon Tetris is inevitably the best game on the system. Somehow Nintendo managed to cram the Gameboy classic into the tiny handheld and bring new features, add the ability to catch Pokemon and a new mode featuring new blocks unseen in most Tetris games.

With every Tetris (a complete clear of four lines), the silhouette of the Pokemon dancing in the bottom right is captured into a PokeBall and added to the Pokemon Tetris Pokedex. Featuring all 251 Gold & Silver generation Pokemon, there is plenty of playability in this game. You've 'Gotta Catch 'em all'.

The second mode of standard play in Pokemon Tetris is known as Super. This is where you can catch all the Gold & Silver Pokemon and are slowly introduced to the new 5 piece blocks that make Tetris more of a challenge.

The game also features multiplayer functions, something no Tetris game can be without.

Turn your speakers down first, it seems emulation of the Pokemon Mini sound chip isn't quite there yet...

Sadly though, for such a great title it comes at a price. Pokemon Tetris is the rarest PAL game on the Pokemon Mini. Requiring a lot of patience, it shows up time to time on eBay. But don't hold your breath on the next copy, there is a lot of competition for it.

View Pokemon Tetris's scans, rarity and collectors information in the RetroCollect Database

Pokemon Zany Cards

Pokemon Zany Cards Cover ScanFinally, the last of the PAL releases for the Pokemon MIni. Unlike the rest of the games, Pokemon Zany Cards at first is not one you can quickly pick up and play. Zany Cards has a few rules and gameplay mechanisms you need to learn first.

If we are honest though, the rules themselves still don't make complete sense. From what we can make out, you are supposed to create pairs of Pokemon, or match up cards of Pokemon's evolution stages which all result in being given coins.

The game strikes us as one that can potentially be rather addicitve once decoded and also one that is stereotypically Japanese. Following Pokemon Tetris rarity race, Zany Cards comes in at a close second. Another tough one to locate.

View Pokemon Tetris's scans, rarity and collectors information in the RetroCollect Database

Pokemon Mini Collectors Guide Summary

If you're only just coming round to collecting the Pokemon Mini, you couldn't have arrived at a better time. The system is still rather obscure with little demand for it. With so little games to be had for the system too, it's by far the easiest collection to complete.

Unfortunately though, like most failed systems it isn't as widespread as we'd like it to be. The console will be seen on eBay occasionally, with games bundled. However as mentioned earlier, locating Pokemon Tetris and Zany Cards will prove a small challenge.

And those that aren't too interested in collecting for the system can relax in the knowledge that a flash card is currently in development for the system. Being produced by the one and only Pokemon Mini fan community, it's opening access to many homebrew games such as Sonic The Hedgehog and Zelda. While these might be nothing more than technical demos, it's always nice to see our favourite characters appear where they don't below.

Link: Search for Pokemon Mini on eBay

Last Updated ( 13 February 2017 )  


Better known as Adam offline, Cauterize is one of RetroCollect's final bosses with an unhealthy addiction to pixels. When he's not out searching the web for the latest retro gaming news or creating content for RetroCollect, he'll will most likely be found working on his Sensible Soccer skills.

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(Link to this comment) TwoHeadedBoy 2010-09-14 16:51
Nice article, very nice indeed!
I have all but Tetris, and I can't even get the emulator to work for some reason. So guess eBay's my only way of playing the damn game - unless you want to bring it along to R3play?

Oh, and if this works, congratulations on fixing the commenting problem.
(Link to this comment) Welshwuff 2011-12-22 22:40
hee, thing excisted for 2 reasons, one to profit of the pokemon franchise, gotta buy them all! and two, to be able to boast making the smallest handheld console ever.
(Link to this comment) Dance21 2015-09-19 18:35
I've the complete collection :lol:

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