Alex Mitchell

Pokemon Mini FPGA Core Released

If you’ve been interested in checking out the Pokemon Mini—Nintendo’s Pokemon themed micro handheld from 2001—then today is your lucky day! Developer Grieverheart, who I can’t seem to find much of a history for, has released a MiSTer FPGA core that seems to work well so far. Rather than try to extoll the virtues of this fascinating piece of hardware, I’m going to refer you to Stop Skeletons from Fighting‘s excellent breakdown:

A few important things to mention specifically about this core:

  • The Pokemon Mini’s display is designed to refresh at 75Hz, which is higher than most MiSTer cores. The core for this uses several methods to output video at 60Hz though, and my experience with it is that it looks pretty decent.
  • Much like the Game Boy cores, there are some frame blending effects that make flickering visuals look more like they would on the original consoles’ LCD. Although it looks pretty good, work is still being done to improve the accuracy of the deflicker method.
  • The zoom setting is really more for analog output. The default settings still fill the HDMI output just fine.
  • An SDRAM module is required, but any size will work. 
  • There is currently no IR communication support.

For those of you who are just hearing about this console for the first and would prefer to play on original hardware, Pokemon Minis are still relatively easy to find on the secondary market and a flash cart was even released in 2019. While the Pokemon Mini’s library is not especially robust, it’s still an interesting footnote in Nintendo’s hardware catalog and an excellent demonstration of how projects like MiSTer play an important role in preserving these niche platforms.