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Pokémon TCG’s new Pocket app fixes a glaring 25-year-old mistake in the card game

How does a Poké Ball open, anyway?

Image credit: The Pokémon Company

Earlier this week we saw the reveal of Pokémon Trading Card Game Pocket, a new mobile app based on the TCG that looks to mix the appeal of collecting rare Pokémon cards and cracking booster packs with fast, casual battles. Eagle-eyed fans have now also spotted that the digital game fixes a mistake with the card game that’s existed for over 25 years.

The error doesn’t affect just a single Pokémon card, or even a handful. In fact, every single one of the billions of Pokémon cards printed - at least in English - since 1998 have a glaring mistake on them. You just need to know where to look: the back of the card.

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The reverse of every Pokémon card shows the iconic red-and-white Poké Ball cracking open, representing the player bringing out their next creature in battle. Except, as a number of fans have pointed out over the years, the Poké Ball opens incorrectly, with the button wrongly attached to the white half of the ball rather than its red top.

As IGN details, the mistake doesn’t appear on more recent Pokémon cards printed in Japan, as the error - which may’ve been caused by the changing design of the Poké Ball during development of the early video games and TCG, as summarised back in 2019 by X user TAHK0 - was corrected decades ago on the different card back design for Japanese-language cards.

Like other trading card games such as Magic: The Gathering - whose publisher Wizards of the Coast originally handled the English release of Pokémon - the appearance of Pokémon cards has remained fairly uniform since its debut in the nineties, allowing players to use older cards alongside newer ones in their deck without being able to tell which cards are new and old just by looking at their backs.

When it comes to Pokémon TCG Pocket’s digital cards, though, keeping parity with physical cards is no longer a problem, allowing its developers to introduce a new card back with a tweaked design finally featuring a Poké Ball opening the right way.

You’ll be able to take a closer look for yourself - and question how you never clocked the mistake for the last 25 years - when Pokémon Trading Card Game Pocket arrives on mobile devices sometime later this year.

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