Nostalgia Review: Pokemon Snap (N64)



The 90s were a great era for Pokemon fans, but simply training and catching ’em all was not your only objective!

[dropcap size=small]B[/dropcap]ecoming a Pokemon Master takes hard work, discipline, and an iron will. But even with all of those attributes, completing one’s own PokeDex can seem like a daunting task at times. Of course, training and catching the 151 pocket monsters of Kanto is an accomplishment all its own, if you have what it takes. Then of course, there are those who prefer being behind the camera, and catching these unique creatures in their distinctive habitats. You could even say, “it’s a snap!”, but we won’t, because that is just silly.

Anyway, Pokemon Snap made its debut to western gaming audiences in 1999 on the Nintendo 64, back when Nintendo consoles were the dominant household gaming system. This was before the Call of Duty and Halo days, mind you. In fact, the top shooter for the time for gamers was likely Goldeneye 64 or Perfect Dark, two games that paved the way for FPS titles as we know it. With Pokemon Snap, there really never became a title that came close to capturing what the game offered, despite dozens of titles from Nintendo and Gamefreak over nearly past two decades (save for Pokemon GO). 

In Pokemon Snap, you play as Todd, a photographer patrolling Pokemon Island on a single train-track in the ambiguous Zero-One multiple terrain vehicle, with a single goal, capture all the inhabitants on camera. Tasked by Professor Oak himself, players often times found themselves among some of the most unusual and rarest Pokemon, such as Mew and the Legendary Birds of Kanto. Despite many Pokemon not making a physical appearance in the game (like Mewtwo, for instance), there are a plethora of familiar faces to keep you engaged and challenged in order to snap a photo at just the right moment to appease the Professor so he may complete his prestigious Pokemon Report. 

A variety of locations such as the Beach or Volcano on Pokemon Island offer plenty of opportunity to see your favorite Pokemon, if only for a brief moment. You would have had to be quick to capture Gyarados behind the waterfall, or Charizard in the volcano, or Pikachu on the surfboard. 




What made Snap refreshing, was that it was one of the first major titles in the series to take place on a platform that offered a 3D experience. Not to mention the opportunity to explore an island largely populated with some of your favorite characters from series doing fun things to keep themselves occupied while you stroll through snapping photographs.

Add all this to the benefit of experiencing an incredibly addicting new game mechanic in the form of points earned from quality photo captures, it offered gamers the chance to beat their best score by getting the perfect shot of their favorite Pokemon doing something fun or even silly. 



The replayability with Pokemon Snap is among the highest we had during the N64 days, mainly because the opportunity to take a better snapshot and gain more points was almost always available. And considering how most kids did not have access to look-up information and tips on the internet in the 90s as commonly as today in 2016, we were left up to our own creativity and talks among our peers to find new ways to impress Professor Oak.

It is indeed a shame we never saw a sequel or an HD remake, seeing as how Nintendo’s consoles that followed the N64 offered controllers and features that would have made the game super fun. Unfortunately, Pokemon has grown into a colossal franchise over the years, maintaining a ton of games to keep the series afloat and draw in new gamers of all ages and types. 



A gamer can dream… 


Alas, regardless of Snap’s success, and as far as we have come as a community of devoted gamers wanting and hoping to see the return of this beloved title, this may just be one game we leave behind in the past, reflecting on fun and unique memories created trying to get that perfect photograph of the cluster of Charmander, or the bundle of Bulbasaur, or the squads of Squirtle. 

Pokemon Snap was published by Nintendo and released exclusively on the Nintendo 64 back in 1999 (JP, NA) and 2000 (PAL).

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Marc is the Editor in Chief for Geek Outpost. If you have an inside scoop you want to share, hit him up @MarcTammer on Twitter or email him at He prefers Crocs for their style over their comfort.

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TV 14 [as] Saturdays at 12a ET