Snap To It: A look at the upcoming New Pokémon Snap game


To coincide with the upcoming Nintendo Switch release of Pokémon Snap, there will be an event in Pokémon GO. Those of you with longer memories (and age) on their side, will know that this is not the first console release of Pokémon Snap.

We will need to cast our minds back to the late 90’s/very early 00’s for the first release. So let’s take a look back (and forward) at the Pokémon Snap game itself.

Pokémon GO Snap Event

Only a brief summary here as this event is covered already in detail in New Pokémon Snap Celebration Event, but if you need some quick bullet points…

  • Runs Thursday 29th 10am until Sunday 2nd May 8pm, local times
  • Release of shiny Smeargle
  • New avatar camera item will become available in the shop

Infographic credit to G2G Media

Pokémon Snap (1999/2000)

Promotional image of the original 1999/2000 Pokémon Snap release, image owned by Nintendo

Around the turn of the century on the Nintendo console system N64, Pokémon was just starting to step into the 3D world. Previously only available on handhelds as sprites, Pokémon Snap was among one of the first games to fully explore the world of Pokémon in all its 64-bit three-dimensional glory.

Now you could get a real grasp of the size of Snorlax, the power of Charizard, the cuteness of Jigglypuff and, after battling, one of the most popular pastimes of residents of the Pokémon world is photographing them in their natural habitats. Thus, Pokémon Snap was born.

This has translated into Pokémon Go as the popular AR (augmented reality) function, superimposing digital Pokémon over your real-world environment, but before that was possible you were invited to play the part of Todd, a young man set to task by Professor Oak to photograph Pokémon in a nature reserve called… Pokémon Island.


Todd and Pokémon Island, images owned by Nintendo

A geologically diverse island featuring pristine beaches, bubbling volcanoes, dark caves, sparkling rivers and deep valleys where you, as Todd, travel through each habitat in your buggy taking the ‘best’ picture you can with your trusty camera. Now, this sounds great right?

The reality is that due to technological restrictions you were ‘on rails’ so it was not free-roaming but you were more ‘guided’ through the habitat, unable to reverse or stop so you had to be quick and know where the Pokémon were going to appear or were hiding. Take a look for yourself:

In each habitat you would find Pokémon that you would expect to be thriving there, with scary accuracy. You wouldn’t look for a Magmar on the beach, or a Tentacool in a cave.

Although the best of intentions were undoubtably there, again technology meant that only 63 of the original Kanto Pokédex could appear in 3D format in this game.

What makes a good photo? Just like any subject, clear and doing something interesting! And this is where Pokémon Snap becomes interesting…. As you progressed through the game you were given tools to help you in your quest to take the best pictures:

  • snacks to throw,
  • pester balls (to flush out Pokémon hiding in grass for example),
  • a flute,
  • etc..

All of these items changed Pokémon behaviour and enabled you to take ‘better’ pictures in levels than you were previously able to. Neat for a game on the N64!

Pokémon Snap gameplay images, images owned by Nintendo

New Pokémon Snap (2021)

The New Pokémon Snap is based on the same concept and gameplay ideas as the N64 version. However, in addition to collecting photographs of Pokémon in the wild, you will be helping investigate a mysterious phenomenon called Illumina which is causing Pokémon to glow.

Take a look at the version differences between the new and old Pokémon Snap:


Obviously, console technology has come a long way since the original. The new game is reported to have over 200 fully rendered Pokémon species to investigate and interact with.

As one would expect, in the age of social media your favourite photos can be edited to include various filters, effects and uploaded online to share and for all-important likes and shares by fellow fans of the franchise.

Although the new Snap game keeps the “on rails” approach of the original, I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing. The on rails approach reinforces the idea of you as an observer and the idea that Pokémon would still be there doing their own thing, whether you were there to watch them do it or not.

As a big fan of the original I am hugely excited about the prospect of a new generation of Pokémon players experiencing Pokémon Snap.

A true game changes it that this time we will be able to see a huge number of our favourite creatures playing and acting naturally – well, as naturally as is possible in a fully digital environment.

What Pokémon would you like to see most in the upcoming game? Let us know in the comments!

Author & tags

UK Instinct player since 14/07/2016, currently at 160m XP, aiming for level 50 eventually. All-round good guy who likes to take on the big raids with as few people as possible!

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