Pokemon fans have the ability to move Pokemon from the Game Boy Advance, but moving Pokemon between generations is a bit tricky until reaching generation six. So how do you transfer from gen three to gen four? Then how do you transfer Pokemon gen four to gen five? And then gen five to gen six?
The method for transferring Pokemon between each generation varied based on the technology required. This included the Nintendo DS’s download play and Game Boy Advance cartridge slot, which eventually gave way to the Nintendo 3DS and its ability to download apps. This eventually led to Pokemon HOME, which gave way to Pokemon Bank.
It’s easy to get lost along the way, but there is a path for transferring Pokemon all the way from gen three to Sword and Shield. Here’s how to do it.
How to transfer gen-three Pokemon to gen four
- Use a Nintendo DS, DS Lite, or any handheld in the DS family with a GBA cartridge slot
- Deposit any gen-three Pokemon you want to transfer into a box
- Gain access to the Pal Park in a gen-four Pokemon game
- Have the gen-three Pokemon game you want to transfer from and the gen-four game that will receive the Pokemon plugged in at the same time
- On the main menu of the gen-four game, select “Migrate Pokemon” from the applicable GBA game
- Head to Pal Park and speak with the attendant
- Select the Pokemon to transfer
- Enter Pal Park and catch the desired Pokemon using Park Balls
Transferring gen-three Pokemon to gen four is a relatively simple process, but it does require access to the post-game content. This means players will need to be using a copy of Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, or SoulSilver that has beaten the Elite Four and champion. In the case of HGSS, the player will also need to advance to Fuschia City in the Kanto region.
Using HeartGold or SoulSilver is recommended for any mass migration of Pokemon. Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum limit how many Pokemon players can bring in each day. This saves players loads of real-world time compared the original gen-four titles.
How to transfer Pokemon from gen four to gen five
- Have two Nintendo DS or 3DS systems ready, with the gen-five and gen-four games you want to transfer between plugged in
- Move the gen-four Pokemon you want to transfer to gen five into boxes
- In Pokemon Black, White, Black 2, or White 2, beat the Elite Four and get the national Pokedex
- Go to the Pokemon Transfer Lab on Route 15
- Speak to the scientist in the Pokemon Transfer Lab to start the process of transferring Pokemon
- On the Nintendo DS with the gen-four game, use the DS Download Play feature on the DS home menu
- Select the Pokemon you wish to transfer and play the mini-game
The process of transferring Pokemon from gen four to gen five is a strange one. Not only is it the only time when players need to use two Nintendo DS systems, it’s also gated behind a weird mini-game. This isn’t difficult, but just winds up being annoying for any mass migration of Pokemon.
How to transfer Pokemon from gen five to Pokemon Bank
- Download the Pokemon Transporter and Pokemon Bank apps on a Nintendo 3DS
- Place any Pokemon you’d like to transfer from the gen-five game into Box 1 of the PC
- Plug the gen-five Pokemon game you’d like to transfer Pokemon from into the 3DS and boot Pokemon Transporter
- Open Pokemon Bank and receive the Pokemon in the Transport Box
- Move the Pokemon from the Transport Box to any other box in Pokemon Bank
While transferring Pokemon from gen four to gen five was wacky, things are streamlined from this point forward. Transferring Pokemon from Black, White, Black 2, and White 2 required two pieces of Nintendo 3DS software in the Pokemon Transporter and the Pokemon Bank. Pokemon Transporter was a piece of software dedicated to transferring Pokemon out of gen-five games into Pokemon Bank.
The good news is that after they were moved to Pokemon Bank, Pokemon could be freely moved between any gen-six or gen-seven game. Once players moved a Pokemon to a gen-seven game, they could no longer move it to back to a gen-six game.
Players can still do this today but in 2023, the Nintendo eShop will be taken offline for WiiU and 3DS platforms and these apps will no longer be available to download. This means that players looking to move Pokemon forward from generation five should make sure to download both Pokemon Transporter and Pokemon Bank before then.
This also brings players to the final step of moving Pokemon to modern platforms.
How to move Pokemon from Pokemon Bank to Pokemon HOME
- Have active memberships to both Pokemon Bank and HOME
- In Pokemon HOME, select “Move” to receive a Moving Key
- Open Pokemon Bank without any game inserted into the Nintendo 3DS cartridge slot
- Agree to terms
- Select the Pokemon Bank boxes to move into Pokemon HOME and use the Moving Key
- Receive the Pokemon in Pokemon HOME
The final step of moving Pokemon to modern generations requires players to transfer them from Pokemon Bank to HOME. This is done with a uniform method that allows players to transfer Pokemon forward. Once Pokemon are moved to HOME, they can no longer go back ot Bank.
Once again, Pokemon Bank will no longer be available when the 3DS eShop shuts down in March 2022. Players need to download the program before then.
The good news is that once the eShop closes on 3DS, Pokemon Bank will no longer have a price for active membership. Pokemon HOME’s membership cost will remain for the foreseeable future.