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Junichi Masuda recalls how a computer crash nearly destroyed all work on the original Pokemon games

Posted on September 27, 2018 by (@NE_Brian) in General Nintendo, News

Polygon recently spoke to longtime Pokemon developer Junichi Masuda about the early days of the franchise’s development. During the interview, Masuda recalled one interesting story about how all work on the original games was nearly lost.

According to Masuda, a computer crash almost caused everything Game Freak had done on the project to vanish. The PC had all of the game data, Pokemon, and more. Masuda eventually figured out how to get back what was thought to be lost, but if he hadn’t, there could have been a massive setback that the team may not have been able to recover from.

Masuda’s full words:

One of the more happy episodes or more positive stories, I really don’t remember so well, but I think the most memorable […] happening that I still have in my mind after all these years is that we were developing the game on these Unix computer stations called the Sun SPARCstation 1. […] We’re developing, and they’re these Unix boxes, and they crashed quite a bit. Back then, computers would crash fairly frequently.

Somewhere midway through the development, maybe in the fourth year or so, we had a really bad crash that we couldn’t, we didn’t know how to recover the computer from. That had all of the data for the game, all of the Pokémon, the main character and everything. It really felt like, “Oh my God, if we can’t recover this data, we’re finished here.” I just remember doing a lot of different research. I called the company that I used to work for, seeing if they had any advice to recover the data.

I would go on this internet service provider back then called Nifty Serve. It’s like a Japanese version of CompuServe. I’d go on and ask people that I never talked to for advice on how to recover the data. I would look at these English books about the machine itself, because there wasn’t a lot of information in Japanese, just to figure it out. We eventually figured out how to recover it, but that was like the most nerve-racking moment, I think, in development.


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