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The Ultimate Turnoff - What You Don't Want to See in a Hack


Active member
What's your ultimate turnoff? What makes you never want to open a hack's thread again?

I was wondering what other people absolutely hate when they look at a hack, so I made this thread not just for people to express their opinions, but also so people tailor can their hacks to please more people, if they want to. So, what's your ultimate turnoff? What makes you never want to open a hack's thread again?

Mine would probably be bad grammar. I can deal with the occasional misspelled word or forgetting a period, but if a hack is filled with these mistakes, I just don't think it will be a good hack. What about you guys?


Well-known member
What makes you never want to open a hack's thread again?
Ugly colors, bad fonts and poor organization (unnecesary sections and lots of useless information, for example.)
What You Don't Want to See in a Hack
-Mismatching graphical aspects (Things like having Gen. 3 and 4 tiles together or having a trainer whose Battle Sprite looks different compared to his/her OW Sprite, for example. Placeholders are fine though.)
-Grammar errors.
-Bugs and glitches due to lack of beta testing.
-Unfaithful recreations (specifically talking about remakes of the official games here, like for example, Liquid Crystal being extremely unfaithful to Crystal.)
-Lack of characters' depth if the hack has an original plot.
-Edgy/Cringeworthy dialogue.
-Lots of content just for the sake of it.
EDIT: Oh yeah, merging different parts of the different Pokémon Canon can be a no-no, it depends on how it's done.

And I think that's pretty much it.
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I don’t like having graphics in different styles together. It just looks bad. If you want to put N in FireRed, don’t use his Gen 5 sprite with Gen 3 tiles.. ;_;
I also don’t like when hack creators put all 807 Pokémon in their hacks. That’s too many different Pokémon in each area, and nobody’s going to try to catch them all either.
I really don't like hacks that try to fit all Pokemon from every generation into one game. One or two regions just can't and shouldn't hold 800+ Pokemon. I also dislike bad grammar, that just kills it for me. And another big one is the horrible case of "where do I go now?" that plagues many hacks, even the ones widely considered good.


Active member
I am very against having to backtrack long ways in hacks. Things like having to visit your mother in Pokemon Resolute and having to go back to Johto in Ultra Shiny Gold Sigma really kept me from wanting to continue to play those hacks.
Basically everything that has been mentioned above, and not to forget the extreme level caps from one place to another. Also, what really annoys me: incorrect insertion of Pokémon sprites from later gens (see Pokémon Mega Power).
I think that trying to incorporate new generation mechanics in previous generation bases make for lacking gameplay. Edgy dialogue, talking protagonists, and characters from the anime really put me off. I think the only romhack that did "edgier" dialogue well was DarkViolet, and even Chaos Rush regrets doing that. Self-inserts are sometimes okay, such as leaving yourself as a secret for the player to find, but if you're the rival or show up a lot in the game, there's no magic to it. Conflicting graphics were mentioned before me, and I agree, but I have nothing more to add.


New member
I'm surprised poor level curves haven't been mentioned yet.

In a Pokemon hack, a lot of a quality hack's success relies on it's gameplay, as they rely heavily on a battle engine that's fully integrated into the Pokemon brand itself. I find it hard to play through a hack that has level 10-15 wilds in very early routes, or the first gym being a full party of pokemon in their 20's, but you still start with that level 5 starter that could be anything, and unbalanced if their stats aren't edited.

Basically just don't have me grind for an hour for a gym and you have at least an okay hack in my book.
A hack that has a bunch slapped on it without much careful thought for how everything correlates with one another. I also agree with much of the messages that have come before mine.
I don't like "all Pokemon" style hacks. Pokemon games aren't really long enough to support those kinds of hacks; you just end up with having way too many Pokemon per area, and Pokemon exclusive to a particular map.

Grammar and spelling is another big one.

Anything that advertises its difficulty gets a huge red flag, because that usually just means you'll have to grind incessantly to keep up with the level curve.
What I don't like to see in a hack's thread:
  • Little to do with the hack's actual plot, and basically information on which features are going to be in the hack. This attracts people, but it's often disappointing when the product is quite different from what you expect.
  • Inconsistency with colors/ font and grammar/spelling errors.

What I don't like to see in a hack:
  • Hacks which remove navigation completely. This includes no town map/functioning Dex which shows catch areas. (This is missing in so many hacks, and I don't see why)
  • Inconsistency with graphics: Using different styles together. It just looks ugly.
  • Region layout: While good maps is a great thing to have, you need to plan your region. Don't make areas excessively long just to make them look visually appealing. Think about other factors like how your Pokémon could get exhausted as you progress through the area.
  • Self inserts: Try to do it Game Freak's way. Don't go out of your way and make it look cringey.
  • Bloating your hack with Pokémon. Nobody is going to catch them all. Keep the number of Pokémon available in-game reasonable.
  • Grammar/spelling: It's fine if English isn't your native language, totally understandable. However, you should consider hiring someone to proofread the dialog.
Pretty much everything has already been mentioned, for the most part.

Poor grammar is a major turnoff
No plot buildup or consistency (or just no plot at all)
Extremely long routes with no place to heal or to stock up on items in the middle
Too many Pokemon (just doesn't work out most of the time, even fitting in all 386 is considered a no-no in my book)
Too few Pokemon (where's the fun in seeing zubats all the time?)
Poor level curves (this is what turned me off from Dark Rising, it was just way too hard...)

That's what would turn me off, in a nutshell
What makes you never want to open a hack's thread again?
  • Ugly colors, unorganized, alot of grammatical errors
What You Don't Want to See in a Hack
  • Inconsistencies, putting FR OWs and Tiles together with RSE OWs and tiles is a big turnoff. It get's really bad when you put gen4+ tiles and OWs together with gen 3. Especially if they're unedited. Same goes with the pokemon sprites, combining ds styled sprites with gba styled sprites, they're different styles. I also don't like it when you take for example Drake's sprites, and make him a new character called "Draco" or something.

  • Having to grind because the level curve is crap, making it "difficult". Having to grind is just pressing buttons until you can eventually match the opponent, it's a waste of time.

  • Bad/stale map designs, having to backtrack through tons of grass, every map looks the same, navigation is bad/annoying etc. Trainer gauntlets, forcing you to battle 5 trainers in a row.

  • Bad scripting, making the textboxes annoying to read because the bad usage of /l /n /p. Lack of "pause" and "sound" is also bad. NPCs moving through objects because no lock or just being lazy with applymovement. Bad dialouge is also bad, not giving NPCs characters. Not a big fan when NPCs move whilst having a exclamation emote above their head either, and if it doesn't have a sound when it pops up.

Here's an example with the OWs
The above one is in FR style and the below one is from RSE

Here's an example with tiles
To the left we have the original museum from RSE and to the right a revamped FR version by FaroreToC
As you can see they have a whole different perspective, they don't go well together.
As cool of an idea of having all 800+ Pokemon in one game, like mentioned numerous times prior, it seems like too much. Not only is no one going to catch them all, but there isn't enough room in one region to put all of them.
A big thing that bugs me is when Pokemon sprites from newer games are used and are poorly edited. A Pikachu or Treecko sprite shouldn't look bigger sitting next to Wailord or Kyogre.
And style is a big thing. I cannot stand inconsistency, and that goes especially for style of the game. You cannot mix FRLG tiles with RSE tiles, have Pokemon sprites from Gen 5 and Trainer sprites from Gen 4. If you like those specific sprites, edit them so they look like they belong in the same game.
Don't have legendary/starter gardens, make sure all your tiles look right, especially tree tiles. Use the shadowy trees when appropriate, us the clear tree tiles when appropriate. Don't overuse the small tree, make the tree placements look natural but still like Pokemon game tree placement.
Lastly, as tempting as it may be, don't throw in your favorite MIDI from another game just for the lols. Make sure your music fits the location/event and isn't just there because you want it to be. (I can't say anything about music being glitchy because I still haven't fixed that in my hack yet, but if it were and I had room to speak about it, I'd say be careful to check and make sure your new midis don't sound like they're ripped straight from Glitch City.)

Edit: Oh, and don't throw in unnecessary cursing or sexual innuendos. That goes for any form of content, not just rom hacking. If it doesn't fit the style or halts story progression, there is no need.
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If a hack's thread is written in a "fancy" font or weird color that makes it impossible to read, I'm not even going to bother to try to read it or even check out the hack.

As for the hack itself, the most important things have been mentioned already. I do want to stress that I really hate it when a hack feels like it's cheating. Like when all of the first Gym Leader's Pokémon are holding a 30 HP healing Sitrus Berry, while you're not able to get hold of those any time soon, it's really unfair. That's not "increased difficulty", but just unfair.
Some of the bigger complaints have already been addressed, but I just have to talk about the ones that bother me the most:

  • Bad grammar is pretty unprofessional. I can let it slide if the creator's first language isn't English, but it should still be in their best interest to get a proofreader.
  • Two things in terms of plot - super serious/complex and over-dramatic plots that demand a lot of the player's attention aren't really viable, especially when the writing that accompanies the story is stilted or has a distinct flavor of "edgy grimdark I eat babies and kick puppies". I speak as a writer myself when I say that simple isn't bad.
  • On the opposite end of the spectrum, don't just make a generic "get all gym badges and fight the obviously evil team" plot. It's done to death and I can't help but avoid games that do it. In all fairness, this doesn't really apply to hacks that are exclusively remakes of existing Pokemon games (because that's the point), but more towards original hacks that don't really do much with the wide, wild and crazy world Pokemon takes place in.
  • Forced backtracking without an instant teleport or access to Fly. This just bites, especially when the way back is full of wilds and you don't have any repels. I've noticed in Pokemon itself they save you time by making easy shortcuts or straight up taking you out of a dungeon after a big event, so I'd like to see more of that.
  • An emphasis on catching every single Pokemon that's ever existed is not necessary. If I'm playing a hack, I'm most likely going to get the Pokemon that attract my attention the most and not use much else - keep the numbers reasonable.
  • Map design that deliberately tricks the player or is poorly designed in a way that doesn't give the player an idea where to go next.

And finally my number one complaint about any Pokemon hack period:
  • A lack of balance / Cheating Game - Good. Lord. I know making a hack of an existing game more difficult is fun because it can test your skills, but at the same time it has to be reasonable. Don't give the AI trainers advantages you can never gain unless you pull out the good ol' Gameshark. Lemme just list what I mean -
    • Levels: The levels have to be consistent throughout the entire journey. A slight increase is fine here and there, but if I'm just playing along like normal and suddenly the enemy trainer has Pokemon that are 20 levels higher than mine with 255 effort values... and it's required to beat? I prefer skill over DBZ-esque displays of power if I have to be honest.
    • Availability: Let's say you start out with bug and normal Pokemon on the first route... and then the first gym leader has Fire Pokemon with access to Drought. Oh, and you wind up fighting Lugia and Ho-oh mid-game, have fun. Extreme examples, I know, but even smaller things like the kinds of moves your Pokemon learn during the journey make a big difference. You have to give your players the tools to deal with whatever threat comes their way.
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