Polygon recently interviewed the Director of The Pokémon Company, Junichi Masuda, about the original Pokémon Games. Masuda reflected on a lot of things like starting at the company from the beginning. How they would work long nights on the development of the Pokémon Red/Blue/Green. His best memory whilst working on the original games, etc. The latter of course, is how Masuda managed to recover important data on the games after the computer containing all the information like characters and Pokémon crashed. It essentially would have ended Pokémon before it even saw the light of the world.
Fortunately, For the Game Freak team and every Pokémon Fan in the world to date. Masuda searched for an answer to recover the lost data by contacting internet service providers and reading Computer Manuals. He eventually found the answer he needed and rescued Pokémon.
Here are Masuda’s exact words of the event:
Masuda: 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-wracking moment, I think, in development.
If you would like to read the full interview between Polygon and Junici Masuda, you can find it here.