Suppose you’re even remotely familiar with the work of Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s beloved President who sadly passed away in 2015. In that case, you’ll have no doubt heard the popular rumour surrounding his contribution to 1999’s Pokémon Gold And Silver.
The rumour goes that Iwata created a compression code that significantly decreased the size of the games, thus allowing Game Freak to include the original Kanto region in addition to the newly introduced Johto.
This narrative was near-enough proven correct thanks to old interviews and in-game dialogue from later entries. Still, according to new details from DidYouKnowGaming on YouTube, Iwata’s contribution to Gold and Silver wasn’t centred around the games’ size, but rather their speed.
The video above goes into more detail, but the jist of it is that the algorithm discovered in the games’ data (which is a tweaked version of the same found in EarthBound and other HAL Laboratory games) is related to increasing the game’s overall speed. We’re talking fractions of a second in most cases, such as when a battle begins, when the opposing Pokémon appears on-screen, and many other minor examples. The point is, that it all adds up to a much smoother experience compared to earlier builds.
What this means, then, is that Kanto was added by the developers despite Iwata’s algorithm, which decreased the amount of overall storage by a few per cent. So while Iwata’s work may not have been quite as revolutionary as we’d previously believed, it was still a significant contribution that has saved players from enduring lengthy load times.